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13 December 2018. New unidentified Japanese WWII tug wreck in Truk Lagoon

Here's the link to my video tour on my YouTube channel of this newly located and as yet unidentified Imperial Japanese Navy WWII tug wreck off Weno.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYfVkiE7IsE&t=7s

 
12 December 2018. NEW JAPANESE WRECK LOCATED IN TRUK LAGOON

Just back from a couple of weeks diving the famous Japanese WWII wreck at Truk Lagoon in the Pacific, the world's greatest collection of Japanese wartime shipwrecks. It has been quite a long time since a new WWII wreck was located in the lagoon, but I was priviledged to be taken out by Truk Stop Dive Centre

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30 October 2018. Des épaves du monde

Just back from a long weekend in Orkney filming with a french TV company about the Scapa Flow wrecks for a documentary series on shipwrecks around the world. These guys were hard core - they did The Big Blue with Jean Reno and have worked on Titanic - much respect! 

 
16 October 2018. Shipwrecks of Scapa Flow chart available again

A few years ago I had a unique A1 size full colour chart of Scapa Flow professionally created by the artist who has created all my shipwreck illustrations for me over the years, not just in Scapa Flow but also in Truk, Palau etc. The Scapa shipwreck illustrations were added to the chart in the correct locations with some text about the indivdual wrecks and the Scapa story as a whole. The resulting chart is stunning - and is currently on public display outside the Ferry Terminal in Stromness.

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26 August. Scapa Flow

Just back from a few days up in Scapa Flow for the History Week which was being run off Bob Anderson's excellent MV Halton. Just heard that the decommissioned Ark Royal is being purchased to be sunk for sport diving in the English Channel. Whilst I understand Ark Royal's connections down there it would have been quite a coup if it had come to Scapa Flow and been sunk in the Bring Deeps. If it was sitting with 15-25 metres down to its shallowest parts it would have proved an irresistible lure for divers and coupled with the German Fleet would have ensured Scapa Flow's position as the No. 1 UK dive location.

 
17 Aug. The Darkness Below

4 days of intense reading later, and that's the final proof for the new book checked and finished. Amazing how little things managed to get through the last proof read. It's off back to the publishers today as they'll have printing time booked on a commercial press for it. The books will now be printed and made ready for distribution come 30 September - but that's the end of the work for me on this one.

I'm working on a fiction book right now but also trying to think through another possible book on diving :-)

 
13 Aug. The Darkness Below

The final proof has now arrived so it's time to start at the very beginning again and carefully proof all 140,000 words. If I miss anything now then it's in print for years. Settling down with a cafitiere of strong coffee to get going... okay, page 1 here we come.....

 
10 Aug. HMS Pathfinder

Just back from a wee trip down to Marinequest's excellent set up in Eyemouth from where we dived HMS Pathfinder yesterday - an unluckily important ship historically as a result of being the first HMS to be sunk during WWI to a torpedo fired from a U-boat. The vis was crystal clear down to about 40metres - after that it got progressively silty until on the seabed beside the wreck at 68msw vis was about 5-8 feet. Nevertheless Paul Haynes and I had a fine tour around the wreck on our Aquazepp scooters taking in the guns and shells strewn here and there. 78 minute run time.

 
4 Aug. The Darkness Below update

The first proof is now done and dusted and I'm waiting on the final proof from my publishers for a sweep through. It's laborious proofing 140,000 words and often the mind sees what it expects to see - and not what is actually on the paper. Launches being discussed for Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin and a couple in England.

 
20 July. The Darkness Below update

The edited typeset first proof has now arrived from my publishers. All the pics are now set in it - so at last it is acquiring its own form and identity. Have started proof reading it now as thoroughly as I can - all 140,000 words and 200 pages. Long laborious process but we're getting there.

 
3 July. MS Taurus

Another fine dive on perhaps the most majestic and beautiful wreck on the north-east coast of Scotland. Lots of swim throughs and absolutely covered in life. Shimmery calm conditions topside, crystal clear visibility in the shallows with 5-8 metre ambient vis down on the wreck at 50msw. Still got a plague of jellyfish, all sorts with lots of lion's mane and Portuguese Men O'War nasty ones. Gary Petrie completed his first Trimix rebreather dive and seemed very comfortable. Pdoll excelled by arriving just as we came back into the harbour with the finest chips in the world which we made short work of sitting on the pier before a pint in the harbour bar. An excellent evening dive.

 
11 June. MS Taurus

The jellyfish bloom is here big style now, following on from the recent plankton bloom. As a complete contrast to last weekend's plankton soup 3 foot vis, yesterday diving the MS Taurus with Greg Booth the water was crystal clear and on the bottom at 50msw we had 15m ambient vis. Spectacular dive poking around the Galley before nipping up to the Boat Deck and dropping into the Engine Room through the skylights. The Engine Room is now half filled with silt but the massive 7 cylinder engine is still magnificent. Popping back out of the Engine Room we dropped onto the port side and swam along the walkway past the row of cabins with their doors and portholes fallen out.

 

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P&J Saturday 11 June

Feature about diving local shipwrecks focussing on SS Creemuir with a bit of pre-publicity for the new book is going in Saturday's P&J space permitting.

 
5 June. The plankton bloom is here

It looked pretty clear in the harbour yesterday whilst we launched Stonehaven Diver. 5 miles out, as we shotted the wreck we could see the line well down - looks okay I thought. But, tumbling into the water, as soon as we started going down we were encased in a living soup which blotted out all visibility very quickly. The recent rise in water temperature from 8C to 10C has kicked off a strong plankton bloom. By the time we got down to the wreck at 58msw we had 3 foot vis and pitch black. We cut our bottom time to 15 minutes as there was little we could accomplish. Managed to find my way back to the downline with its big flashing strobe surpriosingly visible from quite a way off. Bring on the jellyfish bllom to clear the waters up.

 
21 May. Scapa Flow/Wick trip.

Just back from a stunning week's diving up in Scapa Flow ands off Wick. Although we were meant to RV at Wick at 1300, literally 1 hour before we were due to depart, we got told that we now had to meet up in Stromness that night due to the weather - it was like a Top Gear challenge as we all tried to get booked on assorted ferries from all over the place to get us there - but somehow it all came together and we were all aboard John Thornton's Karin that night.

 

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Landward 13 May, BBC2 @ 7pm

Just had a fine day out on the water with Dougie Vipond and the BBC Landward team. Turns out Dougie was a diver and like me had his first ever wreck dive on HMS Port Napier off Skye.

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