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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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INTO THE ABYSS

INTRODUCTION

The Pinnacle

Corryvreckan Whirpool,

West Scotland

 

Our group of 6 divers struggled in the swirling currents to rendezvous at the appointed time on top of the Pinnacle, the column of solid rock that rises up from a depth of 200 metres to just 30 metres beneath the boiling surface of the Corryvwrecken Whirlpool. The Pinnacle is both the cause of and the very heart of the Whirlpool, one of the largest whirlpools in the world.

     The Whirlpool lies in the Gulf of Corryvwrecken, a half-mile wide channel between the islands of Scarba and Jura through which the whole might of the Atlantic daily floods and ebbs with incredible fury. Declared unnavigable by the Royal Navy, it is a hugely foreboding and intimidating place to be.

     On the surface the powerful down currents produced by underwater waterfalls down the side of the Pinnacle, create large standing waves and numerous swirling eddies. It is perhaps the most fearsome natural feature in British waters.

      I gripped large rocky outcrops – my fingers searching for secure handholds to prevent me being picked up by the strengthening current and swept away into the Abyss below. Apprehension upped my breathing rate - I tried to slow things down, taking several long draws on my breathing regulator.

     I looked around the 100-foot wide Pinnacle summit. The underwater visibility was about 50 feet here and I could see the sheer sides of the Pinnacle dropping away all around me, disappearing vertically into the surrounding blackness of the Gulf.

     My buddy diver Dave Hadden and myself finned over cautiously towards the side of the Pinnacle. The tide had now turned and I could feel the mass of water in which I was suspended starting to propel us over towards the edge. In just a few minutes the downcurrents would be so strong that this very edge would be a cascading underwater waterfall. Huge volumes of onrushing water were starting to meet the immoveable Pinnacle, being pushed up one side to plunge and fall over the other side.

     A knawing fear gripped me as I moved over to the edge. If we lingered just a few more minutes the downcurrents would sweep us off the Pinnacle and drag us down into the depths - with little chance of breaking free of its grasp. To lose control here in the face of the huge natural forces at work would mean probable death.

     Warily I kicked my fins and let the gentle current sweep me effortlessly and intoxicatingly over towards the sheer cliffs. I grabbed hold of any rocky handholds along the way that allowed me some semblance of control over my flight – finally anchoring myself with a handhold a few feet before the very edge itself. The current immediately swung my body round so that my feet were ahead of me, pointing towards the edge - and the abyss.  The monster was trying to snare me and lure me to the point of no return – from where I could not escape its grasp.

     Ducking into a small hollow behind a rock ledge at the very edge, I found some shelter from the current. Gingerly, flat on our chests, in the lee of the outcrop, Dave and I moved out and took hold of the smoothed edge of the Pinnacle itself and peered down the sheer cliff face. We could see for perhaps 50 feet down the vertical walls. Beyond, the walls merged into the pure black chasm beneath us

     As we lay prone peering over the cliff I noticed that the exhaust bubbles from my breathing regulator, which normally float up towards the surface, were slowing their usual rate of progress.

As I watched, the ascent of my exhaust bubbles got slower and slower - and then the bubbles stopped going up. They simply hung motionless before me in an almost surreal sight, their natural upward buoyancy perfectly countered by the downward drag of the current. Then gradually, as the down currents got perceptively stronger, my exhaust bubbles started being sucked downwards over the edge with increasing ferocity. It was time to leave this strange world – before we too were sucked into the Abyss.