A tail of two wrecks

Sunday diving and there was weather, Scotland at it’s most glorious. Showers and cloud, resting on an invisible partitions, grass lush, wet and green. Loch Leven was mirror calm and a small shell boat rested at it’s mooring with ducks creating wakes as they crossed the bay. The site we had chosen today was Cemetery One on the North shore of Loch Leven just past the Loch Leven seafood cafe. A quick look at the slope down from the car park saw a revolt and an alternative approach sort so we moved the cars around to the small private pier just to the West.

Today was a day for checkouts and drills. One checkout for someone who had not been in the water for a few months, a weight and buoyancy check for a twin set and post drills. So we were not after great depth, just good vis and a bottom that would not stir up and make things difficult.

First order of the day was to ensure that the new twin set diver was properly weighted so we kitted him up and got him in the water to check he could sink and float, easy enough and we left him bobbing in the shallows as the rest of us got our tanks on. A straightforward plan of bubble checks, buoyancy and trim checks and post drills before we swam East along the base of the boulder slope at the junction of the mud. Good vis and some interesting life with numerous pink sea cucumbers and piddock shlls, horse muscle as well as burrowing and sealoch anemones. Little fish life save the ubiquitous blennies and gobbies but generally some good colorful life. Reaching the turn around point we made our way up the slope and returned to find the clinker built wreck that this site is noted for, swam around it a couple of times and the returned to the pier to exit on 45 minutes

After a short surface interval we were back in again. This time we swam straight out from the pier trying to find 20 m. As it was low tide we struggled. At 14m we started finding rubbish dumped from the moorings as the bottom flattened. A computer and TV, pots and pans provided interest before looking up to see the white fiberglass hull of a pleasure boat, sitting upright and covered in peacock worms. Swimming around this a couple of times we then moved off to the East swimming over more rubbish which supported various squiggly forms of life and fields of phosphorescent sea pens. Turning back to the shore we found ourselves on scallop shells discarded from the working boats that led to the pier to surface on 32 minutes after a very pleasant little dive.

So that was it, two wrecks in two dives. Speaking to the local owner of the boats and pier we pieced together a history of the wrecks. The clinker built wooden wreck was a gentleman’s launch, powered by a 3 cylinder Lister Petter engine. It was already 70 years old when it was acquired from the Collonsay Estate by the pier owners family who used it in 80’s as a dive boat for scalloping. When the engine needed replacing it was sold on to be refurbished but the project faltered and it was hauled up onto the beach where it started to decay. Eventually it was burnt and the hull towed out and sunk. A sad end to a piece of Victorian history. The fiberglass hull was another local project, another project that was going to take three weeks and ended up taking three years before the eyesore was removed to its present ‘moorings’.

We had a good natter with this very pleasant chap, learning a little about commercial shell fishing before taking our leave , packing the cars and ending the day in the cafe before making our way to the Crianlariach hotel where the Collonsay Ale was back on tap. All in all a good result.

No photos today.

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