With the forecast looking good Andrew, Callum and I made our way to DiveBunker in Burntisland for the leisurely meeting time of 11:00. It was a full boat, with 12 people in total, so once everyone and kit was on-board we were off towards the local training site (Vows Reef) for a few people to do a check dive and some training. We skipped this dive, opting to save our air for the 2 deeper wreck dives that were planned and make the most of the heated cabin on the large RHIB.
Once the dives were completed at the vows we headed off towards the first wreck The Royal Archer. Sitting on the seabed in about 30m the Royal Archer is fairly broken up with just the stern sitting intact. As we descended the shot to the middle of the wreck it was obvious this was going to be a very murky and dark dive, the visibility was 2m at best. Our plan was to head south to the stern but we didn’t quite make it, it was hard enough just to stay together in our three. Among the broken bits of metal (some of it recognisable as bits of boat) there was actually a fair bit of life to be found. A conger eel was hiding just near where the shot landed. There were also butterfish, goldsinny wrasse, loads of northern prawns, dead man’s fingers, plumose and dahlia anemones so not a bad dive from that point of view. After about 28mins of poking about in the murk we somehow came across the shot again and with just 3mins of no deco time left we decided that was a good time to surface.
After our surface interval and a short boat ride it was time to dive the Salvestria. Apparently even more broken up than the Royal Archer and affectionately known as the flat pack (or IKEA) wreck the Salvestria sits at about 25m. It was starting to get dark as we entered the water and straight away we could see that the visibility was even worse than earlier, probably <1m. We spent about 25mins slowly working our way around the wreckage trying to stay together, only able to see what was in the first metre of our torch beams.
Despite that poor visibility and darkness you could almost make out some decent sized chunks of metal sticking up of the sea floor and again the life didn’t disappoint. There were prawns everywhere and usually all you could see of them was the gold/red glimmer of their eyes in the darkness which was pretty eerie, there were also large dahlia anemones, daisy anemones, dead man’s fingers, and loads of Flabellina nudibranchs. At the end of the dive Callum expertly sent up his new DSMB using a spool and after a safety stop we surfaced in darkness with the boat nearby ready to pick us up.
Although the visibility was terrible the dives weren’t a total write off, there was a fair amount of life about and it was pretty interesting doing a night dive on a wreck. I’m sure in better conditions these would both be pretty good wreck dives.
For more photos click here