31 Aug 2012

Mardinian: Come dive a wreck with me!

Once upon a time, a 3222 ton steamer named SS Mardinian - built in 1913 in Middlesbrough by Harkess & Son Ltd - departed from Calcutta with a cargo of hemp, bound for her home port of Liverpool. She was 313 feet long (95.4m), with a 42 foot beam (12.8m wide) and 21 feet deep (6.4m). She had a triple expansion steam engine which could propel her to a speed of up to 10.5 knots. Little did Captain G. Port know that on the 19th of May 1917 a German U-34 submarine would intercept them off the coast of Santa Pola in the Province of Alicante, Spain, and order the crew to abandon ship before sending the Mardinian to the bottom of the Mediterranean, 4 miles SW of the island of Tabarca, by means of a well-aimed torpedo. And there she remains to this day, to the delight of scuba divers who come from near and far to admire this steel skeleton, now home to a myriad of marine critters.

Last month I was looking for a somewhat "different" from my usual dives to celebrate my birthday, so I contacted one of the dive clubs I sometimes go out with and Carlos, the owner, advanced his scheduled wreck by one day so I could join in! I was a bit worried about going down so deep, the deck is at 44m depth (144ft) which is deeper than recreational divers "usually" go. Plus that was the minimum depth as the ship's hull was resting at 57m (187ft) on a bed of sand. My dive log tells me my max was 47.7m (the deepest I've ever been). Because of this depth, those of us going down with regular tanks (as opposed to the two technical divers going down with "trimix"), would have to do a series of decompression stops (to eliminate residual nitrogen in the body). Between that and the fact that at greater depth you use up more air, we had to each take along an extra tank for safety!

Yeah, I know. Looks awkward, doesn't it? Even more so rolling back over the side of the boat and holding it steady so it wouldn't hit me in the face! :p

Once in the water it was simply a mater of following the buoy line down, down, down. With the unpleasant surprise of discovering a piece of fishing line with a hook had twisted itself around the rope and was still actively fishing! :o(

DON'T abandon your fishing gear people!!! >:(

26 Aug 2012

A fishy taste of things to come...

I don't know how long it will take me to prepare the post (takes a while to edit the photos and video footage)... but I wanted to give you guys an aperçu of something special I'm putting together for you! ;o)

Thing is... I have another dive post I wanted to do first (and should have already done! the photos are finally all edited), so I don't know whether to have this skip ahead or do things in order! One of them is about a WWI wreck off the coast of Alicante... I'll let you guys decide! 

Wreck first?

 or night-time first? ;o)

19 Aug 2012

Olympic fragments and aquatic delights

Woah! I'm still feeling a bit of an Olympic hangover... can't quite let go of those crazy intense two weeks! I saw waaay more TV than was good for me (including watching both Opening and Closing Ceremonies until their ends in the wee hours of the morning). At times I even had two events going on simultaneously (usually when tennis was involved): one on the TV and one streaming live on the computer! :p

12 Aug 2012


Did anyone notice the changing "Doodles" each day during the Olympics over at Google.com? Two weeks of Olympic Sports in Doodles! And some of them were actually games you got to play with your arrows and space bar... old school fun! :p

I thought they were quite fun and saved all the images (had to be a bit creative to get the interactive ones) and here they are! Just click on the first one and then the arrows to go on to the next to get them in a larger view than here below.