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!!! >:(