12 – 25mtrs
Horse of Willingdon
Royal Sovereign Shoals
Royal Sovereign Lighthouse
Wrecks 10 – 30mtrs
The 6.610 ton P & O Liner Oceana was built in 1888, She was 468ft long and had a Beam of 52ft. Whilst en route from London to Bombay with 40 passenger and a complement of 210 crew she was sunk on 16th March 1912 after colliding with the Pisagna, a 2850-ton Germen 4 masted steel barque. The Pisagna herself did not sink but was towed into Dover for repairs. Nine of the Oceana’s crew were drowned when their lifeboat capsized.
This has got to be one of the most interesting wrecks on the south coast, She rests in only 24mtrs of water at low tide and in places stands 10mtrs high.
The wreck rests on an even keel with the bows being upright and mostly intact, as you work your way back towards the stern all the superstructure has collapsed down but the sides of the vessel are still ship shape. As you get towards the engine room you come across an amazing sight, there are 4 boilers sat in pairs slap bang in the middle of the wreck, these huge round lumps of metal still in perfect condition if sunk only yesterday. Around the boilers there are big troughs full of scallop shell, mostly empty now. As you pass the boilers you are met by this huge upright structure which stands some 10mtrs high, it is infact the ships 7000hp triple expansion engines.
Every diver will find something of interest on this dive, Whether it will be the sea life of crabs, lobsters, scallops or the many species of fish that have made it their home, or portholes that are still in place or maybe even one off the silver bars & gold ingots that were left over from the ships cargo of £747.110 worth of gold and silver ingots when the ship was salvaged.
The Oceana sits on a gravel seabed and usually has good visibility.
Wrecks 30 – 50mtrs
The Accame was a possible replacement for the Guisepena Accame, A four-masted steel barque built in 1891 by the Continental Lead & Iron Company Ltd., Pertusola, Italy, for Fratelli Accame fu E, Genoa. Her dimensions were 82,92×12,34×7,62 meters [289’0″×40’5″×25’3″] and tonnage 2142 GRT, 1843 NRT and 3000 DWT. Both are similar.
The Accame was en route from Rotterdam with a cargo of grain when she started to sink, another ship nearby came to her assistance but 1 crew member drowned and the remaining survivors were landed in Weymouth.
Today the wreck of the Accame is 34miles offshore and rests in depth of 48mtrs at low water and stands only 2-3mts above seabed, with parts very sunk into the seabed but you can see the outline of the ships gunwales. Crockery found shows part of a shipping line in Italian, loads of life especially lots of lobsters.
The Cunard liner Alaunia was on a return voyage from New York to London on the 19th October 1916 when she struck a mine laid by the german sub UC16 The first thing that grabs you about this wreck is the sheer size of it, at 13,405tons and over 500ft long she is the largest wreck on the sussex coast. She lays on her port side and stands 10mtrs high in places.
The Alaunia has been extensively salvaged and is well broken from middle to stern. When diving the wreck the bow section is phenomenal, it lays over at an angle of 45 degrees and has her port anchor hanging from its chain, lots of portholes are still in place and the seabed is a feast for scallops.
Further up the wreck large booms and masts lay strewn across the seabed and in the wreckage, more hatches, skylights and portholes lay in the twisted debris. There is no shortage of marine life, with Pollock, Bass, Congers, Crabs, Lobsters & million of Pout all living onboard.
The Ashford, a British steamer of 1,211 tons collided with the German barque , Pirat of Hamburg on the 25th June 1906.
The Ashford was en route from Seaham to St Nazaire with a cargo of coal. After the collision she was taken in tow by the tug Dominion but sank shortly afterwards. Today the remains of the Ashford, contrary to other dive reports is upright and intact, she stands some 8mtrs high from 42mtrs up to her decks at around 34mtrs.
Her super structure has collapsed down and her decking rotted away exposing her holds and cargo below. This makes for an excellent dive, giving good access areas to penetration & explore.
A 4.575 ton 380ft British Merchantman, She rests in a depth of 36mtrs HW. She was sunk by the German submarine UB29 on the 7th April 1916. The wreck today has the bows to the west & the stern to the East, the stern is intact on her port side and standing some 10m high,Her cargo of munitions, some 1,800 tons of shells and ammunitions lay scattered all around.
This is the wreck of a British oil tanker that was built in 1901, She struck a mine on 11th October 1917, laid by the German sub UC50, the Mira was full of oil.
The Mira lays North – South and is laying on her stbd side. Sand dunes around this wreck are building up around her hull which is 345ft long & 47ft wide. The ship rests in 30mtrs & is good for Bass fishing.
CHATEAU MARGAUX 1884
4,035 gross tons, length 386.5ft x beam 41ft, one funnel, three masts, iron hull, single screw, speed 12 knots. Accommodation for 50-1st and 1,200-3rd class passengers. Built 1884 by Chantiers & Ateliers de la Gironde, Bordeaux for the Bordeaux Line, she started her maiden voyage from Bordeaux on 26th Feb.1884 but her rudder was disabled and she arrived at Halifax under tow by the Anchor Line ship CALEDONIA and eventually reached New York on 27th May. Her last Bordeaux – New York voyage was made in July 1888 and she was then chartered to the French Line for their Bordeaux – Havana – Vera Cruz service. On 28th Apr.1889 she was sunk in the English Channel in collision with British ship MANORA.
The Chateau Margaux lies 35miles south from Eastbourne in 41mtrs at high water & rests on her starboard side, the bow and stern are the highest points with the middle of the ship collapsed down to the seabed but still quite open and exposing her 4 large boilers. The fish life on this wreck is incredible but strangely no congers The seabed is a fine white shingle shell giving good visability. This is a First Class Ship making this a First Class Wreck.
The Swiss motor ship of 5,364 tons. Now she lies north-south, with her bows to the north on a sea bed of soft sand. She lays on her side and has started to collapse down, but her bridge is still her highest point. There are good access areas along the length of her hull and she is covered in fish.
This beautiful little steamer used to run from Newhaven to Dieppe on the cross channel run, she was sunk in collision in dense fog with the French steamer the SS Lyon en route to Newhaven from Dieppe on 21st August 1895. She was only 250 ft long and had a beam of 35ft, a little beauty.
The wreck of the Seaford is 30miles from Brighton, she sits upright on a gravel seabed at 46mtrs with the mid section being the most intact with large portholes running down both sides of her, from above you see large pipe work running the length and the deck has a pattern of ceramic tiles on it, the bow & stern have collapsed down but are still recognisable. Known by the local fisherman as the Kingfisher due to the amount of big fish to be found on her, the congers are huge.
TR Thompson 30-34mtrs
TR Thompson was a 3,538ton armed merchantman, she was built in 1897 and was 360ft long with a beam of 47ft. She was armed with a 4.7in gun which was mounted on stern. Her engine was a 301hp triple expansion engines and her cargo was 5.600 tons iron ore. She was sunk on the 29th March 1918 by a single torpedo from UB57, it struck her on the nose and opened her up like a tin can, she sank in minutes, killing 33 of her crew, only 3 survived.
Today the wreck of the TR Thompson sits upright with her bows pointing to the east and partially buried, her superstructure has collapsed down but as you get to the stern, it sits high about 7mtrs off the seabed. The gun has now fallen backwards and down to the seabed, shell cases lay in the wreckage all fused together. Plenty of fish on this one.
This the wreck of a German mine laying sub, thought to be UC65. She is broken into 2 sections just behind the engine room, the deck gun is still in place and shell cases lay under the gun in their sealed aluminium cases. These are in mint condition so leave them well alone, isn’t that right Innes. This sub rests in 44mtrs of water and is an excellent example of a submarine, tremendous fish life on her.
The British armed merchantman the Vasco was carrying 2100tons of general cargo when she struck 2 mines on 16th November 1916. She rests in 33mtrs 11 miles from Brighton but has a deep scour on her eastern side.
Wrecks 50mtrs +
The Greek cargo vessel Aristos was built in 1937, she was a huge ship and weighed in at 5189tons. She sank after a collision on 28th August 1967 with the vessel Linde. They were 16 miles off Beachy Head when the two ships collided in dense fog. She was carrying unspecified general cargo.
Today the wreck of the Aristos lies due south of Brighton and is 15miles offshore, she rests in a max depth of 60mtrs with the top of the bridge at 42mtrs. She sits bolt upright and is incredibly intact, she has a most impressive bow to her, very ship shape and with her two admiralty anchors still hanging in place. There is a large split in her side where the collision took place, this is at the engine room area and it is possible to penetrate the wreck through this large opening, but do take care as things can silt up pretty quickly. The bridge area is very interesting, you can swim along the companion ways and through the cabins and enter the bridge, large windows allow easy access.
The Aristos had 2 masts, the front mast lays across the wreck but the stern mast is still standing tall and reaching up to 36mtrs, as you get to the stern if you drop over the back you will see the stern gear still in place. This is an awesome dive but done best when the visibility is good inshore.
The Aracataca built in 1911 for Elders & Fyffes, she weighed in at 4,154 tons was 376ft in length and had a beam of 48ft. The meat refrigeration ship Aracataca was enroute from Liverpool to Dunkirk with a cargo of frozen meat when she was is a collision south west of Beachy Head and sank on 18th April 1917.
Built for the Booth Steam Ship Company in 1907, at the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co, She was 418ft in length and had a beam of 52ft and a draft of 27ft. She was powered by her triple expansion engines, giving her a speed of 15 knots.
During the First World War she was requisitioned by the British government and converted into a Hospital Ship. It was the 17th April 1917 when the Lanfranc set sail for Southampton from Le Havre, loaded with wounded, she was carrying 234 wounded British soldiers & 167 wounded German prisoners of war, she carried 52 medical staff & there were 123 ship’s crew. The time was 19.40 hours and Lanfranc was approximately 1/3 of the way through her journey to Southampton when there was an almighty explosion, she had been struck by a torpedo on the port side between the engine room and number 3 hold. It was quite clear that the ship was doomed, as she started to settle by the stern.
The master gave the order to prepare lifeboats and to abandon ship. The two escort ship’s that had been in convoy with Lanfranc, came in and prepared to receive the casualties. Of the 576 persons onboard that evening only 34 lost their lives, 14 British wounded, 15 German wounded and 5 crew, the Hospital Ship Lanfranc had sunk in just over 1 hour.
Today the wreck of the Lanfranc lies 40 miles south of Brighton in a LW depth of 52mtrs, she is sitting upright and fairly intact, there is a break half way along where the torpedo impact occurred. She is an awesome sight to behold, sitting there so impressively, some 10mtrs of the seabed, The stern area is upright and very much intact, with access through a sky light, it is possible to descend down through a couple of decks into what one can only presume as the dining area, going by the amount of crockery scattered around. Looking at the sides of the ship, you can see the portholes still in place, sweeping right around the stern. As you make your way forward along the deck, towards the break, you can see the decking collapsing down, in on it’s self. At the, break debris litters the sea bed with ginger beer bottles spilling out and spare porthole glass scattered around.
As you make your way to the bow, the ship comes back into her glory, upright, intact and steaming along, as you drift pass the starboard bow’s, take a step back and look at the awesome sight and you might just see her name, bold as brass in 18″ high letters “LANFRANC”, an amazing sight. Great care must be taken when diving this monster of a wreck as fishing line and nets have been caught on the wreck over the years. If you have never seen big fish on a wreck before, then you will now. Believe all the hype, this is a wreck divers must.
WARILDA Hospital Ship 50-54mtrs
The Warilda was an Australian steamer, built in 1907 by W. Beardmore & Co Ltd., on the clyde at Glasgow. She was over 400ft in length and had a beam of almost 60ft. She was requisitioned by the British government for use as a hospital ship during the first world war and fitted with a 4inch rapid fire gun on her stern.