Once again we found ourselves on our favorite North Sea diving vessel, the Divestar, with some of the TDX team members. Joeri had to drop out last minute unfortunately, but the rest of the team was present.
The whole team has been diving from the Divestar a (great) number of times. We love the vessel as it allows us to sleep on board, which is very convenient since we regularly head out in the wee hours of the morning. It also has comfortable spacing to eat inside in case of bad weather.
Since the weekend consisted out of 2 day trips, we slept onboard of the Divestar the whole weekend (Friday to Saturday and Saturday to Sunday).
I cannot imagine another time it felt so unbelievably good to get on board again and see the crew. Covid and bad weather had kept the Divestar in port for a very long time. All the trips we had booked for this year had been cancelled. So now, end of September we finally had our first weekend at our beloved North Sea to get out to some ship wrecks.
Because of the bad weather especially (wind) we had some trips cancelled this year and also this time the forecast looked pretty bad. The week before we were leaving the forecast showed 4-5 Bft with peaks to 6 and sometimes even 7 Bft. Safe to say we weren’t really optimistic and were mentally preparing for a whole season with no dives at the North Sea. But on the Wednesday before, the forecast suddenly change completely and to our surprise we saw only 4-5 Bft and on Sunday even 1-2 Bft! That changed the situation, moral came back instantly and off we went on Friday!
Even though the weather changed, the sea was still bouncing us around when we set out. During the rest of the weekend it would only be calmer at sea but in the morning of the first day, the waves claimed some victims and had some people leaning over the rail. Luckily none of our team were affected, but you can’t but feel for the people who looked forward to a nice day and feel seasick instantly when leaving the harbor.
So off we went to the first wreck of the weekend: the well known SS Melrose. It was a British cargo ship that was mined in 1940. When diving you can still see the large steam engines. We got in the water early in the morning (because of the tides), at around 8.20AM.
The visibility was pretty good and we had plenty of opportunities to get in the cargo rooms in the wreck and swim through. Some congor eels and plenty of spider crabs were hiding around the wreck… We went down on the back of the wreck and found the very impressive rudder and propeller at a depth of about 35m. It’s definitely a nice wreck to start of the weekend!
In between the dives we were treated by Anja to her well known giros with rice. Because of the early morning dive, this served as breakfast to many people…
Since we live by the tides, the next dive was already due shortly after lunch. So at 2PM we got into the water again for our second dive, this time to bring a visit to the wreck of the SV Marthe. This is a four-masted sailing ship where you can still see the wooden deck that is in surprisingly good shape.
Diving the wreck was more challenging since the visibility was not as good as during the morning dive, but also because of the many fishing nets that were tangled around the wreck. Especially around the masts, which are laying down next to the wreck.
Because of the early dives, we were back in the harbor at a very reasonable time… So plenty of time to find a good restaurant. We ended up in Kaai15, a restaurant we go to often when we are on our North Sea trips. A great evening with lots of interesting diving stories from the group!
At the beginning of the day we realized again how lucky we were with this weekend’s weather conditions, as you can tell from below footage you see Tom getting ready for the first dive.
For the first dive we were on our way again to one of our favorites: the SS Pepinella. It’s a cargo ship that sunk in 1958 after a collision with another ship.
Once again we had good visibility. It’s a wreck where we always pass by the impressive rudder and 4-bladed propeller. We jumped in the water early in the morning, at 8.50AM. What a great way to wake up on a Sunday morning, although I’m sure many non-divers would respectfully disagree with me.
After that excellent first dive it was time for something even more important…Anja’s world famous spaghetti! A great lunch to get some energy again and to get ready for the last dive of the weekend.
This day’s second wreck we visited was the SS Trifels, a German cargo ship that got torpedoed in 1941. This is a well known cargo ship that we dived regularly. This dive as well we went down to a depth of 36m to find the rudder. The propeller has been removed already, but it still remains an impressive sight to be next to the impressive rudder.
We hit the water at around 2.30PM. There was still a lot of current and the visibility wasn’t great but we still had a fun dive to close off the weekend.
Because of construction works at the Nieuwpoort harbor, we had to be back at port before 7PM or we would be locked out of the harbor! There is a flood barrier being build, which will protect the harbor and inland against storms and high tides. It’ll be a different look getting back into the harbor when it’s finished!
Melrose (cargo ship)
More info: https://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?27
Marthe (transport ship)
More info: https://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?25
Pepinella (cargo ship)
More info: https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?37
Trifels (cargo ship)
More info: https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?46
A huge thanks as usual to the whole Divestar crew. We cannot express how grateful the whole team is to have them managing the diving, catering, music, … They just create the perfect circumstances for some relax wreck diving at the North Sea.
Also thanks for the TDX team for the great atmosphere and the safe dives!
We didn’t bring our video equipment this trip, so unfortunately we don’t have any under water footage. We just have some pictures capturing the great circumstances and atmosphere on board.