Cork Wreck Weekend

by lwhelan on August 19, 2016


The Crosshaven “Wreck Weekend” was on Saturday August 13 & Sunday August 14, 2016.  In 2014 this weekend was the highlight of the years diving and for many this year was no different. With ideal diving conditions we managed to dive the HMT Morococala + SS Sento on the Saturday and the HMT Clifton+ SS Aud on the Sunday. With 10m+ visibility it was a fantastic weekends wreck diving and a great opportunity to get some extended range diving on the wrecks of Cork harbour.

IMG_7402wSee wreck list below:

Ship Wreck Depth
HMT Morococala On the 19th of November 1917, the armed trawler HMT Morococala was minesweeping outside Cork Harbour when a mine exploded, sinking her almost immediately. The entire crew of 13 were killed in the sinking. 42m
SS AudThe Wilson Line ship Castro, was captured by Germany at the beginning of WW1 and used to transport arms for the Irish Easter Rising.Renamed the Aud and under the command of Karl Spindler, she almost suceeded in her mission but was captured by British Patrols. She was scuttled on April 24th, 1916, at the mouth of Cork Harbour. 35m
SS SentoRecently completed in Renfrew, the Sento, a  bucket-dredger was in transit to Taiwan, which in 1900 was a Japanese territory and called Formosa. Passing through St Georges Channel she got into difficulty, taking on water and developing a list.
The captain headed for shelter in Cork, moving most of the crew to two lifeboats towed behind. Approaching the shelter of the harbour, just after those in one of the lifeboats had climbed back on board, the Sento capsized and sank. It was Christmas Day, 1900.
HMT CliftonThe armed trawler HMT Clifton was minesweeping at the mouth of Cork Harbour on the 18th of February 1917,when she struck a mine. There was a massive explosion, and the ship disappeared in seconds. There was only one survivor, Sub-Lieutenant James G. Clemens, RNR. 35m


We travelled down to Crosshaven early on the Saturday morning and launched the Naas 4 RIB after a prepacked breakfast in glorious sunshine on the picnic benches beside the slip. The well organised, experienced crew were loaded, ready for their first dive on the HMT Morococala at 10:30am. Sea conditions were perfect for the 9 x nautical mile journey out to the wreck site. It was reassuring to find the Morococala’s boiler within 2 x meters of the shotline at a depth of 41mt with the visibility 12 – 15 meters. All of the crew were using suitable nitrox mixes and completing  some decompression which allowed them ample bottom time to view the entire wreck and its inhabitants. An excellent start to the weekends wreck diving!


With all divers safely onboard it was back to Crosshaven for a leisurely lunch before changing cylinders for the afternoon dive on the SS Sento, Once again the shotline was on target beside the very large gear wheel at the start of the trail of dredging buckets. The SS Sento was at the shallower depth of 30mt which allowed more bottom time with less decompression. A really nice relaxing dive with plenty of time to seek out and photograph the local occupants.


After a great days wreck diving and our overnight B&B sorted we retired for a delicious meal in the Mad Fish Restaurant, Cronnin’s Pub in Crosshaven. While some “revellers” had the energy to attend the local beach party, most of the crew were happy to retire to bed for the night. 🙂


Day two had a  respectable 10am start with Naas 4 RIB and its crew heading to the wreck site of the HMT Clifton, the Morococala’s sister ship. Sea conditions were even better than the previous day and once again a great dive was had by all on the HMT Clifton which was at a depth of 35mt.


Last but by no means least was the SS Aud on Sunday afternoon and the 15mt visibility gave us a great underwater view of the wreck. The shotline was just off the bow section and making our way to the boiler and back in the 35 minutes bottom time at 34 meters. It was great to have managed to dive the four historical wrecks in the two days without accident or incident. With all crew safely back in Crosshaven by 6pm, boat retrieved onto the trailer, we were on the road for home by 6:45pm. A tired but extremely happy dive crew and another date for the 2017 dive calendar perhaps! 🙂IMG_6800c


Previous post:

Next post: