SEAHORSE 2008

SEAHORSE 2008

The wreck of Seahorse was found 10 years ago by the rescue boat of Bentos Swedish navy. Then, a 2.5 hour film was shot with ROV, showing a 25-metre wooden wreck in a surprisingly perfect condition. The wreck stands on an even surface at the depth of 105 m, the mast stands ideally vertically to the depth of 80 m. On the deck, it was possible to see a lot of rigging, and at the bow – the statue in the form of a seahorse. Since then several groups of divers tried to dive there, but the exact position was known only to the navy and the museum.  A principle was adopted that the group, which will present a credible design and will have proper equipment will be granted a permit to dive. In September this year, this was achieved by a group led by Anders Nasman www.pagi.se. What’s interesting the exact position was communicated 2 weeks before leaving, when everything was actually ready

And that’s where my adventure starts, exactly 2 weeks before leaving, the Swedes called me with a proposal of diving together at this wreck. I had already heard about this wreck several times but I never dreamt that I could drive there, in the first crew. The crew, which invited me had made such dives before, but not on the Baltic. These are the very people, who were the first to dive on Grom;-). The run time assumed 10 minutes of bottom time max. depth 105 and the whole dive was to take 120 minutes as the bottom gas, we used tmx10/70 for deco –
21/35
50/25
oxygen

we decided to resign from 35/30, because the assumption was to take as few cylinders as possible with us. The most important thing was to thoroughly film the wreck – and to be safe. The dive took place on 27 September the wreck is 50 miles from the shore so we departed from the port near Nynashamn on Friday at 11:00 p.m., we reached the position at 5:30 a.m.the next day. Here it turned out that at the distance of 180 m the probe shows 2 wrecks. And that’s where an invaluable thing proved to be “the secret weapon”, at the bottom we placed a camera made in Gralmarine;-). I do not know why, but we started from this wrong position, and the camera kept showing nothing but the bottom. Later we had this “brilliant” idea to check the positions from the museum. We threw the anchor line and shortly after, we introduced Bartek’s camera. And suddenly, there it is – the camera simply touched the mast, showing the crow’s nest in a perfect condition. The rush that we felt then needs no description ;-)). It was 8 in the morning and only then the final preparation for diving started Anders Nasman and Peter Oleander went as the first team with rebrethers. On the boad there were still the three of us and the skipper/diver – which because of the flu, resigned from diving and 3 securing divers. We were to go into the water no sooner than when the first team goes out to the deck and says that everything is OK, just in case it turns out that something is not right. and the second team was still in water with long decompression. The weather became worse and worse and we already knew, that we had to forget about diving next day (because this was the initial plan – stay in the sea for the night and dive again on Sunday). The first pair slowly ended diving. When they came to the deck, they had faces as if they had come back from a different world ;-). For these boys, their dreams came true. The time came for us. On our back we had 2 x 18, + 2 stages 80, and on the water we were supposed to attach oxygen stages+ cameras and lighting, the boat rocked stronger and stronger, so I only wanted to go in the water was happy not to have taken more equipment;-). In the water, I did a fast check of bubbles and the gear and went down according to plan, in the fifth minute we were to reach the bottom I breathed, in the beginning, with nitroxem 50, and at 21 m, I switched to 10/70 we were falling according to the plan to 60 m, I looked up and saw my partners over myself, the visible in the depth of water It was fantastic – It had to be above 25 m, from 80 m, a slight “milk” appeared. So here I am – in the 5th minute I landed on the wreck, the anchoring line was ideally at the stern. I look around, and my partners are nowhere to be found…. ? All right, I think, since I’m here, I can take a look around 😉 I turned the Gralmarine lights on and It got quite nice I had the impression as if I went back in time, the wreck was simply in an ideal state. On the deck there was a lot of rigging, on the stern instead of the steering wheel there was a big tiller, and just next to it – 2 human skeletons and shoe soles. After 2 minutes, my Swedes appeared, later it turned out that they had some problems with argon – and so we could begin the proper diving. I swam as the first with lights, and Anders Palms with camera folowed me, and next to us with more lights went Christian Ekstrom, my good friend and excellent diver from the Aland. Swimming along the left board we filmed open windows in which, unfortunately, there were no cannons (another mystery), and the boards were clearly swollen, which was not shown on the film from ROV, after a moment we reached the bow statue, which had jogged our imagination for years. We filmed it for about 2 minutes, and then through the deck, we went to the stern, and near the first mast, we saw another human skeleton and a whole bunch of rigging. The whole wreck had not even one strand, not a piece of net, it was covered with a light layer of mud (about 10 cm) which looked more like fresh snow in the colour of coffee with milk 😉 All this together made the impression that the wreck was “new and clean”. The deck was 3 m at the stern and 5 m at the bow from the bottom, the was perfectly preserved there and the quantity the gear scattered around did not let us focus. In the 15th minute we started to come out, I grapped the rope and hauled it to the mast, so that we could come out at the stern mast, and after a moment we were at the crow’s nest – the same which, several hours earlier, we had on camera;-). What’s interesting, this was our first deep stop at 84 m then, we went slowly up at the 30th m securing divers appeared and took the camera and unnecessary stages. At 6 m the deco bar was set but due to increasingly stronger waves, we could not even come closer to it;-) on the surface it turned out that waves were quite big and we had to go to the deck on a small ladder with 2 x 18 on our back, but waves were so big that  they practically pushed us to the deck. After this effort I prophylactically breathed for 10 min with oxygen. And we went home. We were returning to the shore 7 hours in a regular storm but we never cared about it, we watched the film many times, regretting only, that we could not dive there on the next day. Already from the sea we consulted the museum, providing our observations on a current basis. I was pretty impressed by cooperation with Museum, we received calls both from the Swedish museum and from the Aland. The people who work there are actually the enthusiasts of underwater archaeology 😉 It seems, that it is the wreck of the Swedish mail ship from the 15th/the 16th century but knowing the eagerness of my Swedes, in several weeks it will all become clear

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Many thanks to Bartek and Gralmarine, without this gear I’d probably dive on a pile of junk in the middle of the Baltic sea;-)

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