NAS – Invincible/A1 Southsea
A group of 5 divers from Bicester on 24th May had the opportunity to dive two protected wrecks off Southsea with the Nautical archaeology Society (NAS). The two wrecks, HMS Invincible 1747 and HMS Submarine A1 are both so important wreck that they are in a group of 52 wrecks which have the legal status of “protected wreck sites”.
HMS Invincible is current being excavated by a team from Bournemouth University and Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST). They gave our divers the opportunity to see the wreck close up during the excavations. Seeing all the wreck exposed and open and being uniquely able to swim in the wreck seeing the all finds still being excavated.
We arrived at the salvage barge moored over the wreck site and were given a warm welcome and a short lecture outlining the site and what to expect. But when we dropped down to the site we found the ships floor level near vertical and wall near horizontal but laid out like a cross section through the interior.
What was very interesting was the floor of encrusted cannon balls and encrusted with them 4 swivel guns. The end of each encrusted gun exposed to identify what they were.
Our second dive we headed off in the Rib to the dive site of HMS Submarine A1 which was lost in 1911. This submarine was first of the 2nd generation of submarines in the Royal Navy. Small in size at on 103 feet long built in 1904 and armed with 3 torpedoes.
Our dive was interesting as visibility was poor at 0.5m due to a plankton bloom but we were able to work our way around the sub picking out all the details on bow, conning tower and loading hatches.
This was a great days diving on historic wrecks that normally you are not allowed anywhere near. We had detailed introductions by the experts on each wreck and given the rare opportunity to see marine archaeology actual happening. This added an extra dimension to our diving experience.