South East of England
With shallow depths and poor visibility, the south east coast offers very little for diving unless you're interested in wrecks.
The South East corner of England comprises the coastlines of the counties of Kent, East/West Sussex and Hampshire, which is from the Thames Estuary to the Solent. There are a multitude of wrecks and below are a few of the better ones.
- SS Moldavia, a P&O British liner, (latterly the HMS Moldavia) - one of the best wrecks in the English Channel and lying 26 miles out into the Channel at a depth of 45 metres. The wreck is enormous and full of interesting items, such as portholes with their glass and brass fitments still intact and massive guns pointing towards the surface. On 23 May 1918 towards the end of the War, whilst carrying American troops to the European theatre she was attacked and sunk by UB-57 off Littlehampton in the English Channel with the loss of 56 American servicemen.
- SS Duke of Buccleuch - a 4-masted iron steamer was carrying a cargo of 600 tonnes of hand painted Belgian porcelain and glasswear.
- The Argonaut (Rye Bay) - a luxury iron steam yacht and was the first package-tour holiday ship run by Dr Henry Lunn of Lunn's Tours and later Lunn Poly fame. The Argonaut made her first cruise in 1898 and sank following a collision in thick fog with the 2355-ton steamer Kingswell. All aboard were saved.
- The SS Alaunia - a Cunard liner on her way from New York to London in October 1916 when she hit a mine. She is lying at 45° on her port side but remarkably intact. The first 30m from the bow is almost perfect, but is more broken up amidships and at the stern. The 20 foot anchor is still hanging from chain at the bow and is very impressive. Conger eels have taken up residence, as well as plenty of bib, common starfish and dead man's fingers . Visibility can reach up to 18 metres on a good day. Launch from Brighton or Littelhampton.
- SS Shirala - sunk on the 2nd July 1918 by a German submarine with the loss of 5 crew. Her holds are open and the highest point being the stern which is 8 metres off the sandy seabed.
- The War Helmet is an 8184 ton British steamer with a length of 135 metres (443 feet) at a depth of 27 metres (89 feet) and a visibility of up to 10 metres (30 feet). Fortunately, the crew were saved from this WW1 torpedo casualty before it sank.
- Invariably dry suits are required, although a 7mm suit may be OK during the summer.
- Plan your dive carefully and pay attention to any likely currents and slack water times.