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DIVE UK: Diving the Rosalie and the Vera

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Rosalie

INFO

Diver photographing Plumose Anemones on the Rosalie at WeybourneType of Dive: Easy entry from the beach and short surface swim

Experience: Suitable for novice divers

Depth: Approx 10m at high tide

Marine life: Varied

Visibility: From June to September can be 8m

Seabed: Sand

How to get there:

Leave the M11 at junction 9 and then merge with the A11. Follow the A11 up to Norwich and then travel round the outer ring road following signs for the A140 (Cromer).  Shortly after passing Asda and B&Q you will arrive at the junction with the Cromer Road.  The dive shop is located on this junction and has parking outside the front conservatory.

To access the wrecks continue up the A140 until you reach Cromer and then follow the A149 coast road west until you reach Cley (for The Vera) or  Weybourne for the Rosalie.

THE DIVE

Plumose Anemones on the RosalieThe SS Rosalie was just one of the 206 ships sunk by Otto Steinbrinck, the most celebrated U-boat commander of WW1. During what was an otherwise uneventful voyage from the Tyne to San Francisco, the crew of 17 were unaware that their ship was to become the U–Boat Commander’s next victim. On the evening of the 10th of August 1915 as the ship neared Blakeney Buoy, German U–Boat UB 10 fired a torpedo which hit the port side of the ship; and then, amidst the commotion and under the cover of the sea, made good its escape. With the ship taking on water, the decision was made to beach the 120m long vessel at Weybourne in the hope that the damage could be repaired.  She now sits in approximately 8 metres of water just off the shingle beach.

The  SS Vera was on voyage from the Tyne to Italy with a cargo of coal, when on the 15th of November 1914 she collided with a Royal Navy minesweeper. Like the Rosalie, the quick thinking crew were able to beach the vessel before she surrendered to the sea and she now sits in shallow water within easy reach of the shore. Although both ships were eventually sold for salvage there is still plenty of wreckage for divers to explore.

Both dive sites have pay and display car parks. For the Rosalie park as near to the steps on the NW corner of the Weybourne beach car park as possible. Then, follow the beach west for 450m. At low tide small sections of the wreck are visible from the shore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the Vera, park your vehicle in the SE corner of the beach car park which is opposite the Norfolk Wildlife Trust visitors centre on the A149 Coast Road and then follow the dirt track East for approximately 200m. Again, like the Rosalie you will see wreckage protruding from the surf at low tide.

It is possible to dive both the Rosalie and the Vera on the same day. Albeit that you will have a six hour surface interval between dives. After deciding which wreck will be your second dive of the day, swim out and place a surface marker buoy on it. This will make it much easier to find when it is completely submerged at high tide.

Both dives need to be carried out at slack tide as otherwise the current is too strong.  The centre of slack is approximately 2 hours after low or high tide at Cromer.  Visibility is better at slack high tide but the wrecks will be completely submerged making them difficult to find unless you have buoyed them.

A diver on the Rosalie at WeybourneIf your first dive is to be the Rosalie, it is a bit of a hike to the entry point – somewhere between 450 and 500m – so best to take your kit to the water’s edge in stages.  You will then have a surface swim of around 180m before you reach the protruding wreckage and make your descent.

If you decide to dive the Vera first, the walk to the entry point is around 200m and the surface swim out to the wreck is 120m, so you can kit up in the car park.   Both dives are shallow, so a  10 litre tank will be sufficient for most people and easier to carry along the beach.

On both wrecks you will descend on or around the engine blocks. If you are diving on the Rosalie, the engine block stands roughly 8m proud of the seabed and is an ideal place for you to begin your exploration of the wreck. There are lots of nooks and crannies playing host to a multitude of creatures such as shrimps, velvet swimming crabs and pipefish. In the larger crevices, and hiding amongst the mangled metal, it’s possible that you will encounter more popular crustaceans such as lobsters or edible crabs. You can if you wish stay really shallow in a depth of 5m and head towards the bow of the ship; or, you may want to follow the contour of the open hull and the prop shaft towards the stern of the vessel, which sits in a depth of no more than 10m at high tide. However, bear in mind this is a big wreck; the distance between the engine block and the stern is approximately 60m, so you may not get to see all of it on the one dive. What will astound you as you navigate your way around the site is the sheer number of plumose anemones on this one wreck. On both wrecks you will only get a maximum of an hour before the tide starts to run again, so it may be best on the Rosalie to be near the bow towards the end of the dive, or on the Vera near the port side ribs. This way you will only be a short distance from the shore.

Crystal Sea SlugDiver on the RosalieThe wreck of the Vera is a very similar dive to that of the Rosalie, only smaller, closer to the shore and shallower. Sitting in a maximum depth of 8m at high tide you will again descend onto the engine block. Although scattered over a wide area, you will find that much of the wreck is lying parallel to the shore, and like the Rosalie is smothered in plumose anemones. To reach certain sections of the wreck it is necessary for you to pass over barren areas of sand. It is these areas, where if you look closely, you will find small flatfish.

Towards the stern of the Rosalie and hidden amongst the plumose anemones you will find an abundance of nudibranchs. Crystal sea slugs and violet slugs being the most flamboyant. This is an excellent dive site for the macro photographer. On the wreck of the Vera keep an eye out for porcelain crabs. If you are using a camera it may be wise to use a macro lens.

DIVE CENTRE

Christal Seas ScubaChristal Seas Scuba is a PADI 5Star IDC centre in Norwich, just a short distance from the two wrecks, and is owned and run by Chris and Polly Wake. Chris, a PADI Course Director and Polly, an IDC Staff instructor, started their business over decade ago. After years of dedication and hard work the fruits of their labour is visible for all to see. The centre has just about everything you could possibly want in a dive school. Equipment from a whole host of manufacturers adorn every inch of the shop walls. Behind the counter, cameras, strobes and housings highlight the couple’s passion for underwater photography. Along with their team of experienced Instructors  they can offer a wide range of courses  from beginner through to the more demanding professional and technical courses.  They service and repair equipment, provide air and mixed gasses, arrange holidays and club events and hire equipment to divers wanting to experience UK diving for the very first time. If you require accommodation, just let them know and they can suggest some good local B&Bs and campsites. The dive centre also has its very own rib which can carry 10 divers and two members of crew.  This heads out for regular trips to the many wrecks that lie further offshore and spaces can be booked by contacting the dive centre by telephoning the dive shop on 01603 485000, by emailing info@scuba4me.co.uk or via their website: www.scuba4me.co.uk.

Sitting on the most easterly point of the British Isles the sites are at the mercy of the elements. With this in mind it is always best to contact the dive centre or the coastguard in advance for up to date weather conditions. In the event that there has been recent high winds, wait until there has been a period of calm weather before attempting to dive here.

Photos courtesy of Rob Spray and Seasearch

 

Patrick Shier is an experienced diver who is a regular contributor to both UK and international SCUBA diving magazines. He is also the author of the UK Dive Guide, which promotes diving in the UK and encourages newly qualified divers to discover the delights of diving in UK waters. Patrick’s passion for the marine environment is not limited to the UK; he has dived, and photographed, many superb dive sites around the world including Samoa, Grenada, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malta and the Red Sea.

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February

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There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit www.fishfreefebruary.com

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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