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Mark Milburn’s Cornish Wreck Ramblings, Part 2: Shifting Sands

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I mentioned the subject of wrecks appearing and disappearing again in Part 1 of Cornish Wreck Ramblings (which you can read here). It can be quite a big problem, but at the same time it can also be a useful aid.

One wreck that is noticeably affected by this is the SS Grip. This late nineteenth century steamship ran aground in thick fog on a sandy beach at Gunwalloe. There was no damage. At the time they decided they would wait until a bigger tide came in a few days later so they could simply float it off.

What they hadn’t considered was the fluidity of the sand. Over the next few days it was sucked down into the sand and was stuck fast. For years, all that was seen of it was the top of the boiler. One day I decided I wanted to dive the Grip, but I found a lot more than a top of a boiler….I found a complete wreck on rock! WOW!

However… I went back a couple of months later with a group of divers, and guess what? There was nothing. It had been covered with sand. Since then though the boiler has re-appeared.

The protected site of the Schiedam is another such site. For five years we looked for it, and found nothing but sand. Then one day, a cannon appeared, then another, and another. Then some other pieces started to show up, like a musket barrel, musket shot and even a grenade. A few weeks later and the sand had buried the grenade and musket barrel. On the day of writing this, I have just got back from the Schiedam site. The waves were crashing in, the in water visibility was zero. Yet, on the beach, was a really old rudder and a dead eye. We had never seen these items underwater…. perhaps the site has been uncovered by the recent storms? It has certainly removed lots of sand from the beach. We will have to wait for the vis to come back before we get back in.

During stormy weather, shallow wrecks come and go, and we can’t visit them all in the small window between the sand going and then coming back. One site we found when the sand went is still not identified. We found an iron cannon sitting on the sea bed, but few weeks later, there was just sand. How can you identify a wreck when it is mainly buried? A few months later all the sand had gone, and we managed to get some photos of the gun but couldn’t find anything else. There is a wreck known to be there, and the cannon is of the right age to suit the wreck. Will we ever work out what it is? If the sand was to move some more, we just might, one day.

Part buried cannon of the Schiedam

What we have found out, in regards to one section of the Cornish coast, is which direction we need the storms to come from to move sand. We then need the wind to die down and the surf to stop, which will give us a chance to see what is down actually there.

Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba at www.atlanticscuba.co.uk.

 

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting www.atlanticscuba.co.uk.

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

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

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