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Mary Rose Wreck Site Found Fifty Years Ago Today

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Fifty years ago today two divers – John Towse and the late Alexander McKee – pinpointed the whereabouts of King Henry VIII’s famous flagship.

McKee and Towse were members of Southsea BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club).“On May 14, 1966 Alex and myself visited the penultimate resting place of the Mary Rose.” John Towse

Alexander McKee’s widow stated “while we were living in Hamburg, he used to express his interest and admiration for the raising and preservation of Vasa – a Swedish warship – in 1961. I remember he said, ‘I want to make my mark in life.’ He has achieved that.”

John Towse wrote about the useful break that helped to find the ship. John and Alex discovered the location of the Mary Rose whilst looking at charts in Cricklewood. “There laid before Alex and myself was a magnificent hand-drawn chart [by the Deane brothers in 1836] of the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. In a very short time and prompted by one of the Hydrographic Office staff, the actual charted site of the Mary Rose was clearly shown.”

In 1965 McKee initiated ‘Project Solent Ships’ in conjunction with Southsea BSAC. The aim was to investigate wrecks lost in the Solent. His real quest was to find the Tudor Warship and he was the driving force behind the hunt and discovery of this Tudor Battleship.

Many years of seabed searching followed. Cynics dubbed the wreck ‘McKee’s Ghost Ship’. Between 1968 and 1971 volunteer divers explored the Solent. They used sonar scans and plunged long steel rods into the soft mud until they struck timber. Then the team employed dredgers, water jets and airlifts to excavate a strange shape underneath the seabed. Alex Hildred, curator of the Mary Rose, confirmed that this was the first time that remote sensing technology sub-bottom profiling and side scan sonar had been used in England.Without Alexander McKee’s dedication and pioneering work, it is likely this ship would still be buried beneath the soft Solent mud. John Lippiett, the Rear Admiral who leads the Mary Rose Trust said “The project wouldn’t be what it is today without the foresight and inspiration of Alex and the divers.” (McKee’s stubbornness was later rewarded when he received the OBE for finding the Mary Rose).

“We were very fortunate that on the first dive of the year [5 May 1971] we slightly missed our target – the area that we had been searching. We were about 150 metres to the south. Percy Ackland, who I always called our underwater gun dog, came up and whispered to me, ‘The timbers are down there Margaret [Rule].’” Ackland had found three of the port frames of the Mary Rose. By some miracle half of the hull had been well preserved by Solent mud. It was as though someone had chainsawed through the wreck from bow to stern and the entire starboard side of the Mary Rose survived.

SOURCES

Mary Rose Website
Obituary of Margaret Rule, X-Ray Mag
The Portsmouth News
Culture 24

On 29th August 2014 BBC Radio 4 broadcast ‘The Reunion‘ with Sue MacGregor. Sue reunited some of the members of the team of marine archaeologists, divers and engineers who raised Henry VIII’s sunken battleship Mary Rose from the sea bed in 1982. This link goes to a RAM (Real Audio File) recording of that programme.

Roz is the Founder of The Underwater Marketing Company, Co-founder of EUROTEK, and established TEKDiveUSA. She is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, a BSAC Advanced Instructor, and a rebreather and Trimix diver. Before moving into the PR field she worked as a full time recreational instructor in the UK and abroad, on History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, as a safety diver, and modelled underwater.

Miscellaneous Blogs

5 Women Divers With YouTube Channels That Inspire Divers Ready (Watch Video)

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Another in the series of weekly videos from Divers Ready! This video was originally produced to coincide with PADI Women’s Dive Day 2019 but it’s worth celebrating everyday!

Ahead of PADI Women Dive Day 2019, it seemed appropriate to shine a light on the awesome content these 5 women divers are putting out.

We made this as a tribute video to 5 female rockstars of the diving world whose YouTube Channels have inspired Divers Ready in one way or another.

Links below! Head over and hit their subscribe buttons!


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Miscellaneous Blogs

Diving The Wreck Of The S.S. Sapona, Bimini: A Sordid History! (Watch Video)

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Another in the series of weekly videos from Divers Ready!

Probably the SHALLOWEST wreck I have ever dived, but one with a truly sordid history. I give you the S.S. Sapona!

It’s really a fun wreck to scuba dive or snorkel with tons of iconic photo and video shots, but more than that, we wanted to share with you the history of the S.S. Sapona, which draws from both world wars, the prohibition and the Great Depression and includes a whole host of interesting characters.

On top of that, the wreck features amazing coral growth! She has been sunk since 1926, so she’s a fully matured reef system now.

The S.S. Sapona for me is Bimini in the Bahamas’ can’t miss, must dive site, and with its sordid history, I believe this dive belongs on every diver’s bucket list.

https://youtu.be/WrKccQq9C8M

Thanks you to the team at Bimini Undersea for taking us out in such style! Do me a favor TEAM DR, show Bimini Undersea some love… Connect with them here:

To book your Sapona adventure, email my buddy Pablo at pablo@biminiundersea.net and tell him I sent you!

ALSO…. Check out Drone Pilot Carl Treyz’s awesome YouTube channel packed full of epic drone shots and bodacious fishing adventures at www.youtube.com/c/CarlTreyz/featured


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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