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WWII bomb discovery in Falmouth Bay: The Full Story (Watch Video)

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While diving around Falmouth Bay recently, looking for the old WWII degaussing field I had seen before, I came across what I thought was a possible bomb. I had seen a similar one before, which I reported to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit (EODU), who then came to detonate the device. The co-ordinates were stored; there was no way of acquiring an exact position without attaching something to the device, with a straight line to the surface. I returned with some volunteer divers to help re-locate the suspected bomb. We would also film, photograph and measure it. Then the images could be shown to the EODU, in the hope they could identify it.

We waited until some favourable weather came along. Conditions were not ideal, but the divers descended to look for the object. The device took a while to relocate, due to the in water visibility. Once relocated, the remaining dive time was short, the visibility wasn’t great and the surface conditions were worsening. The dive was called off; we would have to return.

You can watch Scubaverse Editor-at-Large Jeff Goodman’s video of our investigation of the bomb here: https://www.scubaverse.com/atlantic-scuba-discover-wwii-bomb-watch-video/

A few days later, the weather forecast was good, so we planned our return. On arrival, the surface conditions were greatly improved compared to our last visit. My buddy, Sue Barnes, and I descended to the sea bed. Within five minutes we were on the device and we photographed and filmed the object before marking the site with a buoy. After our dive, the second buddy pair of David Gibbins and Katrina Mace, went down, to take even more photographs. After the dives, we all discussed what we had seen. We all believed it was highly probable that it was a parachute mine, possibly a type GC with its end cap still in place. We arrived back late that evening and waited until the following morning to contact the authorities.

Early Wednesday morning, I called the MCA who requested some photographs. The MCA then passed them onto the EODU. On seeing the images, the EODU contacted me to say it needed to be looked at to ascertain whether it was indeed a potentially dangerous device. They were loading up and would be down within two hours.

The EODU arrived at Maenporth Beach, the closest place to the device to launch their boat. After some starting issues, they made their way out. One of their divers went in. We all waited to find out what the device was. Time passed slowly on that cold afternoon. Eventually the diver came up, the boat returned. The C.O. stated that it was in fact a parachute mine, type GC. There was not enough daylight to continue with a disposal and so they would have to return the following morning.

On Thursday morning, the EODU left Falmouth on their boat, followed by the RNLI, the harbour master and the harbour pilot. The EODU sent a diver down, while the other boats kept all other vessels at bay. On the shore at Maenporth, several dozen people waited patiently for the detonation. The EODU’s boat moved away. A small column of water shot up, followed a few seconds later by a short bang. Everyone looked at each other: “Was that it?” was heard echoed amongst the onlookers.

Surely not? Compared to the last detonation five years ago, this was a bit of a damp squib. Everyone kept watching and recording. The EODU returned to the location, a diver descended. Fifteen minutes later, all the boats were off, that was it. The MCA told us that the EODU had declared that it was now safe.

Bemused about the events, we discussed what had happened. We can only assume that the mine came down so fast, without the parachute deploying, that it damaged the internal workings and cracked the watertight casing. Seventy five years of salt water ingress may have caused the explosives to be harmless.

I suppose I should now go and look for the other two I have previously seen…

All photos and videos: Mark Milburn – 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.

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


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

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