Dive 62

Volnay to 21.4 m

At last, a decent Cornwall dive. The weather had cleared up and we got a good 4 to 5 m vis on this rather nice wreck. Swam past the two huge boilers filled with neat holes (presumably for letting steam out somehow - just like the boilers on the Soudan). Peered in a few dark holes shining our torches, but failed to find anything interesting hiding. The Volnay struck a mine on 14 December 1917. She was homeward bound from Canada with luxury goods and shells for the trenches in France. The shells were packed with lead shot, and were designed to explode above enemy trenches sending molten lead, rumoured to be tipped with arsenic, onto the unfortunate men below. Nick and I found mountains of lead shot and a number of rusting shell casings. Eventually I got cold in my semi-dry suit (Nick wore a DUI) and we got down to 80 bar so decided to try and find the shot line. We swam back to the boilers but found that the boat had pulled anchor so that it could pick up divers. We ascended using Nick's excellent delayed SMB. It has a one-way valve to guarantee it stays inflated and upright on the surface. After another long safety stop we were back in the boat in an exuberant mood agreeing with the rest of the group what an excellent dive it had been. After the previous two terrible dives, we had rediscovered that British diving isn't all that bad after all.

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