SS. BredaA rib / wreck dive with Sarah Forbes at SS Breda, Ardnamurkish Bay, Oban.

The 6,941gt SS Breda is perhaps one of Scotland's most famous and most popular wrecks. She sits upright on an even keel in a sheltered bay near Oban, and is easily located and dived. She was built in 1921 in the Netherlands and traded until she became a victim of World War II.

On 23 December 1940 a group of Heinkel 111s took off from their base at Stavanger in German occupied Norway laden with four 551 -lb bombs and two larger 1,102-lb bombs each. A few hours later they were streaking across Scotland at their fully laden speed of 193mph destined for a raid on convoys forming up in the Royal Navy deep water anchorage, the Oban Roads. There waited the Breda, on a voyage from London to Mombassa, Bombay & Karachi, her holds full with Hawker biplanes, 30 De Havilland Moths, spares, cement and other general goods destined to resupply British Air bases.

The pilot of one Heinkel picked out the Breda as his target and let go his stick of four 551 -lb bombs. The bombs straddled the vessel but the force of the blast nearby shattered internal piping and sheared off a cooling water inlet pipe. The Breda started to flood with water killing all steam and the ship's electrics. She was taken in tow and a course set to beach her on a narrow shallow shelf where hopefully the vessel and her cargo could be saved.

She was successfully beached but when only a fraction of the cargo had been saved, stormy winter seas and tides conspired to pull her off the narrow shelf and she slid into deeper water.

She now rests in 25 - 30 metres of water. As a result of a wire sweep, to lessen the danger to shipping her upper superstructures were removed. Her holds are open for inspection, still filled with her mixed resupply cargo.

Other Information:
Water Temperature: 8C
Decompression: 1 minute voluntary Deco Stop at 6m

My first dive using my new Northern Diver CNX drysuit. In fact, my first dive without using hired kit! Well, apart from borrowing club cylinders!