Sheephaven SAC Update

Nov 25 2014 Posted by Office Administraton

23rd November 2014.

Sheephaven SAC enjoyed another lovely mornings diving on Saturday when they conducted a one stick dive on Melmore Head Cave and Chimney. With the presence of James Clay as Dry Coxswain the Kevin Boylan led dive party put out from Mevagh slipway on an ebbing tide and near calm weather conditions. They entered the water right on the tip of Melmore Head and descended in 25 metres of crystal clear waters that gave well over 10 meters horizontally and allowed the surface to clearly be seen from the seabed. Sea life was abundant, with shoals of large and juvenile Pollack during the 35 minute dive. Additionally there were plenty of Ballan Wrasse of different sizes throughout the dive site, along with the observations of Conger Eels and Lobsters.

But the standout feature of this dive site is the cave and chimney that is located at the 20 meter level. The cave is over 15 meters long and half way inside there is a chimney that opens out again at the 15 meter level, making for a spectacular diving experience for the divers who had not been on this site before. Top class dive on another lovely November morning

Sunday mornings’ Sheephaven Snorkel was from Killyhoey Beach to look for some of the wrecks known to be sunk at the entrance to Dunfanaghy bar. These wrecks included the Mary & Anne stranded 1785, Miranada stranded 1837, Eringo wrecked inside the bar 1876, Lady Bute wrecked on the sand bar with a cargo of roofing slates 1886, Morning Dawn stranded 1890, the Florence sunk with the cargo of flagstones 1900 on route from Galway to Derry when she sprung a leak of Tory Island – commonly called the Slate Boat wreck, the Algores wrecked on Dunfanaghy bar 1925, Honore Evelyn wrecked 1926 and the Dinas wrecked on Killyhoey Brach 1936.

The weather was lovely, with bright sunshine and only the faintest of southerly breezes, while air temperature was a crisp 5 degrees Celsius. However a combination of spring tides and a significant Atlantic swell sent breakers rolling onto the beach, stirring up the sandy seabed and unfortunately obscuring the in-water visibility.

During the hour long snorkel the club members came across the remains of 2 wrecks in the water, the bow of one of which is just about observable at low water spring tides. Water temperature remains at around 11 degrees Celsius. On the beach the remains of a large wreck has just recently been uncovered, as the sand that had hidden it was washed off. This wreck was there prior to WWII and was the playground to local boys until it was cut up for scrap in later years and is most likely the Dinas a Milford Steam Trawler wrecked in 1936. In the Dunfanaghy Channel there are the remains of another wreck, with just its engine bed apparent. But the best preserved wreck on site is the remains of the Slate Boat, which on a good day is a lovely snorkel or indeed a good shallow dive at high water.

However this site needs to be snorkelled with caution, as the ebbing tide set up a significant current along the Dunfanaghy bar, which then creates quite a resistance against the unwary and could quite possibly pull them out to sea.

Sheephaven SAC will train anyone over the age of 16 interested in snorkelling or diving these wrecks and is currently recruiting its 2015 Class of Trainees. For anyone who might be interested in beginning their underwater adventure just call  Joe Neely, Sheephaven Training Officer on 086 1270897 to book a place.

2014-11-23 Sheephaven Sunday Snorkelers, Killyhoey beach,   Co. Donegal. 2014-11-23 Horn Head and Killyhoey Beach, Sunday Morning   Snorkel Site 2014-11-22 Saturday Morning Melmore Head Dive Party