Sheephaven SAC Diving

Jun 10 2013 Posted by Office Administraton

The diving season was here with a bang for Sheephaven divers last week, starting with the Wednesday evening trainee dive that made the best out of the poor sea conditions with a shore-dive off Downings Pier. The trainees did very well and their skills are progressing nicely, everyone enjoyed the dive which was conducted in water temperatures of 9 degrees Celsius.

There were two club dives on Saturday with a dive to the Kalliopis from Downings in the morning while in the afternoon there was a 35m dive off Arranmore. The Kalliopis dive is an opportunity to get onto one of the numerous WWII wrecks that litter the Donegal coast, a portion of the estimated 4,000 ships sunk off the Irish Atlantic coast during those years.

Today not much remains of the Greek owned steam ship that was built in Sunderland in 1918 and whose fate was sealed on her last voyage as part of a convoy from Halifax, when she parted company from them at Inishtrahull to proceed on alone to Limerick.  The Kalliopis was attacked by German aircraft 11 miles off Tory on the 17th September 1940, after which the vessel drifted to the Rossguill shore-line still on fire where she finally sank.

The Kalliopis was a 5,152 tonne steel vessel with dimensions of 125 meters long, nearly 16 meters wide and a draft of nearly 9 meters. The triple expansion 3 cylinder steam engine produced 517 HP though a single propeller which drove the Kalliopis on at a speed of 11 knots.

Today the Kalliopis is very much broken up with some of the steel plates left littered about the dive site; however the engine, gear box, drive shaft and boilers are very much recognisable and make for a great wreck dive in their own right. Water temperature was a comfortable 9 degrees Celsius with good visibility at over four metres horizontally; the two stick dive was conducted in times of 40 minutes to a maximum depth of 20 metres.sheephaven