Capernwray Diving sinks an aeroplane!
Dive Site: Capernwray Quarry
Location: Jackdaw Quarry, Capernwray Road Over Kellet, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA6 1AD
Description: Inland quarry
Depth: 21 metres max (65 feet)
Visibility: 5 metres (15 feet)
PODSNAP – a Dickens Class Harbour Minesweeper. Built in 1944 specifically to clear mines in around harbour entrances during WWII. She is 50ft long, has a beam of 14ft and displaces 25 tons. She was scuttled at Capernwray in December 1995 and now lies on her side in 18 metres.
WESSEX DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER – this old lady first flew in 1943 and was commissioned to HMS Eagle in October 1953. She moved to the Advanced Training and Development Unit in 1953 and continued in Service in a variety of roles until her last flight in 1962. She then moved to the Civil Aviation Fire School at Stanstead where she was used extensively for crash rescue training techniques. Scrapped in 1991, she was bought by Capernwray Diving and Leisure Ltd in 1996 and now lies atop our ‘cave’ in 14 metres.
THE AFRICAN QUEEN – A ‘look-a-like’ for the famous vessel in the Humphrey Bogart film of the same name! She sits on a slope in 12 metres of water.
THE CAVE – Our ‘cave’ is in fact an old container which has been ‘engineered’ to allow safe access inside. This provides a very realistic ‘overhead environment’ suitable for lining -out etc. whilst providing safe access and exit from each side. The top of the ‘cave’ makes an ideal training platform in deeper water (14m) than our novice training area. The Wessex helicopter sits atop the cave.
DREAMER – One of the original wrecks at Capernwray and ideally located at the end of the training area. Lies in 8 metres of water.
ORCA – Our most recent wreck and an excellent dive in a quieter part of the quarry. A longish swim but well worth the effort. Look out for the large shoals of roach on your way to this wreck.
NOVICE TRAINING AREA – A purpose-built area in safe, shallow water, specifically designed for novice training. There are two platforms, one at 2m and one at 6m, which are suspended on lazy shots. Importantly, the area is on a ledge on one side of the quarry so trainees can be monitored and are able to carry out drills in safety without the dangers of ‘drifting-off’ into deeper water. The whole area is buoyed off and is easily accessed from the slipway.
THE SUMP! – Not for novices but the deepest part of the quarry for those who need to log a 20m dive. This was where the original quarry was drained (hence its depth in relation to the remainder of the quarry which is normally 18m). CAUTION: The very nature of this depression in the floor of the quarry allows silt to build up so watch your buoyancy control to avoid ‘stirring-up’ the bottom. Marked by a shotline and buoyed by a large plastic goose! (!?)
THE GYPSY MOTH – A very nice wreck in 17m. A spitting image of the yacht of the same name made famous by Sir Francis Chichester’s solo non-stop round the world voyage.
CANDIDA II – An unusual name for a vessel of the High Seas (!) but an excellent dive nevertheless. She sits alone on the far side of the quarry and is rarely visited, so you are guaranteed a quiet dive and generally good viz! A long surface swim needed to reach her but well worth the effort. She lies on the bottom in 18 metres.
THE CANNON – Originally destined for the front of the shop as an interesting feature, we decided that this old weapon of an earlier sea-faring age would be much more interesting as an underwater exhibit. Not much to see but a good check of your whereabouts underwater when you bump into it! Lies in 18m and marked by a red buoy.
THE GNOME GARDEN – A very special feature to Capernwray! Not to be confused with any other ‘gardens’ of similar nature in the North Lands but our very own collection of garden gentleman kindly donated by one of our regular visiting dive schools. The location is secret; see if you can find them yourselves! (Please do not touch; leave the gnomes alone for others to enjoy).
LORD LUCAN AND SHERGAR – Possibly our most famous attractions, the two fibreglass horses from Blackpool Pleasure Beach are a significant addition to our novice training area and provide a unique underwater feature. Come and ride Shergar and see for yourself!
NEW WESSEX HELICOPTER – A magnificent new addition to our in-water attractions, this is a genuine Wessex helicopter (much larger than our ‘old’ helicopter on top of the ‘cave’), resplendent in bright day-glo yellow, sitting atop a container to keep her clear of the bottom in about 15 metres. She makes a wonderful dive and her arrival here yet again puts us out in front in terms of in-water attractions for discerning divers!