I was lucky enough to be invited by a couple guys I know to dive the SS Pentyrch out of Brighton aboard the Brighton Diver.
It was an early 6:45 rope off from Brighton Marina which all of us were feeling, there were 12 of us in all and most of us didnt know each other and were from different diving associations which didnt make a blind bit of difference.
The Brighton Diver is a large catamaran with plenty of space to kit up and walk around (as long as you dont walk in front of the skipper!!!!) . We had ample time to kit up and get ourselves prepared before getting to the first site. I must say that although the boat was nice the skipper was a bit gruff and not at all that friendly (well with me anyway)
The first dive was to the SS Pentyrch built in 1899 and launched as the Bardsey, this 3382 ton Teeside steamship plied its trade for nine years before passing into the ownership of the Pentwyn Steamship Co. Ltd. Re-named Pentyrch in tribute to a village north west of Cardiff and armed with a stern mounted 4.7 inch gun, she survived 3 years of wartime trading - but not without incident. During a Mediterranean passage, on September 30th 1916, Pentyrch luckily escaped a mauling from a German submarine, during which she was narrowly missed by a torpedo and suffered damage by gunfire from the pursuing sub. No casualties were reported.
She was not so lucky on April 18th 1918, when laden with coal and five miles W.N.W. of the Brighton Light Vessel, she again came under submarine attack, this time from the UB-40 (which survived the war only to be blown up by the Germans themselves when they evacuated their Flanders Flotilla Base in Bruges). This time a torpedo found its mark and quickly sank her with one fatality among the crew.
She now lies in an easy 17-21m, her highest point 7m proud of the seabed
We descended the shot line to the main boiler and swam around the wreckage, a lot has been broken up but you can still see the ribs and one of her guns is still intact, there is quite a lot of her still there and she was covered in life (pouting, pollack, crabs and Lobsters).
The second dive was to the Brighton Ledges, which when we dropped in we completely missed and spent 45 minutes searching the sandy bottom for crabs and lobsters. We did find a large plaice which Paul inadvertently speared with his lobster hook just I was about to take a photo of it!
All in all the diving was pretty good with 2-3 meters vis and a balmy 18 degrees at the bottom.