Archive for the 'Diving News' Category

Phytoplankton Bloom update

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


Update on North West Algal Bloom
The bloom that has been affecting areas of the North West from Mayo to Donegal and at lower concentrations down along the rest of the West coast continues to impact on coastal marine life in several areas.

Mr Joe Silke of the Marine Institute stated today “The bloom that reported by the Marine Institute in the North West over the past two weeks, has shown some signs of increase along the west coast in the past few days. We started to detect low levels of it in the water from late May, but in the past two weeks it developed into a dense bloom in parts of the north-western counties from the Mayo to Donegal area.

In the past week high levels have been detected in Galway Bay, but no mortalities have so far been reported in this region. In Donegal the bloom was so dense that there were many reports of discoloured red or brown water in some areas and several areas have reported dead marine life washing up on the shoreline requiring Local Authorities to close certain beaches.”

This is a one of several microscopic algae that occur naturally in coastal waters, this particular one is called Karenia mikimotoi. Dead fish on Rossnowlagh Beach Photo:Paddy Ennis While the algae is not harmful to humans it did result in large numbers of dead fish including turbot, flounder, scorpion fish and shore rockling in Inner Donegal Bay. Other dead species were worm pipefish, lesser weavers, grey gurnard, shanny, sand goby, pollock, sole, plaice, flounder and dabs which have been washing up on Rossnowlagh and Murvagh beaches and earlier this week red flags were raised. The Local Authorities took the decision to close both beaches in response to large numbers of dead fish but these restrictions have been lifted on Tuesday. The situation is being closely monitored by the Marine Institute and Donegal County Council who are both keeping the public informed as the situation progresses on their websites. Mortalities of marine organisms have also been reported from the Sligo and Mayo coastal regions.

Local sea anglers have reported low fish catches along the Donegal coast, and in some areas a complete absence of any fish. This is due to the bloom which fish will avoid when they can. Lobster and Prawn fishermen have also reported very poor catches in the Donegal area. Oyster farms in Donegal also were reported to have suffered losses of up to 80% of stocks in some areas.

Mr Silke explained “The bloom affects species that live on or near the sea bed so we are seeing flatfish, lugworms and some shellfish getting washed up on the beaches. It is a natural bloom which we have seen it to occur in several places over the years. It is believed that it originates offshore as a natural part of its summer life cycle, and gets concentrated up against the coast with tidal and coastal currents.”

Some indications that the bloom may be moving back out to sea were observed in the latest satellite images and modelling data, however cell counts of samples analysed in the Marine Institute today show that the bloom is still of the same density in the Donegal and Sligo regions as it was last week, but increased levels were reported in Galway Bay.

The Marine Institute’s monitoring programme will continue to sample and monitor the bloom and post updates on our website at and on local radio.


Chink of light

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Vis on the Laurentic – 38m – today was around 10m with some ambient light. Perhaps this is the start of normality returning?

Red Tide update

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Divers recently report that the water is clear for the top 6 meters or so, then very heavy plankton to 30 meters. One diver stated that the zooplankton seemed to be moving up from 20-30 meters to eat the phytoplankton in the upper layers. At any rate the plankton is so thick that although the water beneath 50 meters is crystal clear, there is absolutely no light – complete darkness. Divers also report fish on wrecks as being very lethargic.

The Rosguill fished wrecks yesterday and had some fish – really not great. The deep limeburner grounds fished OK for Whiting, Gurnards etc. Today we fished Tory – very poor – reef Pollack only a couple fish. Sand atrocious.

First time ever I witnessed a 3 pound or so Brill swim past the Rosguill around 10 centimeters under the surface. I can only guess why it was there. I reckon that there is so little oxygen on the seabed that fish have no energy or as in the case of this Brill move to the surface to breath. They certainly have no desire to feed. This is guesswork.

When will it end? The thick phytoplankton will be there until it dies or is eaten. Prognosis for the next few weeks is not good. After that is anyone’s guess.

Massive phytoplankton bloom

Monday, July 9th, 2012

A massive phytoplankton bloom has scuppered, for the meantime, the usual great vis & ambient light off north Donegal. Divers are getting almost complete darkness on wrecks due to a very dense bloom – on one dive a few days ago a diver could not read his wrist computer on the 6m bar – unbelieveable conditions for here.

See –

Only nature knows when it will clear – just hope sooner rather than later.

2012 Starts

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Mixed weather this season so far – this past 5 years the early part of the season has been settled and from June onwards more unsettled. This is different – hope for a nice summer.

Vis early was good followed by atrocious 2 metres on the Laurentic, but this past trip to the Justicia we had 20 metres, although a little dark due to the plankton.

Water temp on the botton at start of season was 8 centigrade, 9 on the surface – now 9 on the bottom and 10 surface.

HMS Hurst Castle

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

On her last day’s work of the 2011 season the Rosguill has found HMS Hurst Castle in a little over 80m of water around 12/14 miles north of Tory Island.

HMS Hurst Castle was a British Royal Navy, Castle – class corvette of 1,010 tons built in 1943/1944 which were an updated version of the much more numerous Flower-class corvettes of the Royal Navy, and started appearing during late 1943. They were equipped with radar as well as asdic. On the 1st September 1944 she was torpedoed by German submarine U-482 and sunk. 16 men lost.

Diagram of wreck by diver below.

This is probably the last of His Majesty’s Ships to be discovered in my area off north Donegal. It is a really great find and I hope that in 2012 some photographs and video may be taken and be put online. Also, perhaps place a fitting tribute on her in memory of the men who lost their lives.

The mortar launcher in the diagram is very similar or the same as : –

The torpedos are very similar to these: –

Also see –

Season finishes

Monday, October 17th, 2011

2011 will remain in the memory of most regular divers to north Donegal as the year in which the visibility never really attained its normal clarity. Sure, there were a few days when the water turned to blue gin, but not many. Hard to understand why?

Weather was great right up until start September and as of second half October remains unsettled.

The Rosguill had a relatively sucessful year, pinging 10 new wrecks and diving 5 wrecks not dived since Beasley. Bells recovered from Veronica and Roscommon.

2012 hope to continue diving some of the “virgins” and intend to spend time looking for HMS Hurst Castle.

Few artefacts shown below from the SS Englishman, dived near the end of the season.

North Donegal diving!

Saturday, August 20th, 2011


July report

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Some really nice diving this month with great weather. Vis remains stubbornly not its best – average 15 metres with low ambient light. Water surface temp now slightly over 14 degrees.

Great video for anyone who loves sea water

Monday, June 20th, 2011

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.

HMS Viknor

Monday, June 13th, 2011

HMS Viknor, originally built as the Atrato for the Royal Mail Line as a Liner in 1888 was employed on the West Indies service. She was bought by the Viking Cruise Line in 1912 and subsequentially hired by the Admiralty from 19 November 1914, converted to an armed merchant cruiser and put into service. Whilst on patrol off the North West Approaches she sank with the loss of all hands. Many bodies and wreckage were washed ashore along the north coast of Ireland and a monument to the dead was erected at a Friary near Ballycastle.

It has always been unclear as to her fate as there was no distress signal and a storm raged on the night in question. The Viknor has now been located at the extreme south west end of the minefield laid by the German ship, Berlin, and it would appear that she was lost due to contact with one of the mines.

Total losses were 291 crew/marines etc and apparently the Viknor had on board from the Bergensfjord, 1 German national suspected of being a secret agent and 6 stowaways who were also drowned.

The Rosguill took a group of Irish divers to the wreck of HMS Viknor, lying in 85metres, and laid a British Naval Ensign on her. I have shown below a photograph of the Ensign on the wreck, placed for all those who died, at the request of the great nephew of the ship’s surgeon, Vernon Lickfold Matthews, MRCS Eng., LRCP Lond., R.N. (1883 –1915). (portrait also below)

Decompression station photo

Monday, May 9th, 2011

2011 starts

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Some photos taken on the Rosguill’s first weekend diving of 2011. Tory Island scenic diving and the
SS Laurentic in 38m. Great weather. Surface temperature around 9 degrees at this moment.

Golden Snorkel awards

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Click the link below to view the videos which led to the highest ranking awards (only two in the whole history of British Isles diving) – The GOLDEN SNORKEL AWARD.

Copy & paste this link : –

3 Bells

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Just click on the links below to hear these bells!

HMS Transylvania bell

SS Carinthia bell

RMS Amazon Bell


Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

A really nice photograph of a diver at the propeller of the Boniface.


Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

WOW! Click on the link below.


Video of HMS Audacious by Rosguill diver

Friday, July 9th, 2010

U 89, Audacious & Empire Heritage

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Some nice photographs taken by English technical Diver, Keith Denby

Audacious Propeller

Ub 89 diving off rosguill malin donegal

WW1 U 89 Conning Tower

diving off Malin, north donegal

Empire Heritage - Sherman Tank


Friday, June 11th, 2010

A few really nice photographs of HMS Viknor taken by underwater photographer & technical diver Barry McGill .

Viknor Bow

Viknor Boilers

Viknor Engine

Viknor Rudder & Screw