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Taucher.net - Meeting VIII
01.-04.05.03 Wreck Diving in the Baltic Sea

¤ Getting there ¤ Wednesday 30.04. ¤ Thursday 01.04. ¤
¤ Friday 02.05. ¤ Saturday 03.05. ¤ Sunday 04.05. ¤

Friday 02.05.

Although the weather forecast for this day was, once again, not too optimistic, it was possible for us to go diving at one of the wrecks which had been scheduled for this trip. While we went to get our breakfast (which was both yummy and ample)

Jan jumping in
Jan springt
from the ship's cook in the galley, the Artur Becker was already under way towards the MS Førkrat, the wreck of a cargo ship, which probably sunk during World War 2, with a length of about 180m and a width of about13m.

When we had reached the location, Michael and a group consisting of members of the Greifswald dive association and the crew dived down to the wreck to secure a marker buoy next to it. Meanwhile we gathered on deck and listened to captain Hanke's briefing. The Førkrat lies upright on its keel in about 45m of water, and the superstructure extends to a depth of about 35m. Following the shot line you reach the bridge, from where you can explore the ship, its cargo holds and superstructure.

Due the depth, the considerable swell and the current that is to be expected,

The MS Førkrat
Die Forkrat
the difficulties of this dive should not be underestimated. After the briefing the buddy teams got their gear ready, the tekkies started to calculate their dive plans, lamps were checked; in short everyone got ready. While the first teams were kitting up, our marker buoy team returned.

Finally our team, consisting of Jessica, Christoph and myself, got under way. We quickly descended along the shot line into the deep. Arriving at the Førkrat's bridge we took some time to orientate ourselves. Then we started to explore the ship. We had strong lights, expecting it to be very dark. However, at 40m it was still light enough to get a good overview of the wreck, something we fresh water divers were not really used to. The visibility was quite good, too - about 15m.

Doing the dekompression stop
Bei der Deko
The only problem visibility-wise was a thermocline at 41m. When I was diving through it, I got the feeling I had suddenly lost both contact lenses. The real shock was the temperature displayed on the dive computers: 2.7 ºC! Very deep and very cold (without strong currents and with quite a bit of surface light, however) - ideal circumstances for nitrogen narcosis. Keeping this in mind, we moved about really carefully and didn't dive deeper into the cargo holds. We kept to our plan and started our ascent after about 20 minutes - having accumulated quite a bit of decompression time. During the last five minutes of our decompression time in particular I got really cold and the first thing I did back on board was not to get out of my dry suit, but to get a mug of hot tea from the galley!

After lunch, which not only tasted excellent, but which also replenished strength and warmth, we decided to venture back down to the wreck. Our buddy-team, however got separated during the descent. When Christoph put on his dry-suit gloves, he didn't

The Artur Becker's dive ladder
Die Tauchleiter der Artur Becker
notice that he had trapped a few fibres with the O-ring, so that he had the feeling that his glove was soaking up the water and he decided to abort the dive. Jessica and I handed him over to a group just doing the final minutes of their 6m decompression stop. Then we continued our descent. Upon arrival at the bridge, we realized that the current had grown a lot stronger and that the thermocline had risen a couple of meters. We, too, decided to stay a bit higher up than during our first dive, so as not to build up too much decompression time. The advantage was that we got more of an overview of the wreck, instead of the more detailed impressions from the first dive. After a while we decided (with a heavy heart) to start the long ascent to the surface (and to the warm mugs of tea aboard the Artur Beckker).

When all of the divers had returned on board the Artur Becker, the captain set course for Arkona Bay again, to anchor there again for the night. After dinner most of us met at the bar. That evening Brian and Anke introduced me to the concepts of the "Incident Pit" and "Risk Analysis", both of which are not really known here in Germany. I found especially risk analysis as a means of planning your dive extremely interesting and have since adapted it for our club. Round about midnight we sank into our berths - exhausted from extremely interesting, but strenuous dives.

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