so, with our work on the Coronation, Lowrance very kindly donated one of their fantastic Structurescan units. (you are bound to ask about 2k inc decent size screen)
we have had it about two weeks now, and been playing with it. learning how to use it, and fine tuning it. i have to say i am totally sold on it. it does exactly what it says on the tin!
i posted up an image the other day of a wreck we found. here it is again if you missed it:
the basic situation was that we were motoring back to the slipway in plymouth.
and i glanced at the screen and was astounded that underneath an area i have been over many times, a little wreck was just sat there! i used the screen capture, another great feature on the Lowrance, and that automatically also stores the GPS.
so, asking around, no one knew a thing about it. and looking on the charts, yep, a wreck is noted there. but as you will be well aware, the charts are littered with wrecks that in actual fact are no longer there for what ever reason.
i contacted the MOD, the JSSADC, and the longroom. no takers!
even a local historian who has written loads of books had no idea it was there.
so, one of the guys from JSSAC asked a few people, and eventually we came up with a name. it was a wreck of a boat called 'FIREWALL'
she went down in the late 70's or early 80's. she belonged to the now defunct Bovisand Dive School, and accounts are sketchy, but it appears she simply sank one night while on her moorings. The longroom cannot remember anyone asking permission to dive her, so its likely that she has had few visitors over the years. (in fact due to location, most would probably not even consider it)
after much digging, Stan found a picture of what is likely to be her here:
certianly matches her shape and size etc
we dived her yesterday, in poor viz. about 1mtr. but she was intact, and upright on the bottom, as expected, according to the sidescan. she is in good shape, lots of portholes and spidge to play with, and lots of life too. sea fans, crabs, etc etc etc.
i had measured her on the pictures (another useful feature) and guessed her to be about 50ft long. looking at the picture from Submerged, she may be about that, perhaps a little longer.
so, there you have it. i am convinced dive boats need this tech, so far we have found this wreck and about a dozen other 'targets' to dive on as soon as weather and time allow.
i think a weekend with this toy in just about any area will yield enough mystery objects to keep any dive club busy for a year. i dream of finding a bell, and with this tech, it will be a darn sight easier!
spidge has never been so easy!
as you motor over an area, it gives you a clear black and white image of the sea bed, you can see contours, holes, lumps and bumps. and obviously man made objects and their clean straight lines. the smallest thing i have spotted so far was what looked like a hubcap from a car at 25mtrs down. it turned out to be a pulley wheel from a rigged wooden sailing ship! (i wonder which one )
if you spot something, you can pause the screen, mark it, and move on. if you go over it and it drops off the screen, you can rewind the image back to it.
the other great advantage i can see is clear pictures of wrecks that can be used in dive briefings when you have divers who have not visited a site before. good for safety too, as topside, the skipper can watch people as they are diving. i can see in the case of a missing diver, the search could be speeded up with this tech.
so, when you are considering upgrades of sonar and fishfinder stuff, keep the Lowrance stuff in mind. even if you dont get the Structurescan unit straight away, if you get the HDS screen its a simple bolt on.
anyone in the Plymouth area who would like a look see at it, just PM me and we can sort it out. i am happy for demo's
its like shooting fish in a barrel!