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Sunderland & Catalina Found - Help with Underwater ID

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 3:18 pm
by diveoban
Hi Everyone,

Thanks to Brian to getting us on here. I run Dive Oban and Argyll, a diving business out of Oban but i'm also an underwater photography, marine biologist and have a lot of interest in diving shipwrecks amongst other things. Some of you may have seen the news reports on the discovery of the flying boat wrecks during the surveys done from the research institute. We were able to locate some of the location using old fisherman's snags etc. We dived the sites over the last few months and have the first underwater pics of the wrecks.

Diving conditions near the wrecks can be challenging with depths over 30m and limited visibility. However the wrecks have been colonised by colourful marine life such as plumose anemones and fish. Being seldom dived in the past, the wreck sites have a lot of artefacts and features remaining. It was understood that the wrecks (and in particular the Sunderland) could be a war grave so the divers were careful to explore the site without disturbance. On the wreck of the Sunderland it was noted that the anti-aircraft guns and ammunition was present, along with fuselage, wing tank and wing structure. The Catalina is a far more intact wreck site with the cockpit sticking out of the sediment with cockpit glass, steering wheel, throttles, seats and gauges all intact. The engines are clearly visible and the propellor blades stick well out of the silt. For wreck diving enthusiasts, to see these planes in such condition was exciting. The team have dived a Catalina wreck in the Clyde but there is very little left compared to these wreck sites.

Bit of a pain to try and upload all the pictures to the forum but I've put them on the site so you can easily view them and discuss from there. I do have lots of pics of random debris but it would be to open up the discussion on them and perhaps I can repost various pictures when discussing varying aspects of the wrecks.

For example the Sunderland's wing looks like it's sitting the right way up and still has the rubber cover however I believe the known Sunderland wreck turned turtle.

Look forward to the discussion



Re: Sunderland & Catalina Found - Help with Underwater ID

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 5:54 pm
by diveoban
See link to the site here - having problems uploading stuff, but will hopefully get it there shortly.


Re: Sunderland & Catalina Found - Help with Underwater ID

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:13 am
by MrWidgeon
Nice photos Shane (& Welcome !).
Both look to be pretty far gone, but make nice dive sites.
Thanks for posting and stick around.
I'm sure there are some questions we'll have and we have a lot of the answers you may be looking for.


Re: Sunderland & Catalina Found - Help with Underwater ID

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:18 am
by sunderlandmr5
Hi Shane

Really nice footage (Video and stills) - thanks for sharing with us

I'm positive that the Sunderland Wing tank is upside down, as there was a framework under the tanks
for support, and to keep them off the wing inner skin.

These are the tanks from NZ4115 pulled out for refurbishment

On these tanks you can see the frame work imprinted on the tank bottoms ... dcb9_c.jpg



Re: Sunderland & Catalina Found - Help with Underwater ID

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:39 pm
by diveoban
Hey Alan,

Check out the page again, I uploaded another wing picture of the Sunderland at the bottom.

There is a known tale about a Sunderland hitting wreckage from the Breda and turning turtle. To ID this one underwater, if it had turned turtle then probably as close a match as we'll get.

Our only issue is the starboard wing, which from that image looks the right way up, but has been reduced to the air frame (and rubber outer??)

Let me know your thoughts?