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Scuba Diving South Coast England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: The Countess of Erne
Location: 50°35.11N; 02°25.09W (Portland Harbour)
Description: 830 ton paddle steamer
Length: 80 metres (262 feet)
Depth: 15 metres max (50 feet), 8 metres to deck (24 feet)
Visibility: 1 - 7 metres (3 - 21 feet)
In its prime the Countess of Erne was a paddle steamer, but was used in later life as a coal hulk in Portland harbour. It sank in 1935 after its moorings broke lose. The site is within the shelter of the harbour, parallel to the northeast wall next to the white lighthouse - there is usually a fixed shot marking the stern which is the north end of the wreck. The wreckage lies upright and is still intact, although much of the superstructure has gone. The visibility can be really bad because of the its location inside silty Portland Harbour. There is some fish life however, and a few holes in the wreck to inspect. It lies upright on the sea floor and some of the holds could be entered if the visibility allowed it.
Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor
I am a trainee sport diver, and this was my first wreck dive. The vis wasn't bad and there were plenty of fish to see. As a novice this was an excellent one to start with, and has given me the incentive to dive more wrecks.
Julie Pothecary, trainee BSAC Sport Diver
I am a trainee sports diver and I dived the Countess of Erne on a weekend away, and it was really enjoyable. It was my second wreck dive but it was the first wreck that I was actually able to explore into the holds. I would recommend for a novices first wreck dive.
Kayley Brown, trainee BSAC Sport Diver
This dive was one of my qualifying dives for the Advanced Open Water Course in July 2005. Saw loads of fish and crabs on this site. The vis was about 4m and the water was 17°C. Great dive! Portland Harbour and the surrounding area is full of good dive sites. I would definitely come back to do more dives in the future.
This was my second, third and fourth wreck... We did it loads of times because the vis was sssoooooooo good! The best our club has ever had. It's a great wreck for us novices and I thoroughly recommend it.
Gordon Fox, Trainee Club Diver SAA
This wreck dive was also one of my qualifying dives for my AOW course back in July 2005 along with Andark and Chris Taylor.
I revisited the Countess of Erne on June 20 th 2006 using Fathom and Blue out of Portland Harbour, get people and a well run dive centre.
Vis was around 6 metres and temp. 17ºc, fish life was great and diving this wreck was a pleasure. For photos of this site visit: www.richards-world.co.uk.
Richard Welch, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
Depth: 13 - 15m at low tide (can vary). Deck depth: 8 - 10m at low tide. A good dive. Vis varies a lot, some days you can get up to 7m vis but others as bad as 1m.
Richard Welch, PADI Open Water
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