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Spider crab on the Dutchess - Courtesy of Gareth & Sally Morgan

Scuba Diving South Coast England, UK, Europe

Dive Site: The Duchess (of Fife)

Location: 50°41'57''N; 00°29'02''E

Description: 553 ton paddle steamer

Length: 54 metres (177 feet)

Depth: 12 metres to top of wreck (39 feet), 18 metres to sea floor (60 feet)

Visibility: 5 metres (15 feet)

Rating: ****

The Duchess used to be known as the Duchess of Fife in earlier life. It sank in July 1917 after colliding with the destroyer HM Cossack. Although fairly broken up, it is still possible to discern what various features are. Because most of the structure has fallen away there is very little penetration possible. The boiler lies about two thirds of the distance along the wreck and is about 2.5 metres in diameter. Within it live numerous tompot blennies and a conger eel. Other life comprises of shoals of bib, crabs and many starfish. Because of the shallow depth of the wreck and the amount of life this would make a great introduction for a first wreck dive in UK waters. Launch from Eastbourne's Sovereign Harbour.

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