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Scuba Diving South Coast England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: The Fortuna
Location: 50°41'38''N; 00°02'16''W, 9 miles SW of Beachy Head
Description: 1254 ton steel steamship
Length: 76 metres (250 feet)
Depth: 28 - 32 (92 - 105 feet)
Visibility: 6 - 8 metres (20 - 26 feet)
The Fortuna was built in 1913 in Amsterdam. After hitting a mine she sank in October 1916 while sailing from Rotterdam to Cardiff with a cargo of cement. Unfortunately the entire crew of 15 died. The Fortuna now rests in an average depth of 30 metres of water in an upright position and is fairly intact. The length of the wreck means that it is possible to explore the whole thing in one dive, but most likely to do this you will need twin cylinders. On a single tank to take the dive at a leisurely pace you can expect to cover about half the wreck without getting into too much decompression.
The most noticeable thing bout the Fortuna is that she is covered in bib. The shoals are so dense that at times it is difficult to make out the wreckage through them! There were also a lot of tompot blennies, the occasional pollack and crabs and other people on our boat spotted conger eels. The shallow holds contain cement bags stacked in piles which are not that interesting to look at but there is a lot of intact superstructure of the ship that makes up for this. The mine damage occurred at the stern of the wreck.
We launched from Brighton Marina.
Dived this wreck on 13th August 2009, vis about 4m. Lots of life, many conger, crabs and lobster as well as fish life of bib, pollock and ling. The wreck remains in good condition as previous dives on her, much of the super structure still visible. Great wreck to explore but watch your bottom time.
Trevor Milne, BSAC Instructor | 13/08/09
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