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Scuba Diving South Coast England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: The Kyarra
Location: 50°34.90N; 01°56.59W (Swanage)
Description: 6953 ton Australian steamer
Length: 126 metres (413 feet)
Depth: 18 metres to top of wreck (60 feet), 30 metres to seabed (100 feet)
Visibility: 10 metres (30 feet)
The Kyarra was sunk in 1918 by a torpedo, killing all 6 crew members. This is a very popular wreck, allowing trainee sports divers to build up depth experience and making an enjoyable accessible dive for those who are more experienced. There are many brass portholes to look through, and the holds still contain perfume and vinegar bottles. Gold watches have even been found on board even recently. There is also some fish life including zebra gobies and dogfish. The Kyarra is reached from Swanage and must be dived during slack, one hour before and six hours after Dover high water.
I dived in early August on a great sunny calm day from a hardboat out of Swanage. Various charters are available and there is air / nitrox on the pier. Get there early to park on the pier.
Just outside the bay, the Kyarra can be a very pleasant, a good vis wreck or a real dark dive - no two dives will ever feel the same. Plenty of fish to keep you happy and there are conger about. The front holds have sauce bottles and some perfume bottles. If you dig a little further and get real lucky. gold watches! (although don't hold your breath as this is one of the most dived wrecks on the south coast). It's almost always shot, descent is easy and expect 27-31m depth depending on the tide, great dive for experienced sport divers or depth progression. Be careful on penetration, as the holes are small and broken up with normally only space to go one diver at a time. The tide will start running after slack so be prepared for a brisk current on ascent. This is a big wreck so try and keep your bearings to get the good stuff, if you are lucky try for a champagne bottle.
This can be a real dark eerie dive, or a complete treat. Due to the time of year I left my hood and gloves on the boat as it was quite toasty.
Ousmon Sadique, BSAC Dive Leader
I recently dived the Kyarra on my first south coast diving trip and was suitably impressed; loads of fish and pretty good vis, especially inside the wreck. After diving the pier and the Fleur de Lys it was a nice progression to dive the Kyarra. At 30m maximum it's not too deep but the visibility, currents and sometimes narrow swim-throughs make it suitably challenging. On the three dives I did on the Kyarra there was time to explore much of the wreck and find a few goodies. I will be diving this wreck again soon!
The Kyarra is a ship as it is a steel lump underwater with holes in it, but other than that it has no resemblance to one - more to a flat-packed air fix model. Anyway, at 28m deep there is a lot to find, tiles etc, and I have never seen anyone come up empty handed with always a tile or a tiny bottle. There are entry places in the wreck but beware as there are conger eels and a large one lives near the bow. A torch is needed as always in England...not bad vis...not that far out of Swanage on a friendly, local boat. Easy, cheap wreck diving that should be done by all buddy pairs and there are a couple of other wrecks to do on the same weekend nearby.
I have dived this wreck as a BSAC sports diver several times. It can push you quite deep so be aware. It is such a huge wreck, you will struggle to hit the same place twice! Vis can be good, but in high season it can get very crowded! You can actually get sections where you can almost enter the wreck as it is so open. Several boats run out of Swanage pier to the Kyarra. A good dive.
I dropped down the shot line to 25m at 8am 29/9/06 and with literally zero viz touched the bow of the Kyarra. It was then I froze in fear as my dive torch didn't light, after a second bash on my forehead my torch shone like swan vesta in a cup of black coffee and that's when I froze, panicked and swam to surface with apologies to my buddy Kieran Kindred who was as cool as a pro and escorted me safely to the surface, shortly afterwards S.M.B s popped up as other fellow divers called short their dives short due to conditions, please treat this wreck with respect but be brave and don't wimp out as I did!
This was my first dive as a qualified Advanced Open Water Diver. I have dived this wreck twice: firsts time I did it I was with my buddy (above) Steve Downs but he wasn't happy about it and his tourch wouldn't work. But on the same day I had another opportunity to do it again with the instructor I have done my courses with.
Recently visited Swanage (10/08/07) on a club trip and dived the Kyarra 3 times, high water slack in the morning gave us great vis up to 15 mtrs. Plenty to see and do on the wreck, research your dive first with the skipper - he should tell you where to drop in and get the treasure. Be careful on penetration as the old girl is showing her age now and entanglement is possible, beware! This wreck always brings a smile to our faces though and we always find something to talk about her.
Trevor Milne, BSAC Instructor
Dived the Kyarra in September 2005. Pretty disappointing dive after a very early morning (we were out and descending on the wreck by 06.30). Very good skipper with big RIB and diver lift, but be very careful of the local dive shop: Make sure it's air you get and not diesel fumes...
Chris Clark, PADI AOW
Have dived this wreck more times than I care to remember and I am amazed that some of the posts consider this a trainee dive, it is considered by local clubs to be at least a second year dive and that's by a club who's more prolific members dive over 100 times a year. I am one of a small band of idiots who have dived this wreck 3 times in 1 day.
Alan Lees | 30/03/2009
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