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UK Southwest Scotland Scuba Diving
Dive Site: Akka
Location: River Clyde, Southwest Scotland
Description: 5400 ton Swedish motor vessel
Length: 132 metres (434 feet)
Depth: 16 to 40 metres (52 to 131 feet)
Visibility: 3 to 7 metres (10 to 23 feet) can be up to 15m on occasion
- Below 20m depth, vis can be much better/clearer (although darker)
- Note. freshwater in first 5m depth can reduce vis to under3m
The wreck of Akka, the biggest wreck of the Clyde on the west coast of Scotland is spooky, haunted and massive!!!! The wreck is intact and is quite daunting to dive as you hang over the side the ship disappears in to the dark abyss! It lies in 18m at the top to 50m to the seabed and has several levels. Our club dives the wreck on regular occasions as it is a superb wreck.
Alan Campbell, Irvine Sub Aqua Club
A superb wreck set in stunning above water scenery and almost wholly covered in masses of filter marine life. A macro photographers heaven. The wreck itself is impressive, but with the accompanying marine life it's a stunning and very rewarding dive (it should be designated an artificial reef). For me, this is the one of the best wrecks in the UK (on a par with the James Eagan Layne, but for different reasons).
In 1956 the 5400 ton Swedish motor vessel Akka hit Gantock Rocks near Dunoon in Scotland and sank nearby. This behemoth of a largely intact vessel is underestimated and is "Thistelgorm" in proportions. Many dive this just for the wreck itself and it can be quite daunting, with its huge towering hull sides resting in 16-24m top deck to 32-40m bottom. The sheer sides are awesome, the deck machinery and superstructure endless, the holds cavernous and dark. The River Clyde eschews a certain deep quality to it, a bright olive green at the surface, a layer of the river itself to 10m, then in stark contrast you can be in clear dark green visibility indicative of this area. Suddenly at 15-18m, an even darker mass rises up your eyes widening. A large amidships castle looms up whilst masts have fallen across holds. To the deepening stern companionways go off in to the darkness to the bow the now crumpling holds go to the light.
This is reef and wreck accessible by boat, in my mind is the most awesome wreck dive, combining wreck at its best with marine life on wreck also at its most prolific. Drop over the side anywhere and you feel you're in the film The Abyss. At the stern in 40m the rudder is seen in torchlight and coming up under the stern the weight of metal can be felt. Don't under estimate this wreck, it has a deep profile and is best dived on Nitrox. Many of us dive this for its reef-like qualities mixed in with wreck and this is one of the most concentrated filter feeding sites around the UK I've dived ever.
Trillions (and that's probably not enough) of brittlestars inhabit every scrap of superstructure metal at the stern, writhing and gesticulating in all directions, a bristling array of myriad tentacles. Touch one and they all tingle. Within this melee, ropes hang down adorned in colourful clams. Moving to amidships, try and spot several different types of nudibranchs, Flabellina varieties are common.
Jumping over either side a wall of marine filter feeders jumps out, massed explosion of orange and yellow, particularly that of the Protantheus simplex anemone. Mingled with these are crab varieties, sea squirts, and on the muddy bottoms scores of squat lobster. A large metal plate dangles precariously over the starboard side forward of amidships and contained on this a colony of hundreds of peacock worms, their tube and their multi-coloured tentacles dangling precariously into the blackness.
The break on the forward portside is home to a dizzying cacophony of sagartia anemones in a multitude of colours. Go through this to view upside down peacock worms. All over the bow area is a dense carpet of overfed white and orange plumose anemones; truly stunning. Deep scarlet coloured bolocera anemones inhabit the wreck in places and of fish life cuckoo wrasse and pollack are mainly seen. The most memorable moment can be the final drift away from the wreck's bow with the large netting draped over its sides and you dodging the rather large lion's mane jellyfish which fly by in the deep green!
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