Diving the Nj Fjord …. Day of the Bell !

Invincible blowing up after being struck by shells from Lützow and Derfflinger

The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle of any World War, fought between 31st May and 1st June 1916, in the North Sea near Jutland, Denmark.Germany’s High Seas Fleet intended to lure out, trap, and destroy a portion of the Grand Fleet, as the German naval force was insufficient to openly engage the entire British fleet. This formed part of a larger strategy to break the British blockade of Germany and to allow German naval vessels access to the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Royal Navy pursued a strategy of engaging and destroying the High Seas Fleet, thereby keeping German naval forces contained and away from Britain and her shipping lanes.[4]    .The plan didn’t succeed, but the battle is considered to be won by the Germans, giving the Royal Navy a heavy blow.

HALT !!

The N.J.FJORD was the infamous ship that triggered the battle of Jutland when as it sailed unknowingly through the middle of the two great fleets the small steamer from neutral Denmark was stopped by the German vanguard, the engine had to be put on hold with the result that it let off steam.    The escape formed a big with cloud, which was seen from the nearest British ships  They were sent off to investigate the matter, and so the battle started ……..BOOM !   The Ship was subsequently sank by the UC-31 German U-boat and thought lost forever .. 

N.J. Fjord

Lost for almost 100 years its a piece of history that was thought gone, lost to the sea forever. But back in 2013 a team of expert divers had been hunting for this particular wreck and on June the 19th they sailed out of Eyemounth onboard the Jacob George from Marinequest  and they hit pay dirt .. here is that amazing story..  NJ FORD DISCOVERY     The discovery of the wreck that day and this subsequent retrieval of the bell will force a rewrite of the history books ….. 

Above is a fantastic video from that very day the bell was recovered. Edited by Brian Goddard , one of the original discoverers of the NJ Fjord .

I was lucky enough to be asked along …. and this is the story.

Leaving Eyemouth early …….

Early Monday morning on the 20th August a small band of intrepid divers and their captain set sail in perfect sea conditions to a beautiful sunrise … the mission to retrieve the bell from the NJ Fjord steam ship sank in 1917 and found in June 2013 no doubt to the delight of naval historians everywhere…..

Calm seas ahead

The journey out was a long one but the sea smooth and the banter good. A lesson in solenoid servicing from Brian Goddard to save they day when Alans rebreather wouldn’t fire helped pass the time. As did the great stories from everyone on-board .. When you fill a boat full of adventurous nutters you could write a book every time  …. Nicola , Maggie , Simon , Tim , Liam , Stevo , Alan, Ian  and Brian …. a life time of great adventures each !!

Battle of Jutland

After several hours of sailing we were finally above the wrecks position and dropping shot , the conditions were perfect , weather and viz to rival the Mediterranean and a piece of history below us , these days don’t happen very often … Zissou factor 10 !

Brian Goddard legend of the deep ..

With all the regular training I had been putting in I was confident in my skills to execute the dive, still I was comforted by the fact I was buddying up alongside Brian Goddard, a top diver who has been instrumental in the discovery of many a North Sea mark including the NjFjord. A North Sea legend to be honest.  I knew I was in good hands and I was sure to get a great dive.

readying for action …

We geared up and made ready , the plan was that Stevie , Liam and Tim , all very experienced divers would go in first as they would be instrumental in recovering the bell ..  Liam was the discoverer of the bell and although unable to raise it on his original discovery he had noted the position. They would head there directly and begin work as soon as they were down on the wreck. Brian And I would dive soon after . I checked and double checked my equipment then waited patiently ……………….

good to go ….

Ian dropped the first team into the water at the Buoy above the shot line then circled back round for Brian and I to go . We quickly dropped down to 6 metres and bubble checked , all clear … we dived to the easy shot clip and left our identification markers before continuing to the wreck … as I descended I saw it from high above, the viz was staggering , 20 to 30 metres and ambient light !  this far out to sea the conditions are world class … ..

The wreckage strewn out below me was amazing , what a wreck , 100 years and still in fantastic condition.. Brian pointed to a particular section and we finned across , here the bell was being prepared for recovery .. as i saw it there on the wreck , where it had been hiding for nearly one hundred years , a priceless piece of ours history lying before me ..

Brian now took me on a tour of the wreck and it was the best UK dive so far in my UK diving, with the fantastic viz and ambient light I could see everything pin sharp and here I was right in the middle of such a historic wreck.

All to soon it was time to get  back to the shot line and execute my decompression plan to the surface .. after what felt like an eternity I surfaced with a big smile on my face …..  I stripped down my gear and got into my civvies before Ian let me see the bell in all its glory … wow.

Liam , discoverer of the bell and one happy diver …

A priceless piece of history sat before me .. it was Liam’s find but everyone wanted to pose with it for a photo … This was a day to remember after all 🙂    Liam wont keep the bell as I believe the bell will eventually be presented to the executives of DFDS .  the owners of the wreck and put on public display ..

Eventually everyone was out of the water and Ian set sail for port … We settled in for a long journey back to port and another round of stories began ……

squad photo …

a naked woman appeared out the sky !! honest guv

I want to thank Marinequest and everyone onboard for giving me a day never to forget…… thank you all very much..  <3

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