Wed 24 Apr 2019

Wreck site of the Graffoe

The Graffoe was a 2996t steamship which ran aground on Ramsey Island in 1903. She was 314 feet long with a bean of 40 feet. This wreck now sits in 17m of water besides a rocky outcrop on the southern most point of Ynys Cantwr.

Diving the Graffoe

The area is subject to tidal currents and should ideally be dived at slack water(best tides are obviously Neaps) which is approximately 2:20hr after high/Low water. The tidal current is to the east of the wreck and can be seen on the surface. When in full flood, the current passes over the wreck which makes diving difficult without holding on. However the tidal stream also changes direction during the course of the incoming/outgoing tide, moving more easterly away from the wreck, and then back again, allowing for diving to occur outside of slack times, however this can only be done by on-site observation.

Divers choosing to dive outside of slack are advised to remain on the wreck, as once in the tidal current you will travel considerable distances, either in a south westerly direction along Ynys bery, being ejected into the overfalls at the end of Ynys bery, or through the Twch (a narrow channel between Ynys Bery and Ynys Cantwr and Ramsey Island) In the picture opposite you can see the narrow channel and the tidal rip through it, a Rib is able to pass through the channel following divers without any issues of snagging on the underlying rocks. This roller coaster "drift" is not for the feint hearted as the current picks up considerable speed through the narrow channel(4~5knts even on neaps, much faster on springs), making rib pickup within the channel impossible.

On leaving the wreck, divers should immediately deploy DSMB to allow the boat to track their deco progress and observe their drift.

Location of the wreck is relatively simple as it ploughed bows on into the most sourtherly outcrop on Ynys Cantwr, drop a shot 30m south of this outcrop and advise your divers to descend on the south west side of the rocky outcrop where they will come upon both boilers, and from there the propshaft 1m clear of the bottom running the entire extent of the wreck.

The bottom is generally rock and west of the wreck towards Ynys bery there are the occassional octopus, but this is also into the flow of the north east current so exercise care, or wear incontinence pants, i think the picture gives an illustration of what you may find yourself in...

more wrecks

Some video snipits of the Graffoe Graffoe propshaft
Graffoe Boiler Graffoe Under Bottomplates