Day 8 – Port Napier

Port Napier was a 9600 ton ship built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson for Port Line, she was then taken over by the Admiralty during construction, and converted to a mine layer of the 1st Minelaying Squadron. It was loading mines at the Kyle of Lochalsh on 27 November, 1940 when fire broke out on board. Then she was towed out of the loch and the mines were removed. She now rests in 16 metres on its starboard side, with the port side visible from the surface at low water. Deep inside the wreck, shafts of daylight enter from above through the many openings cut in the hull.

We launched at the Kyle of Lochalsh slipway and headed to the site. We could see the some debris of the wreck on land. You must not miss it. You must do this wreck. We all knew both statements are true, but where is the wreck? After a brief moment, we found ourselves drifting towards something very shallow. That's it, we found Port Napier.

Since this is our last dive for the expedition, we were given a generous maximum dive time 60 minutes. Rather than looking at critters closely, this time I tried to lead back, resting the back of my head with my arms, to enjoy the view of the wreck with peace. Instead of sticking your head through a crowd in a museum, I could look at whatever I like of the wreck in whatever angle I wanted. I only need to make a gentle fin stroke to ascend slightly to look at the deck. If there were no metabolic restrictions, I would just like to float in mid water, enjoy this view for the entire day. Though the dive time shown on my computer was 51 minutes, it felt rather like 15 minutes. I would like to come here again, definitely for another stroll around Port Napier and perhaps a deep fried Mars bar as a post dive treat :).

Shortly after we dropped the last pair of divers in, a dive charter came and got their divers in too. We were rather surprised to see other scuba divers the first time on this trip. Like before, we packed up everything ASAP and hurled ourselves across roads and motorways to reach Carlisle before the midnight.