PS Lelia

Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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Maria H
Posts: 1599
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:05 pm

PS Lelia

Post by Maria H » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:32 pm

Wow, what an excellent day!

We launched the RIB from sunny Rhyl and headed out about 10 miles to the Lelia. We were escorted for a small part of the journey out by some dolphins.

After a bit of searching, we got a suitable "blip" on the echo sounder and the shot was deployed. Stuart was non-diving cox, and so we were all able to go in the water together and get the most from the slack water window.

PS Lelia was a 77 metre steam paddle ship, built during the American Civil War for use as a blockade runner for the Confederates. She sank in Liverpool Bay in 1865. The shot was bang on target, in between 2 bits of wreckage, and the intact paddle wheel was just a few metres away. The paddle wheel is covered in plumose anemones, and is a stunning sight. It was also teeming with fish (mostly bib). I was delighted to spot a small blenny hiding in a hole, as well as 5 or 6 lobsters and numerous crabs. I could have spent another 30 minutes down there, but not only was my contents gauge and computer telling me it was time to head up, the current was also starting to pick up.

I'll post a few photos on the club Facebook page. Sean and Anton also had GoPros, so we may also see some video footage.

The auxilliary engine worked very well, easily powering a fully loaded boat. Big thanks to Ged & Anton for all of their work to source this and get it sorted.

Thanks to Ged for organising the dive, Anton for towing, Stuart for coxing the boat. Also, thanks to all of the gang for a fabulous day out.

Ged Kirwan
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Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:56 am

Re: PS Lelia

Post by Ged Kirwan » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:29 am

Thanks for the write up Maria. And yes It was another cracking day in sunny Liverpool Bay. Thanks to all the team who made it work out.

Liverpool Bay can be an unforgiving place with very exposed dive sites. We had to sail out 13 miles from Rhyl in a choppy sea and it was quite a slog, but not too rough for the bottlenose dolphins who put a display on for us.

We had to adhere to a strict 5 hour schedule to enable us to launch into the harbour, travel to the site, locate the wreck, dive bang on slack water, and return before the harbour dried out. Not a big problem with a good team. So thanks again to Anton, Sean, Stuart, Jan and Maria for your valued help.

Special thanks to Stuart for coxing the boat. Anton for towing, and preparing the boat. Sean for fiddling with wayward electronics.

It took us a while to locate the wreck but when we eventually got a shape on the echo sounder, the shot went in sharply and landed just inside the ship's bulwark. Perfect.

23 mtrs down to the wreck. Just a few mtrs from the shot line, (and once you could see through the shoals of poor cod), the paddle wheel rose up 4 mtrs from the sea bed. The whole wreck was covered with dead man's fingers, anemones, squirts. The marine growth made it a little difficult to see the horizontal cranks fitted to the engines. The square boilers fwd and aft of the cranks are still in great condition. A tunnel area between the port and starboard boilers makes an excellent swim through. It was so easy to imagine the Liverpool and American stokers working in the tunnel in 1865. These low pressure boilers soon became obsolete and only a few were made, so it was an absolute treat to see this bit of engineering history. The engines each developed 300hp which is just about Anton's car and Stuart's motor bike added together. Somehow these fantastic engines pushed paddle steamers across the Atlantic.

Am I getting carried away with the metal bits? As Maria has said there were huge lobsters and tomplot blennies if you like that kind of nonsense.


Anthony Mould
Diving Officer
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:28 pm

Re: PS Lelia

Post by Anthony Mould » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:07 pm

Thanks to all who stuck to the timetable. Everyone arrived on time prepped the boat and had time for a coffee at the cafe. Everyone suited and ready to launch as the water reached the slipway. Note to self-check that the coordinates are in the GPS prior to launch don’t take peoples word.
at the dive site, a quick check of fuel told us that we had been a little too conservative in our calculations so one of our spare cans was added to the main fuel tank.
I had a great dive with Ged and Maria, long time since I have dived as a three without losing someone. The plan was to dive for a max 40 minutes and we all surfaced on 40 minutes.
Gan and Sean were first in and first out so they helped us back on the boat. Big thanks to Stewart for cox the boat without damaging anything.
We recovered the boat with around 30 minutes to spare.

Anyone wanting to do some dive planning then Rhyl should be on your short list of locations to think about.


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