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The wrecks in Golf Thailand

 

WW II WRECKS - HMS REPULSE

HMS Repulse

Maximum Diving Depth: 57 meters - Recommended Diving Depth 49 – 57 meters

HMS Repulse

Facts:

This famous British Renown Class Battlecruiser was completed in August 1916. Repulse was extremely fast, easily topping 32 knots, due in part to their extreme length – beam ratio. But this speed also came at the expense of light armour.

Together with HMS Prince of Wales and 5 Destroyers, she was stationed in Singapore and their group was commonly known as Force Z. The allies hoped that the presence of Forze Z would help deter a Japanese attack.

In her fatal voyage of the 8th December 1941 to smash the Japanese landings at Singora and Kota Bharu, the 37,000 ton ship with a length of over 250 meters, carried the following armament:

Guns:

  • 3 x 2 x 15” BL
  • 3 x 3 x 4” LA
  • 4 x 1 x 4” AA
  • 3 x 8 x 2pdr pom-pom AA
  • 8 x 1 x 20mm Oerlikon AA
  • 4 x 4 x 0.5” MG AA
  • Torpedos:
  • 4 x 2 x 21” Fixed

History:

After a Japanese submarine sighted Force Z, the first elements of the 80-strong Japanese striking force was spotted at 11.00 hours on the 10th of December from the north–west. The Flagship opened fire and so shortly afterwards the Battlecruiser did with her 4” guns. Without the  presence of an aircraft carrier, it was impossible to withstand multiple attacks by torpedo and high-level bombers. The ship rolled over at 12.33 hours and sank two minutes later to her resting place. 796 survivors were picked up by the destroyers Electra and Vampire.

Diving:

Now, 46 nm north of Tioman, she is on her port side in about 57m of water, with the decks at about 120 degrees of angle. If you start your descent at amidships, you will find the bridge area badly damaged and the fighting tops spread out across the seabed. Five inch side guns are clean and lay with their barrels still pointing out to sea. The swim from here to bow is long but very rewarding. The turret are easily visible  with their guns still at an aggressive fighting angle and once you get there, you can see the tripod base of the Flagpole still intact in its place at the bow of the ship. It is possible to swim under the whole front section of the ship, as it is held up off the seabed by the massive guns we just past by. Large hatches lay open on the decks and are testimony of sailors trying to escape as she started to sink. For heading back to the shot it is a good idea to rise up over the ship at about 48m depth. Anchors and lines of portholes come now into view, all looking very intact until the damaged created  by Japanese torpedo planes becomes evident. Three large marble rays, gliding along the hull, have to be passed before reaching the shot. Even during the decompression stops you still have plenty of time to observe the rich marine life. The stern of the ship is in good condition but her main stern guns are buried in the silty bottom. Two of her props have gone, but evidence of torpedo damage is obvious as the rudder is jammed into one of the remaining propellers.

Text by Greg Doyle

Photography by Andrew Georgitsis, Erik Engberg, and Greg Doyle

The British battle cruisers, HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, lie deep in Malaysian waters about 50 nautical miles north of the resort island of Pulau Tioman. Unknown to the thousands of divers that pass through Tioman every year, these ships offer some of the world’s greatest wreck diving.

In November 2003, Erik Engberg was a tired and bored videographer living in Khao Lak, Thailand, filming newly certified divers bouncing over the Similan reefs. Erik needed a new challenge, he found all he could hope for and more when he teamed up with Greg Doyle, a TDI Trimix Instructor, who was setting up Penetration Divers (www.penetrationdivers.com), an outfit dedicated to Asian wreck exploration and technical diving.

Greg put Erik to work as a jack-of-all-trades on board MV Grace, his 36-meter technical live-aboard vessel and Erik quickly developed a passion for diving the massive battleship and supertanker wrecks that Grace visited most weeks.

One of the first wrecks Greg introduced Erik to was HMS Repulse, the British battle cruiser lost in the early days of the Pacific war to a combination of Japanese tactical superiority and the British Navy’s ignorance of the potential of aerial warfare against ships. After one dive on the Repulse, something changed forever in Erik and he became obsessed with the wreck, to the point of having almost no interest in diving other wrecks or any of the many tasks required of him on-board.

HMS Repulse

Exploration

Throughout March, MV Grace dived the Repulse at every opportunity. Greg and Erik maximized exploration by diving solo from each end of the ship pushing towards the middle. They quickly exhausted the lines of earlier divers on the upper deck levels and started laying new lines into the furthest interiors of the ship. Over Easter 2004, a group of Aussie divers led by Chris Law chartered Grace to explore all of the WWII wrecks in the South China Sea but Erik’s stories of the pushes into the Repulse convinced them to join his effort to fully map the interior of the wreck and find routes to both the engine room and the chapel and forget about the other wrecks. Between them, these divers racked up over sixty exploration dives on the Repulse to add to the fifty or more that Erik and Greg had undertaken since March.

Even with more than 110 dives into every opening in the wreck, by the end of the Aussies’ charter, nobody could find a way into the engine room or the chapel both of which had become the Holy Grail for the Repulse divers. Greg was particularly concerned to find the chapel as from the ship’s blueprints, it appeared adjacent to the Captain’s wine locker and he had become obsessed with the idea of toasting the men of the Repulse. The chapel was also an intriguing target as it was thought to contain stained glass portholes and possibly a large gold plated crucifix that Greg wanted to photograph in place.

HMS Repulse

Getting serious

A month or so later, Gideon Liew, Singapore’s leading GUE Instructor, and Andrew Georgitsis, GUE’s Technical Training Director chartered MV Grace again with the intention of diving all of the South China Sea wrecks. Like the Australian divers before them, the GUE crew became obsessed with the Repulse after the first day diving her and abandoned plans to dive the Prince of Wales and the submarines.

Since the GUE guys preferred to do their own gas mixing, Erik and Greg were off the hook on the dive deck and able to restart their four dive a day exploration regime. Each diving solo, and using Silent Submersion scooters, this allowed them a total of eight dives into the furthermost interior of the wreck each day.

The difference now was that the divers had full blueprints of the Repulse provided by local diver Brooks Jacobs. With these plans, Erik identified a definite route to the engine room. Unfortunately however, the route was filled with debris and the hatch blocked by collapsed steel. Over several dives, Erik slowly cleared the debris. The steel blocking the hatch proved immovable and remained a very tight squeeze without removing gear.

HMS Repulse

At this point, Erik thought he had the engine room penetration nailed, with the plans showing a short route through two passages and into the engine room. Starting early on 26 April, Erik set off on what he believed was a straight run to the engine room. Unfortunately, after squeezing through the obstructed hatch and speeding through the corridors laying line, Erik was disappointed to find that what he thought to be the door to the engine room was rusted shut. Believing that the door could not be opened, Erik started searching for other entrances. The plans showed a similar door on the other side of the engine room but the passage way to it was blocked by silt. Neither could he find a passage via the engine room vents passing through the upper decks, although a group of English divers led by famed British wreck diver Jack Ingle diving on the Repulse from another boat at the same time claimed such a route was possible.

HMS Repulse

After four fruitless dives searching for alternate routes, Erik decided to give the original door one more try with the aid of a crowbar. Thus armed, he spent twenty minutes at over 50 meters working on the door in zero visibility. But sixty years seemed to have rusted the door shut forever, and Erik was forced to admit defeat. Back on the boat, however he started to think that all that was needed was more muscle and that a team effort might make the difference. As Grace was being chartered that week by some of the world’s leading exponents of team diving, Erik was able to draw on their considerable experience for assistance.

 

     

     

Wreck Speciality course

 

Conditions

  • Must be at least Adventure Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver
  • and have minimum 15 years

Price 380.- € The full course

The price included

  • Dives
  • Book
  • Certification
  • Monitor
  • Insurance
  • Lunch
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

The price not included

  • * Tips
  • * Extras expenses

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

You can subscribe by e-mail or by phone.

E-mail thank you for giving me:

- Your name and surname

- Your phone or GSM

Must be present at each class and participate in simulations.

If no, thank you prevent.

We sarrangera to catch up the lost session.

A written and practical exam is required to obtain a degree.

Candidates not having the examination will not be certified.

During the sessions, you can take notes, ask questions and interrupt the course if you do not understand.

Do not be afraid, you're there to learn at your own pace and most importantly stress free.

You will receive a manual to study at home safely and review techniques.

For your reservation

50% deposit to confirm your reservation

The remaining starting your course

Any deposit is lost 30 days before the course date.

 

 

Special wreck certification speciality

 

 

 

 

 

 

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