A group of 8 divers headed down to Thurlestone on a Sunday to dive the Louis Shied – a Belgian steamer that ran aground off the shore after a rescue mission during WW2. Neil was first in the water, snorkelling out to locate and shot the wreck, which he managed to do after some time being a little lost. Alex and Astrid were the first pair to dive, followed by Will and Joe, Peiman and I, and finally Neil and Damien.
During the fairly lengthy surface swim to the wreck, Peiman and I were approached by a curious seal, who spent a few seconds following us before dipping out. We arrived at the Louis shied, descended, and were greeted by a metal jungle overtaken by reefs. With the wreck in shallow waters and the skies bright and sunny, we had a very decent 5m of visibility. We explored the impressively large shipwreck, marvelling at the huge boilers and latticed structures, and peeked into every nook and cranny looking for hidden wildlife. There were conger eels and lobsters, crabs and shrimp, as well as a variety of fish that I’m not knowledgeable enough to identify. Joe even found skate eggs amongst the reefs. The first dive ended with another long surface swim back to shore, with the setting sun lighting the skies a blazing orange.
Back on shore, everyone (in a wetsuit) was freezing cold and hungry. We went to the only source of food close-by: an extremely overpriced café. To future divers intending to go to Louis Shied: pack lunch, unless you fancy a £10 BLT or £3 thimble of hot chocolate.
After getting our calories, we got ready for the night dive. Astrid, Neil and Damien sat this one out. This time, Alex joined me and Peiman. As the tiny blinking light indicating the wreck was hard to spot from the water, we were guided by Damien’s ultra-strong green laser pointer slicing through the dark. The night dive itself was spectacular, with all sorts of wildlife waking up. Sweeping your torch across the reef would light up an army of beady shrimp eyes dancing about. More lobsters and conger eels were spotted and we woke up a bunch of sleeping fish. The wreck itself appeared larger and more intimidating at night as well.
Peiman and I miraculously found a skate egg hidden in the kelp (sorry Alex you were too far away). Lighting it up revealed a developing skate wiggling about. We later found baby cuttlefish, hermit crabs and even a flatfish among the seafloor just as we were about to descend.
Overall, an amazing dive site which I would even brave the cold to visit again.
Thanks to Astrid for the pictures!