fv cape columbine

Finding the FV Cape Columbine

I saw a new post on a wreck site I frequent about an update to the marks for a fishing trawler that sank in 1980. I had a quick look but as past experience has told me, the marks are just an approximate guess. So I started doing a bit of research. Once again Vanessa Maitland was able to come up with some information:

 This is what I have in one source….. Built 1958 by Schlicktingwerke (Lubeck) 19.545 m long/ wide/ draught 210 hp oil engines home port Durban. When the 69 ft trawler sprang a leak the Benguela Stroom and the Lady Eileen intercepted her distress call and went to help. The Benguela Stroom was attempting to tow the trawler to Durban but she sank 13 km from the port in 40 fathoms of water. Her crew, who were in life rafts were taken from the water by the Lady Eileen. Sources natal mercury 24 jan 1980 and as shipping news and fishing industry review April 1980 pp 30.

So now we had definite information to start searching. I contacted a couple of fishing mates but none were able to confirm with any certainty that they had definite marks for the wreck.

As luck would have it one of the GPS/fish finders on the boat gave in so I made my way into the Lowrance store looking for a replacement. While I was there I met Jakes, a seasoned fisherman who said he thought he had definite marks for the Cape Columbine. So off we went to his boat and he gave me four possible marks. Now to go and dive!

I contacted Allan Maclean, Justin Jennings and Vinayak Maharaj to see if they were interested in doing the dive with me. I had planned to dive her on the 23 Jan, to mark the day she sank but the weather played against us so we postponed till the next day. A good decision as we had perfect weather.

The four of us planned our dives and gasses for a 65m dive as we were not sure of the exact depth we would be diving and headed off to the GPS coordinates, some 21km north of the launch site.

On arriving at the first mark there was definite fish activity below us, a good indicator of a wreck. The other marks were all within 500m and I went to check them all. The first mark was still the best so this was the one to dive. I dropped the anchor line and with the help of the support divers we got kitted up. 3,2,1 go and down the line we went. And this was the moment we found the wreck.

And there she was…… As easy as that. Here is the full video of our dive….

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