Monday, February 29, 2016

Tortola Dive #2 - The Wreck Of The RMS Rhone

Dive 2 of the day promised to be even better than the first. We were about to dive what has been ranked as one of the best dives in the Caribbean - the wreck of the RMS Rhone.

The RMS Rhone was an iron-hulled mail and passenger sail-steamer that sank off of Salt Island in a hurricane on 29 October 1867, killing 123 people. 310 feet long with both sails and a steam engine with an 18 foot diameter propeller, she was an impressive ship in her day. Carrying passengers across the Atlantic, to South America and the Caribbean. She's now broken into sections after striking the rock and cold sea water causing her boilers to explode, and was further broken up in 1950 as a hazard to navigation, leaving lots of wreck to explore and many artifacts.

Here's a shot of Black Rock Point, the rock upon which the Rhone was wrecked in the storm:

We descended down the line and met the Rhone.

The wreck is quite broken up, and the rivets of her hull construction are quite visible.

The wreck teems with fish and marine life.

The stern mast, after being taken down in the 1950s.

The gear box and gears that connected the propeller to the engines.

The ship's dance floor:

The Captain's silver spoon now lies embedded in the coral.

The lucky porthole, where legend has it a passenger escaped by slipping out its narrow opening which is most likely a myth. The lucky name is because the glass is mostly intact and divers rub it for luck, keeping it nice and shiny.

The huge propeller and rudder.

It's so big you can easily swim through that opening you see there, and we did.

The wreck of the Rhone is huge, after 45 minutes we had not fully explored all of it, only the stern section. It's a magnificent wreck to dive and explore.

After extensively touring the stern of the wreck of the RMS Rhone, I hung out for a safety stop and then ascended back to the surface.

We then headed back to the pier where the Disney Wonder was waiting.

It was a great dive.


Old NFO said...

Very nice! And I'm surprised Disney didn't run it themselves!!!

Aaron said...

Thanks. Disney tends to farm it out to local operators. They do have to go with Disney's guidelines. The guidelines are pretty strict and very conservative dive limits, which makes sense give the varied group of divers - some were new, some retread and some pretty bad and some quite good indeed so it makes sense to keep it on the safe side of the tables.

Elisha said...

This is what wreck diving is all about! FUN! I really want to experience PNG wreck diving. I heard there are lots of good wreck dive sites there to see. I will start my preparation by knowing the basics of PNG wreck dive.