By Iain Grant
Diver Observations 10th April 2011.
This was the first visit to site for 2011, visibility was good at 2-3 metres and water temperature was 11 degrees, for the time of year & considering the exceptionally cold winter at the start of the year this was warmer than expected.
This first visit was later than was planned due to poor weather/sea conditions experienced on the first booked diving dates of 26th/27th March.
Positions on site were difficult to locate, even in the reasonable visibility, due to the recognisable coherent timber structure being covered with sand. Although the measurements of seabed levels taken during this visit & taken at the same points as mid October last year, show a drop of between 5 & 100mm, the overall picture is of an increase generally across the main site.
We now find the frame ends & hull timbers that were visible between the beak & the cannonball mound on the east side of the hull structure, completely buried, likewise the hull structure on the west side (port side) is also now buried from the three big guns to the beak.
After some searching I was able to locate a couple of small end pieces of the plastic sheeting used to cover the gun & carriage located during the trench excavation in the early 1990’s, where this plastic now protrudes through the sand by about 20 to 30mm, there was a considerable amount of timber structure still visible last year along with two guns, the only guns visible on site now are the pile of three big guns on the portside, which stand proud by 690mm at their highest point.
The bottom most of these three guns was completely uncovered & propped up above the then seabed level by hull timbers in 2008/09, this now is almost completely buried, as are the guns from this point to the south.
The frames & planking to the east of the beak surveyed in 2010, appear to be covering again & whilst only general measurements were taken, it was determined that some timbers still stand proud of the seabed by approximately 200mm.
During this cursory examination one of the diving team (David Johnston) believes he saw live Teredo worm in one of the frame ends, if this is proved to be so, then the remains of Hazardous may have an even shorter life expectancy, under attack from both Gribble worm & Teredo.
The site generally is beginning to look as it did when first dived by the author of this document in the early 1980’s.
The area to the northwest of the main site where timber noted as a possible spare, the remains of a double sheaved pulley block & a small cannon were first found in 2008, has suffered greater erosion over the winter, revealing more timber along with brick markers used on site in the mid to late 1980’s, some dome shaped iron concretions & one red brick similar in appearance to others recovered from site, were also noted in the area. One datum pin placed on site towards the end of last diving season was also seen in the same area.
All that remains of the pulley block on the seabed sadly is the wrought iron work; thankfully the sheaves which were found loose on the seabed in 2009 & recovered have been saved, the timber cheeks of the block however, have been eaten by gribble worm. The small cannon was not seen at this time & is believed to be buried under the shifting sand on the perimeter of the area.