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In July 2012 a group of divers visited and dived the German Bight 07-july-2012
The German Bight expedition started on Saturday 30 June in the Netherlands in Den Helder. We visited 3 wrecks and the unique island Helgoland. Helgoland is famous for the beautiful view from sea, but even more because of the Battle of Helgoland. Some of these ships that sunk have been dived by our team.
This page gives you an impression of our great trip!
Chart of the trip 2012
The trip started in Den Helder. The first day we had bad weather so we made the first stop in Borkum. The divers went to bed early because next day we had to dive the Mainz. At 3:00 in the night all where sleeping. Next day we went to SMS Mainz. Then the following day we dived the Arianus. After Arianus we continued the trip to Helgoland. From Helgoland we travelled to the famous Kerwood to pick up some red copper. We then visited Lauwersoog and friday evening we returned to Den Helder.
Divers 2012
The divers are all nitrox, trimix or closed circuit rebreather divers. Captain Martin Bakker and Suzanne of Bootduiken.nl are the owner of the motor ship Dolfijn. Dolfijn a former Coast Guard ship is a fantastic wreck diving ship offering a comfortable shelter for 10 divers.
Preparing bottles, tools, cloth hoses etc. etc.. CCR divers always take an awful load op crap....
Oude Dok 
Den Helder is the city were the Dutch Navy is located. The city is related to the sea in many ways. The picture shows "The Old Dok" in the marine harbour. This ship dock was built in 1820 and was designed after Jan Blanken Jansz model. It was closed by a "bateau-porte", a door build as a ship.
After it was closed steam engines pumped out the water. The dock was in use by the Royal Dutch Navy until 1993.
Dok front end 
The OLD DOK front end.
Large anker 
Large ships left Den Helder in earlier days. To show the size of this anker I put my 7 ltr side underneath it.. ;) 
We arrived Saturday on MS Dolfijn. The former coastguard motor ship has a STORK diesel engine. This type of engine is almost indestructible.
The ship was laid down in 1957 and has a 600 Hp Werkspoor diesel. The ship measures 24,85 x 5,35 mtr and has a draft of 2.05 mtr.  
All important materials are on board an we are ready to leave the port.  
Beside the military all kind of commercial off-shore and fishing boats are in Den Helder harbour. The first day we left to Borkum Germany to find shelter for wind force 6 keeping us away from diving. We passed the Razende Bol, a narrow canal tricky because of shallow waters. 
SeasideView Den Helder 
Sea side view of Den Helder. 
Way to borkum 
The trip to Borkum went flawless. In Borkum (Germany) we stayed in the harbour for one night. 
Borkum Harbour 
In Borkum there is nothing to do but drinking some beers. Also you might get some water for the crew. We prepared to be at sea for the next 4 days. 
Unfortunately the electric winch was defect. Our forefathers fortunately learned us about rope and blocks so we made a well working and hand operated winch. Later this proved to be a VERY practicle tool 'cause of the nature of the things we found! ;)
A new personal beacon was shown by Gerrit to the crew. The Smartfind personal AIS beacon is not yet in common use, although more and more people see the safety advantage of having such beacon.
Well prepared 
Well prepared we went to sleep for the big adventure the next day! Leipe Bril Ouwe!
Last preparations 
Last details and coffee in the morning and away we are! We sailed to the wreck S.M.S Mainz. A cruiser involved in the Battle of Helgoland during the World War One. 
Away to the mainz 
The weather looks great. Wind 3-4 Bfs 
Mainz arrival 
After a couple of hours we arrived at the wreck site. The waves are medium, and we prepared to dive the Mainz. 
Mainz 3 
SMS Mainz sunk 28 August 1914 during the Battle of Helgoland. The link refers to the Wikipedia page about this battle.
Preparing for Mainz 
Suits on, balloons prepared and away we are. 
click for UW impression.
The next two days we dived the Mainz. The findings are impressive. Here you find some of the things we rescued. St KOE did his job again. KOE is a Dutch organisation of divers who prefer to rescue the artefacts from the sea to show them to interested people and have them as a mantel piece. KOE is short for Kultureel Onderwater Erfgoed but also KUPFER UNTERWASSER ENTFERNEN.
T-piece 160 mm 
Here it is clearly visible that the rope and wooden blocks did there job perfectly! 
Smaller part 
Also smaller parts were found and rescued.  
More parts 
We separated the goodies from the heavy materials and made a very nice still live of the nice parts.
Door handle, bottles, lamp electric parts, vacuum gauge and room labels. A nice start in two days! 
Twolongdays  Table\ 
After two intensive days we relaxed a bit and prepared for the next wreck HMS Arianus. A unknown wreck first visited by us. 
Good mood 
In good mood we prepared for the unknown ship 
All sets filled and prepared for the next dive! 
Fist and second dive went perfectly. Arianus was a very nice wreck. It looks like a cargo steamship from WW I 
Adventures continue during the night! 
Small item 

A bit too large for the chimney 

A very nice old leather shoe possibly over 100 years old  
All tags are chiselled in the long rooms table. The honour is for the finder or to the best craftsman, Gerrit ;)) 

After the Arianus dives we lifted the anchor with the nice Lister diesel and went for HELGOLAND

Lichten der Zee
Approaching Helgoland we saw strange orange material in the water. This looks like oil but actually is called Noctiluca Scintillans Macart and was first discovered by two Italian Scientists in 1750. During the nightdive we already noticed this remarkable effect of the bioluminescence animals!
A very nice sight to see Helgoland appearing in the sea. The red rocks look fantastic in the evening light. It is hard to believe what happened here in WWI and WWII when you see the beauty of this island.

The main reason we went to Helgoland was that our beer had finished. Since Helgoland is famous for their taxfree shopping it seems only logical that we went there to buy some beer.

Here you can see that the Helgoland people very well understand what a ships crew need. Schiffsausrusting = boating equipment..
Unfortunately we arrived after opening time, so we made a nice walk and found our new future safety boat. Ideal to transport copper and to pick up materials.
annie3 annie4
Arjan and I had the mission to find a restaurant but in the process we met a local lady who kindly offered us a beer. Later on the rest joined us before we went to a restaurant. The food was good and we enjoyed a very nice stay on Helgoland.
In the restaurant we could buy some weissenbier, so that evening all finished well!

The next morning there was a lot of wind and we had to pick up a buoy on Arianus that we left there the previous day. The intention was to make another diveday on Arianus, but the wind did not allow us to do that.

On the Kerwood we made the last dive of our trip. In 2007 we managed to find a lot of copper left there by Walter Bakker and others ;)) The ship has two cargo rooms and was loaded with copper ingots marked DRW.
If you are interested in information about the Kerwood it can be found via these links: 2007 ; DT Zeester ; Article Dutch Magazine
In the Kerwood we found a couple of copper and lead bars.
Poor Gerrit
The Kerwood was dived by Arjan, Gerrit and me. When I arrived on the end of the shotline Gerrit already found a copper bar. We launched the bar by a buoy and continued to search for a little more. On the surface the bastards picked up Gerrits copperbar and hid it somewhere in the ship. When we surfaced everyone looked suprised when we asked if Gerrits copperbar was onboard? We could not understand that the buoy was missed and the bas went lost. After half an hour we took a beer and discussed what went wrong. Suddenly Richard offered Gerrit his white (!) buoy and told him he was fooled ;)

After the Kerwood we steamed to Lauwersoog and visited our friend of the Zeester. Klaas and Henk showed us there findings in the Zeester Museum.

The very nice museum of DT Zeester in Lauwersoog
Nice artifacts  to be seen in Lauwersoog.
Nice fish ;)
The next (last) day we returned to Den Helder. During our trip we have seen many many windmills. In Germany they build them with generators at 120 mtrs above sealevel. These giants produce 8 miljon Kwh per year! 
A typical Dutch habbit called 'droogvallen' (liturally 'fall dry'). On low tide some boats are capable to stay horizontal and the owner can make a nice walk.
Arriving in Den Helder we enjoyed the last meal together and prepared for the final group picture.  
We separated the goodies form the heavy stuff.
With this picture the trip finished, the SDS chairman was silenced and we really enjoyed a great trip! Thanks MARTIN and SUZANNE for your hospitality! 
J.W. Bech       July 2012 
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