‘HMS – In The Vicinity Of’
If you look back through the old dive logs, one dive site feature a bit too regularly than planned. ‘HMS – In The Vicinity Of’ was a term used to describe a missed target, usually caused by difficulty in interpreting the fuzzy blob that appeared on the old echo sounder. This was especially difficult when diving ‘wreckage’ which only stood a few metres proud of the sea bed. Hopefully HMS ITVO should now be relegated to history, as this year Newbury Diver has been equipped with the latest Garmin scanner plotter that also incorporates high resolution side scan sonar.
The images produced from the Garmin Echo Map Plus 95SV unit are quite stunning as you can see from these images taken of the M2 submarine a few weeks ago.
You can clearly see the sub is sitting upright on the sea bed at 32m and the periscope reaching up to 24m. You can even see the shot line down to the RHS of the wreck.
In the side scan image above, the whole outline of the M2 can be seen showing up as the shadow on the right.
As you can see from the picture below, the side scan imagery does need a bit of getting used to, as it is not quite as intuitive as the conventional echo sounder image, but it will help enormously in locating dive targets as it can scan sideways out from the boat up to 100+m.
One of the huge benefits this technology will bring to NSDC in 2021 is that it will give Dive Managers the confidence to go out a look for those ‘hard to find’ targets that are rarely dived. So 2021 should see a lot more new dive sites listed and hopefully far fewer HMS ITVO!