Malin Head - Best Place in Europe to Wreck Dive!
Ireland may not have glittering coral reefs or a brightly colourful underwater-world, but what it lacks in natural spectacle it more than makes up for in drama. After all, it’s one of the best places in Europe to wreck dive. There are more Ocean Liners and German U-boats and Sherman Tanks sunk off Malin Head than anywhere else in the World and the majority of them were casualties of WW1 & WW2.
The Northern approaches off the Donegal coast represented a bottleneck for convoys in a major shipping route in World War II across the North Atlantic. Significant tonnage in shipping was attacked and sunk in this wartime gauntlet and there are a large numbers of wrecks.
One of those wrecks, The SS Empire Heritage, sunk in 1944, lies 70 meters under the surface and 15 miles north-west off Malin Head. She was torpedoed on route from New York to Liverpool by a German Submarine U-487 with the loss of 113 lives. A survey shows the cargo of Sherman tanks, which were originally destined to fight in the second Word War are now scattered across the seafloor.
Geoff Millar of Malin Head Shipwrecks knows a thing or two about descending into the cool blue of Ireland’s waters. For him, the lure of diving off Ireland’s coast is the allure of the unexpected: will it be a German U-boat or a magnificent ocean liner that was torpedoed on its way to America?
“When you’re almost near the wreck your heart starts to speed up with excitement,” says Geoff, “especially when it comes into view. Different thoughts go through your mind, like what was her fate? You also think about the poor souls who lost their lives when it sank.”
According to Geoff, diving at Malin Head offers “clear Atlantic waters with the best visibility in Ireland and probably Europe”. It’s also where you’ll find what Geoff claims to be the largest amount of German World War II U-boats in the world – 116 of them to be precise. “Malin Head also has the largest amount of sunken ocean going liners too”.
http://www.irishwrecksonline.net/Lists/DonegalNorthListB.htm List of ship names