Diving HMS Invincible

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Photo: Dave helps measure and sketch the wreck as part of his NAS Elearning training Photo: Dave Mothershaw/Matt Cass

The most recent NAS ELearning dive fieldschool was held out of Portsmouth on the protected wreck of HMS Invincible and for NAS ELearner and diver, Dave Mothershaw, it represented the culmination of his NAS Introduction and Part 1 NAS Foreshore & Underwater Archaeology.

“This fieldschool was a real opportunity to try out our new skills on a real wreck rather than in a swimming pool, it also gave us the chance to contribute to an important archaeological project”, Dave said to NAS.

Work continues on excavating the remains of the starboard side of the Invincible, which lays broken, scattered and unexcavated and it has become an exciting opportunity for NAS students to participate in its ongoing resurvey effort, under the supervision of licensee and NAS trustee, Dan Pascoe.

The first day of the two day mid-week fieldschool gave the dive students the opportunity to get a feel for the site and the condition of the wreck. Day two was mostly taken up with a planning survey which will be added to the overall site plan and the annual report back to English Heritage.

For Dave, it wasn’t only an interest in history and archaeology that drew him to the NAS ELearning courses but, as a diver, it was the excitement and challenge of exploring shipwrecks.

“Initially I just wanted to know more about the ships and wrecks themselves so that I could better understand what I was seeing underwater but I've since become fascinated by the potential for sites to act as portals to the past, where you can really get a tangible feel for the lives of the people at the time and the often violent events that precipitated the wrecking”, he said.

Dave has been diving for about eleven years and logged around 1200 dives. He explained that the attraction to the Elearning course was all about practicality with work. “Elearning enabled me to complete the theory sections in my own time and then attend the necessary fieldschool when I could fit it in.”

Dave now intends to progress on to the NAS Part 2 Foreshore & Underwater Archaeology course in order to take his training to a level where he might be able to work on projects professionally. He enjoys diving off wrecks in the Middle East and pursuing his interest in underwater short film making.

The Invincible was wrecked on Horse Tail Sands in 1758. Originally a French 74 gun ship, she is the Navy’s first Invincible, captured by Anson’s fleet during the Battle of Finisterre in 1747. Her design was so influential that she became the backbone of the navy.