The lure of U260 can be irresistible
Published 03/07/2014 | 02:30
I've probably dived the site of the wreck of the German U-Boat more than 30 times since the early 1990s.
It is an irresistible lure for experienced divers and considered one of the pinnacle dives off the south-west coast.
It is sited just four miles from Glandore Harbour and – unlike most other U-Boat wrecks, which are in deep water – it lies within the recreational diving depth of 45 metres.
The U260 sank in 1945 but all the crew got off safely, before it sank. Since it was discovered in 1975, up to 200 people a year have dived the site.
There are 'weather windows' – such as the past few weeks – that ensure good visibility where the boat lies. The conning tower hatch, which the submariners used to get in and out, was left open, which means you can peer down into its depths.
Most divers probably do decompression diving on the wreck, which would give them around 20 minutes at the wreck.
On the way up, they have to carry out decompression stops – generally at nine, six and three metres – to allow them to 'off-gas' and avoid being affected by 'the bends'.
The chances of something going wrong increase with depth. So it is the type of dive you have to work up to, with plenty of dives to smaller depths first.
The U260 is a dive that must be treated with respect. I generally dive it with two air tanks – in other words, a back-up in case something goes wrong.
Irish Independent photographer Frank McGrath has 31 years' experience as a diver