It’s fantastic to be back on the horse! Monday we dived the SS Sambut, a liberty ship of the USA. From initial readings, she was part of Operation Neptune, thus part of the D-Day landings. On 3rd June 1944, troops had embarked SS Sambut in London. As part of convoy ETM.1, she departed Southend, destination Seine Bay in Normandy, northern France on 6th June 1944.

Carrying troops, vehicles, and ammunition, her cargo was stowed inside other cargo to maximise space; lorries were filled with motorbikes and in some cases, gelignite.

In some random act of bad luck, arbitrary shells fired from German batteries at Calais some 18 miles away, struck the Sambut. Lorries and petrol cans on deck caught fire, followed by a gelignite explosion in the hold. The troops tried to jettison some of the munitions but it was quickly realised that it was a futile effort. Within 15 minutes of the shells hitting the vessel, the order was given to abandon ship, not without loss of 136 of the 625 personnel on board. She was later scuttled and sunk by torpedo by the Royal Navy.

Laying at around 55 metres to the seabed off Dover, she looks like a ship, is intact and fully upright with her upper decks laying around 42 metres.

So with Caroline’s shallow end toe dipping on Saturday to the SS Maloja, it was a deep end plunge to 42 metres with Chris on the SS Sambut yesterday. I didn’t have any richer Nitrox gases for accelerated decompression, but having set my dive computers to a more conservative setting post Zenobia bend, I did a little cheeky deco! Run time was 42 minutes with around 3 minutes to descend, 19 minutes on the wreck and 20 minutes to ascend on EAN28.
SS Sambut Fire Hose

My reward? A lovely brass nozzle attachment from a fire hose on the decks, undoubtedly used that fateful day to fight the fires.

Visibility was around 6 metres, in a hazy Pantone 13-3520 light green colour and 18degC water temperature. Certainly worth another visit!