[Shane – last week I had a wonderful couple aboard. Below is his story about diving the RMS Rhone I told you about last week]
Usually, we are not that excited about wreck dives. Divers know that, whatever the dive shop says, very few wrecks are worth an entire dive. Most of the time, you can barely see a boat-shaped pile of iron pieces and you would have to use a lot of imagination to figure the actual parts of the ship. So when we were picked-up from the Guiding Light by our dive masters that morning, we were more excited about diving in the BVI than about the wreck itself.
Once on board, our more than enthusiast South African dive master told us a bit about the famous Rhone and then we went down in the water. The first thing you see in this 60-80 feet deep dive is the bow. Obviously not intact but still in good enough condition that so-not-expert like us would appreciate it and be able to actually see a ship. You could also see very well the rafts, who apparently weren’t used according to the fact that only one of the more than 200 passengers survived. After that, I was very impressed when we literally entered inside the ship. No worries, you can always see the outside so it’s very safe. We swam into the boat, making our way between the three decks. Not only full of marine life, the Rhone is also filled with pieces that tell you a story. You can also enjoy the boilers, one intact and the other one exploded as cold water entered the ship while the boat was sinking.
Between the two dives, our ecstatic dive master told us more about the amazing story of this luxurious ship that was unsinkable (funny how unsinkable ship tends to end up on the bottom of an ocean!). After an epic storytelling, we went down a second time to explore the stern. This kind of shallow place 20-40 foot deep can be reached by snorkelers. That’s where the most exciting part begins. Around the stern you can actually see things and artefacts that lead you to imagine life aboard the Rhone. Of course, there is the huge propeller but you would also see little things like a tea spoon (which is supposed to be the captain’s according to the story…). You can also see an old medication bottle. This bottle is blue and according to a pharmacist who is also a historian, the blue bottles were traditionally used to store pain medication. So morphine bottle it is. Maybe that’s where the script of the movie The Deep thought about introducing morphine bottles in the story (of course maybe few people remember anything else but the white t-shirt in that movie but the story is actually about morphine bottles…). Other elements found on the Rhone suggest the fancy life aboard like an old black and white tiled floor. Now everybody tries to imagination where the floor was on the ship. Was it a kitchen floor? A bathroom floor? A dance floor where two young lovers, let’s call them Rose and Jack, would have dance their first waltz? Nobody will ever know…and that is the fun about diving a wreck. And if you are a wreck lover, even if not, the Rhone is really worth the swim. Let’s say this dive was legend…wait for it…dary!