Expedition Britannic is an insight into the art of deep wreck diving which features incredible original photographs of the largest ocean liner on the seabed.
What does it take to dive Titanic’s sister ship? This huge vessel from a bygone golden age of ocean travel lies at over 100 metres (330’) below the surface. It is not a dive for the faint-hearted. Requiring meticulous planning, precise execution and good conditions, only the most capable technical divers will ever experience it. Even then, tragically some do not make it back to the surface. Expedition Britannic is the story of the May 2019 mission to dive the Olympic-class liner-turned-hospital ship, HMHS Britannic. Sunk near the Greek island of Kea during World War I, she will only be ticked off the bucket list of relatively few of the most dedicated deep divers. Steeped in history, the opportunity to see a largely intact near-replica of the world’s most famous ocean liner makes it an ultimate dive to aspire to. Deep wreck photography specialist Rick Ayrton is one such diver. Assisted by expedition leader Scott Roberts, he takes us through the planning, logistics and preparation essential for scaling one of the pinnacles of wreck diving. Then we explore the wreck with him — going deeper than most divers will in their lifetimes to photograph this once great ship — and make new discoveries.
Reviews of Expedition Britannic
If you have read detailed reports of group technical-diving trips before, this has something in common with those but it is done extremely well. The writing is crisp, well-organised and doesn’t get bogged down in needless detail. While it doesn’t seem to be making concessions, it is readily accessible to any level of diver or even non-divers. And bringing it further to life, the photography from depth is way beyond what we usually expect, thanks to Ayrton’s dedication to his craft.— Diver magazine.
Incredible… the images are stunning. But the really impressive achievement is to make it accessible for non-technical divers whilst also having all the detail that more experienced ones will want.— Dominic Robinson, Officer in Charge Joint Service Sub Aqua Diving Centre / BSAC Technical Chief Examiner.
Rick Ayrton’s photography is a marvellous way to help visualise one of the great diving treasures and archaeological monuments lying at the bottom of the Kea Channel, effectively helping to make the Britannic accessible to the host of divers and maritime historians who may never have the privilege of experiencing the thrill or excitement of visiting the wreck in person. Hand in hand with a revealing narration of what it actually takes to get there in the first place, along with details of the day-to-day problems and hazards which can so easily occur, it can only help to prepare any dive team contemplating their own visit to the ‘Mount Everest’ of technical diving.— Simon Mills, maritime historian, owner of HMHS Britannic. (Read full review)
Rick’s scooter driven photographic epic is a fresh take on a wreck that many of us are familiar with, but are also distant from. You see things from a new viewpoint: the whole foredeck; the propellers from below; a new angle showing there is plenty of life left in ‘the old girl’. Nice one!– Kieran Hatton, www.divingindepth.co.uk
I will never forget Rick Ayrton’s photographs. It was what we were waiting for every day, after every dive.— Yannis Tzavelakos (from the Foreword).
About the author
Rick Ayrton is a technical rebreather diver and deep wreck photography specialist. He has won several underwater photography awards, is the current Chairman of the Bristol Underwater Photography Group (BUPG) and a member of the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSOUP). He was involved in the filming of both series of Deep Wreck Mysteries and has written a number of articles for the diving press, including 990 Magazine, Sport Diver, Diver and Scuba. You can see more of his work at rickayrtonpics.com
Dr Scott Roberts is a technical diver from Market Harborough, United Kingdom. He learned to dive in 1991, progressing to open circuit mixed-gas diving in 1995 and then switching to rebreathers in 1998. He is passionate about wreck diving as well as marine conservation.
The author of the Foreword
Yannis Tzavelakos is the owner of Kea Divers. He has been diving since 1995 and is also an experienced yachtsman and skipper. Yannis is a Professional Association Diving Instructors (PADI) Open Circuit Trimix diver. He is also a PADI, Emergency First Responder (EFR) and gas blending instructor.