The Wreck Site Today
Mention divers, sunken treasure and shipwrecks together and pictures of old galleons resting at a jaunty angle on the seabed with a one legged skeleton of the ships Captain still at the helm spring to mind. Nothing can be further from the truth at the wreck site of the Halsewell.
The Halsewell site can be found along the Dorset coast between St. Albans Head and Anvil Point, approximately 3 miles west of the Swanage Lighthouse. As the ship was continually pounded against the cliffs over a period of some hours, debris was scattered all along that section of cliff face.
As the site is close to the cliff face, seasonal rock falls make the seabed an ever-changing landscape. The depth of water around the area varies between about 1m and 10m. Due to the nature of the ship, a timber built East Indiaman, and the huge impacts she suffered whilst being wrecked, no actual physical wreck is present. However this does not make for an uninteresting dive, as odds and ends from the wreck are still to be found.
By viewing the wreck site today it is hard to imagine how so many lost their lives during that night. Just a few hundred metres east along the cliffs from the site is a small sheltered beach where safety could have been found. However, picture the site in a howelling January gale in the middle of the night and glance up at the ominous cliffs and the scene takes on a whole new perspective.