Rod is a well known Scottish technical diver and diving author specialising in shipwrecks - with 10 books to his name to date. He lives in Stonehaven, a small historic Scottish fishing town nestling in a sheltered bay just to the south of Aberdeen, a coastline littered with wartime wrecks.
After diving the scuttled German WWI High Seas Fleet wrecks at Scapa Flow - and falling in love with Orkney - he wrote his first book, 'Dive Scapa Flow' which was published by Mainstream, Edinburgh in 1990. 25 years later it is still the main guide to diving the scuttled Fleet - an he’s hard at work on a 5th edition to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Fleet scuttling. A few years later his next book, 'Dive Scotland's Greatest Wrecks' was followed by 'Dive England's Greatest Wrecks' and then 'Into the Abyss: Diving to Adventure in the Liquid World' which charted his diving career from novice OC diver through to deep trimix wreck diving.
The Darkness Below was released in October 2012 to critical acclaim and follows on from 'Into the Abyss' charting his progression from open circuit trimix diving to CCR mix diving.
'Great British Shipwrecks – A Personal Adventure' was released in December 2012 and covers in detail almost 40 of the major shipwrecks around the UK including HMS Pathfinder, the first Royal Navy warship sunk by torpedo during WWI, HMS Audacious the first British battleship lost in WWI and the White Star liner Justicia.
Rod launched 'Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea, HMS Repulse & HMS Prince of Wales' at OZTek2013 and the launch was attended by retired RAN Rear Admiral who had been a midshipman on Repulse when she was sunk.
'Dive Truk Lagoon' was published in October 2014 and 'Dive Palau - the Shipwrecks' was launched in Palau in March 2016. He has been involved in the making of the Dive Scapa Flow, Truk Lagoon and Palau videos and has also featured in several TV programs including Timewatch, The Death of the Battleship and Equinox, Lethal Seas, Maelstrom. He has written for most major dive magazines and newspapers on wreck diving. His scariest ever dive - the Corrywreckan Whirlpool, off Jura - the 3rd largest whirlpool in the world.
HMS Hampshire - Marjo Tynkkynen
He is a keen big boat sailor and an RYA Advanced Powerboat Instructor.
Rod now talks professionally internationally via the World Explorer's Bureau and was inducted into The Explorers Club in 2015. He was Expedition Leader on an Explorers Club flagged expedition in June 2016 to survey the wreck of HMS Hampshire off north west Orkney which sunk on 5 June 1916 after hitting a mine whilst on a secret mission to Russia carrying Lord Kitchener and his staff.
Topic: HMS Hampshire
'On 5 June 1916, the powerful armoured cruiser HMS Hampshire, fresh from the Battle of Jutland, set off from Scapa Flow, Orkney in northern Scotland on a secret mission around Norway to Russia. She carried the British Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener and his staff.
Off the north west of Orkney at 8.46pm, as she fought her way into an Atlantic Ocean Force 9 severe gale, she suddenly struck a mine laid by a U-boat as part of German preparations for the Battle of Jutland. She settled by the bow, her stern rearing high - and within 15 minutes she was gone. There were only 12 survivors - 737 perished, including Lord Kitchener and his staff.
The wreck was scheduled in 2002 as a Controlled Site under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 and no diving is permitted on her. However, to mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her sinking, the UK Ministry of Defence granted diving author Rod Macdonald a special Licence to put together a team to survey the wreck, which lies in 70 metres of water in an exposed location - open to fierce Atlantic storms. Rod would work with Paul Haynes, Ben Wade and Emily Turton to make this expedition a reality.
In June 2016, exactly 100 years on from her loss, an international team of carefully selected divers, each a leader in their own field, was assembled at Scapa Flow. The wreck was located and 12 technical divers dived every day on it for 2 weeks, recording this historically important wreck as never before by photography, videography and by 3D photogrametery. Such was the significance that the expedition was flagged by The Explorers Club.
Rod and Paul Haynes will open OZTeK with a presentation about the Hampshire, past and present - and will reveal the results of this rare glimpse at a very special shipwreck.’