Dive Trips

Endeavour - Dive Testing Complete

1st Ever Dive From Endeavour

After the disappointment of the steering failure the previous weekend it was very satisfactory to get Endeavour in use again. Thanks have to go to Steven Litchfield who went down to the coast in the week to fit the new steering cable and give us confidence in organising a small party to go down at the weekend. So what was she like? 

Read more: Endeavour - Dive Testing Complete

Weymouth March 2011

A Beautiful Spring Weekend

You could not have asked for better conditions: neap tides, sunshine, no wind and a perfectly flat Weymouth Bay - truely like glass. 

Our plan was to have two dives on our project wreck - the Alex van Opstal - one on each day. To do this we had to leave the marina at an un-weekendly (think I've just invented a new word there...) 7.30am. Despite all predictions we actually left 5 minutes early and made good progress in the perfect conditions. 

It was all going so well

With a little early morning fog adding to the atmosphere we were starting sense this would be a good weekend. But with a sudden CRUNCH! that all looked a bit premature. We'd hit something. With lightning reactions the skipper shut off the engine, and we sent a diver in to investigate what had got tangled on the propellor.

So the first official dive of the 2011-12 calendar (from the dinner dance in late March onwards) was in 1m of water cutting a plastic mail sack from our boat's propellor. Auspicious indeed.

The Alex van Opstal

Problem solved we made it to the Alex on slack. We shotted the wreck and two divers started off the weekend's diving proper. It was looking so good, until we realised they hadn't moved off the shotline after being down about 5 minutes. Surfacing shortly afterwards they informed us that they couldn't even see their own fins at the bottom, and despite being on the wreck had decided there wasn't really any point in diving.

So, the mood slightly more sombre we enacted Plan B...

Lobster Alley and the Black Hawk

Not as exciting as the Alex, but with 4-5m vis we weren't complaining. After months of being confined to inland dive sites after the weather ruled out trips it was just nice to be back in the sea. There were fish, crabs, lobsters, a slight current and all the random bits of this and that which make the sea so much fun to dive in! Plus it is around 3 degrees C warmer than the quarries, making it a lot more comfortable.

Day Two: Round the Bill

Having realised that Weymouth Bay was pea soup (possibly to do with run-off from all the Olympics construction?) we ventured West and round Portland Bill. When we headed for the wreck of the James Fennel and saw all the charter boats there we knew we must have got it about right.

James Fennel

On dive one, Steve L and I actually found the notoriously difficult-to-locate James Fennel, and were able to pinpoint it for the others to have their second dive on. I'd say this was more by luck than judgement, certainly on my part, but I think Lichy knew what he was doing once we'd started to find bits of wreckage and led me on a tour of the highlights! It really was a fantastic dive - 10m+ vis, calm water and loads of life. Despite locating the stern, prop shaft, boiler and plenty of scattered wreck, we also saw lobsters, pipefishes, conger eels, a stonefish, wrasse and so much more.

SS Gertrude

On our second dive Lichy and I tried to find the SS Gertrude, hidden amongst the bus-size boulders littering the seabed. We weren't so lucky this time, although having located the anchor I suspect we simply needed to turn towards land rather than out to sea and we would have found it. Never mind - still a pleasant drift dive amongst the boulders, and a nice end to a cracking weekend.

Scillies 2007

allpano_lgeA wonderful week away....

kerrie_sueOn Saturday the 28th August last year a group 12 divers and 4 nondivers from the dive club jumped on a ferry to the Isles of Scilly 30 miles off the tip of Cornwall for a week of diving. The Scilly Isles are unique for diving as it has more wrecks per square mile than any other place in the world ranging from four 17th century British fleet ships which sank in 1707 right up to the Cita a container ship which sank in 1997. It is said that there are over a thousand ships wrecked around these islands.

The ferry trip was around three hours from Penzance to St Mary's and can be a very lumpy crossing at times, but luck was on our side it was a smooth crossing. We arrived in St Mary's mid afternoon on Saturday and had a short walk to our B and Bs. To start the trip off on a good footing we all meet in the evening for a meal and few sociable drinks. As the diving did not start until Monday we had a free day on Sunday to go and explore the Islands.

swim_portsideOn the first day of diving we met up with our skipper Jo at the harbour and got started loading dive kit from the shipping container to the dive boat (Moon Shadow). We were then on our way to the first dive site of the Plymton and the Hathor

The first thing you notice when you land on the wreck at 24m is the 10-15m visibility down there, meaning you can get a clear picture of the wreck, making navigation a breeze. As Karen and I made our way down the wreck to 30m, it was hard to see at first where one ship ended and the other started. Once we got our bearings you could make out the bow of Hathor jutting out at 90 degrees to the Plymton. Our thoughts were if this was a taster of things to come we were in for a week of amazing diving, (which certainly turned out to be true).

The second dive of the day put us on a set of rocks that were supposed to be teaming with life. Unfortunately the current was so strong it was sweeping us off the rocks out into open water, so along with ourselves many divers aborted soon after entering the water.

Over the next four days we dived a mix of shipwreck and scenic locations. One of the wreck dives we did was the Cita, which was the last ship to go down in the Scilly's. The Cita was a large container-feeder ship that sank on 26th March 1997 after going ashore at full speed at 03.30am. All the crew were fast asleep and the vessel on automatic pilot with the radar alarm system switched off. The Cita is still largely complete and still has a good coating of paint on it.

engine_pushrod_camFor me the best dive of the week was the wreck of the Italia an Italian-registered 2,792-tonne armed steamship carrying coal from Cardiff to Toronto which drove ashore 11th May 1917 in dense fog during the same night that the SS Lady Charlotte was wrecked near Porth Hellick, St Mary's 3 miles to the east. As the Italia drove ashore on Wingletang Ledge the inhabitants of St Agnes were unaware of the wreck, as the sound of escaping steam and her siren were thought to be coming from the Lady Charlotte wreck. . The Italia lies trapped in a sheltered, steep, sloping gully, her stern at 20m and the bow at 50m, myself and Andy swam the length of the ship. This ship looked like it had been ripped open down its centre line. The engine sat in the middle with conrods and crankshaft exposed. Further down the Italia at 43m is the bow light tower sat in the twisted metal untouched with the lantern still complete like someone had just placed it there.

stuThe week wasn't just about diving, in the evenings we met up for food and a spot of lighthearted socialising over a few drinks and food. All in all it was a fantastic trip with excellent diving, good weather and good group of people who all got on well. On behalf of all who went along I would like to thank Chris Stevens for organising such a great trip.

 

Stuart Bowsher

Subcategories

  • Weymouth - a club guide

     It's where our hardboat is moored, and we do a fair bit of diving there.

    Article Count:
    2
  • Trip Reports

    Here you can find trip reports from dive trips organised by club members.

    Article Count:
    29
  • Annual Reports

    Our diving year runs from our annual Dinner and Dance, usually held just before the diving year really gets going, in the spring. 

    Article Count:
    1
  • Forthcoming

    Upcoming major dive trips which the club is organising will be posted here. We go diving as often as possible and not all one-day or weekend trips will make it onto the website. All trips are posted in the clubhouse for members to sign up to, on a first-come first-served basis. Some trips require a desposit to be paid to secure a place, but many are conducted on trust, especially when we dive from club boats. 

    Article Count:
    7
  • Dive Trips Archive

    These are all trips which have been and gone or never actually happened! Either way some of the planning details here might prove useful to someone so we'll leave them on the website. 

    Article Count:
    8

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