With all the recent restrictions it has been difficult to get into the water this year. An earlier trip to Weymouth had to be postponed until next year and a shore dive in North Wales was called off due to an unfavourable wind direction. So it was with great excitement that we headed down to Plymouth for a long booked charter.
We met up (suitably soicially distanced) on the Thursday evening and got our briefing for the following day – Scylla and James Egan Layne – two nice easy dives to get the long weekend going. Firday dawned bright & sunny. The wind was light & the sea calm – ideal. We were diving with Indeep on the Seeker, a boat most of use were familiar with. Things were a little different this time as no-one was allowed in the wheelhouse and they could not serve hot drinks or pasties, but no matter, we had come for the diving!
We dropped in on the Syclla in OK visibility (it never seems to be great on this wreck) and had a gentle swim to the strern and back to the bridge. Then it was back to the shot & up. The JEL is one of my favourites and we had her all to ourselves! As usual we dropped in on the bow and made our way to the strern and then turned round and came back to the shot. I love looking up at the beams above me and seeing all the growth on them! Unfortunately it had become a little cloudy so we didn’t get the shafts of sunlight you can get on a really sunny day.
On Saturday we dived the Persier. I have only dived this wreck once before. Due to a leaking drysuit, I dived it in a semi-dry and my only memory was swimming round and round the boilers in very poor visibility and getting very cold! How different it was this time. The visibility was a good 10m and I have never seen so much fish life around the boilers. Then we headed off, following the prop shaft to see the rudder. You knoow when you are there as the steering quadrant rises up off the seabed – really impressive. Then it was back to conger hunting among the plates before it was time to head home. The second dive was the Glen Strathallan. I have never dived her before & am not sure I want to again! We saw the boiler, but there is little else other than a few bits of scrap metal and rather a lot of kelp!
On Sunday we dived the Elk. Again, I had tried to dive her before. All I can say from the last dive is that I touched something metal but it was pitch black so we came stright back up. As with the Persier the day before, this dive put all this to rights. If anything the visibility was even better than the day before. The Elk is only a small wrieck, bt you could almost see the entire boat. We did a complete circuit with a short trip out onto the sand so that my diving budddy could get his 30m depth progression! Durng our circumnavigation, we saw crayfish, lobseter, congers & multiple species of crab – what a dive. My poor camera has never taken so many pictures on one dive!
For our last dive we returned to the JEL as two other divers with us had not dived her before. This time the skipper put a shot onto the stern and so we had quite a different dive from the usual tour. Once again a lovely dive but a shame it had to be the last one of the trip.
Many thanks to Bob & Liz who organised this trip. It wasn’t easy as there was quite a lot of uncertainty as to whether we would be able to go – but it was worth it. A really good trip & lets hope we can get a few more in before the end of this season….