Dates: 21st, April 2012,
Heading downstairs at 6:40am, i looked out the window to see a Tom ambling about. After making him a strong coffee, i realised that Giles was not with Tom, but then Gemma appeared with Giles in tow. 7am, the departure came time and went with no sign of Clare, so at 7:10 we headed off in Tom’s car to sunny Weymouth. The journey was uneventful, save for a brief pit-stop to re-gaffa part of the front-window and an obscure txt from Andy White commenting on the speed limit which made us miss the turning from the M3 to the M27, just as Andy drove passed us waving. Finding the bridge at Weymouth shut, we had to take a detour around the town to Tango’s mooring and found a number of road improvements which meant we could not turn where we wanted. Luckily Tom is an expert in the art of U-turns.
Arriving at the boat (http://www.tangoofweymouth.co.uk/), there were only 2 others, and one of them was not diving so for 4 divers we had lots of space – luxury!
Luckily, Giles checked his computer before we cast off to find it was out of energy and even more lucky that Tom had a spare battery in his car – result!
Dive 1: Eleanor R – 30m, 46min
We were ~1m from the seabed when it came into view. The wreck is quite flat with lots of plates and ribs creating small crevices and small amount of structure standing up. All around the wreck are mussel shells, which shift to cover and reveal different bits. Saw a number of lobsters – all out of reach, spider crabs casually walking around the wreck, blennies posing in or around holes and a few bib and pollock swimming on the edge of vizability and a couple of edible crabs. The highlight of the dive was Giles spotting a large edible crab in a 1ft tube. Tom’s eye’s went wide when he saw the crab filling the tube, but was unable to extract it. I signalled to Giles that he should have a go, with his nice red crab-coloured suit and his high dexterity as he was not wearing any gloves. Giles returned an infactic no by the shake of his head. Carrying on the dive, gas was getting low and decompression was mounting up, so we ascended up my DSMB. At 6m, i had <one minute of stops (~20 secs), Tom had 3 (7 min TTS) and Giles was clear. Hmmm, I was using 33% nitrox, so expected less decompression requirements, but Giles’ computer was a little puzzling as he and Tom were both on air…
Dive 2: Dumping ground drift – 24m, 26min
This was a hunter gathering dive across the old navy dumping ground where we expected to find spent shells as well as scallops and other edibles. Doing a savaging drift dive in a 3 is always a PITA and we managed to stay together. After putting a dozen or so scallops in my bag It starts to drag, so I clipped it on. Having a wire mouth, my goody bag is easy to fill underwater compared to a drawstring bag which pulls closed. I’d come across a couple of crabs which looked a little small, but pointed one out to Tom that looked a decent size. Tom disappeared into a cloud of silt and returned with a crab which went into the bag. I got to the point where the bag was too much hassle, so attached my DSMB and deployed – which was a challenge as, in the drift as it got twisted and did not fill easily. Saw dogfish, Tom saw a flatfish, which got away, some porcelain a blenny in a bottle and a cannon end cap. All too quickly our gas was getting low, so up we came. Sorting out the scallops, we’d picked up a number of small ones which were returned to the sea. Phil through that the crab was a bit soft and demonstrated this by putting his thumb through the underside of the shell. I hope it regrows :o(
After the dive, we packed up and went to Old Harbor Divers (http://www.oldharbourdivecentre.co.uk/) to re-fill our cylinders. As we had 20mins to kill, 3 portions of fish and chips were devoured – lovely!
Thanks to Tom for driving us down and both Giles and Tom for the fun dives.