Dates: 15-16th, June 2013,
My first report for my first long/proper OUUEG trip (not to discount the amazing quarry day trips I’ve had). I want to start by acknowledging Rachel, our amazing trip leader, who was really responsible for making the weekend a great success! Add a wonderful group of people and some awesome dives and this trip really set the bar high for all my future OUUEG adventures :)
We left Saturday morning and headed to Swanage with prior knowledge of high winds and an unlikely venture out to sea. But we still did our first dive on Saturday afternoon. It was within the harbor to see the Fleur de lys, a wreck at 13 meters and a pretty great dive. I believe all of the 9 divers were quite satisfied and though the boat ride was a bit “lumpy” we maintained health…this time at least! The afternoon held a shore dive to explore the pier, with our trusty Rachel watching and all of us arriving back in time for the pier closing. Our evening consisted of a delicious meal of homemade chilli (thanks Rachel), a walk and a pint before hitting the sack in a lovely bunkhouse (–a definite recommendation if anyone is looking for a b&b/hostel cross in Swanage).
Sunday had us up bright and early and back to the pier for another dive with Divers Down. We hit the open water with a bit less sun but also a decrease in choppiness. This dive had us down to 30 metres (or a bit less for those lucky chaps diving 36% Nitrox mix) to see Aeolian Sky, a Japanese freight ship that sunk in the 1970s carrying Range Rovers, Marmite and millions of pounds worth of Seychellois Rupees! I don’t think anyone came back from this dive a millionaire but all were quite pleased with the impressive wreck, which definitely compensated for its lack of life. Getting back to the shore proved a bit seasickening for some, but we did make it and were fed and rested for an afternoon dive to the tanks! These sunk while being tested as prototype amphibious vehicles prior to the D-day invasion. We found them most impressive for the abundant life (huge schools of fish, many types of crabs, huge conger eels and a giant lobster, and even a ray seen by a select few). The two tanks were connected by a line and a (what felt like longer than) 75 metre swim got us between the two and back. A wonderful sunny boat ride back, including scenic views of Old Harry Rocks, and we were packed up and back to Oxford.
Again, thanks to all for being great companions and drivers and buddies and to Rachel for planning. I can’t wait for my next trip!