Challaborough – Easter weekend
It was few weeks ago that I thought that I had not booked any diving for Easter weekend. An ideal opportunity to get some dives under our belt as the season kicks off!
We decided that we would head off to Challaborough with the RIB. The other 4 places were filled with Gren, Sarah, Trish and Ian.
Challaborough is about 17 miles away from Plymouth, near Burgh Island. The chalets are made of wood and resemble 2 bedroom chicken sheds with bathroom, kitchen and a lounge, but they are comfortable and reasonably priced. The RIB are launched from the sandy beach next door to the caravan park by Tractor Dick!
The diving plan was to dive the first day, the Persier followed by the Louis Shield as our second dive. With Dave and I coxing, we headed off to the Persier. The Persier is an old steam ship and a classic dive of South Devon. She sits in about 28m of water and diveable on any state of the tide. Gren, Trish, Ian and I dived the first wave. Excellent dive, the viz was a good few meters, not to cold (well, 8 degrees). Gren and I went in search of the congas that live in the boilers, whilst Trish and Ian went for the swim through. After about 35 minutes, we were ready to get back on board the RIB, where we were met with poor Sarah suffering from sea sickness and her head over the side. Looking rather green, Sarah decided not to dive. So, back to Challaborough for some lunch and a warm drink.
After some time waiting for our lunch to digest and watching the RIB to check it didn’t beach, we jumped back into the RIB to dive the Louis Shield. I decide to cox the boat, so Dave, Gren, Trish and Ian jumped in. We didn’t get to dive the Louis Shield as we couldn’t find it! Although, I’m told that the kelp dive was very interesting!! The weather was good on Friday, so once diving was finished for the day, we headed back to the beach, recovered the RIB with Tractor Dick and went to Salcombe for air fills and a swift drink in the pub. At this point it was decided to buy a BBQ as the Men wanted to play with fire. Off to the butchers and then back to the chicken sheds for a BBQ. After some time the meat was finally cooked on a half lit BBQ and off to bed for the next days diving.
Day two saw us diving Hilsea point. Hilsea point is a pinnacle rising from 35m up to 5m with stunning sea life with hard and soft corals. I was diving with Ian and we were the second wave in. I had inadvertently left my torch in the car, so borrowed Trish’s. Ian and I descended down to about 20m+ in search of the needle swim through. At this point, I switched on Trish torch, nothing. Not to worry, I have a back up, switched it on.. nothing. I signalled to Ian, he gave me his back up torch, I switched that on, yep, you guessed it.. Nothing! We found the swim through, which was right by the shot (Thanks Dave!) as I didn’t have torch, I was virtually holding onto Ian Pillar value, so I could see some light, but once out of the short swim through, the viz was good enough not to need one. We all completed the first dive we once again headed back to Challaborough for lunch. The wind had picked up a little which made for an entertaining ride home. With Dave at the wheel, Trish and I squealing like girls and Gren doing his ﾒDog hanging out of a car windowﾓ routine we had an enjoyable ride back to the beach. Heavy duty Cornish pasties all round for lunch, then back out.
Only a short trip to Burgh Island for our next dive. I had chronic indigestion from the pasties so decided to cox the RIB. Dropped both sets of divers in and waited for them to finish diving. At this point, I was getting a little bored, so decided to have some fun. I knew where both pairs were as their SMB’s were up, so I headed out a little was for some high speed manoeuvring! After a while both pairs surfaces and I picked them up, then the questions started as to what I was up to on the surface as they could hear the RIB under the water! Rib recovered for day two and off to Salcombe to get air fills and another drink and this time some ice cream. Despite Sarah efforts we were unable to book at restaurant for Saturday night, so by default headed off for dinner on the beach with fish and chips from Fryer Tuck, or should that be Fryer Yuck?! Couple of drinks in the local bar and off to bed in the chicken sheds.
Day three was met with a cloudy chilly day. But little wind, so we headed off for the Maine.
Trish, Ian and I were diving in the second wave, so I was Coxing with Ian practicing his boat handling skills. After a while, I was too cold to go in, so sent Trish and Ian off for their dive. Quite glad I did as Trish did remark she was ﾒvery very cold indeed!ﾓ when surfaced! Off to Hope cove for lunch, once again, the obligatory pasties and back out for dive two of a drift within Hope Cove. Gren and I had a nice bimble around.
I lifted up a rock and witnessed a party of shrimps that I can only describe as entertaining a crab !??! Back on board and Dave and Ian’s turn to dive, it was Trish’s chance to have a blast around on the RIB once we knew where the SMB was. All back on board the RIB and back to Challaborough, home to Tractor Dick and the chicken sheds. All washed and changed, Sarah had come up trumps for a restaurant for dinner and we all had a very nice meal at St Anne’s Chapel. We all decided to head off early on Monday morning to beat the traffic home and Ian’s quest to do some DIY before the Easter weekend was out.
Monday morning came round, RIB all secured to Dave’s car, we all started back to London for the long journey home. All satisfied with a good Easter weekends diving and minimal Easter egg eating, well, apart from Dave! Sorry Sarah for Dave eating most of your Smartie Easter egg!