All Wight Diving

On Friday 8th May 13 of us (unlucky for some) headed off to Lymington for our first UK dive weekend of the season.  Half the group stayed with Cynthia Doherty and her husband, Roy, in their beautiful home.  The other half stayed almost next door at Haven Hurst House B&B, also a lovely house – thanks to Jackie and Brian Maskell for booking this (you deserved the best room!)

The weekend started with dinner at Cynthia’s, which was very civilized, particularly as we had a boys’ and girls’ table!  However the conversation on both tables kept coming back to the weather as the winds were howling outside.

Alarms went off early on Saturday morning and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we looked out of the window to see sunshine and no swaying trees.

We headed to the harbour to greet out skipper, Dave Mendes, and boarded Wight Spirit with all our kit (expect Kev Tulip who left his drysuit in the car!  Fortunately he realised before we headed off into the Solent).

The two dives of the day were:

1)The Fenna: a Dutch wooden schooner sunk in a storm in 1881.  Its cargo of railway lines, sheets of glass and barrels of cement can see be seen; and

2)War Knight: a steel steamer of 7951 tons, sunk in 1918.

Both were at least 1½ hours away, passed the Isle of Wight Needles.

The first dive was great; visibility quite reasonable; and life abundant, including at least one huge conger eel.

The second dive wasn’t quite so popular because the wreck couldn’t be seen by anybody, visibility being about a foot!  Sandra Argent didn’t move from the bottom of the shot line but her buddy, Len Hards, braved the few feet to release the weight of the shot from the wreck.  

This was great comfort to those who couldn’t do the dive due to sea sickness; Kevan Tulip was still hanging over the side of the boat when the divers returned and Gill Wilson was still looking rather green (but not with envy!)

Before heading off out for dinner that evening, Bret was almost evicted from the B & B for using bubble bath in a jacuzzi bath, thus filling the room with soap suds.  To make matters worse, rather than clearing the evidence immediately, he got dressed and returned to the bathroom to see our hostess on her hands and knees mopping the floor…

Saturday night we enjoyed a great curry in Lymington – another very civilized evening – and we were all tucked up in our beds early, dreaming of excellent visibility and a sea sickness-free day on the Sunday.

For most, our dreams were answered.  The two dive sites were:

1)The Venezuela: an upright steel steamer torpedoed in 1918, with three boilers; and

2)Christchurch Ledge: a drift dive.

Again, the morning dive provided reasonable visibility and lots of life.  However, despite the size of this wreck, two divers managed to lose it completely and only encountered a large crab and a rubber glove (Kev and Gill really must improve their navigation skills!)

Sadly the sea sickness got the better of Jim Molyneux, Gill Wilson and Sandra Argent and they sat out the last dive of the weekend.  However those who did enter the water drifted at great speed and it made for a very enjoyable experience.

Kev Tulip was Dive Manager for the weekend, assisted by Ros Hepple who was unable to dive because of a mal-functioning drysuit – she’d trimmed her neck-seal (we suspect with gardening shears) and it flopped loosely round her neck thus becoming a just a neck without the seal – a worthy candidate for the wooden spoon award we believe!

Not only did Ros assist with the Management but she also took lessons from the skipper and navigated us safely back to Lymington – well done Ros.

For the non-divers – Audrey Molyneux and Mary Hards – the shops and local hostelries provided entertainment.  They also took a trip to the Isle of Wight on Sunday.

A great weekend was had by all and thanks go to Cynthia for her hospitality and for organising the trip.