West Bay trip

West Bay is a (very) small town near Lyme Regis, but boasts some really great diving. A group of hardy souls headed there on a Friday afternoon in late October to sample it. We enjoyed the regulation pub drinks/dinner on Friday night, most of us opting for the local fish and seafood, which was exceptional. Except for one (buddy-unfriendly) diver, who dined mainly on garlic, with a mussel garnish.

One of the benefits of such a small town is that everything is close, so we were able to load gear onto the Ruby J without any major problems, and then it was off into the sunshine to dive The Baygitano. The Ruby J is run by WestBay Diving, who have one of the best websites I’ve seen from a dive charter http://www.westbaydiving.co.uk. If only all charters put so much time into their websites, dive briefings would be much easier.

Onboard Ruby J

The Baygitano is a steamer, lying at 21m, built in South Shields and the victim of a German U boat. The marine life on this wreck is breathtaking, on descending the shot I initially mistook the significant mass next to me for the wreck. On closer inspection, it turned out to be huge numbers of (possibly) Wrasse, gathering in shoals the size of which we rarely see here in the UK. Also in abundance were conger eels, almost every ledge or crevice we peered into contained one of these mighty giants, waiting for an unsuspecting fish (or divers hand!) to creep into range. We enjoyed “the Baggi” so much we dived it again in the afternoon, with the same rewards. Huge crabs and tasty looking lobsters were spotted!

We spent a speech-tastic Saturday night in a local hostelry for a post-dive review, before heading back to the Parkdean caravans for an early night. The caravan site is ideally positioned for access to the harbour, and there are also B&B options in the town, for the more discerning diver.

Diving is tiring!

Sunday was warmer although overcast and the plan was to dive the Moidart, then collect some scallops before heading home. The Moidart is another steamer, and yet another U boat victim. It lies at 33m, and although it was quite dark we had visibility of perhaps 2m on the seabed, and could see and explore the wreck well enough. After 20 minutes or so we surfaced, to find our skipper wrestling manfully with an uncooperative engine.

Eventually he had to call the Coastguard for assistance, who arrived with their customary speed and good humour, with no complaints about interrupted Sunday lunches! So, rather than foraging along the seabed in a “hunter-gatherer-esque” manner for scallops, we were somewhat embarrassingly towed back into the harbour. Still, it amused the locals, if not our apologetic skipper! A timely reminder of the vital importance these teams of volunteers play in making our sport safe.

Many thanks to the Maskells (aka Brackie) for organising a super weekend.

Leanne Owen