My First RIB Dive

It was a dark and stormy morning, but having loaded our gear we five intrepid divers and the redoubtable Paul Feakes as cox’n, set off from Newhaven in Seaking for the wreck of SS Inverclyde. The weather outside was much better, but a bit on the windy side. It was a fairly lumpy ride to the site where we found the local scuba school had already dropped a shot line and had divers in the water. The school kindly agreed to us using their line.

As an Ocean Diver trainee this was my first diving trip, and my son’s, on a RIB. Peter and Chris showed us how kitting was done and had soon rolled off and into the sea. What a thrill to me, as my turn was next. It’s hard to put into words the sense of adventure and pure fun it was to kit up and roll off, then down the shot line straight onto the boilers of the Inverclyde, but it really was brilliant fun. Dave Tresidder led Ross and me around the wreck, and proved to have a keen eye for spotting interesting sights. Thanks to Dave we had a memorable encounter with a friendly cuttlefish, but also crabs, lobsters and many fish. The wreck itself was difficult to make sense of due to visibility of about 3 metres, but the boilers and surrounding debris field made an interesting dive.

An hours surface time allowed us to enjoy our sandwiches, the views of the chalk coast and beautiful South Downs and swap stories of what we had seen.

We then had a delightful drift dive on the flinty ledges nearer shore from the wreck. We found an abundance of hermit crabs, starfish, two pipe fish, sand dabs, sponges of various sorts, crabs and an astonishing sight of a school of mackerel flashing by.

The sea had calmed somewhat, so the trip back to Newhaven was a higher speed run of flying spray. What an amazing day!

John O’Donoghue