Plan B

Brian writes about the club’s trip out of Dover last weekend:

We had a plan!

The weather had a different plan!

The weather won…

We’d aimed to go searching for the remains of a Spitfire along the Kent coast, but a week of strong Westerlies put paid to that. Chris, the skipper of dive boat Maverick* and veteran of the Dover diving scene, did some calculations, recited some magic spells and decided the Pommerania would be our best bet as a plan B. *(Mutiny Diving – Facebook Page)

SS Pommerania (27m depth)

An ocean liner from the 1870s (Steam and Sail), it’s one of the classic dives in this part of the world, littered with spars and debris, providing hours of entertainment for fans of rust, rope and broken crockery. Six such fans, Debbie, Tom, Chris, Jonathan, Glenn and Brian set out in the crisp dawn into a bracing Force Four to explore it.

The wreck is truly enormous and atmospheric, broken superstructure looming out of the darkness, congers snaking through pipes, ribs disappearing into the sand. Who needs visibility when there’s so much stuff within a few meters of you?

Nice and calm start!
(Ed. 2 out of the 6 – the others obviously didn’t have their make up done in time)

Back on the boat, cylinders refilled with air and divers refilled with sausage rolls (and, in Tom’s case, the Greatest Pastie Cornwall Ever Made), we formulated plan B Part 2.

We couldn’t dive the Spitfire, but we could go looking for something a bit bigger: a B17 Flying Fortress, Miss Lollipop, which crashlanded in 1944 having been hit by flack over Dunkirk.

“Where the *@”!%$ are we?” “I’m sure I’ve seen this rock before?” “Whose hand is that?” “That’s not my hand you’re touching…” [Ed. licence]

The sea was flatter, but the viz was down to fingertip level, and in spite of an hour’s careful searching in circles using lines, we didn’t find it. However, there were the remains of something far older; Chris brought up a wrought iron grappling hook that must have come from a ship sometime from the 17th to 18th Centuries – it certainly didn’t come from a WWII bomber. Still, it was good practise for when we get a window in the weather and finally get to search for that Spitfire engine.

Nice Door Stop

This is the way UK diving works: you make a meticulous plan, the weather, waves and visibility conspire against you, you improvise and come up with something else. Go looking for a bomber, find something off a pirate ship. As long as there’s banter, tea and hot sausage rolls the rest is details.

“Looks calm enough…oh wait we are still inside the harbour wall!” [Ed]