On Sunday 10th October we ran an Oxygen Administration Training course at the K&E club house, some taking this as a skill development course (SDC) and others to complete parts of their Dive Leader training. It also served as a good refresher of Basic Life Support and the incident procedures when dealing with a diver casualty for those who had last practiced these skills some time ago.

Oxygen Administration Training Course - Image of course student performing Basic Life Support Rescue Breaths on a Resusci Annie dummy.
Oxygen Administration Training Course – Basic Life Support Rescue Breaths

We started the day with Basic Life Support (BLS) theory, followed by Emma giving a thorough demonstration and walk-through of the procedures. Everyone then got hands-on practice using the resusci annie’s to experience for themselves the challenge of giving rescue breaths and chest compressions on your own, trying both a face shield and pocket mask when giving breaths.

 Oxygen Administration Training Course - Image of someone performing Basic Life Support Chest Compressions
Oxygen Administration Training Course – Basic Life Support Chest Compressions

We also ran through two variations of putting a casualty into the recovery position, the classic “How” and also a more stable position which may be employed on a moving boat or in a more confined area (like on the club RIB).

 Oxygen Administration Training Course - Image of person in recovery position
Is he breathing? Oxygen Administration Training Course – Basic Life Support Chest Compressions

A reminder on the use of oxygen in diving incidents was followed by more practical work on Casualty Assessment in small groups, to determine the nature of the incident and what action was needed, whilst someone monitored and assessed the casualty, making notes on changes to their condition.

 Oxygen Administration Training Course - Image of students looking through rescue scenarios on a sheet of paper.
Oxygen Administration Training Course – Rescue Scenarios

We then got hands-on with the oxygen administration equipment, everyone setting it up and selecting a demand valve to supply oxygen to a conscious casualty or constant flow supply for an unconscious one, before putting this into practice again using the resusci annie’s to give chest compressions. Working in pairs was easier than as a lone rescuer giving BLS, but still highlighted the need for co-ordinating breaths and compressions, and when switching these roles. It also showed how the exertion of giving chest compressions over even a relatively short time period can soon become tiring.

The day concluded with an assessment for all the students, requiring them to demonstrate both theory and practical skills learnt during the course. I am pleased to report that Amanda, Debbie, Hywel, Louisa, Nathan, Ross and Zoe all passed.

Thanks to Nick for arranging, and Elaine for leading the course, plus those who instructed and helped out on the day: Emma, James, Jonathan, Nick, Paul and Peter.

Congratulations also to James, seen below taking one of the theory lessons as a newly-qualified Open Water Instructor!

Oxygen Administration Training - image of students sitting listening to instructor presenting course material on projected screen.
Oxygen Administration Training Course – Theory Training

[Ed. If you are interested in taking your diving skills to the next level or you would like to brush up on them, then please get in touch and we can help get you there. Contact Us]

BEACH, RIB, HARD BOAT

Shore Dive and Club Picnic on a Sunny Day – Great fun!

There is a choice of diving for all levels at Kingston Elmbridge Scuba Club and recently even an opportunity for family and friends to come and watch.

This was demonstrated when three different club trips took place over a really sunny weekend in September. 

The first day of diving was on the Saturday 4th September; a beach dive off of West Beach in Newhaven, along the harbour wall that would provide us shelter from the North Easterly wind and strong waves.  When we arrived the sea on the westerly side of the harbour wall was flat calm, which was great as the purpose of the dive was to allow newly trained members the opportunity to have their first experience of open water sea diving.

The other purpose of the day, apart from having fun, was to have a club picnic on the beach so that non divers (friends and family + dogs) could be in some way involved and see what we do when we go diving.    So many times, we kiss our loved ones goodbye before shooting off on a RIB a few miles off coast or head to some lake, to then return with lots of wet and smelly kit which we then spend a few hours hosing down and leave drying in the family bathroom! 

Those diving arrived at 08:30 and kitted up ready for a planned 09:30 start to diving.  Those non-divers could have a few more hours kip and sauntered down to the beach later on in the morning.

A dive briefing was then given by Nathan as part of his Diver Leader training and respective buddy pairs did their own checks and made their way over the pebbly beach to the sea.   The distance was probably about 100m from the carpark, so it was quite a trek if you were in your full gear, others more sensibly did a few trips!

Newhaven is the home of our club RIB Sea King, which meant we could provide top cover for those diving along the wall should divers need assistance.   Sea King was coxed by our Diving Officer Craig who had the assistance of James and David as crew.   Having Sea King there also meant that after diving activities had ended some family members (pretty much the kids) were able to get on board the club rib and go for a fast ride around the bay.

Vis was 2 meters at best, probably a little more at times but murky.  There weren’t the number of Crabs that I was expecting, but there were a few of them about if you looked in the nocks and crannies and I saw a shoal of fish, although by the time I pointed them out to my buddy they were gone back into the murk.   One of the funniest moments was when we came across a very small gap in the boulders at the base of the wall on guard at the entrance were about 20 shrimp that came out to protect their cave from me and my buddy – brave for their size! 

No one got lost and no one got pulled off the end of the harbour wall by the retreating tide and needed the RIB to come pick them, so all in all it was a successful dive.

After diving and once everyone de-kitted we all sat out in the glorious sunshine enjoying a club picnic.  Those who stayed longer went off to explore the rockpool and caves down the far end of the beach once the tide had gone out.

The following day, Sunday 5th September two different dive trips went out.  

Sea King our RIB and 6 club members went out on dead calm seas to enjoy diving MV Devon Coaster, she’s a bit broken up now, but for Dan this was his first sea dive as a qualified Ocean Diver.   Vis was apparently not the greatest (75cm), but any dive is a dive, and great to be out in glorious sunshine again.   The group then went and enjoyed a 44-minute drift dive which was “lovely” according to Dan.  Big thanks to Jon and James who were Cox and crew, allowing others to dive.  (Ed. I mean they could have dived but for various reasons opted to top up their tans!)

On the same day Proteus, a large hard boat that Kingston and Elmbridge members has access to when it goes out, headed out from Brighton Marina to dive the Lancer II.   Mark was able to bring back a large crab for Lucy’s dinner, much to her delight.  They also dived around the harbour when they got back, and Mark found a very fetching pair of pink lens sunglasses!  I am sure we will see them again if we have a club 70s night!

There’s always much fun to have when you join a diving club.  It gets you out, allows you to make friends and have great life experiences!  If you want to know more about joining KESAC as a qualified diver or you want to learn to dive, contact us.

On the 24th June 2021 members of Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club headed out to Vobster Quays Inland Diving Centre to sink a boat.

Well, not them exactly, more the British Army sappers who kindly agreed to sink club member Chris Drewett’s boat Sophia.

Chris provided me with a bit of background to Sophia.

“We brought her [the boat] 10 years ago for £5,500 she was 23 years old and already had a lot of work carried out on her, but needed more. We have taken her out on the Thames many times and even went to Windsor and had dinner on the river there…she always got us back home, but often after some “on hand repairs” along the way. We even took her out fishing a few times on the south cost.

I have spent a small fortune on her and could probably have brought a new one. I loved her but repairs where turning out to be needed after every trip.

So needing room for my next project on the driveway [converting a van into a camper van] a decision had to be made so I offered her to Vobster as one of the attractions that people can go dive, which they kindly accepted and organised for a contingent of local sappers from the British Army to come sink her.

So in a sense I have solved the problem of space out the front of the house and I still get to see her using my other passion – Diving. It’s a win win for me!

May she live in the lake for many years to come!”

Chris Drewett, 2021

Sophia went down next to the car at Marker Bouy 22, so why not check her out…you never know you might find some treasure on her that Captain Drewett may have left aboard.

KESAC Club Members who went to witness the sinking of Sophia (some got to dive her first…although the sinking kicked up a lot of poor vis) Chris and his wife Nikki are third and fourth from the right.

Below are some photos of the day kindly taken by club member David Nicholson.

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“I love ginger nuts,” as I innocently proceeded to share a packet of biscuits.  “I’m sure you do!” came the reply…took me 30 seconds, but eventually realised that this pretty much set the tone and banter of the day.

Seriously though, this day of diving was an absolute belter!  

Not only was it great to be back out diving as a club, but the weather and the sea – wow, we lucked out – a great day for it.

Although not so lucky was the 5am start many of of us had to make sure we got down and onto the pier with our cars and heavy diving kit before it was filled up and this would have meant parking in the neighbouring council car park and lugging our kit that much further.  

Some of the KESAC members after the second dive (17 July 2021)

The days diving was organised by Lucy; a new member to the club this year, but has been a BSAC diver for number of years with other clubs.  And this was her big day to show Craig, our club Diving Officer, whether she could manage and organise a club dive in order to finish her Dive Leader qualification.  The main criteria, at least for me was that we all came back alive.  But more on whether Lucy managed us successfully and passed her quals later.

Lucy gave us a full brief, making sure we filled out all the proper paperwork for next of kin, diving logs, who is diving together as a buddy pair etc… and answering any questions we had.

Today was going to be two boat dives, followed by a shore dive under the Pier at Swanage.

Diving with Divers Down, whose diver shop and operations are based on the pier, our first dive was the Kyarra, about 2 miles out from Swanage and sits at 30m on the seabed with the wreck rising to 24m.  

SS Kyara Wreck (source: Divers Down Website)

Being so close to Swanage it didn’t take Pete, owner of Divers Down and skipper, that long to get us over the fixed shot lined on the Kyarra’s bow.  

Due to the nature of tides and especially as we were diving a neap tide we were on time according to tide tables for the slack water, but Mother Nature still wasn’t ready, as the buoy attached to the shot line was still below the surface.   This meant that the tide was still running and if we were to attempt to dive the Kyarra we would stand the chance of being pulled off the wreck assuming we could have held on and pulled our way down the shot line in the first place.  

Pete said during his boat briefing that he expected that this would happen, so we had to wait kitted up for 10 minutes and then a little bit more, but eventually the shout came, it would be a bit of a tide pulling us on the shot line as we went down, but we could manage it.

SS Kyara as an Ocean Liner

The SS Kyarra was a 7,000 tonne Australian ocean going liner, built in 1903, and measured 126m from bow to stern and 16m across.  She was carrying 2,600 tones of general cargo, mail, hospital supplies and medical staff who were going to pick up 1,000 wounded Australian wounded soldiers.  She did have a 4.7in gun on her stern and that may have been the reason UB-57 sunk her on the 26 May 1918 use a torpedo to her Port side.  Six crew members were killed.

Due to the nature of her cargo many artefacts continue to be found, especially after storms uncover and break the wreck up further – champagne and wine bottles, perfume bottles, silk yarns, champagne, silver purses, pocket watches and supposedly somewhere gold watches.

SS Kyarra as a Hospital Ship

The viz (visibility) was about 10m, lots of nooks and crannies to find crabs, fish and a few glass bottle tops that were brought up by other divers on our boat.   Some of the group managed to make it from the bow to the stern and then let the prevailing current bring them back to the bow before ascending.  She’s a big ship and I felt that I had seen only a half of her before I had to come back up.  I did manage to find her boilers and fin in amongst some of her massive iron beams and collapsed holds.   I am definitely going to have to go back on a nitrox mix next time to explore more!  (It was my first dive on this wreck by the way).

Kingston and Elmbridge BSAC part owns the wreck of the Kyarra (along with former members of the club who formed the Kyarra Salvage Association) after K&E members Ron Blake and his wife Linden found it in July 1967.  Jason one of our club members came prepared on the day to clean up a plaque the club put up on the pier to remember those lost.  More on that later.

Once all safely aboard a quick trip back to Swanage harbour for some lunch and pick up a further club member to join us on a drift dive off the Peveril Ledges.   

Peveril Ledges are just off to the south west of Swanage’s natural harbour, across the headland known as…surprise surprise, Peveril Point, in Durlston Bay. The idea of this and any drift dive is to use the tidal flow to propel divers along above the seabed to see what they can find.  Once divers are dropped in they race across the ledges taking in all the rich sea life and beauty, while “flying by” at around 3.5 knots and can, if the tide is really fast, end up shooting out into Swanage bay area where they are then picked up.  The depth on this dive was about 20m but due to the undulating nature of the ledges we were up and down between 13.5m and 20m on our dive.     

A great little of video showing what the Peveril Ledges and Drift Diving is all about (Source: James Clark, YouTube, 2012)

To make life easy for Captain Pete to keep an eye on us, we all jumped in together so we drifted roughly in the same area.  The boat continued to travel along at the same speed as us divers, giving him and the mate enough time to make a cup of tea and put their feet up before picking us up in the bay (see story below – photo and story taken from Swanage Pier).

Funny story how a simple Drift Dive can go wrong for the Skipper!

To make things even easier for the skipper, divers will deploy a DSMB or Delayed Surface Marker Buoy, once they reach the bottom.  A DSMB is a long bright red sausage looking inflatable tube that is attached via a long string to a reel that is held onto by a diver.  Once deployed the DSMB floats upright on the surface of the sea due to the weight of the diver to help the skipper see where all the divers are.  

DSMB looks like on the surface.  A diver is holding onto a reel with a line running up to the surface with the DSMB attached.
DSMB on the surface

It was my turn to put up a DSMB for my buddy and I when we got to the bottom, once deployed we could focus on whatever came in front and to the sides of us as we flew by; spider crabs, fish, tube worms, (their “fronds” or fan tails used to filter food as water flows over them disappear like a shot down their holes as you go near to touch them – they are more beautiful and fun than the name suggests), rock formations and so many amazing creatures and habitats.  

The only thing that didn’t get away from me towards the end of the dive were scallops.   Not as many as at Portland on previous trips, but when you get your eye in you can quickly pick them up off the floor and into your keep bag.  At the end of our 65 minute dive we came back up with some kid’s diving mask lost at sea and a few scallops that I ate the very next day, pan fried with some butter and salt and a piece of bread the very next day.  Yum.

Once everyone was back onboard we returned to port once again and fully disembarked this time.  A few of the group needed to return home, whilst others decided for a quieter time on the pier with a bottle of Brasso (more on that later).  

We were met by Thomas and Sarah two newly qualified divers who have just joined the club for their first sea dive under the pier.  Although not a deep dive, there is so much life to be seen.  It was a bit murky after nearly a full days worth of diving by other groups, but still a good 6m vis.   The dive lasted about 40 minutes and both Thomas and Sarah did well with all there was to take in as well as trying to keep trim and all the new noises of boats passing overhead and strange looking creatures.

Bit murky under the pier as we dived it at the end of the day after everyone else had been through.

While some of us were under the pier Jason was up on top polishing a plaque that Kingston and Elmbridge put up in memory of those lives lost in 1918 aboard her as part of the clubs 50th anniversary.  It’s not in the easiest place to polish and was harder than expected to clean it up.  Salt water and storms have weathered it.  If you are interested in finding the plaque yourself while visiting you need to go all the way along the pier to the end to just where there are steps going up and down to the upper and lower decks.

Jason doing more cleaning and polishing than he has ever done at home
Could have been a very painful slip!
The sea and storms have taken it’s toll on our SS Kyarra plaque!

So did Lucy passed?  Of course she did!  Well done Lucy!  Lucy ran the day so well, at times it was like herding cats as our cars were positioned all over the pier entrance and some people can just talk and talk to strangers and other divers (wonder who that could be…).

Lucy Leading the Diving with club members listening on

To celebrate, those who didn’t need to rush home went off to the Ship Pub for a few beers, followed by eating fish and chips out of paper while sitting on the harbour wall watching the sun go down.  Bliss!

Brian Millar writes about the Kingston And Elmbridge Club Trip to Lundy in June 2021.

KESAC Members enjoying themselves on a night out in Ilfracombe

Lundy always makes an entrance. Sometimes it looms out of the mist like some magical island out of a storybook. Sometimes it shimmers in the heat haze like a mirage. Sometimes you just bang your head on it while you’re looking at a seal. This was the club’s second visit to the island, and it didn’t disappoint. We dived with Wild Frontier on their brand-new boat which picked us up from Ilfracombe and zipped us down the Bristol Channel where we picked up a few dolphins who played in the bow wave.

There was almost a flat calm both days, and it was perfect speedo and bikini weather, but alas, we are UK divers so we sweltered on deck in the mini-saunas of our dry suits until we jumped into the blissfully cool water.

Our first dive was in a cove with those Chuckle Brothers of the sea, the seals. Seals love to play games, though I found that on the first dive they were mainly playing hide and seek with an emphasis on the hiding bit. They seemed to want to hang out with Danny and Debbie, who got some amazing pictures – maybe they spotted Debbie’s camera. Everybody wants to be an influencer now.

Every Lundy Dive Trip has to have an obligatory seal image in there somewhere! 🙂

In the afternoon we dived the MV Robert, a 1970s freighter that is still very intact. The Robert is a terrific wreck, an easy dive in about 25m maximum depth, covered in plumose anemones, candy-striped flatworms and nudibranchs, with lots of conger eels lurking in the pipework. 

MV Robert (Source: Wrecksite)

On Saturday evening some of us had a sensibly-socially-distanced curry in Ilfracombe, while others had fish and chips on the beach. This year it’s nice just to get out with friends anywhere, great food and a setting that wasn’t Southwest London was a bonus. Another highlight of Ilfracombe is the local BSAC who were brilliant about doing all our fills and whose facilities have left Jason with a serious case of compressor envy.

We began Sunday with more seals, including some really small pups whose mothers didn’t seem to mind them hanging out with strangers. You got a real sense of the diversity of life on Lundy; we were divebombed by oystercatchers that look like penguins that learned how to fly, and a big bird of prey circled above us on the updrafts. One day we really must go ashore. In the afternoon we dived the Carmine Filomena, an Italian steam-powered cargo ship that ran aground east of Rat Island. The wreck is only in about 10m, but is an absolute garden of waving kelp and shoals of wrasse and pollack. I love the rusty stuff, my buddy Emma loves the squidgy things, so we were both delighted. 

Hello Human!

Thanks to Debbie for organising and re-organising such a brilliant trip during a pandemic, and to Ilfracombe BSAC for filling so many cylinders on one of the hottest days of the year. Now we just have to buy Jason a bank like theirs…

Sign up sheets for next years trip will be available in the club from 5 August. 

We mourn the loss of our good friend and club mate Paul Feakes who has sadly passed away following a long illness 

Paul

Paul was a diver’s diver, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, technical and vastly experienced as well as being a lovely, modest man.  He did his best to dive every week and would happily set off to dive a new wreck somewhere in the UK or overseas.  Paul was a founding member of Eden Divers, BSAC #1689 based in Edenbridge, Kent, where he inspired and encouraged everyone from novices to instructors to improve and learn on every dive.  He was also a long time member of Kingston & Elmbridge, BSAC #17 where he held the position of Diving Officer.  Dive trips with Paul were always fun, he enjoyed a good laugh and loved the banter and discussions following a dive. It helped that he had a wicked, dry sense of humour and we will never forget his smiles when we discussed dives or choosing wrecks to dive. Over the course of a long diving career, Paul had pretty much dived everything.  He was the go to person to talk to when planning a trip or just needing advice on diving a particular wreck or buying equipment.  He understood people and had a knack of pairing divers together, which more often than not resulted in the creation of new and long lasting friendships along the way.  Paul was never happier than when he was in the water, imparting his knowledge and experience in his calm, and assured way. 

When you dived with Paul you knew you were in very safe hands!

Words by Alex Kennedy, friend and club member

A Selection of Memories of Paul from Club Members

Paul will be remembered as a fountain of diving knowledge and a person you could get the best advice from on all subjects. He was a great pleasure to dive with and will be sadly missed at the club and on the boats. I always knew who to contact for any diving advice, he had many years experience and was a great diving officer.

I felt honoured and pleased to go to his funeral and to represent our club, it was held at the Bluebell Cemetery, Old London Road, Halstead, Kent on the 03 June 21. Within Covid rules it was well attended by mainly many of his old diving friends, with his sister Sue and partner Carol and relatives.

We as a club gave a monetary donation to Hospice on the Weald nursing home where he spent his last few days. Everybody spoke very highly of Paul, as a gentleman, wealth of diving knowledge, who always had time to help or explain any diving problems to those around him at the club, on the boat or on the diving trips.

He was a credit to our club and the other clubs he was involved in and I was very proud to be able to say a final farewell to him.

Len Hards, Chairman

Paul was a great diver, and brilliant company on the surface too!

Lucy Evans

He [Paul] was on my first sea dive in 20 years with Richard (at Richard’s request I gleaned – who was more nervous than me! )

Paul was cool as a cucumber as I sank, I think Shirley was nearby too, and stayed by my side as I adjusted myself to the surroundings my mask flooded, adjusting the buoyancy in a unfamiliar drysuit.

He was by my side throughout, the viz was great, Black Hawk I think and as I went up the line, he reassuring and attentive.

We both worked for BT, we had that in common and  we would often chat online about this and that and shared the odd photo and had the same dog breed. He has a Ruby King Charles Cav.

He had done over 40 years in BT, man and boy, based in Kent I think he was mainly telephone systems maintenance before going into Customer Service Management. He stayed on after his time to complete projects, his last was delivering a new network to the Post Office.

Jon Phelps

I have lots of memories! Paul was in all my videos! [Click here to see us on the War Helmet]

Tom Holt

Tony and I are so sorry to hear the sad news about Paul, fabulous guy wealth of knowledge and experience in the diving world, will be greatly missed.

Elaine & Tony

Alan and I will miss him terribly.

Jacqui and Alan

Paul was a kind and softly spoken man, who was very knowledgable on all things diving and life in general when you asked him for advice. As Diving Officer he helped me to analyse where I had gone wrong, or had a “learning experience”, on a dive. He was never judgemental, eager to help me and encourage me to keep going. We had a great Red Sea as a club with him in 2017. I will miss Paul.

Nathan Targett

Photo by Lucy Evans
Photo by Lucy Evans (Red Sea)
Photo by Lucy Evans (Dive Trip Social)
Photo by Lucy Evans (Red Sea)
Photo by Lucy Evans
Photo by Jonathan Markwell, Oban August 2016
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33 Club Members and Officers Joined the Virtual 2020 AGM

On Thursday 26 November, 33 members and committee of Kingston and Elmbridge BSAC joined together on Zoom to host the club’s first, and hopefully only, on-line AGM.

Nothing, not even COVID-19, stands in the way of a Club Secretary running the club’s Annual General Meeting!

The evening went surprisingly well and free from technical issues. The raising of hands feature in Zoom was used by the tellers to count votes on agenda items that required it. And the chat box was used for any questions people wanted to ask during a particular agenda item or officers report, with the tellers watching to raise the question or ask the member to unmute and clarify more – it kept everything ship shape and running smoothly. More importantly everyone felt that their points were openly discussed and there was transparency in the voting.

There were some notable changes in Committee members. Dave T, our long standing boats officer stepped down to be replaced by James W. Dave has done a lot with keeping Sea King, our RIB in Newhaven, in good condition and is the font of all knowledge on dive sites and operating the RIB out of Newhaven. No pressure there then James 😉

We also thank Ian A for his again notable time as Bar Manager and appreciate all the work he has put in to making sure the bar is well stocked and supporting Eileen who comes without fail to help run the bar on a Thursday night. Ian’s role will now be held by Jon P. A BIG responsibility to make sure the beer/cider/wine/soft drinks keep flowing Jon 🙂

And finally, but not least is to say thank you and goodbye to Paul F from the role of Diving Officer (but not the club)! Paul has done a wonderful job of keeping track of all the diving we have done over the years, giving the annual Diving Officers’ report at the AGM into the number of hours dived and any incidents or mishaps we can learn from.

Sadly we haven’t logged so many diving hours this year as a club, but on the positive the only incident we had was Mr M forgetting his drysuit on one of the few dive trips that went ahead….for which he ended up with the 2020 Wooden Spoon award (had to get that one in there)!

Paul will be succeeded by Craig D, who had already stepped in temporarily to help fill his rather large rock boots earlier this year, but who is now the club’s official 2020/21 Diving Officer (ed. wolf whistles).

The Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Thursday
26th November 2020 at 8pm. Please find below image a link to download the full Agenda.

Long time club member Ian organised a “Fantastic Weekend” of diving (16th – 18th October) down in Portland. Ian writes:

A group of seven of from Kingston and Elmbridge BSAC club met on Friday night for dinner at The Boat That Rocks which sits next to the harbour where the group would be heading out from in the morning.

The Boat that Rocks!

We spent the night talking about what to expect of the diving over the weekend and being that it was October we weren’t expecting much in the way of vis or good seas.

However, we woke on Saturday morning to blue skies and calm seas, it was amazing! The Diving gods must have looked upon us favourably!

The seven club members (Ed. Even if one is taking the photo!)

We cast off from Portland marina aboard Skindeeper and powered through the calm seas for 1 1/2 hours to our first wreck, that of HMS M2 a submarine. It’s a bit of a sad story, as I guess all wreck stories are, but this submarine was on routine exercises when it went down in 1932. The submarine had been adapted to hold a hanger on its main deck that a float plane could take off from when surfaced. “The accident was believed to be due to water entering the submarine through the hangar door, which had been opened to launch the aircraft shortly after surfacing.”

HMS M2
HMS M2 retrieving her Parnall Peto seaplane. [Source: Wikipedia]

The M2 rests at 33m, which at that depth meant the waters were dark but the vis was between 4 to 5 m with lots of marine life as well at the wreck itself to see. It was a fantastic dive.

Sometimes all this diving can be too much for some!

On our return trip we stopped by and dived the James Fennel and some other wreckage nearby, with still the same excellent vis of 4/5m. The James Fennell was an Admiralty Trawler, bound from Gibraltar for Portsmouth. In thick fog she ran aground at rocks below Blacknor. Fortunately all the crew were rescued after their shouts for help were herd by a local man. She currently sits 15-18m on the bottom where she finally rested after numerous salvage attempts.

James Fennell1200
MV James Fennell

Saturday night we went out to Lin & Ozzie’s bistro in Portland and had a great three course meal from curried soup to one of the biggest flatfish I’ve eaten with bottles of wine 🍷.  At £40 per head you can’t whack it. 😉 [Ed. most of that would have been the wine bill!]

Sunday morning the sky’s a bit overcast, but flat seas allowed us to head out 2 hours to reach the HMS Saint Dunstan that sits at 29 m depth. The vis was again 4/5m and she was so full of sea life on it!

Happy Ian!
HMS Saint Dunstan

The Saint Dunstan was a bucket dredger but was converted during the first World War to be used as a mind sweeper. She was subsequently torpedoed by the Germans and sank. It was well worth the journey time out to the wreck!

Breakwater Fort - The Encyclopaedia of Portland History
Breakwater Fort – Portland [Source: Encyclopaedia of Portland History]

Second dive was a drift dive just off the Portland Harbour Sea Wall looking for a few scallops which we got & which also turned into the fastest drift Dive  I’ve ever done the viz was crap but my God was it fun.

Argopecten irradians.jpg
Scallop! [Source: Wikipedia]

I could of stayed down there all day 😆😆 once we got picked up about half a mile from the shore  it was the usual get cleaned up and say our goodbyes!

However Len, Mark and I [Ian] could not leave without going for the usual Club curry so booked another nights stay & strolled into Weymouth
The rest we can’t remember! 😉

Least Mark’s awake in this photo! Must have been the smell of curry and beer[Ed]

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]
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