Introduction

Wight Spirit Diving Charters, operating from the western Solent port of Lymington, offers some of the best south coast diving.  We provide dive sites to suit all tastes, from scenic drift dives to many wrecks, whether shallow, intermediate or deep, and from warships to tramp steamers, motor ships to sailing ships, and pretty much everything in between.  The shallowest wreck is in 5 metres, and the deepest is in 95 metres, with a huge selection of seldom dived wrecks in the 30 to 50 metres range.  See the ‘Wrecks’ page for full details – and don’t forget to buy your copy of South Coast Shipwrecks off East Dorset & Wight 1870-1979. If you’re living or staying on the Isle of Wight – I pick up and drop off at Yarmouth at no extra charge.

Isle of Wight diving is popular, and frequently visited sites include the steamer Spyros in 31 metres, the ocean-going tug Witte Zee in 33 metres, and the armed steam trawler Warwick Deeping in 36 metres, all largely intact wrecks, to mention just three.  If you want something shallower, the schooner Fenna lies in 23 metres, the stern section of the Serrana is in 18-20 metres and the Betsy Anna is in 27 metres.  Particularly good wrecks in the 40 metre range include the steamers Tweed, Iduna, Clarinda, all in 40 metres maximum, or the Daylesford in 46 metres. Venturing further offshore to mid Channel, where underwater visibility has exceeded 30 metres on occasions, we’ll take you to wrecks such as the motor vessel Guernsey Coast, upright and intact, standing 13 metres in 62 metres, or the German light cruiser Nurnberg, a very substantial wreck standing 12 metres in 62 metres.  Or visit the 19th century wreck of the clipper ship Smyrna, between 53 and 57 metres, a particular favourite of mine.  Then there’s numerous other wrecks seldom visited and well worth diving.  Popular second dives on wrecks include the steamer War Knight in 13 metres and the steamer Joannis Millas in 6-8 metres, both diveable out of the tide.  If you like scenic reef and drift dives, Christchurch Ledge is a good choice, abounding in life, or Brook and Atherfield Ledges and rocks, ledges and reefs at Rocken End, the locations for numerous wrecks from the days of sail.  Indeed, this part of the Isle of Wight coast was once known as the Receiver General for wrecks of the Isle of Wight.  Drifting at the foot of Tennyson Down provides rocks, gullies, pinnacles and overhangs, and to add to the mystery there’s a chance you’ll drift across the remains of Whitehead torpedoes from the torpedo testing which took place here.

Underwater visibility is variable just as it is elsewhere, but from May to October during settled weather and good tides, inshore visibility of 5 to 8 metres is usual.  Offshore, 10 to 20 metres can be expected, though of course sometimes the visibilty is better than this, and sometimes not quite as good.  Although the plankton bloom arrives in late May, it is seldom as bad as further west.

Our season runs from April through to about mid January, though from late October onwards we need to go offshore for clearer water, taking advantage of the days when tides and weather are most favourable.  That’s also true for April except on exceptionally good neap tides – and typically this means diving wrecks in 40 metres, with limited options for second dives close inshore due to visibility. The inshore water clears in the first week of May, when so-called black water arrives from the west – called black because overnight the water colour changes from green to having a black appearance because it is so clear.

You’ll find plenty of parking very close to the pontoons where you’re picked up, and you’ll be greeted with tea and coffee on arrival.  A general and safety briefing is given after you’ve boarded and assembled your gear, before departure to the dive site.  For sheer variety of dive sites and some spectacular scenery of the west and southern Isle of Wight coasts,  Wight Spirit Diving Charters offers something for everyone in what is probably the least dived part of the English Channel.

Feel free to contact me for a chat or more information – landline/home: 02380 270 390 (ansaphone – if I’m not there, leave a message and I’ll call you back).  Mobile:  07833 610623 or e-mail wightspirit@btinternet.com

News, reports and forthcoming diving 2018

Normally, the boat will be on the pontoon at least 30 minutes before we are due to depart. This gives enough time for you to load your gear on the boat, park the car, assemble your kit, have a cup of tea, get an ice-cream, go through the briefing and then get going. I like to arrive on site 15-30 minutes before slack. This gives you plenty of time to prepare for the dive and allows me plenty of time to place the shot on the wreck. Details of news, reports and forthcoming dives will appear here in due course.

Dive and vis reports 2018.  Early season:

 

After her winter refit, Wight Spirit began the season on Sunday 8 April. We headed out to dive the 1872 wreck of the steamer Lapwing in 40 metres.  Despite being a grey day, the dive was good – dark below 15 metres but vis was around 3 metres with a torch. Divers remarked on the profusion of shellfish on the wreck.

We lost the weekend of Saturday 14 April to thick fog – couldn’t see across the harbour so there was no point in trying to get out. Next day, the forecast was bad due to strong winds – but in the event, that came to nothing and we could have got out after all.

Monday 23 April, when we were due to dive around the east of the Isle of Wight, was also cancelled due to strong winds and the added complication of virtually no vis close inshore, following prolonged and very heavy rain, which produced a muddy run-off.  Things had improved dramatically by Saturday 28 April, when we dived the WW1 mine carrier Eleanor in 38 metres.  It’s a good sign that in April there was ambient light and vis of 5-6 metres despite the grey skies above. Water temperature is lower than normal at about 9 degrees. We lost Sunday 29 April due to a return of the Beast from the East – well, strong north-easterly winds, anyway.

Forthcoming dive spaces:  There are spaces available on Saturday 12 May to dive the armed trawler Warwick Deeping in 36 metres – contact me for details please.  There are also spaces to dive the WW1 steamer Mendi in 40 metres on Wednesday 27 June.  Again, names to me please.  Second dive is included for those who want it.

Dive/vis reports:  Fabulous weekend’s diving over the early BH of Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May. First, we steamed south-east of the Needles to dive the WW1 Danish steamer Inger in 55 metres. Flat calm sea, bright sunshine, and 8 -10 metres vis in ambient light. Next day we visited the steamer Daylesford in 46 metres, again with a flat calm sea and bright sunshine.  Divers reported seeing the top of the engine at 30 metres depth, with horizontal vis in excess of 10 metres.

Forthcoming dive spaces: 

Saturday 12 May, diving the WW2 armed trawler Warwick Deeping. 36 metres to the seabed.  Meet 1245 to leave 1315. Names to me please.
Sunday 20 May is unbooked at the moment – is there a group who wants to take spaces? Contact me please.
BH Monday 28 May, diving the WW2 American tanker Y48. 58 metres to the seabed, wreck stands up 9 metres. One dive. Meet 0715 to leave 0745. **
Friday 1 June, diving the WW1 steamer Wyndhurst in 55 metres. One dive. Meet 0845 to leave 0915. **
Saturday 9 June, diving the 19th century steamer Snowdrop in 58 metres. One dive.  Meet 0945 to leave 1015. **
Sunday 17 June is also unbooked – anyone interested?  Contact me please.
Friday 22 June, diving the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres. One dive. Meet 0930 to leave at 10. **
Saturday 23 June, diving the windjammer Eugene Schneider in 65 metres. One dive. Meet 0930 to leave at 10. **
Sunday 24 June, diving the 19th century steamer Saxmundham in 60 metres. One dive. Meet 1115 to leave 1145. **
Wednesday 27 June, diving the WW1 troopship Mendi in 40 metres.  Meet 0830 to leave 0900.  Contact me please.
Saturday 30 June, diving the WW1 steamer Luxor in 60 metres. One dive. Meet 0930 to leave at 10. **
Monday 2 July, diving the steamer Penmarch in 36 metres. One dive. Meet 1045 to leave 1115. Contact me please.
Tuesday 3 July, diving the 19th century steamer Grip Fast in about 22 metres. One dive. Meet 1130 to leave 1200. Contact me please.
Wednesday 4 July, diving an unidentified steamer in 38 metres. One dive. Meet 1230 to leave 1300. Contact me please.

Thursday 5 July, diving the WW1 steamer Vikholmen in 60 metres. One dive. Meet 0630 for a quick getaway at 0645. Contact me please.

Friday 6 July, diving the WW2 motor vessel Dallas City in 60 metres. One dive. Meet 0700 to leave 0730. Contact me please.
Monday 9 July, diving the steamer El Kahira in 60 metres. One dive. Meet at 10 for 1030 leave. **
Sunday 22 July, diving the WW1 steamer Sphene in 65 metres. One dive. Meet 0900 to leave 0930. **
Sunday 12 August, diving the WW1 steamer Bishopston in 60 metres. One dive.  Meet 0715 to leave 0745. **
Monday 20 August, diving the WW2 liner Meknes in 60 metres. One dive. Meet 0815 to leave 0845. **
BH Monday 27 August,  diving the steamer Monton in 60 metres. One dive. Meet 0830 to leave 0900. **
All those dives marked ** please contact the organiser direct, Jay, on depth.hound@googlemail.com
Dive/vis reports:  On Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May, diving with marine archaeologists at Bouldnor cliff, a site of human habitation 8500 years old.  Many worked flints were recovered as well as examples of worked timbers, showing there was a settlement of some sort here. Vis was variable according to the tide, but all work was successfully completed.  On Saturday 12 May we dived the WW2 armed trawler Warwick Deeping. A gloomy, grey day, and we were on LW slack off St Catherine’s Point, but still had vis of 3 metres. Next day we headed further south east to dive the WW1 steamer Tweed. Seemingly from nowhere, a thick plankton bloom was present, from the surface to the seabed. Though this reduced vis considerably, the good news is that the water seems free of silt and sediment so when the plankton dies vis there should be a significant improve in water clarity.
Dive/vis reports:  Saturday 19 May – due to dive the U-90 – no wind, bright sunshine and flat calm sea. What could go wrong?  On reaching the Needles it looked like someone had poured a huge quantity of dry ice on Tennyson Down – thick fog cascaded down the cliff, obscuring Alum Bay and reducing visibility to less than 100 yards.  Couldn’t see the lighthouse when close to.  Rounded the Needles and headed south east, but the fog was persistently thick and the only course of action was to abort the dive. Similar situation on Sunday, but the good news is that the plankton is dying off and forming a surface scum. As a result, water clarity should improve.
Dive/vis reports:  Saturday 26 May was blown out due to strong ENE winds but Sunday 27 May was a lovely day – flat sea, no wind and sunny. We dived the Norwegian steamer Aalesund off St Catherine’s Point. Strangely there was current throughout the slack water period but everyone managed the dive OK. Plankton is still present and this reduced vis to 3-4 metres, though there was ambient light, and the water is free of silt. As soon as the plankton dies back vis should be excellent. Next day we steamed mid Channel to dive the WW2 American tanker Y48. Passing south of 50 degrees 22′ north, vis improved very much. We had another glorious day, sunny, no wind and flat sea. Vis was easily 8-10 metres, there being less density of plankton in this location. The wreck remains a substantial one, standing upright about 7 metres high.
Dive spaces:  There are 3 spaces available to dive the sailing ship Simla in 40 metres, on Saturday 2 June. Meet 1030. First come first served. If interested, contact Tony on fatboydiving@aol.com
Dive/vis reports:  Friday 1 June looked so promising, as we were heading mid-Channel, but the wind was forecast to increase to W5-6 about the time of slack water. This would have been too much, so we were blown out. On Saturday 2 June, the weather was glorious – wall to wall sunshine, no wind, flat calm.  All went well until we reached the Needles, when we were enveloped in thick fog. Expecting to stream through it towards St Catherine’s, where we intended to dive the Simla, the dense fog persisted and with visibility down to 100 yards it wasn’t safe to continue, and we bailed out. Sunday 3 June was again warm, sunny and calm, and this time, no fog!  We dived the WW1 steamer Borgny. Plankton is still present, unusual for the time of year off the Island, but vis was 3-4 metres in ambient light. We followed this with a drift over Christchurch Ledge on the ebb tide. Vis was a bit lower but plenty of life was seen.  On Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 June we’re diving Bouldnor Cliff in the Solent, just to the east of Yarmouth.
Dive Spaces:  Wednesday 27 June – there are spaces to dive the WW1 wreck of the Mendi in 40 metres. Contact me please for details.
Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 9 June we steamed to the south west, mid Channel, to dive the small Victorian steamer Snowdrop in 57 metres. Despite the adverse forecast, winds didn’t exceed a force 3 though it was overcast. The plankton has largely dispersed and disappeared. Water temperature has been slow to rise but offshore it is hovering around 12/13 degrees. Horizontal vis on the wreck in ambient light was at least 20 metres and one of the divers reported seeing the surface from a depth of 30 metres – and all this in a wreck in 57 metres. A fabulous dive with masses of life on the wreck! Next day, Sunday 10 June, we headed south to dive another Victorian steamer, the Messina, in 50 metres. Vis had reduced slightly to a very acceptable 15 metres, and again the wind forecast failed to materialise with nothing more than a force 3. A great weekend.
Dive/vis reports:  The weekend of 16 and 17 June was blown out but then the weather settled down. On Friday 22 June we dived the clipper ship Smyrna in great vis – around 12 metres. Bright sunshine, flat seas and no wind…Next day we steamed mid Channel to dive the windjammer Eugene Schneider in similar conditions, though divers reported the water being slightly misty at 65 metres, but still plenty good enough to dive in ambient light. Finally, on Sunday 24 June, we dived the 1888 wreck of the steamer Saxmundham in 60 metres, with vis again of 10-12 metres in ambient light. Water temperature is now around 13/14 degrees. Inshore, vis looks pretty good too.
Dive/vis reports:  On Wednesday 27 June we dived the WW1 troopship Mendi in fine conditions, though the easterly swell made things somewhat uncomfortable. Vis was pretty good at 6-8 metres in ambient light. This was followed by a second dive on the War Knight. As expected, vis wasn’t so good, as this is a wreck close inshore, but vis was 2-3 metres.  We were blown out on Saturday 30 June but the wind eased and we had a good day on Sunday 1 July, diving the War Knight again as the main dive.  Vis wasn’t so good, at only a metre or metre and a half, but the compensation for this was that we were joined on site by a lone adult dolphin which was nosing around the pot markers and buoys close to the wreck. For a second dive we had a look at the rarely dived steamer Joannis Millas, where vis was very much better.  We were blown out again by these rather persistent east to north-east winds on Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 July, but once again, the wind eased for our dive on Wednesday 4 July. We dived the unknown wreck thought to be the Hazelwood. Despite bright sunshine, calm sea and excellent vis of around 8 metres, we are no nearer proving the identity of this wreck. On Thursday 5 July, we head south intending to dive a mid Channel wreck. Leaving the pontoon in bright sunshine, we headed past the Needles and then south. The further we steamed towards mid Channel, the worse the surface visibility as thick fog closed in. Eventually, with another 14 miles still to run, the visibility was too bad to continue, so we headed north west to get clear of it. Back in the sunshine again, we dived the WW1 steam drifter John Mitchell. Vis is improving as the neap tide comes on, and we had 10-12 metres, with water temperature now up around 15 degrees.
On Friday 6 July, the surface visibility was much better and we were able to dive the mid Channel wreck of the Dallas City, bombed in 1940. Water clarity was great at 15 metres, with ambient light. This is a large wreck and everything on it is also large – steering quadrant, propeller and anchor winch – they are all enormous. A great dive. On Saturday 7 July we steamed south of Bournemouth to dive the sailing ship Waitara. With visibility still around 12-15 metres, also in ambient light at 60 metres, this was  another great dive.  We ended the diving on Monday 9 July, diving the steamer El Kahira in 60 metres. As the slack water was later, water conditions weren’t quite so light, with visibility assessed at 10-12 metres, but still in ambient light. On all these recent dives, some good photos and video footage was obtained.
Dive spaces:  There are spaces to dive the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres on Thursday 26 July. Meet 0730 to leave 0800. £62 per head. Names to me please.
Dive/vis reports: The great summer weather continues. On Saturday 14 July we dived the WW1 mine carrier Eleanor. Surface conditions were perfect – bright sunshine, flat sea and no wind. Vis was about 3-4 metres, not bad considering we’re on top of a big spring tide, which has badly affected visibility close inshore. There was a bonus – another dolphin sighting in the western Solent.  Sea temperature is now up around 15-16 degrees. On Monday 16 July we ventured west to Boscombe, intending to set up a photography project. Close inshore here, out of the tide, vis was pretty good and the project was successfully concluded.
Dive/vis reports:  On Thursday 19 and Friday 20 July, we were continuing to survey the submerged Bouldnor Cliff near Yarmouth with marine archaeologists. Vis was variable, as expected, but 3-4 metres was perfectly good enough to work in. Water temperature is now a balmy 21 degrees!  And with warm sunshine and no wind, it was a good two days. On the weekend of Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July, we ventured mid Channel, diving the WW1 wreck of the Norwegian steamer Kong Guttorm in 55 metres. In another warm, sunny day and calm sea, vis on the wreck in ambient light was around 15 metres. Next day we headed further south to the WW1 steamer Sphene in 65-68 metres. Similar sea and weather condition prevailed, and vis was even better at 15-20 metres, noted as being one of the best dives of the season so far.
On Monday 23 July, doing an evening trip, we went for a drift across Christchurch Ledge with some new, young members, some of who were on their first boat dive. Despite the glorious weather, sea conditions were a bit lumpy on the ledge, but nonetheless, this was a good introduction to UK diving in vis of 3-4 metres.  On Thursday 26 July, with the calm weather continuing, we ventured south to the wreck of the Smyrna in 55 metres. No wind, bright sunshine and clear water – what more do you want?  Oh, and the vis was a fantastic 20 metres plus in ambient light, a wonderful dive. To end the week on Friday 27 July, with members of SeaSearch, we dived off Yaverland and Bembridge on the eastern side of the Isle of Wight. These were inshore dives looking for evidence of specific forms of marine life. Vis was about 3 metres but the water temperature is around 21 degrees, pretty warm by UK standards.  The weekend of Saturday 28 and 29 July was blown out by gales – there had to be a break in this summer sometime…Monday 30 July has also been blown out.
Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 4 August, in warm, sunny and calm conditions, we dived Christchurch Ledge as a drift dive in vis of about 3 metres and water temperature of a balmy 21 degrees.  We then dived the afternoon slack on the WW1 steamer Venezuela, where vis was better at 6-8 metres amid ambient light. Lots of life on this wreck!  Next day on Sunday 5 August we had an early start and steamed to the south-west to dive the 1874 wreck of the steamer Vera in 46 metres.  Another warm, sunny day, but with a light easterly breeze which made things slightly bumpy, not at all what we’ve been used to!  Vis was easily 10 metres and then back to the pub for an afternoon pint.
Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 11 August, the day started bright and sunny with no wind, but became very overcast for the main dive on the steamer Tweed off St Catherine’s. Bring the sunshine back! Although there was ambient light on the wreck, the big tides produced a lot of particles in the water, reducing the vis to about 2 metres, disappointing considering the recent good neap. Ironically, a second dive on the War Knight, not renowned for great vis, had better conditions, with vis of about 3 metres. Sunday 12th was due to be a mid Channel dive, but the forecast wasn’t good enough to venture offshore, and we were blown out.
I now have the 2019 Admiralty tide tables for anyone interested in bookings for next season.

 

 

Diving Reports from 2017

Dive and vis reports 2017.  Early season: Well, the good news is that the boat has new machinery but we weren’t quite ready for the start of the season, and the vis has been good, arriving on schedule. However, we did start off on Saturday 22 April with a stunning dive on the wreck of the Messina in 50 metres. Vis was crystal clear at 15 metres +, no torch necessary. Conditions were perfect – no wind, bright, clear sky, flat sea. Next day we ventured south to dive the Norwegian steamer Kong Guttorm in 55 metres and had similar conditions. On Monday 24 April, operating from Southsea, we dived the protected, historic wreck of HMS Invincible, lost in 1759. Work was commenced in preparation for full scale excavation later in the year.

On the weekend on 6/7 May, we lost the 6th to strong wind but on the 7th we dived the Clan Macvey in 20 metres. Although the day was overcast and somewhat gloomy, vis was not bad at 3-4 metres. This was followed by a drift dive across Christchurch Ledge.

The weekend of 13/14 May was blown out – we were due to dive off St Catherine’s Point and conditions were too lively.

On Saturday 20 May the forecast was ‘do-able’ but on the morning the forecast had worsened. We were unable to get outside the Needles, or even in the Needles Channel to dive the Serrana, so had to settle for the wreck of the Margaret Smith off Yarmouth. Visibility wasn’t great as we’d had a great deal of rain in the days preceding, but it was adequate at 2-3 metres. A second dive was along Bouldnor Cliff, a submerged site of human habitation in 10 metres of water. On Sunday 21 May the wind had died away and the sky was clear, bright and sunny. We steamed to the south west and dived the WW1 wreck of the steamer Norma in 55 metres. Vis was again excellent at 15 metres, with torches not required. On Monday 22 May, operating again from Southsea, we continued with preparatory work for excavations on HMS Invincible. Vis was quite good at 4-5 metres. Water temperature hovering around degrees.

Dive spaces:  There are dive spaces as follows: 

Friday 2 June, diving the WW1 steamer Finn in 60 metres.

Saturday 24 June, diving the WW1 steamer Inger in 55 metres.

Saturday 8 July, diving the WW1 steamer Bishopston in 58 metres.

Sunday 13 August, diving the steamer Iduna in 38 metres.

Mon 28 August, diving the WW1 steamer Britannia in 38 metres.

Thurs 31 August, diving the MV Guernsey Coast in 60 metres.

Fri 15 September, diving the WW1 steamer Vikholmen in 60 metres.

For all these dives, contact Jay on depth.hound@googlemail.com

More dive spaces: On Friday 23 June we’ll be diving a maximum depth of 35 metres, the wreck being one of the following:  Braedale, Borgny, Witte Zee, Spyros, Warwick Deeping. Second dive will be a shallow wreck or drift.  Meet at 0800 to leave 0830. £45 per head. Names to me please.

Dive spaces: Friday 23 June has just 2 spaces remaining.

Dive spaces update:  Friday 23 June is now full. Friday 2 June has 2 spaces remaining. Saturday 24 June is now full. Sunday 13 August is now full. Monday 28 August is now full.

Dive and vis reports: Taking advantage of the neap tides, on Friday 2 June we steamed south west and dived the Norwegian steamer Finn in 60 metres. Though the sky was somewhat overcast, vis was about 10 metres without a torch. This 3800 ton wreck, lying on its side but with the hull hanging down, at first gives  the impression it’s upside down. An impressive wreck, still standing about 9 metres, was full of shellfish though the wreck has much lost commercial fishing gear snagged on it. Next day, Saturday 3 June,  we again steamed south west and dived what is thought to be the SS Ohio lost in collision in 1918. Sea conditions weren’t ideal but the journey was worth it with visibility an excellent 15 metres plus, no torch needed. Water temperature is around 13 degrees offshore. On Sunday 4 June, despite a favourable forecast the night before, the dive was aborted on the pontoon – no-one wanted to steam 30 miles into a south westerly 5-6.

We’ve been blown out since Sunday 4 June, right through to Monday 12 June. Unusually strong and prolonged winds have meant diving has been impossible.

 

Dive spaces:  There are 2 spaces available to dive an unidentified sailing ship in about 55 metres, on Monday 31 July. For details and to book on, contact Hamish on hamish@ruscombe.f9.co.uk;

Dive and vis reports:  From Tuesday 13 June to Friday 16 June the Southampton based Maritime Archaeology Trust was on board. We dived the 8500 year old site of a submerged human settlement site in good conditions. Vis was 2-4 metres and sea temperature of 16 degrees. We also dived the WW1 steamer in 38 metres, the South Western, where again conditions were very good. Visibility was in the region of 8-10 metres and some excellent underwater images were obtained. Another casualty was an unidentified wreck which may be the WW1 steamer Hazelwood. Diving on the LW slack visibility wasn’t quite so good at about 6 metres, but we’re no further forward in proving the wreck’s identity. On Saturday 17 June we dived the WW2 armed trawler Warwick Deeping in 36 metres.  Vis was very good and there was plenty of ambient light.  On Sunday 18 June we ventured mid Channel to dive the steamer Saxmundham, lost in 1888. This is an impressive wreck, the engine standing about 8 metres high. Lots of wooden deadeyes in excellent condition litter the site, and for the first time the remains of the stern were seen. Thought to have been buried in a sandbank, one diver continued to swim aft and on the other side of the bank the stern was found. Vis on site was not quite as good as inshore, the water having a slightly milky colour, but vis was still in the region of 8-10 metres. On Monday 19 June with the weather holding good, we steamed south west of the Needles and dived a wreck known as the Gallia in 38 metres. The true identity of this wreck is still unknown, but vis was an excellent 15 metres, with the water temperature around 15 degrees.  A second dive, drifting across Christchurch Ledge, was quite a quick drift in vis of 5-6 metres. Finally, on Tuesday 20 June was steamed south west again to dive an unidentified wreck, which was another Portland stone wreck. These were wooden sailing vessels which carried Portland stone to London during the 18th and 19th centuries, and this wreck is one of a number we know about off the Isle of Wight.

Dive/vis reports:  Strong winds on Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June has ruled diving out.

Forthcoming dive spaces: Dive spaces are available as follows and are accurate as of 24 June:

Saturday 8 July. Diving the WW1 steamer Bishopston in 58 metres.  Meet 0700 to leave 0730. 1 space remaining. Contact Jay on depth.hound@googlemail.com
Monday 31 July. Diving an unidentified sailing ship in 56 metres. Contact Hamish on hamish@ruscombe.f9.co.uk
Monday 7 August. Diving the WW2 armed trawler Warwick Deeping in 36 metres.  Contact Jane on jmaddocks25@gmail.com
Tuesday 8 August. Diving the WW1 steamer Mendi in 40 metres. Meet 0900 to leave 0930.  Empty boat at the moment.  Contact me for details – wightspirit@btinternet.com.
Friday 11 August. Diving the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres. Contact me for details onwightspirit@btinternet.com .
Friday 11 August. Diving the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres.  Meet at 10 to leave 1030. Empty boat at the moment.  Contact me for details – wightspirit@btinternet.com.
Tuesday 31 August. Diving the MV Guernsey Coast in 60 metres. Meet 0815 to leave 0845. 3 spaces available. Contact Jay, as above.
Friday 15 September. Diving the WW1 steamer Vikholmen in 60 metres. Meet 0845 to leave 0915.  3 spaces available.  Contact Jay, as above.
Saturday 30 September. Diving the WW1 steamer Oiekast in 60 metres. Meet 0845 to leave 0915.  Contact Jay, as above.
Sunday 1 October. Diving the WW2 MV Dallas City in 60 metres. Contact Jay, as above.
Dive/vis reports:  An improvement in the weather meant we were able to get out on the first 2 days of July. On Saturday 1 July we dived the WW1 steamer Borgny in 30 metres, and had vis of about 5 metres, followed by a drift dive across Christchurch Ledge where vis wasn’t so good. Next day, Sunday 2 July, we dived the Spyros in 30 metres where vis was slightly better at about 6 metres. A second dive on the War Knight was done, but conditions had deteriorated by the time divers surfaced and we had a bumpy ride back to the Needles. Water temperature inshore varies from 21 degrees in the Solent to 16 degrees inshore.
During the week commencing Monday 3 July and ending on Friday 7 July, operating from Southsea, we dived a number of WW1 wrecks as part of an archaeology project. Among the wrecks dived was the Camberwell, Kurland and Leon, all in about 30 metres. Despite very good neaps, vis was disappointing on this eastern side of the Island, being no more than 4 metres. At the end of the week we dived the mine carrier Eleanor where vis was much better at 7 metres in ambient light. More than 1100 photo were taken by one diver in order to produce a photogrammetry 3D image of the stern section of the wreck. On Saturday 8 July the wind fell away to nothing and with cloudless skies, we ventured 40 miles to the south east to dive the WW1 steamer Bishopston in 60 metres. Vis was an excellent 10 metres with torches unnecessary. Next day we returned to an old favourite, the steamer Daylesford sunk in 1911. Again, seas were flat, with no wind and bright sun. Vis was around 6 or 7 metres, though the water wasn’t quite clear enough so torches were a requirement. Water temperature for these offshore dives is hovering around 15/16 degrees.
Forthcoming dive spaces: There are spaces remaining to dive the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres on Friday 11 August.  Meet at 10 to leave 1030. Names to me please.
Dive/vis reports: Friday 14 July – ventured to the east to dive the WW1 U-boat, U-90. A good dive though the weather deteriorated soon after we headed back. In fact, off St Catherine’s Point it was particularly unpleasant, with some rough seas. Water temperature is about 17° and vis around 4-5 metres. Dived again on Saturday 15 July – inshore, on the wreck of the coaster Braedale, and dived the WW1 steamer Fluent on Sunday 16th.
On Monday 17 July we dived another WW1 steamer, the Norma in 55 metres. This is a good dive, where vis was around 8 metres in ambient light. From Tuesday 18 July through to Saturday 5 August, we were blown out by continuous strong winds – blame to jet stream! The only dive achieved was in the protection of the Solent, conducting a survey on Yarmouth Pier on 1 August. The weather eased enough for us to dive the WW1 steamer South Western on Sunday 6 August. Vis pretty good at 5 metres, with the water temperature now around 18°.
On Monday 7 August we made our annual trip to HMS Swordfish, also off St Catherine’s Point, where vis was again in the region of 4-5 metres in ambient light. On Tuesday 8 August we dived the WW1 steamer Mendi,  another victim lying off St Catherine’s Point. Conditions were somewhat challenging, sea condition being less than ideal, but the dive was safely concluded.
Friday 11 August – due to dive the Smyrna – but blown out again, as we were on Saturday 12 August. However, conditions moderated on Sunday 13 August when we dived the wreck of the Iduna off St Catherine’s Point. On Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 August, operating from Southsea, we had two days on the wreck of HMS Invincible on the Horse Tail Sand, Portsmouth, mopping up and clearing the site after the extensive excavations which had been conducted earlier in the summer.
On Wednesday 16 August, intending to conduct above and below water surveys of the Nab Tower, the brand new gearbox in the boat suddenly seized up solid. Although I managed to arrange a tow back to Lymington, the breakdown ruled me out of action for some time. The gearbox was removed from the boat next day, and the day after it was delivered to the suppliers. They were able to turn it around and repair it in a week but it still meant cancellations, especially over the 4 day Bank Holiday weekend when guess what – the weather was brilliant. I finally returned to chartering on Monday 28 August, when we dived the WW1 steamer Britannia. On Tuesday 29 August, a Seasearch charter saw us diving Utopia reef south east of Portsmouth, as well as inshore east of Bembridge. Visibility was very good at 6 metres, and the water temperature is still hovering around 18/19°.  On Wednesday 29 August we concluded our surveys of Yarmouth Pier, though visibility was much lower than a month earlier.  On Thursday 31 August, we steamed offshore to dive an unidentified steamer. The wreck is a large on with huge boilers and a large stern gun. It is probably the WW1 steamer Luxor, torpedoed in 1918. A substantial wreck similar in size to the Fluent, everything seen on the wreck fits the description for it to be the Luxor.  On Friday 1 September we again went mid Channel, to the French side, where we dived the very large sailing ship Eugene Schneider, in visibility of 10 metres. On Saturday 2 September, we steamed to the south west to dive the steamer El Kahira lost in 1922. Visibility was again in the region of 10 metres.
Sunday 3 September was blown out but the weather moderated and we were able to get out on Monday 4 September. This time, we returned to an unidentified steamer thought to be the Hazelwood. A few clues exist to suggest this is her, but nothing positive. We were blown out again on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 September. Poor weather continued and we were blown out again from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September. We also lost Thursday 14th for the same reason.
Friday 15 September – and it’s stopped blowing!  Although there was an unpleasant swell, the remnants of these persistent low pressure systems, we steamed to the south west to dive the WW1 steamer Vikholmen. Vis was in the region of 12-15 metres.  Next day, Saturday 16 September, we returned to the wreck thought to be the Luxor, in mid Channel. Although we have no positive identification, a fragment of pottery was seen which bears a close resemblance to that of the Moss Steam Ship Company, who were the owners of the Luxor. Vis was again in the region of 12 metres. Finally, on Sunday 17 September, diving the late LW slack, we sailed south west and dived the wreck of the sailing ship Waitara.  Vis has held up quite well to about 8 metres, but ambient light was low due to the late dive time. Water temperature is still around 18°.
On the weekend of 23 and 24 September we were out both days, and despite diving just after a run of big spring tides, vis was acceptable at about 3 metres. Water temperature still holds up well, being a warm 17°.  The next period when we were due to be offshore, from Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October, was blown out, with winds to strong to be offshore.  We were blown out again on Friday 13 October, but had a good weekend on the 14th and 15th before the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia hit the UK. We dived the Fenna, where vis was 2-3 metres, followed by a drift across Christchurch Ledge where vis was very much better. Next day we had better vis on the Borgny, with vis around 4-5 metres. The weekend ended with a drift from the Needles up the Solent. Although divers were separated by relatively short distances, they had different dives. Some drifted across a fairly featureless, muddy bottom, while others, slightly shallower, passed over much more interesting ground where there were numerous large plaice and rays, while the last group drifted across rough ground with lots of sponges etc.

 

 

Diving Reports from 2016

Dive and vis reports 2016 Early season: Well, the good news is that…

…the season kicked off on the neap tide over 14-18 April, with marine archaeologists, diving a 15th century wreck in the Solent. Water temperature has just about reached 10°. Vis started off as very poor (not more than 30cms, but nearer 10-15 cms) – not surprising as the previous weekend was huge springs and the Solent in April was never going to be brilliant. Despite low vis, work was done on the wreck, comprising tagging and measuring, prior to further work being done later in the month. As the neap tide weakened over the weekend, vis improved to a maximum of 1.5 metres, more than enough to accomplish survey work, and despite one day of heavy rain, sunshine helped with underwater work.

Dive/vis reports: On Sunday 24 April we ventured to the wreck of the Clan Macvey in 20 metres – a first dip of the season for most and a chance to get wet and get the season going.  On a bright, sunny day but with a bitter northerly breeze, we reached the site in good time. The wreck is known to be somewhat silty but despite this vis was about 1.5 metres – not bad for April on a spring tide on an inshore wreck.

Dive/vis reports: We concluded three days diving on the 15th/16th century wreck in the western Solent in late April with marine archaeologists. Visibility has improved there and ranged from .75 to 2 metres, enabling work to be carried out successfully.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 30 April in fine, bright conditions we dived the WW1 wreck of the steamer Britannia. The good vis hasn’t quite arrived – below 15 metres the water was dark and on the wreck vis was fairly low at 1-2 metres. Some divers reduced their dive time accordingly, while others stayed for the duration. On Sunday 1 May we dived the wreck of the steamer Lapwing, again in fine and bright weather. Conditions had improved slightly, with ambient light to 20 metres, and on the wreck, 2 metres visibility. For relatively inshore wrecks, such conditions are typical for this area in April.

Dive spaces: There are spaces available as follows: Wednesday 25 May, diving the steamer Faith in 36 metres. Subsidised dive at £35 per head if you are willing to report what you’ve seen.  Contact Jane on jmaddocks25@gmail.com.  Spaces also for Tuesday 31 May, diving the Norma in 55 metres, and on Thursday 23 June, diving the steamer Monton in 60 metres. Contact Jay on depth.hound@googlemail.com.

Spare days:  Whole boat available for Saturday 4 June and Sunday 21 August. Contact me please.

Dive/vis reports: Saturday 7 May – dived the Venezuela in bright, sunny conditions. Vis has improved considerably in the past few days and we had 4-5 metres on the wreck. Though a little gloomy it was quite easy to do the dive without a torch. This dive was followed by a drift across Christchurch Ledge, where the shallower water let in much more light with the vis a little better at 5 metres.

Dive spaces: There are still a few spaces left for the dive on the Faith (see above) and also for the Norma and Monton dives (also see above). Spaces are beginning to fill for Saturday 4 June – maximum depth 40 metres – if interested, please contact me. Choice of a number of wrecks: Simla, Tweed, Iduna, Empire Crusader, etc. Likewise, spaces are filling for the dive on 21 August – not quite sure of the site yet but likely in the 35-40 metre range.

Dive/vis reports: Thursday 11 May, diving in the Solent east of Yarmouth – and the vis is brilliant. Divers working on the wreck in 6 metres could be seen from the surface. Vis is surprisingly good, given that only a few days before we had a set of huge spring tides.

Dive/vis reports: Dived the WW1 steamer Azemmour on Saturday 14 May. Vis around 4-5 metres in ambient light, and the water temperature improving also at 11 degrees. From Sunday 15th to Tuesday 17th, we were diving the eastern Solent on the protected wreck site of HMS Invincible, recording, photographing and measuring areas of wreckage not seen before, as it has emerged from the sand. Strong winds intervened and we were blown out for the next 3 or 4 days. Vis was slightly disappointing on site, given the good neap tide, but sufficient for work to be carried out.

Spare days: There are still a few spaces left for Saturday 4 June.

Dive/vis reports: We were blown out 18/19/20/21 May but a break in the weather on Sunday 22 May meant we were able to get round the back of the Island in calm conditions. The water has a greenish hue, due to an unusually dense plankton bloom, which is worse at or near the surface. We dived the WW1 Norwegian steamer Cuba in 42 metres. Due to the plankton, it was quite dark below 25 metres, but the vis improved and was around 2-3 metres with a torch – certainly good enough for everyone to stay down for the duration of slack water. Plenty of large congers on the wreck. Water temperature is rising slowly and is now around 12 degrees.

Dive/vis reports:  Weekend of 28 and 29 May was calm and sunny. On Saturday we dived the Clarinda in 40 metres. Vis was 3-5 metres and as the plankton is now dispersing, it was just possible to do the dive in ambient light though in reality a torch was better. Next day we dived the LW slack on the Spyros. With the tide easing towards neaps, vis was expected to be reasonable and at 2-3 metres was somewhat low for the time of year. Plankton was the main cause. This was followed by a dive on the War Knight where vis was more like pea-soup – not surprising, as she’s close inshore and we’re just on the back of a low water spring tide.  Monday BH and Tuesday 31 May were blown out due to strong winds.

Forthcoming dive spaces: There are spaces to dive the Faith on Tuesday 21 June – probably the earliest screw steamer shipwreck in UK waters. Contact Jane on jmaddocks25@gmail.com.

For the following spaces, contact Jay on depth.hound@googlemail.com: Sunday 19 June. One space to dive the Clarinda in 40 metres. Thursday 23 June. Three spaces to dive the Monton in 60 metres. Friday 24 June. One space to dive the Fort Yale in 46 metres. Sunday 31 July. Two spaces to dive the El Kahira in 60 metres. Saturday 27 August. One space to dive the steamer Finn in 60 metres. Sunday 28 August. Two spaces to dive the Everleigh in 40 metres. Monday 29 August. Two spaces to dive the Coquetdale in 40 metres.

Dive/vis reports:  Diving on the protected wreck site of HMS Invincible off Portsmouth on 1 and 2 June, despite the unseasonal, unfriendly low pressure system which came in from the east bringing strong northerly winds. We were able to work in a northerly 5-6 and had vis of about 3 metres, good enough to obtain plenty of photographs for a photogrammetry image of the wreck to be produced. On Friday 3 June, the wind dropped away to almost nothing, and we ventured to the Mendi off St Catherine’s Point. What has happened to the vis?  It was about a metre, dark, and not helped by the grey and gloomy conditions topside. Over the weekend of 4 and 5 June, we dived the steamer Clarinda where the vis was slightly better at 2 metres, but nowhere near what we should expect for early June. I’m told the plankton bloom is the worst for many years and extends from Cornwall to Kent.  On Sunday we dived inshore on the recently wrecked trawler Sally Jane followed by a dip on the War Knight where members of Hampshire & Wight Wildlife Trust were identifying various sponges, nudibranchs, etc. Vis was badly affected by plankton on the Sally Jane, where it was about 1.5 metres, but the War Knight was better at 2-3 metres. We had tried to dive further east, inshore, but visibility was very bad.

Dive spaces: Apart from those above, there are spaces to dive the British submarine HMS Swordfish on Monday 20 June. 3 spaces are available. Contact Jane on jmaddocks@gmail.com. There are 4 spaces available on Friday 1 July to dive the steamer El Kahira in 60 metres. Contact Simon on diver990@gmail.com

Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 11 June we ventured to the south west on a mid Channel wreck thought to be the WW1 casualty Ohio in 60 metres. Conditions were completely calm with a flat sea, no wind but an overcast sky. Despite this, visibility was terrific, at least 10 metres in ambient light, with plankton almost absent. Next day conditions had deteriorated. We still had grey skies, this time with heavy rain and a south westerly breeze. Sea conditions were less than ideal despite the weak tide, with a pronounced swell and choppy seas, but divers were able to explore the WW1 steamer Start in 42 metres.  More of an inshore wreck than the Ohio, vis wasn’t expected to be so good (it wasn’t) but though dark, 3-4 metres was the estimate. Plankton here is dying back and as the neap tide progresses visibility is expected to improve and reach inshore.

Dive/vis reports: From Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 June we were diving on Bouldnor Cliff, east of Yarmouth in the Solent, on a site of human existence 8500 years old. In vis of 3 metres, new areas of worked timbers were located suggesting the site was inhabited, though much more work needs to be done to interpret what’s been found. On Saturday 18 June we dived the WWII armed trawler Warwick Deeping. Vis was slightly lower than expected at about 4 metres, and the second dive on the War Knight was again disappointing for the time of year, best described as pea soup. On Sunday 18 June the steamer Clarinda was dived in calm conditions. Being further south than the Warwick Deeping, vis was better at 6 metres in ambient light. The good news is that the plankton has almost gone and vis now ought to continue to be reasonable.  Monday 19 June was blown out by strong winds.

Dive/vis reports:  Tuesday 21 June and the weather has settled, and we went to conduct surveys on the wreck of the 1855 steamer Faith. Conditions were excellent and with vis around 4-5 metres in ambient light, quite a lot was achieved, including locating the remains of the bows which had hitherto been ‘missing,’  and photographing various parts of the wreck.  On Thursday 23rd, we went mid Channel and dived the 1895 wreck of the steamer Monton. Conditions overhead were grey and cloudy with torrential rain, but the sea was flat and water visibility spectacular.  Divers reported being at 44 metres and seeing the wreck below in 60 metres with divers swimming around. That makes the vis about 16 metres and if we had had sunshine it would have been a good 20 metres.  Next day we dived the WWII steamer Fort Yale, a huge wreck. Being only 6 miles north of the Monton, expectations for good vis were high. However, steaming off St Catherine’s the water was very dirty – no particular reason why it should be so poor – but conditions improved as we steamed south east. On the wreck vis was about 5 metres. On the weekend of 25 and 26 June, the wind picked up and though we ventured past the Needles on Saturday, rough seas and a nasty swell prevented diving and the trip was aborted. As the forecast for Sunday was similar, I had the weekend off.

Dive/vis reports: On 27 and 28 June we were surveying the protected wreck site near Quarry Ledge, Thorness Bay. Commenced clearing the wreck of snagged ropes and other debris in preparation for a fuller survey, to be conducted later in the season. 29/30 and 1/2/3 July were blown out again by strong winds. However, we were able to get out off St Catherine’s Point on Monday 4 July, diving the WWII armed trawler Crestflower, where we had vis of 7-8 metres.  The weekend of 9/10 July and Monday 11th was blown out as this dreary, windy, unsettled summer continues. Conditions improved somewhat from 12th to 15th July, this time operating from Southsea with marine archaeologists. We surveyed and number of wrecks including HMS Boxer, German U-boat UB-21, SS Kurland, SS Pandion and also the earlier wrecks of the sailing barque Cadeuceus and HMS Impregnable. Despite the very good neap tide, vis was poor at 1-2 metres, though this improved on the last day to a more acceptable 4-5 metres. Water temperature is around 16°.

Dive & vis reports: Saturday 16 July and we’re back diving west Wight, with a drift dive across Christchurch Ledge in 7 metres vis, followed by 8 metres vis on the Spyros. Sea conditions were lumpy and there was a nasty swell and breeze, but the dive was worth it. On Sunday 17th we dived the WWII steamer Terlings in 40 metres, and had 8-10 metres vis in ambient light. Lots of wreck showing with the stern, steering quadrant and gun all prominent. On Monday 18th we ventured offshore in flat, sunny conditions, diving the wreck of the steamer Saxmundham in 60 metres. Vis was about 15 metres and more like what we’d expect – though not as good as 2015 when vis was 25 metres plus. Next day we’re diving south of St Catherine’s Point on the WW1 wreck of the steamer Londonier. Good vis at 7-8 metres and water temperature around 17 degrees. On Wednesday 20th we were blown out by strong winds, but on Thursday 21st we dived an unknown wreck in 38 metres, again in good vis. The wreck was the most exposed it’s been, standing 6 1/2 metres clear, and revealing just how big this wreck is. I have an idea of its identity but it’s not confirmed. Vis still good at 7-8 metres. On Friday 22nd we’re off St Catherine’s Point again on the wreck of the Cleddy. Don’t know why but the wreck was a bit dark and gloomy but vis still holding up well.

Dive and vis reports: Weekend of 23 and 24 June with the weather still good, we dived the WW1 wreck of the Westville in 40 metres. Entering the Solent we were shrouded in thick fog, which persisted all the way to the wreck site. Fortunately the sun forced its way through and the fog disappeared in time for slack. Vis still good, though slightly reduced on what we’ve had, to about 6 metres. On Sunday 24th we went offshore to dive the WW1 wreck of the Inger in 55 metres.  It was a grey, gloomy day, which translated to a grey, gloomy dive! However, vis was still good though a decent torch was necessary. The wind forecast was proved incorrect as we had nothing more than a westerly force 3 all day.

Dive spaces: The are spaces available to dive the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres on Saturday 6 August.

Spaces update:  The Smyrna trip is now full.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 30th we ventured to the south west and dived the wreck of the Snowdrop, lost in 1886, in 57 metres. Very nice compound engine and single boiler with unusual steam collector fitted on top. Excellent vis around 12 metres.  Next day we dived a similar latitude on the steamer El Kahira in 60 metres. Excellent vis again, with some saying this was the best dive so far in 2016.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 6 August, following a windy week and big tides, we ventured offshore to the clipper ship Smyrna, in bright, sunny conditions.  Vis was 8-10 metres in ambient light.

Dive spaces:  There may be spaces on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August, wreck diving not exceeding 30 metres.  Contact the organiser, Jeff, on jeff@linkbase.co.uk for more details.

Dive/vis reports:  Carried out more survey work on the unidentified schooner wreck in Thorness Bay on 9-11 August. Vis at the beginning was 1 – 1.5 metres, but by Thursday this had improved, as the neap tide progressed, to a respectable  4 metres.  More debris was cleared from the site in preparation for photographic work to take place.  On Friday 12th August we ventured mid Channel to dive the German light cruiser Nurnberg in 60 metres.  Flat seas and sunny skies were with us for the long trip south of the Needles. Vis was around 15 metres in ambient light, though vertical vis was better still – one diver reported looking up from 22 metres and seeing the surface. Next day, with a different group of divers, we visited the WW1 wreck of the steamer Fluent. Despite passing through very clear water in the Solent and for 8 or 9 miles south, the wreck was in an area of slightly less clear water. This gave vis of 4-5 metres in ambient light. Finally on Sunday 14th, we again ventured mid Channel to the wreck of the barque Waitara in 60 metres. Vis was even better than Friday, at 15-20 metres horizontal, in ambient light. We were due to go offshore again on Monday 15th, but strong easterly winds forced us to cancel. Likewise on Tuesday 16th, when we were to go off St Catherine’s Point. Easterlies of 4-5 are just too uncomfortable and so it was another day off from this windy summer.  We did manage to get out on Friday 19th, to dive the Venezuela,in reasonable vis of 4 metres, but the weekend was blown out again, in what has been a windy, inconsistent summer.

Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 27th August in fine conditions, we steamed to the south west and dived the WW1 wreck of the steamer Finn in 60 metres.  Though somewhat dark, visibility was about 8 metres. Described elsewhere as upside down, the wreck in fact lies on its port side. The midships area has opened up allowing access to the interior. Next day was blown out but we reached the WW2 wreck of the steamer Coquetdale on Monday 29th. Sod’s Law – we passed through good vis on the way to the site, which gradually reduced so that the wreck gave only 2-3 metres vis – disappointing!

Dive/vis reports:  The weekend of 3/4 September was blown out, as was Saturday 10th, but in the following days we had some excellent diving. On Sunday 11th we dived the WW1 wreck of the Azemmour in 39 metres. Excellent dive with 6 metres vis, the swell on the surface was felt on the wreck though this didn’t affect the dive.  Next day we ventured mid Channel to dive the German light cruiser Nurnberg in 60 metres. Once again we passed through gin-clear water to reach the wreck, to find vis was not so good. At about 8 metres and dark, this was below what we’d normally expect on good tides on an offshore wreck. On Tuesday 13th, we again went mid Channel but not quite as far as the Nurnberg, and visibility was a sparkling 10 metres in ambient light. A very, very good dive was had on an unidentified wreck, which is thought to be the WW2 wreck of the motor vessel Dallas City. The very distinctive machinery arrangement strongly suggests that after 76 years the final resting place of this large wreck has been established. Finally on Wednesday 14th we returned inshore to the wreck which is almost certainly the wreck of the WW1 steamer Hazelwood. This wreck is prone to covering and uncovering with sand. At the moment it is very exposed but we still haven’t been able to prove its identity.

Dive/vis reports:  Saturday 17th was blown out due to strong northerly winds, but Sunday 18th was a lovely warm, sunny day, with flat seas. Having to contend with a big spring tide (7.2 metres on Dover) we dived the WW1 wreck of the  Venezuela in 27 metres. Suspended material in the water column reduced the light from below 20 metres, but on the wreck vis was about 2 metres with a torch – do-able and the sort of conditions expected in late September on a very big tide. Water temperature has now pretty much peaked at 19°.

Dive/vis reports:  The weekend of 24/25 September was blown out, as was Saturday 1 October, but on Sunday 2nd, the wind dropped and we ventured mid Channel. The sea state was somewhat confused with an uncomfortable swell, but the sea flattened off on slack water and with wall-to-wall sunshine, we dived an unidentified wreck which is probably the Dallas City sunk in 1940. With vis of 6-8 metres, light levels were unfortunately somewhat reduced and it was rather dark on the wreck, though it could just about have been dived in ambient light.

Dive/vis reports: On the weekend of 8 and 9 October, taking advantage of a very good neap tide, we visited the wreck of the Spyros and with the water still around 17°, had vis of around 3-4 metres, though it was a little dark; unsurprising given the time of year. A drift dive across Christchurch Ledge completed the day. On the Sunday we returned to the unidentified wreck in 38 metres, thought to be the WW1 victim, Hazelwood. If anything, the sand has disappeared even more, exposing more of the wreck. Unfortunately nothing was found to confirm the wreck’s identity.

The unidentified mid Channel wreck thought to be the Dallas City is now 99% confirmed as her. An underwater image of the engine has been examined by a Doxford expert who confirms the engine in the wreck is a Doxford engine, of a type fitted in the Dallas City.

Dive/vis reports: Possibly the last dive of the season – Saturday 29 October – taking advantage of calm weather – we dived the Borgny in 30 metres. Flat sea but an overcast sky, water temperature at 15°, vis was surprisingly good for the time of year – but we’ve had no wind of rain recently. Though, as expected, it was dark on the wreck, visibility was 3-5 metres, though torchlights were visible beyond that. If we have persistent high pressure and light winds, we’ll continue to put dives together, as we’ve shown that though it’ll be dark underwater, vis can still be good as long as you have a decent torch.