Diving Reports from 2011

17 March 2011.  The new boat is almost ready for the new season.  I’m waiting on the certifying authority giving approval before I can operate legally.  A new stern lift has been fitted and as soon as the stainless steel benches have been fabricated and fitted, we can get going.  It will probably take me most of the season to identify improvements which need to be made but as things stand at the moment the boat is pretty much ready.  Here are some spaces for the coming season:

Friday 17 June.  2 spaces to dive the American tanker Y48 in 58 metres.  Excellent dive.  Friday 24 June. 6 spaces to dive the Nurnberg in 62 metres.  Another excellent dive. Monday 18 July.  8 spaces to dive the Olivine in 70 metres.  Very good dive. Tuesday 19 July.  6 spaces to dive the Isleworth in 70 metres.  Very good dive. Saturday 23 July.  1 space to dive the German U-boat U-480 in 58 metres.  Intact sub for those who like tubes. Sunday 24 July. 4 spaces available to dive the Oiekast in 62 metres. Monday 22 August.  5 spaces to dive the El Kahira in 60 metres.  Tuesday 23 August.  6 spaces available to dive the Luxor in 60 metres.

Boat update.  The boat has finally passed its survey – the delay was in arranging the surveyor to view the hull out of the water at a time when the boatyard could lift it out.  That’s now been done and all I need now to begin work is the coding certificate from the certifying authority, expected mid April 2011. New stainless steel benches with teak decking are currently being fabricated  and should be ready very soon.

In anticipation that we can begin diving, I am circulating details of proposed dives on Sunday 24 April and Monday 25 April.  I’ve deliberately left out the 22nd (Good Friday) and the 24th due to big springs which precede and will just have gone through, and which will have reduced the visibility somewhat.  The 24th and 25th are neapy so vis should be better.  I am planning to do wrecks in a maximum of 40 metres and the choice is from the Azemmour, Myrtlegrove, Clarinda, Lapwing, Gallia or Coquetdale.  Cost is either £42 or £44 per head. Names to me please asap.

Excellent weekend’s diving on 24th and 25th April.  Vis was an exceptionally good 8-10 metres on the Lapwing and the next day a little less around 6 metres on the Coquetdale.  Water still chilly at 10°.  Inshore, Christchurch Ledge had vis of 3 metres.   Lovely, sunny two days diving, and a good start to the season.

Excellent vis on 29 April, diving the Clarinda, very clear water – the surface was visible from 18 metres down.  The following 3 days were blown out due to strong east/north east winds.

Forthcoming spaces:  During the week commencing Monday 9 May we’re doing some fairly gentle, easy diving inshore, nothing deeper than about 30 metres or so. We’ll be diving wrecks such as the Serrana in 18-20, Tank Landing Craft in 20, Spyros in 30 as well as shallow second dives, wreck or reef. Cost: £42 per head.  Availability: Monday 9th, 2 spaces, Tuesday 10th, 2 spaces, Wednesday 11th, 3 spaces,  Friday 13th, 4 spaces (though all these spaces have been booked provisionally but not yet confirmed). Update: Friday 13th is now full.

More spaces:  Sunday 8 May, diving the Borgny in 31 metres.  Meet 1200 to leave 1230.  Second dive included.  £42 per head. Update: Three spaces remaining for the 8th May.

Dive spaces available:  Sunday 29 May, 2 spaces to dive the Fenna in 24 metres. Second dive included.  Meet 0730 to leave 0800.  £42 per head. Monday 30 May, 1 space available to dive the armed trawler Michael Clements (offshore) in 48 metres. Meet 0700 to leave 0730.  £44 per head. Friday 3 June, 6 spaces to dive the Simla in 40 metres, plus second dive.  Meet 0915 to leave 0945.  £44 per head.  Friday 17 June, 2 spaces to dive the American tanker Y48 (offshore) in 58 metres.  Meet 0830 to leave 0900.  £46 per head.  Friday 24 June, 6 spaces to dive the German cruiser Nurnberg (offshore) in 60 metres. Meet 0715 to leave 0745.  £48 per head.  Wednesday 6 July. 5 spaces to dive the Dutch schooner Fenna in 24 metres, plus second dive.  not yet sure if we’re diving the early or late slack. £42 per head. Friday 8 July. 5 spaces to dive a 40 metre wreck, which one not yet determined but likely to be something like the Clarinda, Azemmour, Myrtlegrove, plus second dive.  Meet 0745 to leave 0815.  £42 or £44 per head depending on which wreck we dive.  Please note – for the offshore, mid Channel dives, there will be an additional charge of £5 per head if the dive remains undersubscribed.

Update re above on spaces:  Friday 3 June – 4 spaces remaining. Friday 8 July – 4 spaces remaining.  Monday 9, Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 May – 2 spaces remaining each day.

Dive reports:  The brilliant vis of last week (end of April) has been replaced by some dirty water – spring tide, strong winds and heavy rain to blame.  Low vis in the Solent on Saturday 8 May – about a metre.  Similar vis on Monday on Christchurch Ledge and the Clan Macvey, but with the tide easing towards neaps this should improve quite quickly. Dive spaces:  2 spaces available to dive the armed trawler Michael Clements in 48 metres on Monday 30 May.  £44 per head.  Meet 0700 to leave 0730. Still 2 spaces available to dive the American tanker Y48 in 58 metres on Friday 17 June.  £46 per head. Meet 0830 to leave 0900.

Dive/vis reports. Vis. improved during the week commencing Monday 9 May, with up to 10 metres recorded on the Braedale, though close inshore it’s still poor.  On the Betsy Anna on Friday a good 6 metres was had, in bright, sunny conditions.  On the Westville on Saturday, vis was again around 6 metres without a torch.  It’s just close inshore vis which is still poor.  Vis on the Serrana on Sunday was no more than 2 metres, and worse still on the War Knight.

Update on spaces:  Monday 30 May is now full. Friday 3 June – 4 spaces remaining to dive the Simla. Spaces may be available on 4/5 June, details to follow.  7 spaces available to dive the Smyrna on Thursday 9 June, though 2 of those may have gone – waiting for confirmation. 2 spaces still available on Friday 17 June to dive the Y48.  4 spaces still free to dive the Nurnberg on Friday 24 June.  4 spaces still free for the Fenna on 6 July, and 4 spaces remaining for a 40 metre wreck dive on Friday 8 July. The trip on Saturday 16 July to dive the Spyros in 30 metres now has 5 spaces available.  Meet 0945 to leave 1015.  £42 per head including a second dive.

Update on spaces: Only 3 spaces left for the Smyrna on 9 June, and 3 for the Fenna on 6 July. The Spyros trip on 16 July is now full. Fenna trip on 29 May is now full.

Spaces: I have 5 spaces to dive the Molina on Saturday 4 June, (meet 1000 to leave 1030) and 5 spaces to dive an unidentified Tank Landing Craft in 30 metres on Sunday 5 June (meet 1045 to leave 1115).  Second dive included, £42 and £44 per head respectively.  Only 2 spaces remaining for 6 July to dive the Fenna. Update on spaces: Spaces have been taken for 4/5 June.  Only 1 space remaining for the 4th, and 1 remaining for the 5th. One space left for Sunday 29 May to dive the Fenna in 24 metres.

Vis/dive reports: Dived the Tweed on 21 May.  Water colour on the way was a combination of blues, greens and browns, in patches and streaks, but although vis was poor near the surface, on the wreck it was a do-able 2-3 metres. Not great for May, and it should clear in the coming days. Water temperature has increased to about 12° and rising. Update on spaces: The weekend of 4/5 June is now full.

Vis/dive reports: During the week 23-27 May, unsettled windy weather made diving somewhat challenging for the marine archaeolgists on board.  Largely confined to the Solent, visibility was nevertheless reasonable, and improved as the week went on.  We were only able to venture past the Needles once, to dive the Venezuela, in 6-8 metres vis.  An uncharted obstruction was dived in the Solent which turned out to be a small, isolated patch of rock with one very large boulder. The weekend was blown out, but the weather had improved on BH Monday and the wreck of the Michael Clements was dived, in 10-12 metres vis.  Next day we visited the Isleworth in St Catherine’s Deep, where vis had reduced to 3 metres and dark.   June commenced with a dive on HMS Swordfish.  This is not a wreck I usually visit, but as the intention was to assess the site and report back the general state and condition of the wreck, I agreed to go there.  Very good vis of 8-10 metres was experienced.  On Friday 3rd I took a group to the Simla off St Catherine’s Point, again in good vis of 6-8 metres.  The weekend promised to be overshadowed by strong north easterlies, but in the event, these did not come to much and we dived the Molina in 6-8 metres vis on Saturday, and an unidentified Landing Craft (Tank) next day.  In topside conditions of rain and cloud, vis was reduced on the wreck but not enough to spoil the dive.   We ended the weekend on the wreck of the War Knight where again the vis was a reasonable 3-4 metres.

Dive spaces available:  Thursday 16 June. Diving an unidentified wreck in 60 metres in mid channel.  Meet 0745 to leave 0815.  5 spaces. Friday 17 June. Diving the American tanker Y48 in mid Channel.  Meet 0830 to leave 0900.  2 spaces. Sunday 19 June.  Diving the Spyros in 31 metres.  Meet 1115 to leave 1145. 2 spaces. Thursday 23 June.  Plenty of spaces to dive the Smyrna in 55 metres.  Meet 0700 to leave 0730.  Friday 24 June.  Diving the Nurnberg in 60 metres.  Meet 0715 to leave 0745.  4 spaces.  Wednesday 6 July.  Diving the Fenna in 23 metres.  Not yet sure if we’re diving the early or late tide.  2 spaces. Friday 8 July. Diving the Clarinda or Azemmour or Myrtlegrove in 40 metres.  Meet 0745 to leave 0815.  4 spaces.

Spaces update: 4 spaces remaining for 16 June, and one space left for 19 June.

Vis/dive reports, spaces update: Thursday 16 June, diving mid Channel, 4 spaces remaining. Sunday 19 June is now full.  The Smyrna dive on Thursday 23 June has 5 spaces remaining.  The Nurnberg dive on Friday 24 June has 3 spaces left.  Vis on the wreck of the Spiral/Norma (still not sure of the identity of this wreck, but probably the Norma) was a respectable 8 metres.  Some plankton in the water but plenty of ambient light at 55 metres so torches weren’t needed.

Spaces update: The Smyrna trip on 23 June has 3 spaces remaining. 5 spaces remaining for Friday 8 July.

Vis/dive reports: Much of June was blown out by unseasonally strong south-westerlies. As a result there was no diving during 12 to 24 June.  On the Round the Island Yacht Race, force 6 and 7 was blowing, but we managed to dive in the Solent on the unidentified schooner in 20 metres.  Vis was 2-3 metres –  not great, but at least everyone had a dive. Next day was much improved, with the wind dropping to nothing, and clear weather with sunshine.  Vis on the Spyros was 6-8 metres and on the War Knight around 4 metres.  For the week commencing 27 June, the boat operated from Southsea with Hampshire & Wight Trust marine archaeologists.  Apart from continuing surveying the wooden wreck of the barque Flowers of Ugie, uncharted in 10 metres, we also checked on the remains of the barque Cadeuceus in 6 metres.  Interest in more modern wrecks, but which are becoming historic as time passes, has intensified, and we dived HMS Boxer, wrecked in collision in 1918, in excellent vis of 8-10 metres.  Next the vast expanse of wreck which is the remains of the liner SS Cuba was dived in 30 metres, again in good vis.  The final two days were spent diving the U-1195, which sank the Cuba, and which herself was destroyed by our own forces following the loss of the Cuba.  During all these dives, measurements and drawings were recorded and photographs taken. On the weekend of 2 and 3 July, the wrecks of the Londonier (sunk 1918) and the Empire Crusader (wrecked 1940) were dived.  Vis close to the surface was good but quickly reduced before improving again in the last 10 metres of water, and was a respectable 6 metres.  Seas were flat and the weather sunny.  However, right on cue another depression has swept in from the Atlantic, and dives on 6, 7 and July were lost.

Forthcoming dives: I have 2 spare days on which we’ll try for the following: Thursday 28 July, to dive an unidentified Tank Landing Craft in 30 metres.  £44 per head, including a second dive. Meet 0700 to leave 0730.  Friday 29 July, diving the Smyrna in 55 metres.  Meet 0700 to leave 0730. £46 per head. Update on spaces: 4 spaces left for the Tank Landing Craft on 28 July, and 6 spaces remaining for the Smyrna dive the next day (correct as of 9 July).

Vis/dive reports: Poor weather continues, with dives blown out, but when we can get out there the vis has been good. Very good conditions were had in mid July, during which we think we have located the wreck of the steam tug Security which disappeared in a gale in 1946.  Excellent visibility of around 8 metres was had on the Oriflamme, just south of St Catherine’s Lighthouse, and similar conditions were found on the Britannia and the South Western.  After more days blown out, the marine archaeologists from Hampshire & Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology continued their survey of the Venezuela, photographing, drawing and measuring various features.  On the wreck of the German U-boat U480, conditions were a little dark but visibility was excellent, while the archeaologists were back for more diving on the wreck of the Londonier.  Three days were spent drawing, measuring and photographing, as part of an ongoing project.  Towards the end of July, excellent visibility of 12 metres was had on the wreck of an unidentified tank landing craft, and we finally managed to reach the wreck of the Smyrna for the first time in 2011 – we’d had the previous 3 attempts blown out.  Bristol’s Dive Monkey Club came down for the weekend at the very end of July, when we dived the Fenna and Venezuela in good conditions. Unsettled weather continued into August but we were able to take advantage of a weather window to dive the wreck of the Eleanor in 40 metres. On the following neap tide, which produces the best vis of the year, the weather intervened yet again and we were confined to the Solent with archaeologists, investigating anomolies and diving Bouldner cliff in preparation for a project in September.

Vis/dive reports: August diving has followed this summer’s trend of unsettled weather, with more days lost to strong winds.  In between low pressure systems, we’ve been back out to the Clarinda in 40 metres, dived the Warwick Deeping in 36 metres, but the best diving of the month was on the wreck of the American tanker Y48, where vis was 15 metres and light.  This is a mid Channel wreck but the long steam is worth it.  Next day we dived the Admiralty armed trawler Michael Clements in 48 metres, followed by the El Kahira, another offshore wreck in 60 metres, where vis was again in the region of 15 metres and light.  Nekton Sub Aqua Club visited for three days, diving the Spyros (where a 15lbs turbot was brought up), Warwick Deeping and Simla.  Inshore dives included the War Knight, Joannis Millas, and a drift across Atherfield Ledge, where the remains of 3 wrecks were found.  Scallops, crabs and flatfish were found on a Solent drift, to complete 3 days successful diving. August Bank Holiday was something of a let-down, with strong winds again, but an excellent dive was had on the WW1 Norwegian steamer Cuba in 42 metres.  Divers had to enter the water before slack, as the tide had turned strongly before their bottom times were completed.  Vis was a little disappointing at 3-4 metres, but that’s St Catherine’s on a spring tide.  The beginning of September looks quite good, but yet another depresssion is due, ruining an excellent set of neaps which are due. That’ll be the third set of neaps in a row destroyed by the weather.

Dive spaces: I have spaces to dive the Fenna on Sunday 4 September, meet 0730 to leave 0800.  £42 per head.  Also 4 spaces to dive the Iduna on Saturday 10 September.  Meet 0715 to leave 0745.  £44 per head.

Vis/dive reports: The Fenna dive on 4 September went ahead, despite poor vis, followed by a training exercise in Alum Bay.  From Monday 5 September, a large depression crossed the country, bringing very strong winds, but we managed to dive 4 days out of 5 in the Solent at Bouldnor, recovering samples from the 8000 year old site of human habitation, in 11 metres.  Vis was, as expected following such unsettled weather, quite poor, ranging from less than half a metre to about a metre and a half.  Despite this, all objectives were achieved.  The weekend of 10/11 September was blown out, as was the weekend of 17/18 September.

Forthcoming dive spaces: I have spaces to dive the WW1 wreck of the steamer Cuba in 42 metres on Wednesday 21 September.  £44 per head, one dive, meeting at 0745 and departing at 0815. I may also have spaces for Sunday 2 October – diving a wreck as yet undetermined in 35-40 metres.  I may also have spaces to dive the Warwick Deeping and War Knight on Friday 7 October.  Meet 1130 to leave 1215.  £42 per head.

Spaces update: The Cuba dive was cancelled – strong winds again.  The dive on the Ajax on Saturday 8 October is now full.  Only 2 spaces remaining for the dive on the Empire Crusader on Sunday 9 October.

Spaces update: Weekend of 8/9 October is full.  Spaces available to dive a wreck in the mid 30’s on Sunday 2 October – probably the Braedale in 36 metres. Meet 1115.  £42 per head.  Spaces also available to dive the Smyrna in 55 metres on Saturday 22 October.  Meet 0930 to leave 1000.  £46 per head.  Spaces to dive the Lapwing in 40 metres on Sunday 23 October.  Meet 1100 to leave 1130.  On both these days it’s one dive only.

Vis/dive reports: Dived the Londonier with Hampshire & Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology on 22 and 23 September.  Despite a good forecast, the first day was rough but the vis was around 8 metres and some good footage was taken of the stern section and gun.  Next day the midships area was filmed.  We also had a look for a cannon site, known to be in a particular area, and though the vis was good at 6 metres nothing was found.  Perhaps this is not surprising as trying to conduct a circular search among rock ledges and gullies was somewhat challenging.  A search with the magnetometer should locate the site precisely.  12 metres vis was experienced on the mid Channel wreck of the Nurnberg on Saturday 24th, and though we intended to venture offshore the next day, the plan was changed due to the wind forecast to dive the Sargasso in 43 metres.  That meant a fairly early start, but the vis was good at around 6 or 7 metres.  It turned out  to be a good decision to dive the early tide as the wind strengthened, and fortunately we didn’t have far to run to reach shelter.

Spaces update: Only 2 spaces remaining for each of the days of 22 and 23 October, diving the Smyrna and Lapwing respectively.

Spaces update:  The weekend of 22 and 23 October is now full.

Vis/dive reports: Dived the Warwick Deeping on 15 October on a warm, sunny day with a flat sea.  Nice vis without a torch at 5-6 metres, followed by a dive off Brook in some rough ground, also with good vis of around 3-4 metres.  Next day, expecting better vis further offshore on the Empire Crusader, we passed through the clear water which extended 7 or 8 miles offshore, into less clear water, where the vis was 3-4 metres.  Despite this, the bridge bell was recovered, bearing the former name of the ship, Leander. The weekend of 22/23 October has been cancelled due to strong winds forecast.

Spaces: We’ll try one more time to go offshore on 5 and 6 November.  Very good tide, so we’ll aim for the Smyrna (meet 0900 to leave 0930) and the Lapwing (meet 1015 to leave 1045). Names to me please.

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