Dive reports 2021

The season was due to kick off on Saturday 10 April, but strong north-easterlies arrived just at the wrong moment and we were blown out. The following weekend of Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 April was when we began, diving in Bracklesham Bay checking on anomalies located last year.  Nothing of any significance was found.  The good news is that vis is very good inshore at about 5 metres, the water temperature is about 9° but due to the recent bright and sunny weather we’re having an early plankton bloom, though it’s quite fine at the moment and doesn’t seem to affect the vis.

Over the following two days, Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 April, we were engaged in multi-beam surveys which highlighted a number of seabed features which are currently being analysed to see if they require investigation by divers. The following weekend of 24 and 25 April was blown out.  On Saturday 1 May in glorious sunshine, no wind and a flat sea, we steamed south for the first proper wreck dive of the season on the Clarinda in 40 metres.  As there had been a run of huge springs a few days before, vis wasn’t expected to be great, but it was about 3 metres with a torch – certainly better than expected this early in the season. Water temperature is still 9°. A perfect day to kick-start the season.  Sunday was a free day and on Monday 3rd May – south-westerly gales have set in. No-one is going anywhere.

On the Bank Holiday, Monday 3 May, wind speeds of up to 93 mph were recorded at the Needles. This was bound to affect underwater visibility in the Solent, and so it did.  There was a lull in the weather for Thursday 6 May, when we were diving Bouldnor Cliff in the Solent with marine archaeologists.  We had ice on the foredeck first thing in the morning but otherwise it was a calm and sunny day. Visibility on the ebb tide was never going to be good after the severe winds earlier in the week, but it was about a metre, with water temperature nudging up to 10°. We took the opportunity to film the skipper conducting a single-handed recovery of a simulated unconscious person from the water. This was successful, culminating in the casualty being raised on the lift and moved inboard, where he was placed in the recovery position. Part of the new operating requirements from the surveying authorities is to provide such evidence, to prove that it can be done.  On Friday 7 May, with sunny spells and a westerly breeze, we returned to Bouldnor Cliff to continue the work there. With the weather having settled somewhat, vis improved but hasn’t had time to reach usual levels.  The weekend of Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 May was blown out by more strong winds.  We are anticipating the imminent arrival of the ‘May water’ also known as ‘black water’, so named because it arrives in May!  It also looks black because it is so clear.  Normally it arrives quite suddenly around the first/second week of May, and heralds much better diving conditions for the remainder of the season. 

The dreary, unsettled month of May continues with more low pressure systems crossing the country. Unsurprisingly, we were blown out again on the weekend of Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 May.

Dive/vis reports:  On Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 May, taking advantage of the good neap tides, marine archaeologists were again surveying and photographing the submerged landscape of Bouldnor Cliff, east of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. Vis has improved considerably and though Solent vis is rarely fantastic, they were working in vis of 3-4 metres. Severe winds from the south on Thursday hardly affected us, as we were in the lee of the coast, but there was a rough journey back across to Lymington.  Planned dives in the Channel from Friday 21st to Monday 24 May inclusive have all been blown out. A brief lull was forecast for Saturday, but there wasn’t enough time for the sea state to settle down, and so we wait for better weather.

Dive spaces:  There are spaces on Monday 7 June to dive the armed WWII trawler Warwick Deeping.  36 metres to the seabed, wreck stands upright and fairly intact about 4 metres high. Second dive included.  Contact me for further details.

Dive spaces: Spaces available for Saturday 26 June, diving a wreck in the mid 30’s.  Second dive included. Contact Rich on richard@carter-savigear.net.

Dive/vis reports:  Saturday 29 May and the weather is fine and sunny, with no wind. We dived the WW1 steamer Venezuela. Vis wasn’t bad at 3-4 metres, though it was a bit dark, the leftovers from the previous run of big springs. A second dive on the War Knight gave slightly reduced vis, normal for here, but as it was shallower there was much more light. On Sunday 30 May we dived a mark off Brook, back of the Wight, on high water slack, and vis wasn’t good – 1-2 metres. However, later we ventured close under the cliffs east of Freshwater on some rough ground, where conditions were much clearer, though by now a nasty easterly swell had appeared and the wind picked up.  The orecast for Monday 31 May wasn’t good although the weather was warm, fine and sunny – an easterly 5 was blowing and that is far too uncomfortable especially when were over 20 miles offshore.

Dive/vis reports.  On Thursday 3 June we were diving the site of human habitation on Bouldnor Cliff, east of Yarmouth, and the neap tide has meant vis has improved considerably. An easy 5 metres vis enabled much photography and surveying to take place.  On Friday 4 June we decided to investigate an anomaly in 42 metres of water, described as an uncharted wreck. The spot was located and dived, and found to be a rocky reef. Because the tide was so neapy, we were able to divert to a known wreck 2 miles away in a similar depth, and dived that one through a long period of slack water. Vis of around 4 metres in ambient light was quite satisfactory.

Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 5 June we steamed south west to the wreck of the WW1 Norwegian steamer Vikholmen in mid Channel. Brilliant weather, no wind, bright sunshine. Vis was an easy 10-12 metres in ambient light.  The crawfish are still around as a sizeable one was spotted in the wreck. Next day, Sunday 6 June, we set off again to the south west to dive the Messina. Thick fog appeared just off the Needles which reduced vis to 150 yards, improving from time to time to half a mile, then back to 150 yards. As we got further offshore the fog lifted and the dive went ahead. Vis had improved to an excellent 12-15 metres with divers reporting being able to see the surface from 21 metres.  On the return voyage, we encountered thick fog which worsened the closer we got to land. At the Needles it was down to 30 yards – most disconcerting when you can hear the foghorn but can’t see the lighthouse.  On Monday 7 June we had an earlier start and dived the WWII armed trawler Warwick Deeping. The sky was cloudy so sunlight was limited, but vis was an easy 6 metres. We followed this with a dive on the War Knight, in bright sunshine, with excellent vis reported at 6-7 metres, possibly more. That’s around the best it ever gets on this inshore wreck. All in all, a very good few days diving.

On Friday 11 June we headed off to dive the Train Set wreck and to continue to survey and photograph the site. We passed through the good vis and dived in the plankton-rich water instead!  Vis was OK at 3-4 metres, but there was quite a lot of plankton which made for somewhat dark conditions.  We followed this with a dive on the WW1 steamer War Knight, where the vis was a very good 6-7 metres in bright conditions. On Saturday 12 June we headed mid-Channel to dive the 1883 wreck of the sailing ship British Commerce. Vis was great at 12-15 metres, with divers reporting they could see the surface on the ascent at 33 metres.  Next day, Sunday 13 June, we headed again to mid Channel to dive the French steamer Albert in 68 metres. Vis was great again, around 10-12 metres, and surface temperature at 14 degrees.  From Monday 14 June to Friday 18 June, Natural England divers are on board for the week, diving various sites of seagrass, to survey the condition and extent of the seagrass beds. They’ve examined sites close to Yarmouth Harbour, Bouldnor Cliff, Beaulieu/Lepe, the Shrape Mud outside Cowes Harbour, and Osborne Bay. A seahorse was spotted!  Vis generally was quite good, though most dives were only in 2-3 metres of water. On occasions there was less than 1 metres under my keel.  Inshore water temperature is around 17°. The first part of the week was very warm, calm and sunny, while Friday was dull with very heavy rain and a strong northerly wind.

Dive spaces:  There are dive spaces available as follows:  Monday 19 July. Diving the Spyros in 30 metres.  Second dive included. Meet 1015 to leave 1045.  Wednesday 21 July. Diving the Spyros and War Knight.  This is a reverse profile day – shallow dive in the morning with the main dive on the afternoon slack.  Meet 0900 to leave 0945-ish. Contact me if you’d like spaces.

Dive/vis reports:  On Saturday 19 June we steamed out to dive the wreck of the Lapwing in 40 metres. Despite there being thick cloud cover, vis on the wreck in ambient light was an excellent 15 metres. Water temperature is hovering around 14/15°. Next day, Sunday 20 June, we were inshore diving the armed trawler Warwick Deeping in 36 metres. Heavy cloud cover on the way out gradually eased and with no wind we had a pleasant day. The wreck is still substantial and relatively intact, though the wheelhouse has largely collapsed. Vis was in the region of 5-6 metres in ambient light – and better than using a torch, which reflected the plankton in the water and meant vis wasn’t so good.  Following this we headed inshore on the 1896 wreck of the steamer Joannis Millas, where vis has held up very well.

Dive spaces:  There are the following dive spaces available:

Monday 5 July. 2 spaces to dive an unknown wreck in 55-58 metres.

Tuesday 6 July. 4 spaces to dive an unidentified feature in 38 metres.

Wednesday 7 July. 4 spaces to dive the WW1 steamer Redesmere in 38 metres.

Saturday 10 July. 5 spaces to dive the WW1 steamer fluent in 40 metres.

Monday 19 July. 5 spaces available to dive the Spyros in 30 metres. Second dive included.

Wednesday 21 July. 4 spaces available to dive the Spyros again. Second dive included.

Saturday 14 August. 4 spaces to dive the clipper ship Smyrna in 53/57 metres.

Anyone wanting more information please contact me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                    

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