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.

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