Dive/vis reports 2022

The season has kicked off! Sunday 10 April – plenty early enough – we ventured out for the first dip of the year on the WW1 wreck of the steamer Gallia in 38 metres. Vis was estimated at 2-4 metres, so if we say an average of 3 metres we won’t be far wrong. Torches were essential as it was dark below 2 metres. Water temperature on the wreck was a chilly 7° though at the surface it’s 9°. Sea state was a bit uncomfortable – south-easterly breeze and a swell from the west – but everyone completed the dive safely.

On Friday 29 April we dived seagrass beds off Beaulieu in the Solent as part of a long term project to assess how well the beds are responding after the area was seeded in March. Despite a spring tide and the expected poor vis for April, the vis was an acceptable 2 metres. Next day, Saturday 30 April, in glorious sunshine and light winds, we headed south of the Needles to dive the wreck of the Spyros. Water clarity looked excellent – unusual this early in the season – and divers reported vis of 6-8 metres in ambient light at 30 metres depth. Some huge congers were in the wreck. We followed this with a visit to that old favourite, the War Knight, close inshore in 13 metres. Vis wasn’t expected to be great but in fact was a good 4 metres. No doubt the lack of rainfall and offshore winds has ensured the vis has got off to a great start.

A great weekend’s diving on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May. Venturing offshore first, in calm seas and no wind – but a grey sky – we dived the 1888 wreck of the steamer Saxmundham in 60 metres. A brilliant dive, with vis around 10-12 metres. Next day we had an early start and headed south-west. With the tide more neapy than the day before, water clarity improved and we had spectacular vis on the wreck of the Derna, estimated at 12-15 metres in ambient light. While ascending, divers passed through a fairly dense patch of jellyfish, from about 20 metres to about 10 metres. The upper 6 metres has some plankton but it’s not very thick and hasn’t had any impact on the vis.

Forthcoming dive spaces: There are spaces on Saturday 14 May to dive the wreck of the WW1 steamer Venezuela in 27 metres. Good for wildlife. Second dive included. On Sunday 15 May we are diving the wreck of the Spyros in 30 metres. A pretty, upright wreck, second dive included. To book on these dives contact Jaki on wilson.jaki19@sky.com

Dive/vis reports: On Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 May, operating from Southsea, a team of marine archaeologists were engaged in surveying the protected wreck of HM submarine A1 in Bracklesham Bay, and clearing it of snagged fishing gear – ropes, pots and associated debris. Vis was very good for this 12 metre dive in calm conditions. The second day was entirely different – a fresh south-westerly breeze made an appearance, gusting to force 5, making life on the surface and underwater somewhat uncomfortable. Vis was reduced with the appearance of plankton, but still plenty good enough. Despite the conditions the dives were completed safely.

Dive/vis reports: On Thursday 12 and Friday 13 May, marine archaeologists were aboard, surveying the wreck site where the Mary Rose was raised 40 years ago. The deep impression in the mud, where the wreck was lying, is filling with silt. Site monitoring equipment was located and raised, and it is hoped much information can be retrieved from it. Vis was very good for this site, just outside Portsmouth harbour, as much as 4 metres or so. Surface conditions were uncomfortable due to the south-westerly 4/5 blowing, but the dives were completed safely. On Saturday 14 May, in glorious sunshine and flat seas, a group of recreational divers dived the wreck of the Spyros 3 miles south of the Needles. This is a very nice dive. Vis in ambient light was a brilliant 10-12 metres. Plenty of fish on the wreck, including some huge congers. We followed this with a dive in Alum Bay on the remains of the bow section of HMS Pomone, wrecked at the Needles in 1811. Vis was again excellent, at an easy 6-7 metres. Water temperature is climbing slowly to around 10/11°.

Dive/vis reports: Following a fairly big spring tide, on Thursday 19 May we headed to Calshot to survey oyster beds. Despite the green/brown Solent water, Calshot showed a marked improvement, where vis was 2-3 metres in bright sunshine. On Saturday 21 May, in sunny, fine conditions but with a pronounced ground swell, we headed south-east to St Catherine’s, to dive the WW1 steamer Tweed. In contrast to the 12 metres, sparkly clear vis of a week ago, a severe plankton bloom has hit us, as bad as any of use can remember. Very unusual for this area to be so badly affected. Vis all the way to 40 metres was abysmal, estimated at no more than a metre with a torch, and pitch black below 20 metres depth. On the basis that the water colour was so bad, we decided that it wasn’t worth the time and expense to dive the next day. What’s the point if you can’t see anything? On the plus side, water temperature has risen to 12°, and vis should improve with the next neap tide..

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