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.

A Days Diving from Wight Spirit

Listen very carefully to the Shipping Forecast after 1:30…

Diving Reports from 2010

Saturday 10 April 2010.  First dip of the season.  Glorious sunny day, flat sea. Dived the Venezuela.  Vis about 2 metres, but everyone just wanted to get wet and enjoyed the dive.

Thursday 22 and Friday 23 April 2010.  Working with marine archaeologists from the New Forest National Park Authority.  Diving the Margaret Smith and Serrana in the western Solent.   Wrecks buoyed in preparation for surveying and monitoring.  Poor vis on low water slack but better at 2 metres on the flood tide. Clear sunny days with a light chilly breeze.

Saturday 24 April 2010.  Dived the Dumfries.  Depth between 43 and 53 metres – this is a big wreck.  On the way to the site, inshore vis looked quite good, but within a few miles of the Needles and up to 20 miles offshore, vis was very poor, but the water cleared when about half a mile from the wreck and vis was about 6 metres.  Wall to wall sunshine and a flat sea.

Sunday 25 April 2010.  Dived the Smyrna in 55 metres.  Superb dive, 10 metres vis without a torch.  Sea temperature hovering around 8/9 degrees.  Bright sunny afternoon with a south westerly slop on the way home.

Dive spaces as follows:

Sunday 30 May 2010. Diving the WW1 Danish steamer Inger in 55 metres.  Upright but broken. 2 spaces.

Sunday 20 June 2010. Diving the German light cruiser Nurnberg in 60 metres.  Large wreck, more or less upright.  Impressive dive. 2 spaces.

Monday 28 June 2010. Diving the WW1 British steamer Isleworth in 70 metres.  Upright and unusually intact wreck.  7 spaces.

Tuesday 29 June 2010. Diving the Isleworth in 70 metres,  2 spaces.

Sunday 25 July 2010. Diving the WWII American tanker Y48 in 58 metres.  More or less upright and largely intact. 3 spaces.

Monday 9 August 2010.  Diving the Isleworth in 70 metres.  6 spaces.

Tuesday 10 August. Diving the Isleworth again.  4 spaces.

Other news – I have installed new software to the sidescan which enables us to see what is beneath the boat as well as to the sides.  Should help to pinpoint those small, uncharted targets…

Early May Bank Holiday weekend – poor forecasts, big tides and planned offshore sites didn’t mix, so it’s a weekend off.

Dive spaces for those who want deeper dives – Friday 28 May 2010 to dive a wreck thought to be the Hilda Lea lost in WW1.  She’s lying in 82 metres.  Substantial wreck lying on her side.  Plenty of spaces available.  Also, Monday 12 July 2010, we’ll be diving an unknown, uncharted wreck in 79 metres.  No idea what it is – 3 spaces available.

Dive spaces weekend 8/9 May 2010. I have 1 space to dive the WW2 wreck of the Terlings on Saturday 8 May 2010.  Essentially, this is a 40 metre dive but the determined might find 45 metres in the scour amidships.  Second dive included – at £40 per head for the day.  Meet 1000 to leave 1030.  Next day, Sunday 9 May, I have 3 spaces to dive the 1885 wreck of the steamer Clarinda in 40 metres.  Nice open dive.  Second dive included for £42 per head for the day.  Meet 1045 to leave 1115.

News – during the first week of May, 4 wrecks were buoyed by the marine archaeology department of the New Forest National Park Authority.  The aim is to raise awareness of our underwater heritage and to make it easier for divers to access these wrecks.  They are the Margaret Smith, the Serrana (stern section), the Fenna and a wreck which may be the Ceres.   On the weekend of 8/9 May 2010, we dived the WW2 wreck of the SS Terlings and the 1917 wreck of the Westville.  Good vis but dark – the inshore water was clearer.  This is almost certainly due to plankton blooms.  During the week of 10-14 May, Southdown Divers had an excellent week, diving 2 dives every day, ranging from the Serrana, Fenna, Molina, Spyros and Venezuela.  Vis after the neap tides was quite good, though a bitterly cold north wind made it feel more like March.

Dive spaces are available as follows:  Saturday 22 May 2010, diving the Spyros in 30 metres.  Excellent dive, upright and fairly intact.  Second dive included.  5 spaces available. £40 per head.  Meet -0945 to leave 1015.  Sunday 23 May 2010, diving the Molina in 35 metres.  Another good dive, upright but broken.  A lot stands up from midships (engines and boilers) to the bows.  Second dive included.  2 spaces available. £40 per head.  Meet 1000 to leave 1030.

Water temperature. After a long, cold winter, it’s not surprising the sea temperature is low – when we started the 2010 season in April it was 8° and now towards the end of May it’s around 10/11°.  That’s still chilly, though inshore in shallower water it’s a couple of degrees higher than that.  Vis is improving and to depths of about 40 metres torches aren’t necessary.  Plankton off the Wight is best described as light and patchy at the moment – but vis has been good below the plankton layer.  Still a few spaces this weekend, 22 and 23 May, for anyone wanting to fill last minute spaces…

News – the downward looking operation of the side scan has proved it’s worth – up to a point (no treasure yet) – by pinpointing very small targets identified through images from the side scan.  The image shown is better than a conventional echo sounder/sonar and gives a depth of field not shown on echo sounders.   We’ve been investigating various anomalies in the Solent and so far have only come up with modern debris – with lots more to survey.

Dive reports for the weekend 22 and 23 May 2010.  Diving inshore on the wrecks of the Spyros and Molina.  Vis a bit disappointing for the time of year at 3-5 metres, though a few miles further off and the vis is around 8-10 metres.  It was a neap weekend so the vis should have cleared, but clouds of inshore plankton have reduced water clarity.   Better vis over Christchurch Ledge, drifting on the flood tide.

Spaces for Friday 28 May – due to insufficient numbers for the 82 metre dive, the wreck has been changed to the steamer Kong Guttorm, lying in 55 metres.  Anyone interested please let me know.

Bank Holiday weekend of 29/30/31 May 2010 was poor.  Blown out on Saturday and Sunday, we dived the Pandion in 38 metres on Monday.  Glorious day, warm and sunny with a flat sea.  Vis disappointing at about 4 metres, probably as a result of the south westerly 8 we had on Saturday and the 6 on Sunday.  Divers reported the vis was not due to plankton but particles stirred up in the water.

Dive reports for 3 and 4 June 2010, working with marine archaeologists for the New Forest National Park Authority.  Dives have been conducted on some anomalies found by the side scan.  A new wreck was dived – an upside down GRP pleasure boat, 6 metres long.  The side scan showed the shape of the vessel and confirmation came when divers examined the wreck.  Unseasonal poor visibility in the western Solent restricted activities somewhat, but further survey work has been carried out on the wreck of the Fenna.  A fisherman’s snag was dived and further work will follow – some debris indicating an old wreck was located.

Dive spaces Saturday 12 June 2010, diving the WW1 wreck of the Westville in 40 metres (up to 43 metres can be found just off the wreck). 4 spaces available.  £40 per head including second dive.  Sunday 13 June 2010.  Diving the WW1 wreck of the Mendi in 40 metres.  Second dive included.  £42 per head. 3 spaces available.

Dive reports – dived the wreck of the Lapwing on Saturday 5 June.  Excellent neap and calm, bright conditions, with vis around 8 metres.  Second dive was a drift across The Bridge. Sunday 6 June saw us diving the Dutch schooner Fenna wrecked in 1881 followed by a nice drift dive east of Yarmouth.  Strong south westerlies force 5/6 prevented diving elsewhere.

Dive spaces: The Mendi trip is now full but 4 spaces remain to dive the Westville on Saturday 12 June (for details see above).

More dive spaces: 3 spaces now left for the Westville (see above).  I am trying to put together a trip to dive the Daylesford in 46 metres on Tuesday 15 June.  £44 per head.  Meet 0930 to leave 1000 hours.

Update re spaces: The position keeps changing re spaces for 12 and 13 June – the latest is I have one 4 spaces available to dive the Westville and onw space to dive the Mendi.  Details as above remain the same.

Dive reports: Working with marine archaeologists in the Solent during the week 7-11 June 2010.  Vis quite good on the flood tide, around 3-4 metres, allowing further survey work to be carried out prior to raising exposed 8000 year old timbers. Very extensive site of human habitation, with evidence of worked timbers and flint tools.

Dive reports: Dived the Westville on Saturday 12 June, and had excellent visibility of around 10 metres, with no torch need at 40 metres depth.  This large wreck stands up 8 or 9 metres, lying across the tide.  Next day, on Sunday, we dived the Mendi.  Vis still good but plankton had reduced it to around 5 metres, but still good enough for photographers to take some nice shots.

Dive spaces: I’m putting a trip together to dive the wreck of the clipper ship Smyrna in 53-55 metres on Tuesday 19 July 2010.  Superb dive on this iron ship, still a substantial wreck with lots of cargo.  Neap tide, so the vis should be good, and we’ll have a long slack. Meet 0830 to leave 0900.  Cost will be around £44 per head depending on how many sign up for the dive. Names to me please.

Dive spaces: Re the proposed Smyrna dive – now only 1 space left.

Dive spaces: The Smyrna dive is now full. Other proposed forthcoming dives, where spaces are available, are:  Tuesday 13 July 2010, diving the Daylesford in 46 metres.  Good dive with plenty to see.  Tuesday 17 August 2010, diving the Nurnberg.  Large, substantial wreck lying mid Channel in about 60 metres.  Friday 24 September 2010, diving the Barbara/Hilda Lea, lying in mid Channel in 82 metres. Names to me please.

Dive reports: Over the weekend 19/20 June 2010, dived the Vera in 46 metres.  Nice vis at 6 metres, with some huge congers in the wreck, including three big ones in the boiler with their heads poking out.  Next day, we went mid Channel and dived the German light cruiser Nurnberg in 60 metres. Terrific dive with at least 10 metres vis, and just not enough time to stay down and see more of the wreck.

Dive reports: Dived with marine archaeologists for the week 21-25 June in Alum Bay near the Needles,  surveying and excavating the bow section of the wooden warship HMS Pomone.  Much to everyone’s surprise, a great deal more wreckage lies beneath the seabed than was first thought.  A substantial area was cleared using water dredges, revealing well preserved timbers and fittings.  We’ll need another 4 weeks of continuous work to uncover the rest.  The excavated areas were surveyed, drawn and photographed before being backfilled with sandbags.

Dive reports: During the weekend of 26/27 June 2010, we dived the Spyros in 30 metres and had 7-8 metres vis, but vis on the War Knight for the second dive was unusually poor for June.  Next day, diving the armed WWII trawler Warwick Deeping in 36 metres, 10 metres vis was reported in bright conditions.  A second dive was a drift across Christchurch Ledge.

Dive reports: On 28 and 29 June a small group dived the WWI wreck of the Isleworth in 70 metres.  Lying in St Catherine’s Deep, this is a challenging dive with a brief window of slack water – after 25 minutes the tide turned, but vis was 6 metres and conditions on the wreck were somewhat dark – hardly surprising given the location of the wreck.  We drifted almost 3 miles while divers decompressed.

Dive reports: On 30 June and 1 and 2 July 2010, marine archaeologists from the New Forest National Park Authority have been on board conducting further surveys on the wrecks of the Fenna and Serrana, as well as repositioning wreck buoys which had become detached.  Vis on the Fenna was particularly good – around 8-10 metres – and some excellent footage of the wreck has been obtained.  Similarly, more footage has been obtained of the stern section of the Serrana, with vis there in the Needles Channel around 3-4 metres.  The water temperature at long last has climbed up to 15/16°.

Dive reports: Saturday 3 July 2010 saw us diving a ‘reverse profile’ due to the times of slack water.  The morning’s dip was a nice gentle drift on the flood tide across Christchurch Ledge, with lots of life to see, followed by the Venezuela in 28 metres, with vis around 6-8 metres.  Sunday’s offshore trip had to be cancelled due to strong winds.

Dive reports: During the first week of July 2010, working with marine archaeologists, we conducted survey and photographic work on the historic wreck sites of HMS Impregnable, HMS Velox, HMS Hazardous and the elusive sailing barque Caduceus.  Caduceus was located using the side scan sonar, as it is not in its charted position.  Many artefacts are lying in 6 metres of water, and a preliminary plan of the wreck siter has been commenced. The week was blessed with good visibility on all sites, which are close inshore.

Dive reports: Over the weekend of 10 and 11 July 2010, the First World War wrecks of the Londonier and Tweed were dived.  Very thick fog almost prevented diving on the Londonier, but everyone came up the shot and decompressed together.  Vis was an excellent 10 metres despite the gloomy topside conditions.  A much brighter day on the Tweed also produced excellent vis, allowing for some very good underwater shots of the wreck to be taken.

Dive spaces: Three spaces available to dive the wreck of the Braedale in 35 metres.  Due to the time of slack water, those who want a second dive will be able to do it before the main dive.  We’ll meet at 0830 to leave 0900, enabling a good interval between dives – at least 3 hours.  We’ll keep the shallow dive less than 10 metres.  £40 per head.

Dive spaces – as above for the Braedale – just one space remaining.

Dive reports: The good weather and busy season continues.  Mid Channel on 12 July with 15 metres vis, but the target turned out to be an isolated rock which had every appearance of being a wreck.  The next day we returned to the Daylesford, enjoying 10 metres vis. Poor weather with a severe south west gale force 9 prevented diving until 18 July, but conditions were worse than predicted and the day was aborted.  However,  responding to a request for help to locate a recently sunk vintage yacht off Cowes, the vessel was located and has since been raised.  On 20 July 2010,  a group dived the wreck of the Smyrna in flat, sunny conditions, with 12 metres vis resulting in an excellent dive.  On the following three days, marine archaeologists continued to survey the wreck of the Fenna and to investigate potential sites.  A particularly promising site was dived, where the side scan had shown a wreck-like feature, which proved to be local geology in the shape of the outline of a ship. A new target was located west of the Needles which seems to be a large landing draft.  Though broken, the bow ramp stands quite high and is a distinctive structure.  More need to be done on this wreck to see how much remains on the seabed.

Dive reports: Excellent vis over the weekend of 24/25 July was experienced on the wrecks of the Iduna in 40 metres off St Catherine’s Point and on the American tanker Y48 in mid Channel, where vis was 15 metres, complete with huge free swimming congers.  A large, lost trawl net is snagged on the wreck amidships, but is not a problem when the vis is so good. 

Dive and vis reports: During the week 26-30 July, we were diving in the 40 metre range, and went to the Clarinda, Londonier and Daylesford.  In addition, two new identifications were made.  First, we dived a wreck which had been usually buried in sand, but when the side scan showed it was exposed, we decided to take a look at it.  A large iron wreck was found, lying across the tide, largely uncovered.  A check through my archives indicates this is almost certainly the wreck of the steamer Saxmundham, lost in collision in 1888. Nothing was found to prove the identity of the wreck, so we’ll dive it again as long as the huge sand wave next to the wreck stays where it is.  This obviously moves backwards and forwards across the wreck site, so it’s pot luck whether the wreck will be clear or not.  Secondly, we’ve identified the wreck of the steamer South Western sunk in 1918, from cutlery recovered marked L & SWR (london & South Western Railway).  This wreck isn’t where I thought it was, but at least we now have a positive identification.  Vis all week was 7-10 metres.

Dive and vis reports: Saturday 31 July saw us going to the Smyrna.  Everyone had a great dive with 10 metres vis, and wanting to go back for more.  Next day vis was slightly less on the inshore wreck of the Braedale, at around 6-7 metres.

Dive and vis reports: For the week 2-6 August, marine archaeologists were aboard.  With one of the best neap tides of the year, vis was excellent all week, between 8-15 metres.  We dived the wreck of what we think is the Saxmundham and measured the length at just over 90 metres, which corresponds to the Saxmundham’s overall length of 91 metres.  Some superb video footage was shot, which will appear on the wreck page in due course.  We also dived the Azemmour, and took a BBC crew to the wreck of the Coquetdale, in connection with a programme to be broadcast on 20 August 2010 about the Battle of Britain.  Despite overcast conditions, more excellent quality video footage was obtained, which apart from being broadcast by the BBC, will appear on the wreck page shortly.  The highlight of the week was a visit to the Smyrna, in bright conditions.  A team descended a completely vertical shotline, placed at the bows, and some wonderfully clear video footage was taken in almost tropical visibility.  The final day was restricted to the Solent due to strong winds.

Dive spaces: Due to demand, I’m putting together a trip to the wreck of the Smyrna, a classic late 19th century clipper ship – a rare type of wreck.  She’s out in the clear water, and we’ll be diving HW slack – the date is Friday 24 September 2010.  Price based on 10 divers is £44 per head.  I’ll go with fewer divers but it’ll be a few pounds per head dearer.  Any takers? Meet 0745 to leave 0815.  Latest: As of 10 August this trip is now full.

Dive & vis reports: Dived LCT 809 in 21 metres on Sunday 8 August, in excellent vis of 10 metres, followed by a second dive on the War Knight.  Reduced vis here, as is common, but still 3 metres and light.  Next day, we went back to the Isleworth in St Catherine’s Deep.  Building towards big springs, vis was reduced but easily 5-6 metres with a torch.

Dive spaces: I have the following spaces:  Saturday 25 September.  Four spaces available, depth not exceeding 35 metres (except one wreck, which, if we dive it, is 36 metres to the seabed . Choose from: Spyros (31), Borgny (31), Braedale (35), Witte Zee (33), Warwick Deeping (36), New Dawn (33), LCT (30), Asborg (30). Meet 0930 to leave by 10. Times may be adjusted depending on which wreck we dive. Sunday26 September.  Three spaces available. Similar choice of wreck, meet 1030 to leave 1100.  Cost £40 per head but it will be £42 if we dive the Asborg.

Latest info re spaces above as of 11 August – 2 spaces remaining for each of the two days, 25 and 26 September 2010.

Dive & vis reports: Weekend of 14/15 August saw us diving the WW1 wreck of the Norwegian steamer Braatt II in 40 metres.  Following a huge spring tide, vis was a little better than expected at 2-3 metres, but with no ambient light, and a short slack.  Divers went down during the last of the flood tide, which was going the other way again after 25 minutes. The ebb tide was running at 2 knots while divers were decompressing.  Next day, in an effort to get better vis, we dived the 1889 wreck of the steamer Cleddy, west of St Catherine’s Point.  With the tide heading down towards neaps, we had better vis of 4 metres in ambient light, and a longer slack.

Dive space: One space available to dive the wreck of the Borgny in 31 metres on Saturday 18 September.  Meet 1100 to leave 1130, ready to dive at 1345.  Second dive for those who want it. £40 per head.

Spaces update: Only one space remaining for the weekend of 25/26 September 2010.

Dive & vis reports: Windy conditions on 18/19/20 August saw us confined to the western Solent, but the vis was good and we were able to dive some Solent wrecks, as well as completing drift dives during which fragments of Roman pottery were found, and artefacts not seen before from the Needles protected wreck sites were located – though all diving was outside the restricted area. On Sunday 22 August, while diving the Warwick Deeping in 12 metres vis, some superb video film was taken, which will appear on the ‘wrecks’ page in due course. During the following week, the First World War steamers Azemmour and Londonier were dived, but very overcast skies meant that underwater visibility was reduced.  The poor vis continued over the Bank Holiday weekend, with about 2 metres on the Simla  and even less on the Tweed. Visibility further west of St Catherine’s was much better.  Additional work has been completed on the buoys marking the wrecks of the Margaret Smith and the stern section of the Serrana.  The Margaret Smith buoy, which was snagged by lost ropes, has been freed, and the buoy and that on the Serrana are now illuminated.

Dive & vis reports: During September we intended to dive LCT 809 but poor vis following the huge spring tide which had just gone through, coupled with rough seas, meant we had to find an alternative site.  We investigated an unidentified, uncharted site which turned out to be a 36 metre long wooden sailing vessel, partly buried but with plenty exposed.  A preliminary archaeological survey has been conducted but with vis at 1-2 metres the site plan has yet to be completed. Much more work needs to be carried out to produce a comprehensive plan and of course to try to identify the ship.  On Saturday 18th we dived the wreck of the Borgny and anticipated good vis to co-incide with a very good neap tide, but were disappointed with only 2 metres vis on the low water slack.  Despite this, everyone had a good dive.  This was followed by a drift on the flood tide, where visibility was better, drifting from the Needles to the north east.

Dive spaces: There may be spaces to dive the wreck of the paddle steamer Normandy on Sunday 14 November.  If you’re interested let me know and I’ll pass details to the organiser.

Dive & vis reports:  On the weekend of 25/26 September 2010 we dived the wrecks of the Spyros and Braedale.  Spyros vis was about 2 metres but those with good torches had a good dive.  Being further offshore, the Braedale was a better dive with 5 metres vis.  Inshore, on a spring tide and following Friday’s gale, vis was too poor to bother with a second dive.  During the week 27 to 30 September 2010, we’ve been diving from Langstone on the wreck of the Landing Craft (Tank) 2428, and the two tanks and 2 armoured bulldozers which fell from LCT2428 when it capsized.  LCT2428 was due to take part in the D Day landings but developed a leak and after capsizing she was sunk by the tug Jaunty as she was a hazard to navigation.  The two sites have been surveyed, measured and photographed by marine archaeologists.  Low water vis was about 2 metres but as the week progressed and the tide dropped away, it gradually improved to 4 metres.  On Saturday 2 October we dived the Borgny on a very good neap tide with a calm sea.  This wreck is full of life with plenty of fish and shellfish seen.

Dive spaces: Only one space remaining to dive the Normandy on 14 November.

Dive spaces:  The boat is now full for the Normandy trip.

Dive & vis reports: The weekend of 16 and 17 October saw us go back to the Venezuela with 4-5 metres vis, followed by the Joannis Millas in, well, less than memorable vis!  On the Sunday we dived the Lapwing and the vis was better with ambient light, and warm, sunny skies and flat seas made it very pleasant.  On Monday and Tuesday, taking advantage of very good neaps and good weather, we returned to the unidentified sailing ship in the Solent. More diving has revealed that a great deal of the wreck is there, including the bilge pumps complete with double handle wheels, the keelson is visible and the windlass has fallen to starboard.  A base line has been laid and measurements and sketches commenced.  On low water slack in bright sunshine, vis was about 3 metres – it won’t be that good again until May 2011!  We still do not know the identity of this interesting wreck.

Dive & vis reports: The season continues to run, taking advantage of good tides and weather over the weekend of 30/31 October.  We’ve dived the unidentified wooden schooner in Solent vis of 2-3 metres.  It’s been dark but good with a torch.  Further measurements have been taken and a site plan is beginning to take shape – but we’re no nearer in naming the wreck.