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.

Dive/vis reports: On Saturday 26 June we dived the wreck of the steamer Spyros in 30 metres. Vis was a good 5-6 metres in ambient light. Lots of life on the wreck. A fisherman’s anchor, lost the previous week, was successfully recovered. At 20 kilos, plus 20 metres of 8 mm chain and 30 metres of rope, this took some time to recover, but it came up OK. We followed this with another dive on the War Knight, always a popular second dive, in 12 metres, where vis was holding up well at 3 metres or so. Next day, Sunday 27 June, SeaSearch were on board again. Sea grass to the easy of Yarmouth was surveyed in surprisingly good vis of 3-4 metres. This was followed by a dive on the Long rock in Alum Bay. Conditions here were somewhat silty, but not bad enough to affect the dive. On Monday 28 June, regulars from Wight Spirit went to Lulworth Cove to celebrate the life of Mike Wilson, one of the regulars, who lost his life in Scapa Flow last October. It was a warm, calm sunny day, and Mike would have been delighted by the good turn-out. June has been a very good month, with not one dive cancelled.

On Thursday 1 July and Friday 2 July, divers were again surveying sea grass beds. First of all, we went to St Helen’s Fort and Priory Bay, both near Bembridge, and then to Calshot and Lepe. Most of the dives were very shallow – often less than 2 metres, but vis was quite good and some good results were obtained. On Saturday 3 July, we steamed south of the Needles to mid-Channel to dive the wreck of the French barque Eugene Schneider in 65 metres. Vis was an easy 15 metres in ambient light, even though the skies were gray, the sun finally emerging when everyone was on their deco stops. Next day, Sunday 4 July, we met on the pontoon, intending to venture mid-Channel again, but he forecast had changed and with winds of south-west 4-6 predicted, we decided to abort.

Forthcoming dive spaces: There are spaces available as follows:

Saturday 10 July. Diving the WW1 British steamer Fluent in 40 metres. Five spaces available. Monday 19 July. Diving the steamer Spyros in 30 metres. Five spaces available. Wednesday 21 July. Again diving the Spyros. Six spaces available. Saturday 24 July. Diving the WWII submarine Swordfish in 40 metres. One space available.

Second dive included for all these dives. Contact me for further details.

Dive/vis reports: On Monday 5 July, taking advantage of a brief weather window, we headed south to mid Channel to investigate a seabed anomaly. A dull, dreary overcast day, with a bit of a chop on the way out, the sea flattened off as we reached the site. One diver went in to a depth of 60 metres to ensure the new site was worthy of investigation, but it turned out to be one huge boulder surrounded by smaller ones, an isolated patch on a flat seabed. These anomalies have to be looked at, as a magnetometer is not always an indicator of a wreck, particularly old, wooden wrecks. As we had plenty of time on the neap tide, we steamed off and decided to dive the WW1 steamer Luxor in 56 metres. Vis was superb, being an easy 10 metres in ambient light – if the sun had been out it would have exceeded 15 metres. Some huge crabs were seen as well as a mature crawfish – very nice to see as they are making a big comeback. By the time divers surfaced, a substantial swell had arrived from the west, indicating the approaching low pressure system, which wiped out diving on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 July.

Dive/vis reports: On Thursday 8 July we steamed out against the left-over swell of the past two days, to dive an unknown and unidentified anomaly in 38 metres. It turned out to be nothing exciting – a small steel barge or large hatch cover, with a double bottom, with lots poking up through the sand, very broken and low to the ground. Vis has held up well despite the recent stormy weather, being around 5-6 metres in ambient light. On Friday 9 July, we headed off to the south-east to dive another unidentified, unknown anomaly in 40 metres. There was fine weather and a light wind on the way to the site, with the water looking clear. Once the target was located – more extensive than yesterday’s wreckage, divers entered the water and guess what – yet another old iron barge, well broken but considerably bigger than the one we dived yesterday. Plenty of fish on site including some monster size congers. But, it’s another to cross off the list. Vis, however, was still very good, at least 6-7 metres in ambient light, and the temperature is creeping up to around 15° – quite a lot cooler than normal for the time of year. On Friday 9 July we headed south-east to investigate another unknown, unidentified anomaly, hoping it might be one of the missing steamers from the early 1900’s. In fact it turned out to be yet another iron barge, quite a big one this time, and obviously quite old and very broken. Vis was great, though, and there were some huge congers on the wreck, and with the absence of any lost fishing gear, had never been fished. On Saturday 10 July, in grey, overcast and rainy conditions, – but with no wind – we steamed to the south-west to dive the WW1 steamer Fluent in 40 metres. Vis was still very good at around 6-7 metres in ambient light, even though the sky was grey, and the sun put in an appearance while divers were decompressing. For a second dive we dived a spike of rock in Alum Bay close to the Long Rock, where vis has remained good. Next day, Sunday 11 July, with SeaSearch divers on board, we headed to Osborne Bay for more sea grass surveys. In flat sea conditions, vis in the shallows was quite good at around 3 metres, with water temperature about 19°. This was followed by a dive in Alum Bay on Five Fingers Rock, a small area of spiky pinnacles and boulders. There was much life to be found here and vis remained good.

Available dive spaces: Dive spaces are available as follows:

Sunday 1 August. Diving the WW1 steamer Luxor in 56 metres. 2 spaces.

Monday 2 August. Diving the WWII steamer SS Deucalion in about 55 metres. 4 spaces.

Saturday 7 August. Diving the WW1 steamer SS South Western in 38 metres. 1 space.

Sunday 8 August. Diving the WW1 steamer SS Londonier in 40 metres. 1 space.

Sunday 29 August. Diving the 1872 wreck of the steamer SS Lapwing in 40 metres. 2 spaces.

Monday 30 August. Diving the 1888 wreck of the steamer SS Saxmundham in 60 metres. 3 spaces.

Friday 3 September. Diving the German light cruiser SMS Nurnberg in 60 metres. 1 space.

Saturday 18 September. Diving the WW1 steamer SS Olivine in 70 metres. 4 spaces.

Sunday 19 September. Diving the WW1 steamer Wyndhurst in about 55 metres. 4 spaces.

Saturday 2 October. Diving the WW1 steamer Oiekast in 62 metres. 1 space.

To book on any of these dives, contact the organiser, Jay, on depth.hound@googlemail.com.

Dive/vis reports:  On Friday 16 July we headed to the south-west, off anvil Point, to dive the steamer Derna in 42 metres, run over by the 23000 ton battleship centurion in 1912. Good vis at an easy 6 metres in ambient light, torches not necessary. Stern stands up well, especially the steering quadrant. Weather is great – smooth, flat seas and no wind. Next day, Saturday 17 July, we again headed south-west but further offshore, to dive the 1874 steamer Vera in 46 metres. vis had improved to 6-8 metres in ambient light. Lots of interest to see on this wreck as well as loads of life – and the weather remains brilliant.  On Sunday 18 July with the weather and sea conditions ideal, we steamed south to mid-channel to dive the WW! Norwegian steamer Kong Guttorm in 55 metres. Great dive, and with vis 10 metres plus, it was possible to see the bow section from the stern – well, as the ship had broken in two and the bow section sank close to the stern, that’s to be expected. On Monday 19 July we were inshore, diving the steamer Spyros in 30 metres. Excellent vis again at around 6 metres in ambient light. we followed this with a dive on the WW1 steamer War Knight in 12 metres. Inshore vis has held up really well – at least as good as I’ve ever seen it on this wreck – and a good dive was had in clear, bright conditions.

Dive spaces: There are spaces available to dive the clipper ship Smyrna in 53 metres on Saturday 14 August.

Dive/vis reports:  With the heatwave continuing, on Wednesday 21 July we dived inshore, first on the WW1 wreck of the steamer War Knight in exceptionally good vis of 6-8 metres. I’ve never known it to be so good. All 3 boilers were visible at the same time!  Commonly, we’d expect vis of 2-3 metres on this close-inshore wreck but conditions are so good that the water has remained clear.  We followed this with a dive on the afternoon slack on the steamer Spyros. Always a popular dive as the wreck is reasonably intact and ship-shape. Vis was still in the region of 6 metres in ambient light, though there was more plankton in the water column than in previous days. Another great day’s diving!

On Thursday 22 and Friday 23 July, marine biologists were on board, this time obtaining seeds and young plants from the sea grass beds. these will be used to grow on and when mature, planted elsewhere to repopulate areas which have suffered sea grass loss.  We dived Osborne Bay, Yarmouth and Bouldnor, where the sea grass grows prolifically.

On Saturday 24 July the weather looked like it was going to be a problem, with strong easterlies blowing through the night. Indeed, on the pontoon in the morning the breeze was still there, but very quickly it disappeared and we ended up with no wind. We dived HMS Swordfish in 40 metres off St Catherine’s Point. Vis was around 6 metres in ambient light, but there was quite a lot of plankton in the water which made the water appear slightly misty. A second dive was across Atherfield Ledge on the ebbing tide, in 4 metres vis, drifting across several wreck sites.  On Sunday 25 July we met intending to dive offshore on the wreck of the clipper ship Smyrna in 55 metres. A dull, cloudy day became much worse with dense black clouds and torrential rain, but with no wind, we had a flat sea. The topside weather conditions meant that the wreck was dark, but vis was good with a torch.

Dive/vis reports: Saturday 31 July was scrubbed – the day before, Friday, Storm Evert came through, bringing 75mph winds at the Needles. Inshore vis suffered as a result and though we were due to dive on the late afternoon slack, the wind was forecast to come up to a 5/6. As it turned out – a good decision, as we went out on Sunday 1 August, with light winds forecast. Heading 26 miles south of the Needles, the sea state was unpleasant – still a swell left over from Friday’s storm, accompanied by a nasty chop. When dives are being sick it’s not good news!  Despite the conditions, we dived the WW1 wreck of the Luxor in 56 metres. Sunny skies and good vis – around 10 metres – a welcome break from the dull skies we’ve had recently.  Next day, Monday 2 August, the breeze died away and the swell reduced, and we steamed 35 miles to the south-west to dive the WWII wreck of the steamer Deucalion. What a great dive. Vis was an easy 12-15 metres at 60 metres depth, with torches not necessary.  All divers said they’d wanted to stay down on the wreck for another 30 minutes at least, it was such a good dive.  On Tuesday 3 August, we’re in the western Solent with marine archaeologists diving the Bouldnor Cliff site.  Warm sunshine, no wind and good vis. What more do you want?  We continued the dives on Bouldnor Cliff on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 August, diving the low water slack – rarely good for vis in the Solent. However, it was such a good neap that vis was 3-4 metres, working through much of the tide, and recovering more remnants of flint tools, as well as auger samples to determine the make-up of sediments, in which there ought to be indicators of past plants and DNA. All work was completed even though there was strong southerly wind blowing – but we were in the lee of it and largely in shelter.

Unsurprisingly, the weekend of Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 August was blown out by strong west to south-westerly winds – no chance of diving in force 6-7.

Dive/vis reports:  The wind finally died away and we headed south on Saturday 14 August to dive one of the favourites, the clipper ship Smyrna. Although it was somewhat breezy on the pontoon, and force 4 winds were forecast, we headed out and as we did so, the wind died until we were on smooth, glassy seas, in bright sunshine. A great dive was had on this wreck, with vis of around 8 metres in ambient light. And for one of our number, it was his 40th, yes 40th, dive on this wreck. Sunday 15 August was blown out by south-westerly force 6 winds.

Dive/vis reports. The unsettled, dull and cool August continues, but we did manage to get out on Wednesday 18 August, to dive the wreck of a steam trawler thought to be the Neree lost in 1926. The forecast was for westerly 3-4, which changed on the morning to westerly 3-5 – not what you want!  In the event, it was pretty horrible, though we had wall to wall sunshine. Channel chops and breezy conditions – but the dive was fine. Vis was a bit lower than expected at around 5 metres in ambient light. A number of free swimming congers were on the prowl, one even snatching a leg off a crab as a diver extracted it from its hole. Never seen that before. Conditions on the way back weren’t much better, with even the western Solent lumpy and uncomfortable until we passed Hurst Castle.

Dive/vis reports. We headed south-east to the 1911 wreck of the Daylesford, off St Catherine’s Point, on Saturday 21 August. Dull, dreary skies continue, but the Solent was calm. Passing the Needles, the effect of a south-easterly breeze against a flooding spring tide became apparent – and it was a bumpy, uncomfortable journey to the site. Water on the surface looked clear, but conditions became dark below 35 metres, with a silty/plankton layer, though vis on the wreck was an acceptable 5 metres. Unusually this year, a torch was essential. Lots of big, free swimming congers in and around the wreck. The journey home was smoother, and an unfavourable forecast for our planned mid-Channel dive on Sunday 22nd meant we decided not to go – none of us wants to head out 25 miles in a westerly 4-5 on a big spring tide, so it was a day off. On Monday 23 August, the wind died away but skies were still cloudy.  We headed south-east of the Needles and dived the WWII armed trawler Warwick Deeping.  Conditions on the wreck were quite dark, but vis was good with a torch, around 5 metres. We then headed north to dive the 1896 wreck of the steamer Joannis Millas, where conditions were much better – brighter and lighter. Divers had a long dive on this wreck, amongst the rocks and gullies, before heading back to port, where the sun promptly emerged! Tuesday 24 August was again blown out.

Dive/vis reports:  The weather improved sufficiently to go out on Friday 27 August. We were diving sites on Christchurch Ledge, setting up sediment traps which will be removed in the future and analysed to determine what they contain.  We were diving in the tide and vis wasn’t great, and is not expected to improve greatly until the current run of big springs has passed.  Saturday 28 August was blown out by north-easterly winds – no good for going to the planned mid-Channel wreck, but we took advantage of a weather window on Sunday 29 August. The wind decreased to a NE force 3, but still it left an uncomfortable sea.  Diving on an unknown wreck south of the Needles, vis was still not great, at a disappointing 2-3 metres, but perfectly OK with a torch.  And with water temperatures around 17/18°, an enjoyable dive.  Monday 30 August – guess what – strong north-easterlies are back and have meant we can’t get out to another planned mid-Channel wreck. I’ll be glad to see the back of August 2021!

Dive/vis reports:  Friday 3 September – we were due to go mid-Channel – closer to France than the UK – but moderate north-easterlies ruled it out. It’s too far to run and get beaten up into the bargain, so we scrubbed. On Saturday 4 September we chose to remain inshore out of the breeze, and had a great dive on the War Knight, with vis a very acceptable 4-5 metres in ambient light. This was followed by a dive on the stern section of the Serrana in the Needles Channel, on the low water slack, where vis was still excellent at 5-6 metres in ambient light. This is a great dive in only 18-20 metres, but seldom visited as you need good neaps, and fine, settled weather. Next day, Sunday 5 September, SeaSearch divers were on board, diving sites where there is no information, in order to build knowledge of what’s there. First dive, on the high water slack, was on the northern part of Warden Ledge, a very interesting spot geologically and for the amount and variety of sea life. Vis was an easy 5 metres. We followed this with a lengthy drift over Thorness Bay, where sea grass is abundant.

Dive/vis reports:  On Monday 6 September, steaming to Itchenor to pick up divers to dive the protected wreck site of HMS Hazardous, from 1707, with calm seas and a light breeze. Vis was excellent, with divers visible on the wreck in 7-8 metres depth. The exercise was repeated next day, Tuesday 7 September, where vis wasn’t quite as good and with a stronger easterly breeze, but all tasks were successfully completed.  Saturday 11 September was scrubbed – just a little too much westerly breeze, coupled with a big tide, meant it was unsuitable for where we wanted to go. However, Sunday 12 September was glorious – no wind, clear sunshine and warm water. Due to tide times, we first had a drift dive across Christchurch Ledge – quite a quick drift, too, where vis wasn’t great, but enough for everyone to stay down for the duration. On the afternoon slack we dived the wreck of the Clan Macvey. Vis was slightly better, somewhere in the 2-3 metres range, which was OK considering we’d just had a run of big springs.

Dive spaces:  The is on space available on each of the days Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September, diving with SeaSeach divers (looking at flora and fauna). Depth unlikely to exceed 18 metres. contact Mike on mikerushworth1@gmail.com

Dive/vis reports:  Taking advantage of some lovely weather, on Saturday 18 September we headed south-east of the Needles to dive the WW1 wreck of the steamer Redesmere. Considering we’re just off the back of a very good neap, vis was a bit disappointing at 2-3 metres on high water slack, but from experience we know that St Catherine’s vis usually goes from mid-September until early May.  Although we long suspected the wreck was the Redesmere, we were able to prove it by reading the ship’s name on the stern steering hub.  Next day, Sunday 19 September, we again headed south-east, this time much further to the mid-Channel wreck of the Inger, a Danish steamer sunk in 1916.  This wreck is also off St Catherine’s Point, and with dull, gloomy weather topsides, the wreck was dark and vis similar to the day before.  Water temperature at depth is 17° – not as high as we are used to for this time of year. And sod’s Law – the sun came out just as we headed back to base.

Dive/vis reports:  With the season now drawing to a close, we took advantage of settled weather on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September, diving with SeaSearch on a number of inshore sites close to Freshwater Bay and Brook, Isle of Wight, and below Tennyson Down and Warden Ledge.  These were new sites to record the flora and fauna, thus filling in the gaps in out knowledge of what lives there. Vis was an acceptable 2-3 metres, though the water was slightly silty, no doubt left over from the last run of big springs. Water temperature is around 19°. With October just around the corner, and with wind and rain in the forecast, there’s not much left in the way of planned dives – just a few left, weather permitting.

Dive/vis reports:  The weekend of Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October was blown out. However, we had a final flourish to the season, beginning on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 October, diving in Poole and Christchurch Bays, recovering sediment traps which were positioned on the seabed earlier in the summer. When analysed these should indicate what the sediment is, where erosion is taking place and how much.  The weather was great – smooth seas and sunshine, with vis ranging from 2-3 metres to as much as 4-5 metres, not bad considering we’re diving inshore in the third week of October.  On Saturday 16 October, we had a full boat and headed to Christchurch Ledge for a first dive, drifting on the ebb tide. Vis was in the region of 2-4 metres. This was followed on the afternoon slack with a dive on the wreck of the Clan Macvey. Known as a slightly silty wreck, with vis about 2 metres, all completed the dive safely. The weather remained benign with calm seas and sunshine, and as a bonus we had a pod of dolphins in Christchurch Bay, leaping clear of the water and following as as we headed back towards Lymington. Probably the final dive of the season was with SeaSearch on Sunday 17 October, diving the western Solent on sites previously unexplored. Firstly, we dived How Ledge in Colwell Bay, an area of rocky gullies and fairly shallow, with vis of around 2 metres, on the ebb tide.  We then headed towards Scratchell’s Bay, intending to dive there, but the wind had picked up and conditions weren’t suitable for diving. As an alternative we dived the rocky outcrop in the corner of Alum Bay. There’s no current this close inshore, and hence the dive was somewhat silty, but nevertheless fresh data was obtained about what lives there. 

All in all – a pretty good season. If we have settled spells of weather on good neaps, we’ll try to get out again before winter closes in.






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