Poole & Portland, June 2008

I'd planned to dive Saturday and Sunday out of Portland, and then heard of a dive going out of Poole on Friday night too. It seemed rude not to, so I headed down there for a 6pm ropes off at the quayside. It has to be said that driving into any town at 5.30 on a Friday evening is not the best idea, but I made it in time.

The boat was Beowulf. It's a very large aluminium catamaran with no less than 4 kitting up benches on it. And there were only 3 of us diving. The rest had paid and then not turned up for various reasons.

At 7.50, we jumped into the water on the Everleigh. It's a bit wreck lying in about 42m of water. I've dived it once before but this time the viz was much better at around 8m, though there wasn't that much light down there because the sun was quite low in the sky.

I found 3 big boilers and a large prop, which I'm not convinced was actually the main prop unless a lot of wreckage has collapsed backwards behind the stern, because it seemed too close to midships to me. The wreck was too large to get around in one visit, so the bows will have to wait until next time, possibly August.

I'd managed to rack up a fair amount of deco, so hanging around at 6m in 14C water for a while was a bit cold and boring. I later found out I had a bit of a leak in my suit which strangely didn't occur for the rest of the weekend. As I surfaced, after an hour's dive time, the sun was setting and the Brittany ferry was heading back into Poole.

Then it was back into Poole after what had been a good dive, probably the best one of the weekend. I then continued down to Portland and arrived at 11.30, just as everyone else was going to bed.

The next morning, we were up bright and early for ropes off at 9.30 on Scimitar. The first dive was a drift on the end of the Bill that's sometimes called Aerials. Smudge made some comment about how I would probably only be down 5 mins of a drift dive, so I did the complete hour, just to prove him wrong. It is one of the better drifts in the area. Or one of the few worth doing at all really.

2nd dive was the St Dunstan which I've done about a million times before, but is still an old favourite in 30m. It was a bucket dredger turned mine sweeper than managed to hit a mine. You can swim in around the boilers and the buckets, winches and various cogs make for an interesting dive. The viz was a bit rubbish. Probably about 4m.

Saturday night in Castletown is now like a morgue. I remember when the place was jumping, but it would seem no longer. This was probably a good thing as I had to be up, bright and early at 6.30 on Sunday.

The first dive was the Aeolian Skye, Germany's most recent contribution to the Weymouth diving scene. It's opened up a bit in the accommodation block area since I last dived it. Some bits have collapsed and you can now easily swim into more of it with light shining through from various sides in parts of the wreck that used to be dark and a lot tighter.

It was just about 30m in the scour and I bagged up on 42 mins and was out of the water on the hour. Then it was a 1:45 surface interval before jumping in for 25 mins at 20m, which was ample time to collect a bag of scallops. Yum.

So a good weekend, and the Met Office got the weather all wrong again, which was nice because they'd forecast it was going to be rubbish.