|Poor cod swim around some sort of winch|
The boat launches out of Penzance. We drove along the pier almost to the steps, so loading up wasn't too bad. It didn't help that it was absolutely pouring with rain. There's a big car park by the pier, and we were able to park there all day for £2.60. It made a nice change not to be ripped off Weymouth-style.
The boat is called Siteseeker and is a 38 foot Interceptor. It is fitted with a tail lift, so no need to struggle up a ladder. With 7 of us, there was loads of room. 10 would have been OK. I think 12 twinsets would have been pushing it. Plus a couple of us had brought stage bottles along too. The first dive was to be the wreck of the Heidrun, though it was previously thought to be the wreck of the Ibis. For more details, there's a Divernet article on the wreck.
Apart from the rain, conditions were good. There was a slight swell, which you expect in this part of the world, but winds were light. The wreck is permanently buoyed and it took less than an hour to get out there. Getting ready, we had loads of space because only 5 of us got in the water. Both of the rebreather divers gave the dive a miss for different reasons.
|Shark! OK, it's a dogfish, but it's a member of the shark family|
The second dive was Low Lee Reef. The local BSAC club had laid a nature trail around it, though it proved to be broken in a couple of places and we soon went off it. There was a small wreck at the bottom which was the SS Primrose which sank in 1906. We soon came off the wreck and swam around the rocks. There was plenty of life with lots of ballan wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, rock cooks and spider crabs. The shallower rocks had kelp on them, but were covered in dead man's fingers deeper. It was a enjoyable little bimble and we were down for 49 minutes at a max depth of 20.8m.
The next morning we were to dive the Hellopes. This was a 2774 ton steamship which sank on the way to be scrapped in 1911. This time we had the right mix. I had 30% in my tanks and also took along a stage of 80% because I wanted to use it up. I don't believe in throwing away gas I've paid for. The weather forecast had been a little worse, but the sea was even flatter than the previous day, and it wasn't raining.
|Sea cucumber on a yellow sponge|
For lunch we holed up in Lamorna Cove and the sun came out.. The second dive was on a reef called Stanock. The top was in about 15m and most of the dive was spent at around 20m, though we got down to 24m at one point. There was the usual selection of wrasse, dog fish, urchins and sponges. The viz was around the 6m mark and our dive time was 47 minutes.
I had been thinking about staying down on Monday. There were spaces on the Pamela P, another boat also fitted with a lift, but the weather forecast was force 6/7 and the wind had started to pick up a little. So I drove home. It had been one of the better diving weekends of the year and I think we'll be back in 2004.