Club Diving

Swanage Diving – 2nd September (Clare)

Three Club members had an excellent day’s diving on Saturday. If you can cast your minds back to before the dampness of Sunday you will recall that Saturday was glorious. Eric, Clare and John gathered at Swanage Pier for a dip prior to a charter boat dive with Divers Down. The water looked calm, clear and inviting. Once Eric had cobbled together his borrowed kit we entered by the DD pontoon. We covered the whole length of the Pier seeing cuttlefish, flatfish, crabs, tompot blennies, shrimps, shoals of fish (not sure what they were – probably wrasse!) and dodging a descending fishing weight. It was a really pretty dive with sunlight playing through the planks above and illuminating the swaying seagrass beyond the pier itself. John, having gone in with 80 bar needed a bit of extra air from Clare’s octopus for the return leg and but still managed to surface with 20 bar. We have all dived the Pier many times and it was by far the best we have seen it.

We had lunch on the pier and were entertained by the Red Arrows display over at Bournemouth Air Show. What we did not realise at the time was that the traffic for the same Air Show was preventing our other two divers – David and Colin – reaching Swanage in time for the hard boat dive. Shame chaps – we had a great day 😊

Eric’s drysuit was not living up to its name, and after some faff, the problem was rectified with the application of a mole-wrench on his inflator hose……

Valentine Tank

The hard boat dive was on ‘Spike’ to two of the Valentine Tanks in Poole Bay. For those who are not aware, these are amphibious tanks which were being tested prior to the D Day landings. Unfortunately, some of them were not as amphibious as had been hoped and sank during the tests. The conditions were lovely – nice and clear and calm. Unlike John who discovered, as we approached the site and were kitting up, that he had left his fins in his car. Fortunately Spike’s Skipper was able to drag a pair out the scuppers for him!!

The shot was on one with a rope to a second about 75m away. The skipper said they sites were fish magnets and indeed they were – large shoals of bib hanging around. We had a good look around the first tank which is missing its turret but has an elderly lobster, a couple of congers and lots of shrimps and crabs as residents. A swim to the second, passing a dozing dogfish en route, showed a similar wreck but with its turret lying on the seabed alongside. More congers, lobster, crabs, shrimps and shoal of bib. Although the surrounding seabed was mainly covered in slipper limpets we did see brittle stars and some tiny spider crabs too.

Tea, Dorset apple cake and ice cream and a traffic-free journey home rounded off a perfect diving day.


Chapman’s Pool – 1st July (Colin)

We had intended to dive elsewhere from Kimmeridge but with the ranges open we had to adjust our plans – we selected Chapman’s Pool along the coast.

The sun was shining for the divers (Colin, Andy, Paul, Julia and John T – yes I did mean John!) as we set off; however just outside Kimmeridge the tide was very low so we had to tip-toe our way out and then along the coast worrying in case we “fouled” the offshore range limits.

Chapman’s Pool is meant to be a very scenic dive with ledges but the first pair in (Paul and Julia) were unimpressed and come up with not a lot of praise for the site. A readjustment of position closer to the shore and Colin, Andy and Paul tipped over the side of the RiB. We found the ridges but much sea-life was NOT on display. However Andy managed to take a picture or two (one is displayed here). After about an hour rummaging around it was time to surface and enjoy lunch moored in Chapman’s Pool.

We had an uneventful journey back to the slipway at Kimmeridge and soon recovered the RiB. It was then that we had chance to enjoy a brew from John’s new van converted for those nights away – very plush. Whilst there we were also witness to an air ambulance landing on the cliff and then the SAR helicopter in the bay initially dropping off a crew member no doubt to attend the same incident as the air ambulance.

On the way back we stopped at the Indian Restaurant for a meal. A pleasant day with friends – and some diving!!!


Swanage – 17th May (Eric)

The forecast for the day was pretty grim with heavy rain for most of day.

It did not disappoint and we all got a good soaking before even getting on the boat. We booked the Mary Jo from Swanage Boat Charters to pick us up from the pier

Fleur de Lys - Swanage Bay

Fleur de Lys – Swanage Bay

which was excellent. There was a great choice of parking on a soaking Wednesday afternoon. The skipper showed a photo taken in the morning of the sea bed which was clear from the pier. Sadly the rain had altered the picture by the afternoon.

There was only Paul, Maija, Josh and I booked but were we joined at the last minute by a solo diver!! (No comment)

The sea was calm and after a good briefing we headed for the Fleur de Lys. Current was running a bit making the holding and descending down a partly submerged bouy an initial challenge for us all.

Visibility was reasonable in places as we looked round the wreck finding the engine, prop and steering gear. This area was inhabited by some large wrasse and a large crop of white squid eggs and a Tom pot blenny. We followed the line to the barge where Paul and Josh spotted a large plaice. Into the barge away from the current we had better vis and explored the length with large and small spider crabs and velvet swimmers. The hull is covered in sea squirts and light bulb squirts.

On returning the current was quite strong so we tried the more sheltered side of the barge.

Back along the rope to the wreck. We also spotted a fan worm and the star find a tiny cuttlefish or squid. About the size of a 50p and very cute. Back on the line for a safety stop the current strung us out. However, the boat skipper came alongside and we relished the ride up the lift and hot drinks back on board.

The current and lift were new experiences for some and all coped well.

We finished the day at The Scott Arms near Corfe with maybe the best Pub view in Dorset. (It is even better on a good vis day).

So despite the rain a good dive for us all.


Vobster Training Day – 7th May (Eric)

Eric, David, Clare, Julia and Paul met Maija, Josh, Rich and Tom for a skills day at Vobster Quay.

The day started with two dry lessons on planning deco dives, distance lines and rescue skills. This was followed by a simulated deco dive using a shot for descent and ascent. All went well until the shot (20m) decided to detach whilst a couple of pairs were on simulated deco. Divers deployed a DSMB to ensure a safe ascent.

Controlled buoyant lifts were practiced and towing with rescue breaths. Students then performed de-kitting and landing a casualty into the recovery position.

Lunch was followed by more dry lessons on SMBs and DSMBs, Compass work and dive leading. So the following dive sought to develop all of those skills. More practice is needed but all pairs returned to their base eventually with the help of pilotage and compass.

A busy day with all being well involved. A welcome pint in the Sunshine in Nunney ended the day.


Marsa Alam (Southern Red Sea) – 29th Mar to 12th Apr 17 (Eric)

In late March 11 RSAC members and 3 non divers travelled to Marsa Alam for some warm Red Sea diving.

The Jaz Lamaya Hotel was excellent and we made full use of the all inclusive food and drink. As the season was just starting the water was a bearable 22/23 degrees. The wind was a bit of an issue and waves sometimes spoiled the visibility. It even rained when we at the airport! However, most of us managed to dive every day and the well organised Coraya divers made organisation easy. Detailed briefings were given for each site and conditions. The dive centre is situated on the beach belonging to the hotel. Jaqueline the donkey delivered our free nitrox tanks to the jetty with great efficiency.

Over the fortnight we completed dives from the jetty on the house reef, Zodiac dives to further explore the house reef which was full of life, speedboat dives along the coast to some great reefs, a day boat trip where the dugong was spotted, truck dives farther down the coast and a night dive. Highlights include the turtles, octopus, dugong, barracuda, crocodile fish, moray eels, garden eels, napolean humphead wrasse, nudibrancs, lionfish, giant cuttle fish, lemon coral gobby, juvenile hog fish,  porcelain crab and glass shrimps.

Further entertainment was found in the water park slides and the hotels theatre.


Vobster – 6th Sep 16 (Eric)

Emily, Paul and I turned up at a warm but overcast Vobster. Well it said Vobster on the sign, but we could see the 6m platform from the side with a small shoal of fish on it!!!. There were only about a dozen divers about so after a quick look round we squeezed Emily into one of Paul’s old suits. Paul caused some amusement shouting across the car park ‘Do you think we need the lube?’

I persuaded Paul and Emily that the water was 18C so no hoods or gloves needed.

Emily entered with a giant stride and we descended to the platform. Here the fish were very friendly and were attracted to our tapping and scratching on the platform. Emily finally left her fish friends behind and we carried on around the wall to the cars, plane, boat and glider trailer. The water was 18 but a thermocline sent it down to 16 in places. The great vis encouraged Emily to go through the fuselage and the glider trailer. We saw many more Perch including some larger 10″. We back tracked and returned to our entry point for a 3min stop at 6m.

Well done Emily. For your log book 13metres for 41minutes. (Followed by 23 minutes in the shower!). Thanks Paul a good day out in good conditions.


Swanage Dive – 4th Sep 16 (Eric)

There was a good turnout of 8 divers in Swanage yesterday. Thanks to Sue for the shore cover.

The overnight wind and rain had stirred the sea. The weather meant we were able  to park on the pier. The early arrivals went for a warm up dive under the pier. Sadly the vis was poor but a few critters were spotted and any kit niggles sorted.

The sea was a balmy 18C so some went without hood or gloves. Paul tried going without one glove. His second one was recovered as it floated away under the pier. Clare used her new suit but without inflation as she had not changed her hose, which was just as well as her dump was also broken!!

The rain held off and it was warm but the forecast sunny spells were very short.

Tom, Rich and Andy joined us on Spike and we headed out to the Fleur. The very broken wreck is now roped to a barge about 50m away. As the vis was again quite poor with a max of 3m and the wreck small some pairs went to the barge and back again. There was good fish life with Bib, Pollack etc in quite large groups. Also swimming and edible crabs, sponges and fan worms. Others saw nudibrach eggs and a small lobster.

So a reasonable dive with good experience for Rich and Tom who coped well with their first hardboat and lift in poor vis. (Unlike another non RSAC pair who did not leave the shot bottom and paid over £70 each with kit hire for the pleasure!!)

A stop at the Halfway Inn was welcome.