Weymouth – 26th June 2021

We were lucky this year to get two slots on the Wey Chieftain IV, the second being the 26-27 June. This weekend was a spring tide but not a big one, so we planned on diving the Benny, the M2 submarine and a couple of drifts.
On Saturday we headed down to the Benny wreck for just over half an hour at 27m. The vis was a little worse than our May trip, around 4m, but plenty of congas and lots to see. We followed this dive up with a drift between White Nothe and Bats Head where there were plenty of crabs, leverets, as well as a conga eel just sitting out in the open!
Sunday’s weather looked debatable but due to the improving forecast throughout the day and the shelter of the M2 (32m), we were able to get out for the day. There was loads of life on the M2, the submarine war grave, including shoals of bib fish and massive conga eels hiding about the submarine. She was a fantastic dive, virtually intact, with the conning tower rising about 9m high. We then chose to dive the James Fennel wreck (16m) rather than a drift for the second dive. The vis was great (8-10m) and the buddy pairs managed to find the other pairs (by accident rather than design!) during the dive. There was loads to see, from lots of crabs under the massive rocks amidst the wreckage, to the large engine boiler.
Credit – Helen (Social Sec & Trip organiser)

Pembrokeshire Trip – 12th June 2021

With a promising weather forecast, 10 divers set off from London to Pembrokeshire for 3 days of diving on the South Wales coast. The first challenge was navigating the highly confusing  Welsh covid rules, but by Friday evening Divers were settled into the scenically placed Broad Haven YHA and excited for the diving ahead.

Day 1 started with loading in the Milford Haven Marina, followed by an hour steam out to Skomer Island and our first dive sites. The team were having great fun observing the wildlife along the way (puffins a particular favorite). Diving did not disappoint either with plenty of marine life including spider crabs, lobsters and Nudibranchs – these would become staples for the trip. After a good days diving, we headed down to Broadhaven beach for a few beers and a BBQ, watching the sunset was a great way to end a fab first day of the trip.

Day 2 started with another steam out to Skomer Island, with the objective of a more challenging dive on the wreck of The Lucy. Good Viz made for a great dive, with divers longing for more bottom time to explore the wreck in more depth. The second dive was back on the fantastic reef for a chilled out dive and supersized examples of the usual suspects, the reef clearly benefitting from the marine reserve protection. A trip to the pub rounded of another great day.

Day 3 began with a dive inside the haven on the fantastic wreck of the Dekotian, shallower depth and a flooding tide turning slack provided great viz and very happy divers. A nice way for our Chairman Cameron to celebrate his 300th dive! Back out to the islands, Skokholm this time for another scenic dive, with a glimpse of a seal underwater for a lucky dive pair!

We had a fantastic 3 days diving on board Overdale (Pembrokeshire-boat-charters) & thanks to Dave & Richard for having us. We were lucky with the weather, Pembrokeshire is stunning and a great group to spend a long weekend away with!

Credit – Charles (Trip organiser)

Selsey Rhib Trip – 6th June 2021

After a successful RIB trip to Newhaven last weekend, 5 members of Putney SAC decided to take the RIB down to Selsey to dive a wreck that we had not dived before (spoiler alert – it was excellent!).
The wreck in question was the Brigitta or “Teapot” wreck as it is known locally, its name owing to a found item by Selsey Bill SAC. Although never officially confirmed as the Brigitta, the cargo and location of its sinking mean it almost certainly is.
The Brigitta was a steam Cargo Coaster carrying coal from Barry to Dieppe and she was mined and sunk in December 1917. She now lies upside down in around 16 to 17m of water close to the South Pullar Cardinal Marker Buoy. Her stern is largely intact with a rather large propeller still in place… definitely my highlight! The boilers are very prominent and stand very proud of the seabed. There are also plenty of great swim throughs and lots of congers, crabs and tompot blennies hiding in the holds. Plenty of fish too.. don’t ask me which variety. The visibility was an incredible 8m and very light down there.
Notes for future dives:
  • Slack ~4hrs after HW Selsey
  • Coordinates: 50 38.978′ N 0 49.317′ W
  • Best done on Neaps as mid tide was ~0.3kts at its lowest flow… you get through quite a lot more gas!
  • Brigitta is roughly 6.8nm out from Bracklesham bay, so make sure the foreshore office have a written plan with timings, NoK details etc. and although one tank of fuel got us out and back, best to be on the safe side and take a jerry can.
The second dive was a drift along Bracklesham Bay with not loads to see, but there were a few dogfish and brittle stars to keep us entertained.
Big thanks to Steve for towing/coxing and Nick, Brian and Adam for making it a great day out!
Credit – George (Membership Secretary & trip organiser)

Newhaven Rhib Trip – 29th May 2021

Summer has finally come at the end of May with some good weather. After a bit of last-minute bar-based planning we headed for Newhaven, launching from Simpson Marine & headed for the City of Brisbane on HW slack.
Thanks to some good work on a previous trip we had some perfect marks for the wreck, and got the shot in on the first attempt. Nice 4-5m vis, loads of fish life, plenty of spider crabs, congers, lobster, and even some big cuttle fish. The second dive was on the landing craft (?) outside the harbour arm. Diving on an ebb tide there was a lot of silt and snot in the water, dark and 0.5m vis at 12m.
Credit – Cameron (Chairman & trip organiser)

Plymouth – 22nd May 2021

After a very long drive down to Plymouth on Friday evening, we all made it to our luxury lodge accommodation with fingers crossed that we might get one day of diving in! Alas the weather gods were not in our favour and with the via looking like pea soup, the boat diving was cancelled for the weekend.
However, this did not deter some of us from exploring the murky depths (5m!) of Bovisand Harbour. The swell was pretty washing machine like and the pieces of kelp didn’t help to improve the already shocking vis so it was a short 20min dive.
As it was our Chairman’s 30th birthday that day, we had planned a BBQ with surprise champagne and cake. Michal did a sterling job at lead BBQ chef having selected the finest meat from the supermarket. We did keep a section of the BBQ meat free and Tim put a lot of time and effort into his jacket potatoes.
On Sunday, once the hangovers had cleared slightly, most people started the hopefully not so long drive back to London while three of us went to Plymouth Aquarium to pretend we had managed a dive. Particular highlights were the Eddystone Reef tank and the Great Barrier Reef tank where we reminisced on time spent in Indonesia.
Credit – Sarah (Treasurer & trip organiser)

Selsey Rhib Trip – 1st May 2021

First outing for the club boat this year on the sea was off the coast of Selsey. Launched by the friendly staff of the Bracklesham Foreshore Office, we headed for the fossil beds in Bracklesham bay. Usually dived on an ebb tide we quickly saw why diving on the flood was a bad idea; 50cm vis meant no fossils were found. For the second dive we headed to the Outer Mulberry. Easy to find because of Selsey Bill SAC’s permanent buoy, and the 6(!) other boats on it. Luckily our timing meant we arrived at the end of slack so everyone else was on the way out and we enjoyed a good 5m vis with the site to ourselves. On return to Bracklsham the sun came out and we were able to enjoy a couple of beers, watching HMS Elizabeth leave Portsmouth for her first tour.
Credit – Cameron (Chairman & trip organiser)

Weymouth 1st May 2021

Third time lucky for our planned trip to Weymouth on the Wey Chieftain IV, first moved due to Covid and second due to weather.
On the Saturday morning we headed out and dived the Binnendijk wreck (26m). Known as the “Benny”, she caught fire after striking a mine and was alight stern to stern. Vis was much better than is usual for the Benny, around 6m, but getting on for chilly at 10oC! Lots of conga eels. We followed this wreck dive with a fast drift dive in Balaclava Bay where we saw lots of crabs and scallops.
On the Sunday we dived the Alex Von Opstal, a Belgian Passenger liner sunk by a mine in 1939 (30m). The wreck was quite broken up and vis was poor. This was followed by a drift dive along the Sandy Ledges where there were so very many scallops!
Unfortunately the weather turned on us for the Monday so we had an early celebratory dinner for Helen achieving her Dive Leader qualification, with this trip being the last piece of the puzzle as the DP2 module. Thanks to Charles and Nic for the (alcoholic) bubbles!

 

Credit – Helen (Social Sec & Trip organiser)

St Andrews Lake – 24th April 2021

8 members of Putney SAC met up (in two groups) at St Andrews for various purposes: kit checking, Sports Diver lessons and generally building up in-water time ahead of the busy diving season ahead.
Cam & George (me) were practicing twinset drills: long hose donation, valve drills and general buoyancy practice with a bit of task loading.
Michal was taking Mark for some more Sports Diver open water sessions. Having been diving pretty much every weekend since the lockdown was lifted he’s just SO5 to go now!
Tim & Adam and Paul & Pradeep were all getting back into the swing of things again with a few fun dives and Tim was testing his new camera and housing out.
There were a few leaky regs/free flows which are heading back to the service centre, so definitely worth testing the gear in a controlled environment before our next trip in the sea.
Credit – George (Membership Secretary & trip organiser)

Not Swanage (Wraysbury) – 10th April 2021

A last minute trip was booked in for the clubs first hardboat dive of the year with Swanage Boat Charters after the 2021 COVID lockdown… but the wind had other plans for us with some strong easterlies preventing any diving.
Rather than bin off the prospect of diving three of us decided it would be a good opportunity to pay Wraysbury a visit for a nice 60min dive getting some Sports Diver lessons signed off for Mark.
Credit – George (Membership Secretary & trip organiser)

Newhaven West Breakwater – 3rd April 2021

With the COVID lockdown easing in England, four members of Putney SAC decided it was time to kickstart their diving season in the sea with a day trip down to Newhaven for a shore dive.
After parking up right next to the beach and a long walk down the shingle we made it into the water for a quick practice of some rescue skills for part of Mark’s Sports Diver Lesson and then down for a bimble along the breakwater. Visibility was around 2 – 3m and there was not too much life, just a few crabs, but great to be back in the salty stuff nonetheless. Other divers heading in after us mentioned that Spider Crabs migrate here in the summer and if you head out onto the sandbank skates and rays can be found.
Although quite a windy day, the Breakwater gave us plenty of protection from the NE winds and it would certainly suit future training trips given the shelter, lack of current, close proximity to Newhaven Scuba and also being under a 2hr drive from Putney.
Note to self that although it’s good to check your gear ahead of other trips, this is not a dive to be done with twin 12s!
All in all, a successful day out and a big thank you must go to John for sitting in the cold, providing surface cover for us from his little fold out chair!
Credit – George (Membership Secretary & trip organiser)