On the last weekend of July going into August, 12 Putney BSAC divers headed down to Brighton for a weekend of diving with Channel Diver.The first dive on the Saturday was a rather novel dive on one of the Rampion windfarm columns. The column met the seabed at a depth of approx. 28m and was covered in mussels, with dozens of starfish surrounding the column at its base, as well as little congas under the supporting beams. Some PSAC’ers were lucky enough to have a couple of jellyfish for company on their safety stop. This was followed by quite a low visibility drift dive at 11m depth.
The Saturday evening was rife with cake, celebration (and a glass of champagne each) as it was the DO’s birthday!
On the Sunday, the first dive was a 27m dive on the Fortuna wreck. Upon dropping onto the wreck down the shot line, some divers couldn’t even see the wreck due to the immense numbers of fish surrounding them! After we descended through the fish, we had a very enjoyable dive moving along to the bow and investigating the wreck before coming back up the shot. This was followed by a better vis drift dive along a rocky shelf which was teeming with life.
Some of the group took advantage of the good weather and being at the seaside to take an extra day to relax before heading back, with the rest of the group getting an unusually short duration trip back to London following a great weekend of diving!
Credit – Helen (Social Sec and Trip Organiser)
In mid July, 5 members of Putney BSAC took the RHIB to Selsey to dive the cuckoo and mulberries. We couldn’t have asked for warmer weather, calmer sea or better visibility. As well as being fun, it was also an educational trip. 2 of the members had never dived off the RHIB and we did a brief chart workshop down at the HYC the week before. We also ticked off a sports diver and dive leader lesson, whilst our chairman got more experience coxing. A fabulous day was had by all.
Credit – Emma (Training Officer and Trip Organiser)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)