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SCUBA-L  September 1999, Week 1

SCUBA-L September 1999, Week 1

Subject:

Diving Portland UK - Trip report

From:

"K. Blessin" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 1 Sep 1999 09:41:47 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

Hi All.
 
Just back from a lovely 3 day weekend in Portland, just on the south coast
of the UK.  Thought I would jot down some of my experiences for you - delete
at will because I don't know how long this will turn out to be!!!
 
NOTE:  Big thanks to Andy for his insight into the area.  Wasn't too sure
what I was getting myself into but it turned out much better than expected.
As well, as we were charging up in the pub at night, the COZNEDFEST shirt
was a big hit.  Lots of questions.  It was certainly more stylish than all
the other shirts around, what's with the generic dive shirt that has a sting
ray across the chest with DIVER on it along with the name of the place?
U-G-L-Y
 
This was my first diving experience in the UK and I was pleasantly
surprised.  I won't say it was easier than expected, but I will say it was
less of a challenge than I thought it would be.  I expect I will continue
here and there with it, and am thinking of taking my rescue diver course
here in the UK.  If you can pass it here, you can pass it anywhere!
 
Diving company:  We dived with Aquasplash which is located in Windsor
outside of London.  It was my first dive with them and they are still a
fairly young outfit, just three years old with a total of 3 instructors I
think, one full time DM and a few others that come in on the weekends.  The
equipment left something to be desired, it was three years old and showed
it, but it was worth seeing my boyfriend, Troy, getting into a women's pink
wetsuit since it was the only one they brought that would fit him.  Injured
his Australian sense of masculinity but has provided me with years of
blackmail material!
 
Jayne, our DM, was knowledgable if a bit frenetic, the woman never ever
stops! Aquasplash dive out of a company called Fathom & Blue in Portland,
based on a deserted naval base right on the side of the harbour walls.  F &
B seemed like a pretty good outfit, if a bit rough around the edges, but the
people were nice and the boats were always full so I think they have a
pretty good reputation.
 
We were lucky with the weather all weekend, it was clear and beautiful.  The
air temp was between 24-28 degrees Celsius, and the water temperature
between 15-17.  Both Saturday and Sunday were spent diving, Monday (a bank
holiday here in the UK) we decided to hike around the island which was a
good decision I think.  We stayed at the Royal Breakwater Hotel, just off
the naval base.  It wasn't posh, but  the rooms were clean and it had
character.  The bar was full of 'real' divers at night and the beer flowed
freely.
 
Here's a brief description of our dives.  Please note that they might be a
little sketchy as I left my diving log at home this morning and so might not
remember all the details.
 
Dive I - 12 pm Saturday
The James Fennel
Viz: 4-5 meters
Max depth: 14 meters
The Fennel went down I think in the 20s and actually not much of it is left
at all, just a few ribs along the bow and that's about it, but it was a nice
dive to start off with.  I hadn't been wet in a good 6 months, so it allowed
me to get used to it again and get used to the new conditions, as this was
my first cold water diving experience. Some nice kelp and some big fishlife.
  A nice smooth dive.
 
Dive II - 4:30 pm Saturday
The HMS Hood
Viz: 2 meters (if we were lucky)
Max depth: 14 meters
The Hood was downed by friendly fire during one of the big wars (the second
I think).  They torpedoed it right in the mouth of the harbour to prevent
foreign submarines from entering the harbour.  She completely flipped over
as she went down.  As mentioned above, by the time we got on the wreck every
diver and their dog had already been on it and the visibility was almost
nil.  Mistook someone else for my buddy a couple of time, until they gave me
a strange look and I realized what happened!  Did a little bit of
penetration to peer into the holes, but we aborted the dive earlier than we
needed to because we simply could not see anything.  Very disappointing.
 
Dive III - 1 pm Sunday
The Aerials
Viz: 5-7 meters!!!
Max Depth 18 meters
This dive was the highlight of our weekend.  A very nice drift dive through
some very large boulders and some great kelp forests.  There had been a
rumour of a carpet of starfish mating in the area but we didn't find it ;)
however, it was a great dive, the current was mild, the viz incredible (for
the UK) and the pace of the dive was perfect.  Highly recommend it.
 
Dive IV - 4:30 pm Sunday
The Dredger
Viz 4-5 meters
Max depth 13 meters
*thanks again to Andy for suggesting this one*
The dredger is just a sand dredger that went down right outside the harbour
breakwater.  Not much is intact but enough for some nice exploring and
poking about.  Nice fishlife in the area, and the viz was good so it was
satisfactory dive to end with.
 
We were supposed to do a submarine called the M2 on Sunday as well, situated
in about 35 meters of water, completely intact, but unfortunately the boat
was full.  We were very disappointed until we found out that either the boat
had dropped them off at the wrong place or the vis was extremely bad.
Either way they didn't find the sub!  C'est la vie!
 
Regards,
Kat.
 
______________________________________________________
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