Thursday 5 June 2014

Swanage - 18th May 2014

An early start for 2 of us, and despite arriving at 7.20am (20 mins after the gates opened), Frank and Victor were able to secure a good space on Swanage pier, which cost us £13.50 (1 vehicle plus 2 divers). Sally and Clive had come down to Swanage the night before. After a second breakfast, 3 of us boarded Spike, along with a solo diver and Clive who wasn’t diving and who helped out and completed log sheets. Other divers booked onto that boat didn’t show, so we had plenty of space.

First dive of the day was the wreck of the Fleur de Lys, not far out of Swanage. Victor deployed his DSMB, which turned out to be not properly secured to his reel. Oops. Luckily the skipper retrieved the runaway sausage on the surface. Frank then deployed successfully, and we continued with a short drift dive, seeing a thornback ray and clocking up 44 minutes underwater. Visibility wasn’t great, but it was an easy dive at a maximum depth of 13 metres. Water temperature was 13 degrees C.

After fish and chips (or – for one of us – moulded-mushy-peas-deep-fried-on-a-stick and chips), and double checking to see if Kaffee und Kuchen was open (it wasn’t, dammit), Frank and Victor did a quick 21 minute dive under the pier. This was the most interesting dive of the day in terms of actually seeing stuff – we came across a pipefish, a cuckoo wrasse and other fish, and the sun illuminated the shallow waters (we reached heady depths of 3.4 metres).

For the Old Harry drift dive in the afternoon we had the boat (Spike, again) to ourselves. Not much to see on this dive – Victor saw 1 fish, nothing else. 35 minute dive, 13.8 metres depth.

Despite the poor visibility, this was a good day trip with fine weather (sunny and warm, with relatively flat seas). Swanage offers easy diving and a minimum-hassle means of getting some early-season sea dives done.

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