Saturday, 6 June 2015

Pembrokeshire – 23rd-25th May 2015

The club hadn’t been to Pembrokeshire for a while, so a trip was organised for the late May bank holiday weekend. 10 of us from Bermondsey went, with Barbora and Giulia from Imperial branch filling the remaining 2 places on the big orange dive boat Overdale. Brian (of Dive in2 Pembrokeshire) was our skipper, with Mike, Paul and Alex helping and doing some skippering over the weekend.

Following a relatively easy load-in on the outside of Milford Haven marina (free parking available close to ramp) and a leisurely kitting-up as we made our way out of the ria and out towards Skomer and Skokholm, diving began on Saturday with visits to High Point and the Pinnacles, where depths of up to 21 metres and dive times of up to 56 minutes were achieved. Not a bad start to the weekend – visibility was up to 4 metres, water temperatures were 10 to 13 degrees, and dogfish, nudibranchs and many spider crabs were seen on these scenic dives. Unfortunately a weight belt was lost at High Point, but Brian helped out with a loan of a harness.

On Sunday we dived The Lucy, an upright wreck whose deck sits at about 36 metres. Some of us went to the wreck first for a quick look and then headed south to Rye Rocks, others spent the entire dive either on the wreck or the shallower reef – these 2 dive sites offer something for everyone in a group with varied interests.  The second dive at White Lady was scenic.

Monday involved dive sites less far out, chosen so we could get back to harbour earlier and begin our journeys home. The Dakotian is an interesting freighter, sunk in 1940 near Dale. Some of the group entered the wreck, taking care not to disturb the silty bottom. Plenty of wildlife in good light and visibility meant decent photos of candy striped flatworms and other critters were taken. A current over the top of the wreck gave us some exercise, but wasn’t too challenging. Some of us sat out the second dive, but those who did it (The Greek) reported the best visibility of the weekend at around 8 metres.

Brian and his crew were excellent – patient, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about diving. Special mention needs to be made of Mike’s excellent boat manoeuvre which he executed when we arrived back at harbour on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the crew we also got some views of seals and puffins during our surface intervals, and on Monday we moored at Dale and were able to stretch our legs for 20 minutes between dives. Fills were easy – we loaded cylinders onto Brian’s trailer at the end of each day, put in our requests, and they were ready for us the next morning. Overdale has a head and a lift, and a decent amount of space (including a cabin that could probably accommodate all of us)

We stayed at various B&Bs including Scoveston Grove and the Ferry House Inn (both recommended). We ate well at Halen Mor on Saturday, and most of the group met up again at Martha’s Harbour (also good) on Sunday evening. Brian provided packed lunches (£5/person/day) for those that requested them.

Journey times were around 7 hours outward (for those of us who took the Friday off work and left London in the morning), and 6 hours back (leaving Milford Haven at 3pm-ish). The weather was generally brilliant – other than some drizzle on Saturday morning (a lot less than had been forecast), we enjoyed sunshine all weekend.

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