This was to be the first club trip of the year. A total of six divers from Marlin SAC attended the weekend Rob Corby, Martin Maple, Lee Robinson, Kyle Sherriff, Jamie Vaughan and Mike Waddington.
All divers had performed their lateral flow Covid testing in the morning before leaving for Plymouth. On this occasion, we used Airbnb for accommodation as hotels and B&B’s were still closed; also, bunkhouses were a more expensive option given the single occupancy policy. The Airbnb was a house in the Cattledown area of Plymouth and had 2 double beds plus 2 single beds with facilities for cooking, laundry, washing and a living room with TV and internet. Street Parking was available outside overnight.
The next day we met at Indeep’s centre at 08:30 for ropes off at 09:30 to dive to the wreck of the (JEL). Jamie was the dive manager for the day.
We started at the bow section of the boat and worked towards the rear of the wreck in a zigzag pattern. Visibility was approximately 7.5 meters, and the temperature 10.0°c. Some interesting artefacts of the mechanics of the ship (winches and boilers) plus ship’s cargo discovered, including some Bakelite caps. Still, the main feature was the triple expansion engine and boilers that could be seen in their entirety due to the good visibility. It was also noted that parts of the second previously sealed hold are breaking off to allow for access in the near future. We headed from the break of the main wreckage to the stern section that is mostly flattened now, apart from a frame supporting a winch. Our dive time was 51 minutes, with a max depth of 22.8 meters and an average depth of 16.9 meters.
The second dive of the day was the Scylla, and after a surface interval of 1 hour and 16 minutes, we dropped down the shot and onto the bridge before working our way back towards the helipad and onto the stern of the ship.
We entered into the crew’s toilets and washrooms to begin a swim-through of this level apart from dropping down a few levels to look at the gearbox. We eventually made it into the bow before returning outside to enter again under the bridge into the captain’s quarters, complete with a bath before ascending through the bridge to finish the dive, a few pink sea fans and new dead man’s fingers noted. Visibility was approximately 6 metres, water temperature 9.9°c, maximum depth 21.5 meters, average depth 14.5 with a dive time of 58 minutes.
Diving is done for the day; we grabbed a drink at the Mount Batten bar before re-mortgaging our houses to pay for a burger at Five Guys.
The next day was ropes of at 08:00 to head out to the Eddystone reef. Lee would be acting as dive manager for the day. Surface conditions were excellent with bright sunshine and a sea state never getting any worse than a 2.
We dropped onto the top of the reef via boat laid shot before heading down a gully with large boulders to our maximum depth of 32.6 meters before heading slowly back up the panicle. Visibility was 12 meters below the kelp level and 6 meters above this. Lots of anemone growth and pink sea fans growing on the boulder surfaces plus new growth of dead man’s fingers. The larger fish (Pollock and Wrasse) were seen at the bottom of the kelp growth at around 15 meters. The average depth was 20.5 meters with a dive time of 44 minutes. The water temperature was 9.9°C.
Mike had a play with his drone to get some shots before heading back towards Plymouth to dive the wreck of Le Polumic after a surface interval of 1 hour and 22 minutes.
We enjoyed excellent visibility of 10 meters which allowed for easy orientation of this well broken up wreck. Large numbers of Bib congregated around the wreck that provided the feature of this dive other than the game of deco duck also going on.
We headed off to the nearby reef for Mike to get some more photos to find an obliging pipefish and catshark. We also found several big Wrasse eating some squid eggs suspended from a hole in some rocks. The maximum depth was 22 meters with an average depth of 16.4 meters. The water temperature was 10.0°c.
The weekend was now over, and we had all enjoyed the excellent weather and diving conditions that more than compensated for the difficulties encountered due to Covid restrictions. All that was left now was to return the cylinders to the club’s new compressor room for filling.
Photos: Mike Waddington