A group of us headed up to Capernwray for a pleasurable two-day trip. The group consisted of Jake Forster, Lee Robinson, James Sheldon, Hugh South and Marc Coxon.
Myself, Lee and Hugh headed up to Capernwray in Lee’s van at around 6:30 am on Friday, with Marc and James travelling separately. We met at a service station for some breakfast before arriving at the dive site at 10 am, just in time for opening.
The first dive of the day saw us dive in a group of five, split into smaller groups of me, Hugh and Marc in group 1 and Lee and James as group 2 in case we got split up.
I led the first dive which was a chance for Hugh to get familiar with the dive site as he was the only one who had not been before.
We descended onto the plane (the Gypsy Moth) which is the first major attraction most divers would see on the descent. The plane is situated at around 15m. Having all travelled through the plane, we exited and made our way to the ‘cave’, a container with several holes that has a Cessna plane on top. Following this, we headed for the Podsnap, a large boat sunk on its side.
We then headed onto several other ‘wrecks’ and ended the dive. Our maximum depth was 16.9m and the water temperature was 15°c. On the exit from the water, large schools of fish congregate, and we had the chance to see some sturgeon and trout.
After a bite to eat, a hot drink and some surface time, we headed back in for the second dive. I was again leading with the same small groups assigned.
We did a stride entry from the pier instead of a shore entry. Instead of descending onto the plane, we followed the shelf on the right-hand side of the quarry around at a shallower depth of 6-8m (or 10m if you’re Hugh). During this dive, we got to see some Japanese Koi Carp, as well as some horse statues, a thunderbird 4 replica, and Apeks van and several boats. This dive lasted 1 hour.
After packing up the cars, we headed to our accommodation, Capernwray House. This B&B is around 3 minutes drive from the site and we had 3 rooms, split into Me & Lee, James & Marc, and Hugh.
After some refreshments and cakes, we headed upstairs, got changed and went out for dinner at the Eagles Head, a pub in Over Kellett.
After a few beers and some good food, we headed to bed.
Over a filling breakfast, we discussed dive plans for the day.
It was decided that I would again lead both dives and we would dive in the same group and sub-groups.
We turned up at the dive site at 9 am, where we were met by a queue of at least 50 cars which we had to join the back of. The entrance does not have a parking area like Stoney Cove, so cars have to queue up on the narrow road running towards Capernwray.
Once we parked, we got kitted up and walked down towards the water. We again did a stride entry and once we had checked no one had any kit issues, we descended onto the plane. The main aim of this dive was to find one of the helicopters that we had struggled to locate on every dive we had previously done in Capernwray. We had checked the map beforehand and realised that if we followed a known route from the plane to the cave, to the pod snap and to the diving bell, we could take a 185-degree bearing and this would take us directly to the helicopter.
Thankfully, navigation was good, and we landed on the helicopter (an RAF sea king) which is situated on a large container similar to the cave. We had a quick look around before I took a bearing of 220 degrees to try and locate a boat we had not yet seen. We continued in the direction of the boat for 5-10 minutes before I decided to start heading back towards the shore given that Hugh and Marc were down to 100 bar each. We ascended to 10m where I set a bearing for north and began heading in that direction. During this return, we encountered another helicopter that we had not previously seen, which was an added bonus given that we had struggled to locate the boat. We ascended slowly and followed the shelf edge around until we ended up back at the shore, with a dive time of around 50 minutes, a maximum depth of 17.3m and a water temperature of 15°c.
After some surface time, we got kitted up just in time before some light rain started. I was again leading, and we got into the water at another shore entry point. I set a bearing for 110 degrees in order to take us to a large orange buoy so we could investigate what was down there. We arrived at the buoy where we saw a large shaft attached to it and following this, what looked to be a replica of an alien flying saucer. We continued our dive following the shelf on the left side of the quarry before ascending at the main shore entry point. This was the deepest dive of the weekend at 19m (add 1m if you’re Hugh), with a dive time of 39 minutes.
We then packed all our kit up and headed home, picking up some cylinders that had been tested in Stafford on the way back. Hugh had a little nap on the way home but that is to be expected at his age.
All in all, a good dive trip with visibility of around 8-10m for the whole weekend. We will definitely be returning.