As part of my Dive Leader qualification, I organised a 2-day trip to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel on the 19th & 20th of May, having dived there in 2022.
The group consisted of 11 divers:
People began arriving on a Friday afternoon/evening, with a chosen meeting point being the Wetherspoons in the town for some food, drink and a preview of the weekend.
We were diving with Obsession Boat Charters out of Ilfracombe on Obsession II, a catamaran-style boat skippered by Leigh.
Ropes off at 8:45 am, we took the 1-hour 20-minute trip out to the Island.
The first dive was the western gullies.
There are several gullies around the dive site, and they are easily accessible from one to the next. Heading east towards the Island takes divers shallower, and heading west takes them deeper.
Joe, Jake and a few others were fortunate enough to encounter some seals on the first dive, and we had no hesitation about getting footage of us interacting with them as soon as possible.
After around 90 minutes of surface interval, we dived the wreck of the MV Robert. The MV Robert was a small, single-crew coaster which capsized and sank off the eastern side of Lundy in 1975.
The wreck is situated on the seabed at around 25m on the starboard side. As the deck was open, we all took the opportunity to head inside and look around, as it was nice and spacious. The skipper advised us to swim around the side of the wreck where the current was flowing and then return via the other side where it was relatively slack.
All back on the boat safely, we headed back to Ilfracombe. We stored most of our kit on the boat overnight as the skipper used cages to secure the equipment under the benches. A couple of people made the fatal mistake of having a nap on the boat; therefore, someone needed to catch the evidence on camera!
Saturday night was a casual occasion, with some heading off for Fish & Chips and some eating in Wetherspoons. A few drinks in Wetherspoons and the Hip & Pistol pub, and everyone was ready for an early night.
Ropes off around 9 am, we headed back to Lundy for another day of diving. The skipper had promised us seals as the swell around the Island was a bit calmer today.
We were dropped off in a sheltered cove on the Island’s eastern side in about 6m of water. Within 5 minutes, quite a few of us had seen or interacted with some seals. They tended to be more playful than seals we had previously interacted with at the Farne Islands and more willing to get close to divers.
The last dive of the weekend was the wreck of the Carmine Filomena (the skipper’s favourite wreck on the Island).
The Carmine Filomena was an Italian steam-powered cargo vessel that ran aground just east of Rat Island in 1937 after leaving South Wales carrying a coal-bound cargo for Genoa.
The wreck still lies where she ran aground with the remains of the bow section in around 8m of water, and although the wreck is now well broken, areas of the hull, propeller shaft and steel ribs are still identifiable.
The wreck lies around 12-15m and is pretty scattered and weathered by the strong tides surrounding the Island. A large population of spider crabs and some conger eels were available to see whilst navigating around the wreck.
On the way back to port, we were treated to a pod of dolphins underneath the boat, following us for quite a few miles back towards the coast.
After returning to port, we put all our kit into the cars and made the long trip home.
Overall, a good dive trip with visibility of around 4-7m and favourable weather and tides for the whole weekend.