By Tom Bryer

By Tom Bryer

17th and 18th April 2021

Whilst scouting around for diving last year we had grabbed a couple of available spaces on Red Alert. Red Alert is an Offshore 125 belonging to Danny Daniels of Discovery Divers. We met some great people on the boat last year and were invited back to dive with them this year.

We drove down to ‘Bovi’ on the Friday. We had booked to stay in the accommodation on site which turned out to be a good decision. The accommodation, although basic, has stunning views across the Sound and out to sea. It also. Being self-catering meant that once we settled in we didn’t have to leave again until close of play on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday 17th April

Ropes off was 09:30 and so we had a leisurely breakfast before taking the truck down to the dock to unload the kit. Boat loaded the slight Easterly, whilst cold was not strong enough to blow us out for the day. In fact, there was only a very slight swell as we set off from Bovi and headed out to the Eddystone lighthouse. The swell picked up only slightly and we were looking forward to diving the reef. We were treating these as ‘shakedown’ dives and so set a depth of 25m maximum for the dive.
We descended over the top of the reef, lots of Kelp at around 12m and carried on down to what we call the garden at around 25m. The colours were not as spectacular as they are later in the year but it was a nice dive with all the usual critters about although not as much life as usual. Visibility was a respectable 8m – 10m but was very milky with lots of ‘snot’ in the water. It was a chilly 9° and our dive time of 45 minutes seemed plenty long enough. Mandy bagged off and we ascended under her SMB.
One of the great things about diving with the ‘Old School’ skippers like Danny, Pete of Venture Charters and Dave McBride is the nice long surface interval. No rushing off to get the second dive done and dusted. Teas and coffees aplenty and even a nice hot pasty to set us up for the afternoon. The 125 is a big boat and social distancing was easy to observe.
Due to the easterly picking up a little more we headed in to the JEL. The shot was sent down midships and we descended through the very green layer to the wreck. Obviously, visibility was down a little from the Eddy. Maximum of 6m, a bit green and very snotty. However, we could see enough of the wreck to see that it has not fared well over the winter. The superstructure is starting to collapse and the bow is starting to break away. Having said that it is still a stunning wreck and is always a good spot for Tompot Blennys. We called the dive at around 30 minutes as we were getting a little chilly and we have dived the wreck with much better visibility before. After bagging off and a safety stop the total dive time was 40 minutes.
A Lovely Plymouth Weekend Of Diving From Fort Bovisand
When we pulled back into Fort Bovisand the tide was a long way out and there was not enough water in the harbour to pull alongside the steps. This delayed cylinder offloading by ½ an hour so it was all hands to the deck once we managed to get alongside. In less than 5 minutes all cylinders were off the boat and kit was hung up to dry.
We really fancied Fish and Chips after the day’s diving and so we left Fort Bovisand and headed into Plymouth where we ate our Fish and Chips overlooking the Marina, a perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday 18th April

Off to the Persia this morning, again a leisurely breakfast followed by reloading of cylinders ready for ropes off at 09:00hrs.
Most of the team dived the Persia but In-Deep had already got divers onto the wreck so Bee, Mandy and I decided we would like to dive the reef just off the wreck. This turned out to be the right decision with fantastic scenery. Again, not loads of life but we will definitely plan to dive this reef again and it was nice not to be disturbed by gaggles of divers. Visibility was a very respectable milky 8m – 10m with lots of light on the dive. Average depth was around 25m.
Another very leisurely surface interval and we headed off to Hillsea Point. As if to prove my earlier point, In Deep had already dropped their divers in on Hillsea Point reef and they were picking them up again whilst we were still drinking our second/third cup of tea.

I love the reefs at Hillsea Point because of the dramatic scenery, we had a lot of fun diving through the canyons and around the peaks. All usual life again with some lazy Dog Fish lazing around.

Visibility was similar to the first dive as was our average depth, again the ambient light made this a very enjoyable dive.
After bagging off and surfacing we saw that Venture skippered by Pete Fergus had joined us.
We arrived back at the harbour for 15:00hrs. This time there was enough water to immediately unload all kit from the boat. A quick truck load, pay the skipper and say our goodbyes we headed home arriving in Swindon at 18:00hrs! Quicker than a trip back from Swanage!
All in all a very enjoyable weekend and we are looking forward to a week’s diving with Danny in July.
If you would like details for Discovery Divers don’t hesitate to contact us.
Red Alert