It was a text message from Chris Webb from Mutiny Diving on Monday evening, advising Maverick would be out diving for five days this week that spawned my “Buddy Wanted” post on social media and the [buddies] mailing list. Quick to respond was Tom and so plans were afoot to make a day trip to Dover on Wednesday.
Tide tables mandated there was only one wreck dive today and with a leisurely Ropes Off time of 09.45am, a simple drive to Dover and back in a day. The plan was that Tom would meet at my house and take my car. Telling my wife I’ll be home in time for The Chase, off we set.
Without detailing the dive plan explicitly, it meant that while Tom’s bottom time was limited by gas volume, I was limited by NDL. We needed to agree a balance. A balance where I was happy to deco on back gas (and accelerate if needed), but where Tom wouldn’t be waiting forever on the ascent for me to finish. The plan was a 40 minute run time, diving a 10 minute “mandated safety stop” for me though a non-stop dive for Tom. Even though Tom would have a no-stop dive, he was happy to wait 10 minutes for my deco to clear. Simples!
Maybe Not The Mindora Either
We talk about “Chasing the Viz” when we dive Dover and “target” dive sites. Today was an ideal example as to why. When we got to the Mindora, Peppa and George would have loved this muddy puddle. Diveable for sure but as Chris pointed out, this would be minimal visibility. And with an “OK, we’ll dive the Varne Wreck”, off we steamed into the shipping lanes, just SEE of the Varne Lightvessel.
We were diving an unknown shipwreck known locally as “The Varne Plate Wreck“. As the name suggests, the name is not known and full of crockery. Chris described it as a flattened wreck with no overhead environment. The size of a squash court and with what looks like concrete barrels in the middle standing 2 to 3 metres proud. The plan would be down the shot, reel out to circumnavigate the barrels, looking for plates that will be beneath them. “You may need to dig a little” he said. Being that we were in the middle of the shipping lanes, no DSMBs today unless in an emergency. Down the shot, reel out, reel in and back up the shot. Oh and, a little deeper than the Mindora at around 32m.