By Tom Ingram

By Tom Ingram

15th August 2022

Normally as we come up to our dive trips we are wondering how much wind and rain there will be over the weekend but this time we had to contend with a heat warning! Certainly a first for me.

A few of us arrived Friday evening just in time to see the sun setting over Chesil beach, then on to find our accommodation for the weekend which was ‘the bunker’. The bunker is run by a very nice young couple Tony and Sally. It’s a very basic, cheap bunk style accommodation. It was clean and tidy and they did a very good cooked breakfast every morning all for £22 pppn at the time we booked. Obviously at this price something had to give and that was the room size which was tiny with shared toilets upstairs. Overall very good value for money.

Friday

We were diving with Jurassic Aqua Sports out of Osprey Quay Portland marina.  As the bunker was within walking distance , those staying there could do a kit drop by car, return to the bunker and then walk back to the boat to save on parking, which was quite handy.  Every little helps!

After meeting our skipper David and his wife, everyone had plenty of time to kit up and get sorted.  The boat had plenty of room for everyone to kit up, and a much needed shaded area to escape the suns rays during the day. Refreshments and a lovely lunchtime pastie were provided by David’s wife which was a nice touch.

First dive of the weekend was on the wreck of the SS British Inventor, on Lulworth Banks. Depth to the wreck was 22 metres and with water temp at 19 degrees we didn’t have to worry about getting cold. Unfortunately as with life you can’t get everything and the viz was a bitty 3 metres. This was a shame as the wreck was covered in schools of fish. I had the shock of my life as a huge free swimming conger swam right passed my face and into its lair. Other wildlife included hunting bass and a cuttle fish.

SS British Inventor 1926-1940

On the 13th of June 1940 the SS British Inventor was fully loaded with a cargo of fuel oil & diesel, en-route from Abadan in Iran to the Hamble. She struck a mine 5 nautical miles off of St. Alban's head. Salvors deliberately broke her in two and the stern section was towed to Portland Harbour for discharge of the cargo. The stern then towed to Southampton and later sold for scrap with the engine re-used. Salvage of the forward section was considered impracticable and was broken up in situ.

Saturday

Second dive on Saturday was to the Durdle Door sea caves which was just around the corner from the famous arch. To be fair it wasn’t a massive cave but it was lovely to dive into with the beams of light coming through the cave roof. After exiting the cave we headed out to the reef to finish the dive. Max depth 13 metres.
Saturday evening we all congregated to the Cove House Inn, for a very nice meal overlooking Chesil cove. Always nice to get the group together for some good food and a few laughs!

Sunday

Another relaxed start for Sunday and another cracking breakfast! The perfect way to start the day.
Todays first dive was on the wreck of the Black Hawk, just past Lulworth cove. I’ve always liked diving this wreck as it was always full of life and it didn’t disappoint. The wreck is very broken up and lying on a gritty sand which helps the light reflect. The group reported congers, crayfish, lobsters, schools of fish, bass, and nudibranks making their home amongst the wreckage. At 18 metres it makes a thoroughly enjoyable hours dive!!

Second dive was a drift around Mupe Rocks. A pleasant bimble and I was definitely kept happy with some nice nudibranks and anemone shrimps to take pictures of! Overall a lovely day to be at sea with fantastic top side conditions. Max depth 15 metres

Monday

With a few of the group leaving us as they were just diving the weekend we headed out on Monday on a much cooler day. First dive was Grove Point just around the bill. This was probably a bad decision as the viz was terrible with a lot of particles in the water. After a nice cuppa and pastie we headed back over towards Lulworth to dive on Bats Head Reef. A series of gullies running parallel with the shore. Viz was better but still not great, but for me that was ok, as there was plenty of macro life to find.

To round off the trip as we came back towards the marina we were accompanied by a bottle nosed dolphin which put on quite a show for us which was fantastic to see.
Thanks for everyone who came along, hopefully see you all on future trips.