Predominantly covering the Kent coastline around Ramsgate, Dover and Folkstone, Mutiny Diving is operated by Chris Webb out of the Dover Marina. This is primarily a wreck diving dive centre, the Dover Straits littered with wreckage from two World Wars and numerous 1700’s and 1800’s maritime disasters.
What Can You Expect?
There will be either one or two dives a day. Unlike other areas around the British coastline, diving the Dover Straits is totally dependent on slack water. Slack water is calculated either before or after high tide and depending on how many high tides in daylight hours will mandate how many dives a day you will get.
Normally divers are asked to meet half an hour before the published ropes off time, allowing enough time to get your kit on board. Most divers typically arrive an hour beforehand to set up their kit.
Once onboard, divers can relax and make themselves at home with a mug of tea before Chris explains the operation of the dive boat, safety briefing and ‘target’ dive site.
Now, we say ‘target’ dive site as it may not always be the case that you dive the wreck that is published. Why? Sometimes the weather and water conditions change overnight and “chasing the visibility” can mandate hopping from one dive site to another to find the best visibility.
Divers normally get a pre-plunge warning to kit up and once the shot is deployed onto the wreck, a final orientation briefing and ascent instructions. That is either “line out and back up the shot” or “bag off” depending on visibility and shipping lane location.
After your dive and back on board, you will be welcomed home with another hot drink and if lucky, a savoury hot sausage roll, pasty, sweet toasted currant bun or toasted malt loaf. Then it’s a slow steam back to Dover.
Back at port and if just one dive, it’s time to unload, say your goodbyes and peddle off home. If divers are in town for two dives, then it’s two or three hours surface interval to the next slack water, enough time to enjoy a late breakfast or lunch. Those needing gas refills or top-ups can hoof it on up to “the workshop” with still enough time for a nibble.
Weather, Tidal Flow And Visibility
There seems a common misconception that there is always terrible visibility in the Dover Strait waters for divers. This is not necessarily correct and is dependent on the weather and tidal flow.
Although the ebbing tide from the Thames Estuary is considered ‘dirty’ compared to the flooding ‘clean’ tide from the Atlantic, dive sites will be suggested accordingly to minimise the particulate in the water. Whether your dive day is sunny or overcast will stipulate the darkness. Normally the particulate is at shallower depths, while dark but clear visibility is found at deeper depths. Whether the dive site is inshore or offshore will also affect water clarity.
On one hand, dark and minimal visibility diving scouring the seabed for treasure and trinkets does focus the mind in a smaller area, while on the other, gin-clear water can make a perfect photography shot. Dive expecting 3 to 4 metres. Anything less can be considered bad and anything more, good.
The Dive Boat
The Mutiny Diving boat is named Maverick, a yellow and white Offshore 105 hard boat, MCA category 2 coded for 11 passengers with stern diver lift and recently fitted marine toilet. Additional facilities include a heated cabin, galley, inboard diesel engine, sonar and side-scan imaging.
Diving With Confidence
Most dive sites are within the 25 metres to 30 metres range as the channel is quite shallow. A little further into the shipping lanes and some deeper 40 metres to 50 metres sites can be found. When Chris publishes a dive site, he will advertise the approximate depth. If the site is changed on the day, it will still be within the advertised depth.
Open circuit divers will typically dive a Nitrox mix on EN32 giving a MOD of 34 metres at PO2 1.4, though EN34 with a 32 metre MOD is reasonable. Don’t forget that if you’re using one cylinder and topping up with air during the surface interval, to test the mix and reset your dive computer.
You will need a powerful light and DSMB for sure, most divers opting for a secondary backup light, DSMB and face mask.
As we have said, visibility can be varying and many times, better than the inland quarries. However, it can be daunting for first-time divers to Dover, so you have to be confident and dive within your training and personal boundaries.
And There Is Treasure
For sure, there are some of the most interesting, historic and amazing shipwrecks off Dover and Folkstone. Finding a little trinket or artefact of a yesterday era that no-one has seen for over a hundred years can be mesmerising.
Treasure, Spidge And Receiver Of Wreck
What is Spidge? The answer is slang for “Treasure” brought up from shipwrecks on the seabed by scuba divers.
For “Treasure” read “Mainly bits of brass and rubbish”. For “Brought up” read “Furiously chiseled off against the clock”. For “Scuba Divers” read “Thieving pikeys”. For “Seabed” read “Murky depths of cold water with visibility of two metres”.
For Spidge there is a hierarchy of value, disregard all gold, jewels and other fantasy land nonsense. The real wreck treasure chart goes something like this:-
- Ships bell
- Telegraph / telemotor
- Compass binnacle
- Steam whistle
- Nice brass Nav or deck
- Crockery & cutlery etc
Consolation prizes for the lower ranks of the air diving one tank numpty are rubber soles from dead seaman’s shoes, an unidentified piece of brass, crockery fragment, lead shot, hooked up fishing weights and pieces of diving equipment dropped by other novices.
All of the quality items have to be reported to the Receiver Of Wreck who finds out if you are allowed to keep the stuff. The remaining detritus is used to decorate your fireplace until you get married, when your wife “accidentally” puts it out for the dustman.
Gallery Of Some Treasure And Spidge
How To Join A Dive?
To join a dive, simply contact Chris direct by phone or text. He regularly advertises spaces on Facebook in several groups, but ask him to add your name and number to his text list. That way you will have instant access to all forthcoming trips direct to your phone. Mutiny Diving does have an email address and yes, Chris does have access to Facebook Messenger, but text messaging is best. He doesn’t do WhatsApp.
Maverick berth and meeting point.
Kent, CT17 9BU
Office and workshop for gas fills.
Unit 9 The Glenmore Centre
White Cliffs Business Park
Kent , CT16 3FH
Popular Dive Sites
SM UB-55 
SM UB-78 
HMS Flirt 
SS Cuvier 
HMS Brazen 
SS Unity 
SS Unity, built by Murdoch & Murray, Port Glasgow in 1902 and owned at the time of her loss by Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Co., Goole, was a British steamer of 1.091 tons. On May 2nd, 1918, Unity, on a voyage from Newhaven to Calais with a cargo of ordinance, was sunk by the German submarine UB-57 (Johannes Lohs), 9 miles southeast of Folkestone. 12 persons were lost.
Read more at Wrecksite.EU