By Mandy Bryer

By Mandy Bryer

22nd June 2021

The Plan For The Weekend........

We planned this trip many months ago, the aim was for three days of diving with Swanage Boat Charters. At the time of booking we were restricted to six divers per boat and had chartered both Mary Jo and Viper. As the time drew nearer we were able to have 12 divers on Viper. With all of the divers that had booked on being good, experienced divers we decided to add some different wrecks into the weekend. Friday we planned The Pin Wreck and The Venezuela, Saturday we planned The Aeolian Sky and The Valentine Tanks and Sunday we planned a Scallop Drift followed by The Carentan. 

Weather Not Great For Friday

Speaking with our Skipper Bryan on Thursday we discovered that the weather was not looking in our favour for Friday. With our first dive being The Pin Wreck we discussed that with this wreck being quite a way out to sea and with it being exposed it would not be a go for Friday.  We agreed to meet Bryan on the Pier at 10am Friday Morning to look at the weather and discuss what if anything would be possible in the afternoon. 

Friday morning came, the weather was indeed grim with lashing rain and gusty wind. We met our skipper and although we could of got out on something in the afternoon, the weather was set in for the day and conditions were not pleasant. We called the afternoon dive. 

With some of the crew driving down Friday for the weekend we planned to meet at our hotel for drinks, Mark had managed to book a table for all of us at our hotel for dinner. A nice evening over a few beers and some good food.  The alfresco fish and chips as planned would not of worked in the rain! 

Early Start Saturday

We awoke on Saturday to an overcast day but the conditions were much better. The only down side to Swanage is if you want to get parking on the pier it is normally advisable to get there early to secure a parking place. Most of us were there from 7am onwards. We all secured our car parking and then found a café for coffee and breakfast. First ropes off was 10:45am so it was a nice leisurely kit up. 

We had all discussed swapping the Aeolian Sky for the Pin Wreck as this very rarely comes up for diving. Everyone was in agreeance. The Pin Wreck sits at about 28m to the seabed. We all loaded onboard Viper  and headed out to the Pin Wreck. The seas were calm and although a little overcast, good conditions.  Once slack water had hit we all descended down the shot line with Nick and Matt being first in to check the shot and send up the lemon. Once the plastic lemon hit the surface we all knew the shot was secure and in we all went in turn. Mark, Pete and Ian were last in and it was their job to send the shot back up, which they did like experts! 

Once down the shot we were gifted with really good ambient light and visibility between 6-8m.  Really nice little wreck with lots of life on it including a large beautiful lobster.  A good dive had by all. All of us returning to the surface under our DSMB’s. 

We were treated to a hot drink once back on board and everyone had a slice of cake. Happy divers!  Once back at the pier, cylinders were dropped off for fills, then once out of dry suits we all had lunch at the café on the pier.  Some of the guys took the chance to have an afternoon snooze whilst the rest of us chatted and fettled our Kit. 

The Vis was so good we decided to dive the Kyarra instead of the Valentine Tanks!

After the morning dive having such good visibility the general consensus was to dive something a little more challenging and interesting. It was decided that we would dive the Kyarra rather than the Valentine Tanks.  The Kyarra sits at about 30m to the seabed. With Ropes off at 17:00hrs we all boarded Viper full of excitement and anticipation. Last time four of us dived the Kyarra it was lights out, white out and the dive was aborted.  This time I hoped would be better and we were not disappointed lots of ambient light and again 6-8m visibility.  Myself and Tom found the treasure and retrieved some tiles, a small glass bottle and a glass Lea & Perrins bottle, Cat and Gareth a beautiful ceramic pot.  A super dive for everyone! We arrived back at the pier at 18:50pm , the rain had started and we all rushed to get kit back to the cars, get changed and off to the pub for 20:00hrs. 

Arriving at the pub the question was asked if we could swap out the Carentan dive scheduled for tomorrow for the Kyarra again. So the plan was in place for the Scallop drift followed by the Kyarra. The evening ended with Happy Divers, well fed and watered. 

Sunday Tom to the Rescue.........again!

Another early start to Sunday with all of us getting to the pier between 06:30hrs – 07:30hrs. Coffee shop was top priority for some of us as we were a little bleary eyed. The weather was fair, overcast but the sea was calm. 

Bryan found us and asked if we could go out to help a fishing boat that had got its mooring rope well and truly wrapped around its propeller. Not a problem, we have Super Tom! Tom was volunteered and before we headed out for our first dive we sailed around the other side of the pier and threw Tom overboard to cut away the rope! It took some doing but Tom successfully freed the boat much to the Skippers delight. He was so pleased he wanted to pay for Tom’s dive as a thank you. Tom decided that it would be good just to pop it into the RNLI pot. Super Tom to the rescue again….becoming a trend when we go diving! 

Scallop Drift

Once we had collected our remaining divers from the pier we headed out for the Scallop drift dive. As always DSMB’s were to be inflated on the boat or on the surface before descending. We all descended under a DSMB between buddy pairs and headed into quite a fast drift along the sea bed. Visibility was a little cloudy but so much life to be seen. whilst the other divers were hunting for scallops myself and Tom just did the drift, we saw Undulate Rays, Thornback rays, Dog Fish, Gurnards and a new one for us Smooth Hound Sharks. Nice drift dive. 

Back on the boat the guys pulled out their bags of scallops and the usual sorting began with anything smaller than your fist being thrown back in. That left a few of the guys with only a couple of scallops (things always look bigger underwater!). Luckily Cat had made a rather large haul and shared out her scallops with everyone that wanted some for their tea.

Our Second Dive on The Kyarra

Ropes off for our second dive was 12:25pm. With our second dive on the Kyarra, some of the guys decided they would follow myself and Tom down to ensure they turned the right way on the wreck for treasure!  The dive plan was in place and once we were all on board we motored out steadily. By the time Bryan came out of the wheel house we were all sat there, fully kitted just waiting for the go!  Slack tide had not quite hit and so we had a few minutes to wait. Cat and Gareth headed in earlier than the rest of us. We waited for slack and then all dived down the shot. Poor Mark had twinged his back on the morning dive so was on boat support duties.

Again we were met with lots of ambient light and a good 6-8m visibility. A lovely dive, this time myself and Tom did not find any treasure. However I was so pleased as I came up the lift on the boat to a very happy Nick and Matt holding their treasure of a champagne bottle. Looking onto the boat I could see Mark with a beaming smile on his face, sharing the joy of treasure.  Next divers up were Chris and Feranmi who had some tiles and then Ian and Pete who had found a case of wine bottles, tiles, four glass stoppers a small blue bottle and some rather strange things that looked like Pumice stones, a haul bigger than Black Beards locker!.  Cat and Gareth were the last up and Cat had found a small piece of glass that looked like it may of been in a magnifying glass. Treasure galore we had happy divers.  The guys started to empty out the rancid smelling liquid from their bottles overboard, as the bottles were still corked  and they certainly didn’t want any of those corks coming out in the back of their cars! 

The sun was now shining, everyone was in high spirits, we were given our lovely post dive drinks and spent time admiring the treasure. Ian very kindly gave me a stopper that went with my Lea & Perrins bottle making it complete!

We headed back to the pier and unloaded in the warm sunshine ready to pack up for the drive home.

In Summary

As always a pleasure to be out with Bryan at Swanage Boat Charters. 

Two days of Superb diving with great friends, great divers, great visibility and treasure to boot! From the diving to the social it was a really enjoyable two days. Massive thanks to everyone that came along and made it such a good weekend! 

Thanks again to Ian and Pete for sharing their bounty! Very un-pirate like but very kind.