By Mark Lewis

By Mark Lewis

24th October 2021

For the second consecutive year, our Vobster Night Dive was a tremendous success with just shy of one third of the club membership originally planning to attend. Unfortunately we had a few 11th hour withdrawals, but 17 of us turned out in the end. An excellent turn out.
As you will know, Vobster moves from a summer timetable to a winter timetable around this time of year. With the Covid enabled sessioned timetable both this and last year, it again mandated the afternoon session would end up in the dark and voila! A night dive!

We are all told that the Red Sea comes alive during the dark with a cacophony of nightlife not normally seen in daylight hours. Vobster is no different! It’s a surreal change where the attractions and landscape take on a metaphorical change, the perch go to sleep with the crayfish and critters coming out to play. With lightsaber looking torches from other divers lighting up the quarry, it is an enchanting and relaxed diving experience. The rusting bolts on top of the crushing works are picked up, somewhat glistening in your torch beam and the green coral on and around the further most aircraft fuselage (east), seems to illuminate as a green sprawling carpet; not seen in daylight hours.

Everyone buddied up and we entered the water in dribs and drabs rather than en masse.
The "Sophia" attraction as sunk in June this year.

Some wanted three dives, some wanted two and some turned up later in the afternoon for the night dive only. My buddy for the afternoon was Pete Eastland and we made just two dives, the last planned as a long dive to find the new “Sophia” attraction. There are two routes to Sophie, the first to pick up the chain from the fuselage near the east end of the crushing works and drop down into the abyss or down the tunnel, around the crushing works and pick up the chain near the lines to the Jester Park and the rusting Skoda car.

We chose the latter and exiting the tunnel it was a cold and dark gloom. There was still ambient light but with so much silt kicked up, it was a white out in torchlight. Keeping the crushing works on our right, we traversed the breezeblock contours, looking for the chain. Obviously missing it, we continued around, keeping the wall on our right and when we ran out of recognisable landmarks, we ascended to 13m to pick up the road.  Having finned a little too far, it was a 180 degree about face and we picked up the road and plateau in a few minutes in a rather warm 14degC. Pete and I then swam around the shallower attractions taking in the nocturnal ambience, a slow meander back to the exit slipway. Run time was a delicious 74 minutes and while on a 28% back gas from last Saturday’s aborted dive to the Cuvier, Pete was on air and racked up a small 3 minute decompression obligation.

All packed up, seven of us hit the Vobster Inn in the end. An arrival a little earlier than expected meant it was beer and burgers rather than burgers and beer. At 8.00pm prompt, we sat down to a delicious double burger on a brioche bun, onion rings and crispy chips. Baz and Tony opting for cheesy chips.
It seems that the Vobster Inn is suffering from a lack of customer footfall at the moment and we were one of two small parties that evening. Strange that there were no local residents as you may expect on a Saturday night. Assuming some Covid apprehension may still play a part, there was only bottled and no draft beer. Still supporting the local breweries, landlady Peta serviced us from a comprehensive choice of ale, lager or cider in pint bottles. Chatting with Peta, she now only opens during the evenings on Tuesday to Saturday, but it would be nice if we and other divers could support a struggling entrepreneur in these crazy times. So if you are planning a trip to Vobster Quay in a small group, ping an email to Peta or give her a call to check opening times. Having stayed there before, I can attest the breakfast kippers and poached egg is to die for and yesterday’s evening meal was quite delicious.

I can’t make next Sunday’s Vobster Quay Halloween Night Dive, but those who aren’t trick or treating, pop down to Vobster and I can promise a Vobster that you have not seen before!

In conclusion, a huge thank you to Amy and Pete at Vobster for organising and allowing the group to use the schools area. Maybe Vobster will consider another advertised night dive in January or February before the clock jump forward? I’m in!