Dive Reports - Archived

( 2007, 2008, 2009 seasons)

2009

Wednesday 14th October - HMS Brazen

The first chill winds of Autumn were blowing in from the north east as a small group of die-hard Canterbury Divers (Phil B, Jason A, Carl, Debs, Derek, Nik, myself, and honourary Canterbury Diver ScubaJay) gathered in the car park for a night dive aboard Neptune.

Earlier that day myself, Gerry, Craig, and ScubaJay had been on board when we had dived with some other DUE divers.  The vis had been so bad that we had ended up heading straight out past our original target the Genimar (where I would describe the sea as looking a bit Oxtail flavoured), on past The Carmen (Chicken and Leek), and as far as HMS Flirt (perhaps just watered down Leek) before we thought the vis was even approaching diveable.  The dive was good with about 2-3 metres vis and some interesting spidge.  My stage bottle button guage imploded as I was doing my deco, and Jay's lift bag came to the surface three quarters full of water but otherwise all was well.  This evening's dive had been intended to be shallow and inshore so we knew it was going to be at the very best Pea and Ham and possibly even Thick Farmhouse Vegetable.

Some of us were depth limited by our mixes so we decided the best option would be HMS Brazen.  As the setting sun poured an orange glow onto the lumpy sea we thundered on into the darkness and adventure.

When we got to the dive site Dave popped the shot down next to the torpedo tubes and we started to kit up.  The previous slack had been long and on time so there was no rush.  Carl had managed to arrive at the marina without his undersuit so would be diving in his work clothes.  He agreed to keep his tie on in order to maintain proper standards of dress.  He and ScubaJay went in first and, as their torchlight disappeared into the inky depths, the rest of us all plopped in two by two. 

Nik and I got to the bottom of the shot, and I reeled away into what felt like a slight current.  In the very low vis it was hard to see much of anything but we still had a good mooch about and then struck out accross the sandbank in search of the other half of the wreck.  We had just about found the first parts of it when my reel ran out of line.  The current was beginning to get quite fierce so we turned round and headed back against the rushing water.  We figured it would be best to return to the shot rather than risk an incident.  However, the same thoughts were apparently not running thorugh the minds of Carl and Jay.

After a no-deco safety stop Nik and I were soon back aboard enjoying a lovely cuppa with Jason and Phil.  Derek and Debs joined us for the sausage rolls.  When all the food and drink had been scoffed, the post-dive discussion exhausted, and everyone's mind had turned to going home and having a lovely hot bath Carl and Jay were still nowhere to be seen.  We spent what felt like the next few hours peering over the bow straining to see a torch light in the gloom but none appeared.  Eventually, we were just about to give up when Jay appeared and climbed aboard.  Carl followed a few minutes later.  Peeling off his drysuit to reveal a neatly pressed shirt, tie, and smart trousers (with just a hint of moisture at the cuffs) Carl regailed us with the hilarious near-death stories of he and Jay's epic marathon dive.  Jay's stage reg had failed leaving him with rather a lot of deco to do on his rapidly diminishing air, whilst Carl had "planned the dive" to perfection by having 27% in his 15 litre and "accelerating" his deco with a stage bottle full of 28%.  Both were able to carry out all their stops and return safely - though Carl had so little gas left in one of his tanks that he was able to unscrew the reg without shutting down the valve!  In an era where wastage of any kind is frowned upon I suppose you could call that perfect gas planning.

All in all it was a fantastic day or evening's diving with good fun and great company making up for poor vis and an early slack.

Can't wait for the next one.

Simon Woollett

Friday 12th June - Loanda

The evening started well.  We all assembled nice and early for a lovely relaxing dive.  Captain Perrin was a little worried about the wind but we decided to give it a go and see how lumpy it was when we got out a little way.  We all began to pile aboard.  Unfortunately, due to a terrible miscalculation of basic maths it turned out that Rob had failed to notice that he had 13 divers for a boat that can only take 12.  The look of sadness on his little face will live with me to the grave as he reluctantly put his kit back into his van and agreed to take on the role of "Roger the cabin boy".  With all aboard we left the quay - Roger was a furious blur as he worked away at the ropes to the sound of Captain Perrin calling him a "Scurvy Dog".

In no time at all the mighty engines had propelled us at Warp 7 to the wreck site.  Roger was given a few quick lashes of the cat and set about rigging the shotline.  Soon he was ready and with a mighty 'toot' Captain Perrin "gave him the horn".  He threw the shot over the side and John span around to check that it was hooked in.  Having decided we had better recover it and start again Roger began to haul the line up - regailing us with a filthy sea shanty as he did so.  We circled again and Captain Perrin pored over the sounder ready to give the signal.  Meanwhile Roger sat chatting and pleading with everyone to get him a lobster so that the whole trip wasn't a total waste of time.  Suddenly, Captain Perrin "gave him the horn" again but Roger was still chatting.  With a furious shout of salty old seadog curses Captain Perrin was forced to try again - while the rest of us gave Roger another lick of the cat and prepared to keel-haul him.  Third time lucky.  Roger got the horn, chucked the shot, and we were nicely in position.

Debs and Del kitted up and prepared to go in first and tie off the shot.  Down they went clutching John's self filling lifting bag - designed to make launching the shot weight easier as the diver doesn't need to use their own air.  They found the shot, tied it onto the bag, made sure nothing would get caught as it raced to the surface, and cracked open the mighty lifting bag's air bottle.  There was a gentle hiss like the sound of an elderly soda syphon, and a few millilitres of air reluctantly fizzed into the bag before it was empty.  Debs and Del looked at each other.  Would this be enough to lift it?  Del decided on the standard "bugger it" response and was all for leaving it where it was - but Debs (ever the professional) cajoled him a little and they manually lifted the bag and weight until the air looked like it might just be enough to get it to the surface.  The bag appeared on surface and the rest of the team got ready to dive in.

John and Ian were next, then Kay and Mandy, Matt and Richard, and Chris and Claire all went in.  Mandy had been the unfortunate victim of pre-dive kit failure (i.e. she had left her BC on the kitchen table) but, as always, I had a spare one in my car which she valiantly struggled with despite the fact that it was permanently filling up with air.  To be fair, it is a while since I have had it serviced (OK, I have never had it serviced).

Myself and Nick were the last pair in and we headed down into what appeared to be potato and leek soup.  Soon Roger's shotline began to snake horizontally, then slightly upwards, until we hit the wreck.  We tied off my distance line and went in search of goodies.  The vis was only about 2-3 metres but with Loanda that's more than enough to have a great dive.  I had a plan to take Nick to the "secret" location of the perfume bottles but it soon became apparent that wherever we were was not anywhere near where we would need to be.  We had a look at a few bits of broken bottle and things were not looking too promising - but then I saw two big blue claws taunting me and in my head I could hear Roger's little Bristolian accent pleading with us to get him a lobbie.  I went down into the hole and grabbed Mr Lobster.  Nick very kindly helped my get my goodie bag out despite the fact that he had just noticed some of the long blue beads in the silt near Mr Lobster's house.  With Nick's help I bagged the lobbie and then we set about recovering some of the beads.  It looked like Nick was going to be able to get some brownie points if he could get enough beads to make up a romantic gift for the better half (thereby winning her arond to the idea that, actually, diveing is a "good thing").  With our haul of booty and seafood safely stowed we headed back against a growing current towards the shotline.  We got there in time to see that we were the last pair and that Kay and Mandy were heading up ahead of us.  I gave them a moment to clear any pointy bits and then we released the line.  We drifted away and began a slow ascent with a three minute safety stop.  At 6 metres we could almost hear Kay's excitement as she proudly showed us a goodie bag containing some interesting looking bottles.  After several attempts she had finally had a result on Loanda.

Back on board it turned out that Kay and Mandy had both recovered still-corked bottles of what looked like it may be Champagne.  I presented Roger with his Lobster.  His little face lit up and he said somethinig in Bristolian that I didn't understand.  John cranked open the throttles and we raced back to the harbour at 28 knots despite a slightly lumpy sea!!!

All in all it was a fantastic evening's diving.  Thanks to John and Sea Explorer, and special thanks to Rob/Roger for not only organising the trip but also valiantly giving up his space so we could all get a dive.

Simon Woollett    

Thursday 28th May

In the year of our lord 2009 we set sail from Dover bound for the mighty treasure wreck "Loanda" - except, hang on a minute, aren't we going the wrong way?  Well, it appeared that I had been the victim of a failure to communicate and that we weren't going to Loanda after all.  I sat back to enjoy my mystery tour and wondered whether my Loanda-specific gas mix would be OK wherever we were going.

John Perrin opened up the mighty engines and we were soon skidding along over a reasonably flat sea at a frightening rate of knots.  In no time we arrived at........Drumtochty!  However, there was a fishing boat on it.  They soon left and we began to look for the wreck.  Some time passed and we still hadn't located it so John decided to take us somewhere else to make sure that we actually got a dive in.  Wreck number three was the Pomeranian - a big wreck full of clock parts.

Arriving at the site John soon had her located on his sounder and Rob the cabin boy launched the shot weight over the side.  The current was still running so we waited for a while before I got kitted up and went into tie off the shot line and launch the weight with John's handily provided lifting bag - complete with its own cylinder.

I jumped in and drifted/swam towards the shot.  A quick check that everything was where it should be and down I went into what looked like a large bowl of thick soup - with lots of croutons.  The vis all the way down was shocking - with a bloom like you've never seen.  Eventually I struck the sea bed at 30 metres and found the shot weight but no wreck.  The weight had come off the wreck and I could see the furrow it had ploughed along the sea bed as it dragged.  Thinking only of my fellow divers I heroically began to drag it back along the furrow for what felt like miles.  Eventually I got to the end of the drag mark but there was still no wreck - so I clipped on and began to do a search.  In 1 metre of vis it would be hard to find and after a while I was fed up with the whole thing.  I reeled back to the shot (which was dragging again) and ascended - passing my fellow divers on the way up.  Fortunately both John and Ian, and Kay and Phil had better luck than me and did eventually find the wreck - in one case only by physically bumping into it.

Back on board skipper John and cabin boy Rob sorted out the drinks and we eventually made our way back to Dover for a lovely post-dive beer in the warm evening air.  All in all it was a great fun trip - spoilt only by a few problems with the vis and the dragging shot.

Talking to other divers who had been out on Gerry and Craig's boat they agreed that the vis had been awful - with the worst bloom that Paul O could remember (see report below).

Simon

Thursday 28th May

4 of us left Dover onboard the good ship Excel Thu evening to do some treasure hunting on a small mark Gerry had driven over a while ago. There was a gentle breeze and the sea was a bit swelley (made up word?) as it dropped down from the strong winds earlier and the sun was trying to beak through the clouds.

On site we had a very small lump showing on the fish finder in 28m, on the 2nd attempt we had it hooked but the strong tide pulled the shot out and we had another go, hooking it in again.

Slack was late but Gerry went in with about a knot of current, the water looking very green and planktoney (another made up word?).

As he got down to the wreck it was apparent it was a very old wooden shipwreck, who’s cargo had pushed up out of the sand as she sunk, the anchor was hooked into a wooden chest and the one next to it had its lid ripped off by the earlier shotting attempt, inside was the dull gleam of quality non ferrous metal, with coins and cups in abundance.

On the seabed next to them was the ships bell, The Santa Maria.

Gerry then decided the best option was to leave this for future divers to enjoy so surfaced and told us some cock and bull story about a small barge with a cargo of cement and iron girders and decided to drop us on another wreck

We shot off a mile or so and dropped the shot on an unidentified freighter in 26m or so standing up to 19m. I was in first this time and as I swam towards the line I could not believe how bad the viz was, looking like thick soup. Normally you can drop below the thick plankton but this went right the way down.

Down the line I went against a bit of current with plankton swirling all around me. I got to the wrecks decks at 23m and the shot was over the side, so I dropped down onto the seabed to tie the shotline in, viz was not quite the length of my arm and pitch black, plus it was quite silty here, so as I prepped the anchor to go up I could not see past my elbows.

Putting some air in the lifting bag I let her go, only for it to float in front of me, damn what’s it caught on? Hopefully not me!!! A quick check and its not caught on anything, so a bit more air and off it goes.

So back up onto the wreck, which is a very old steamship, probably sunk around at least 1880ish. I work along the deck in a meter at most viz with the thick plankton swirling around me making me feel a little seasick, John and Craig get onto the wreck and I can hear John swearing at the viz saying its Shiite.

So after a short look I head back up the shotline, I could have bagged off but knowing it rose another 4m somewhere I thought with the strong current I could get rather hurt if I hit that.

John followed me up and mad Craig spent another 40 min bumbling around in the gloom finally getting some slack at the end of that time. So a bit of a turnaround from last wed on the Hermes, but I think the plankton will have dropped out quite soon.

Paul Oliver

Sunday 21st May

Today we headed out to dive another new wreck to me the Bill S, this was a new freighter when she was sunk by the Luftwaffe on 10 July 1940. Sitting upright and very intact with the stern blown off in a max of 30m. Dropping down the line the shot was at the stern and we had about 3m of dark viz that improved to 4m with some fair ambient light as slack dropped fully in.

The shot was next to a large hole that I looked into but did not penetrate as the viz was not good enough, this is apparently the engine room and very clean as it was oil engines.

Working along the length I had a slow rummage, at the bows the decks are a bit collapsed and at the stern again there was lots to rummage around, the decks are only at 23m so a nice long no stop dive on 32% was had. The wreck looks very much like she was in the picture and I look forward to a revisit in better viz when the engine room will get some attention.

On surfacing the wind had blown up and as we sheltered off Folkestone we decided to can dive 2 and head for home, having Craig’s rather excellent Lobster stew on the way back.

My aim this year is to dive as many new wrecks to me as I can and 3 in one weekend was cracking, oh and some spidge along the way will be great.

Paul Oliver

Saturday 20th May

We left Dover early on Sat morning determined to get some diving in despite the plankton bloom and spring tides. Heading towards Dungeness we got to our target to find a big fishing net deployed next to it, so plan B then, a small uncharted wreck we had motored over a little while ago. On the fish finder it looked small and we guessed a trawler or drifter possibly from the WW1 Dover Patrol.

Gerry was in first and I followed soon after, there was lots of plankton and it was quite dark with some tide running, getting to the wreck the decks were around 33m and it was very intact, there was a very faint glow above us which always helps and I had a rummage around the shot area in the 2m or so of viz.

There looked to be a small depth charge on the deck by the shot and I was looking at what I thought was the rudder arm, dropping over the side I thought I was looking at a square stern with no prop. Later this turned out to be the bow and I’d had the anchor hanging just above me

Working back along the deck there was a large gouge in the port side just forward of the stern and as I moved along the deck with Carl, then Debs, then Carl again there were lots of bits and pieces of brass, I found several small brass porthole rims but left these, hinges and rods. Also loads of coal on the deck.

Working the full length of the wreck I bagged off from the bow with about 10 min of deco showing convinced it was a Dover Patrol Drifter. On the boat Gerry had recovered the ships compass and better yet the makers plate, and from this by lunchtime we had her identified as the Fart II a Norwegian coaster of 235 Tonnes (Drifter/Small Trawler size). Built in 1905 and owned by the unfortunately named Akties Fart. She sank after a collision with the SS Gymeric of Glasgow on 22/10/1917.

After a slow drift back to Dover dive 2 was on an unidentified sailing ship that just sticks out of the sand and has an interesting cargo. Work is ongoing to identify this but it is from around 1860-1870 from items found, viz was quite poor but a bit of current helped blow the silt away as we dug around.

The Hull is wooden and quite thick but rotted now with a copper sheath, hopefully a few more visits in better viz will have us identifying this one.

Paul Oliver

Wednesday 17th May

We left Dover on Wed with the intention of diving an uncharted wreck quite close to Dover, however the viz did not look great so we decided to cross the channel and dive the Pre-WW1 British Cruiser converted to Seaplane carrier HMS Hermes, where we nearly always get good viz.

On site we had plankton but dropping down the line we had a good 8m of light viz despite the plankton floating around. The wreck is inverted on a white sand seabed that gives good light. She is tilted up on one side, and this allows access.

Getting down to the wreck the shot was on the boreing side of the hull about half way along so up and over to penetrate straight under the decks and start along the length towards the stern, there are some huge lobsters under here but all were hiding today.

You hardly need a torch under her as the white sand reflects light back up. Getting to a familiar break I moved up to the top and found the hole I was looking for that leads back down to what I thought was the engine room but now know is a magazine.

Rummaging around here we had over 8m of viz as I watched 2 of the others on the other side of this area. Penetrating down to the seabed I went out on the far side of the wreck and back along for a rummage around the stern area, which I had not really looked at before, then after 45 min I bagged off for some routine deco before surfacing on 62 min, water was 11 degrees on the wreck and 12 degrees at 6m

Meanwhile Gerry had found a new entry point and penetrated 3 decks up, so a new route for next time.

On the boat we had far too many people lacking shorts walking around in their pants, which kinda put the mockers on the day. So another great day of Dover/Calais diving, max depth of 30m general depth of 28m on 31% Backgas and 62% Deco gas.

Paul Oliver

Wednesday 22nd April - HMS Paragon

Having canned our morning dive because of the forecast fog we met at mid-day to load up on Excel 3 and cross the channel to dive on the WW1 Destroyer HMS Paragon.

The wreck sits in a max depth of 30m standing up to 24m for most of her length, we usually get good viz in this area and the white sandy seabed and her lying with the tide means there is good light and very little silt.

On site we had the shot in and some cracking viz. The sun was out and the sea flat.

In we went, as I dropped down the shot line it was light, bright and the viz was cracking, I could soon see the wreck and the shot was at the stern end which is broken off, with the hull tall proud and open for a very pleasant swim through. Back out of the wreck I worked along the starboard side to the broken off bow area, having a look at various bits of wreckage off the side of her, turning back I found another good entry point and dropped down into the engine room, which was very enjoyable and clean of obstructions.

Back to the stern area I swam through the hull a couple more times before slowly drifting along to the bow area again where I sent up my DSMB for a lazy slow ascent as I drifted off of her.

A really cracking dive, max depth of 30m, general depth 24-28m 10-12m of very light viz and water at 10 degrees. 40 min on the wreck for 2 min of deco on 31% Nitrox.

Sunday 19th April - The Strathclyde

Well done to all that braved the rain, wind and sea conditions today. Hand on heart the information that I had gathered before this event, really suggested that sunday would be the best diving of the week. It just goes to show that even after  a lot of weather watching and viz reports,  weather still kicked me in the ass. I really should have realised when a cylinder tryed to kill me at the compressor sheds the day before. I also got quite afew text messages from concerned divers that the weather was closing in. Even at Dover, divers from a  binned dive boat were looking for places. Sorry our trip is full and we are going..!

Canterbury Divers were Terry, Tom, Derek, Simon, Kay, john, Phil, Rich, Me, Steve, Carl, Beth..

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Unfortunately ,a couple of the team didn't make it to the wreck of the Strathclyde which sank about 2 miles from the western entrance of Dover. On site the slack was an hour early so after kitting up, in we went. I was really excited to be the dive marshall even if it wasn't on our boats.

Myself and my buddy had our dive briefing watched closely by Simon Woolett who offered afew suggestions. A text book stride entry from Steve and me got us to the shot and down to our  bubble check depth and then to the wreck. The huge neap tide had the shot line lying over the wreck. At the top of the wreck I came  off the line and  hovered.  Conditions on site were dark with low viz. However, in torch light the water was very clear. As we had no shot line to return to it made diving really good. I couldn't wait to see what was in the holds. Steve followed as I outlined the wreck with my torch. I pick up a dog fish and fired it at him which was very funny. I think it was a dog fish day out of the mating season as they were every where so Steve got up close with quite afew. :-)

I had hoped we were heading towards the broken bows where the earthenware bottles are but sadly  never found any. On the deck we finned into an over head and a deadend I turned  and we got back out to the open. Steve ended  the dive here and I blew my DSMB. After a short accent and switching to 70%, I rejoined Neptune..

Most were still on wreck so there was plenty to do helping divers back onboard. Phil clocked up 40+ minutes in a wet suit. John Skinner wondered about bringing a torch next time, Simon, Derek and Tom  had some really great finds (Photo's to Debs, please Guys) Beth got a bit frozen (sorry ,a lot) and Terry and Rich went  abit green. :-)  Kay shared out her cookies in lieu of sauage rolls which I didn't get around to heating.

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So, all in all, it was a great day with a bit more experience gained. Thanks again to all that came.

Rob

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Friday 17th April - SS Hermann and Monarch dives

The well 'ard divers of DUE met in Dover at 0700 this morning to head out and dive the Cuvier, however we had sea mist and heavy rain forecast and as the target is in the shipping lanes need at least a mile of surface viz, so changing plans we decided to hit the wreck we call the Hermann instead which is just outside the shipping lanes.

We call this one the Hermann as Dave has deducted this is most likely what she is, an early model full sail rigged steamship. Heading out we had a nice flat sea and on site some very clear looking water. Large ships passed us in the fog a few cables away and the surface viz was at best a mile.

We soon had the shot in and I could see down it for a good 15m or so it was slack soon after and divers were soon in. I went in last and could not believe how clear the water was, dropping down the line at 20m I could see wreckage and once i hit the wreck at 32m we had damn good viz and broad daylight.This wreck is a great dive in good viz as it is fairly spread out but has lots too see including the huge masts laying on the seabed. I reeled off and followed the hull along till i came upon the bow, on its side and standing at least 5m proud.

Entering this i avoided the fishing net inside and had a rummage, moving out I had a good rummage under it looking for the bell which has not been recovered as I moved off a bit i thought it looked a bit blunt for the bow, so swam around the end to find a rudder and prop, so this would be the stern then, damn fool lol.

Back to the shot I went slowly, releasing the anchor onto its waister once I got there, however I was warm, had loads of gas and the viz was even better so off I went the other way having a look at the 2 tall but stubby boilers, and behind these the HUGE engine which stands about 10m proud like a block of flats.

Back to the shot but i wanted another look at the engine so off i went again, i really did not want this dive to end, i eventually left on 40 min to do my 17 min of accelerated stops on my 3L stage of 60%

On the boat everyone was all smiles after this cracking dive, and Madscuba is gonna post some video clips in a bit of the dive.

After brunch in Dover we were joined by Debs & Janos and went out to dive the big cable layer the Monarch, sitting 6m proud in 24m, i had not dived her before but she is very big, very intact and has lots of rummage and penetration points, being in Folkstone Bay the viz was a bit less at around 6m which as she is quite silty at times was a bit less - You know who you are.

his was another cracking dive as i worked slowly along to the bow penetrating inside at several points and having a good rummage. I'd not dived this before but several local clubs use her for training dives and I can see why as she is a great dive and very good for training. Some lobsters and silver cutlery also came up off of her.

So another 40 min to a max depth of 24m with a no stop dive on 30% Nitrox.

A rather top days diving, and all for only £40

Paul
Rob
Paul
Rob with twin-set, and 2 stages for a 24m dive

Debs

Debs

Paul Oliver

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Sunday 5th April - El de Bayo

A boat load of us met up in the Sun at Dover marina to head out and dive the Freighter Carmen today. As we left the sun was out, the sea flat and there was no fog, which had caused Fri & Sat dives to be canned.

The Carmen is in the shipping lanes and we needed at least a mile of surface viz to dive her safely.

However as we headed up channel we had a call from G Wizz who was already out close to our dive site......Thick fog rolling in. Damn we were in clear bright sunlight but could see the fog on the horizon. We made the decision to go for an alternative target outside the lanes in the freighter El de Bayo.

We got on-site and soon had the shot in and while we did this fog rolled over us however looking down the shot line we had some nice viz here.

Kitting up started and Carl was soon relegated to kit bitch after he ripped the cuff on his suit. Divers were in and I went last.

Carl!

As I went down the shot the viz was good, there was light and the water was quite warm. On the wreck the viz around the shot was about 4m, I did not bother to reel off and headed off for a circuit.

Back up and along the port side to complete a circuit at the shot. There were only 2 lines left so I cleared the shot and once the last diver had gone as there was a bit of current running I released it for a nice comfy drift off as I cleared my minimal deco, so 30 min on the wreck on 29% for a mere 10 min of stops on 60% deco gas in a very pleasant 8 degrees warm water.

Paul Oliver

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Saturday 21st March

After our cracking dive on HMS Hermes yesterday we went out of Dover on G Wizz's boat Excel 3 today and dived the unidentified freighter we have been trying to ID off of the French Coast.

As we left Dover the viz looked ok but nothing on yesterdays, as we crossed into French water it suddenly got much better On site it was incredibly clear and we could see WAY down the shot line.

I was last in and as I got to the shot I managed to get the pea buoy waister wrapped around my manifold untangling this I was off down, and could see about 15m of line ahead of me. Aat 30m I could see wreckage below me and as I got deeper I had the superstructure laying on its side on the seabed below me Wooo Hooooo, no need for a torch as I had a good 12m+ of viz and broad daylight.
I could see the wreck off to my left with a diver looking over at me from a lot shallower. Looking around the bridge on its side I avoided dropping to the seabed to keep my deco time down, swimming a couple of meters above the wreckage I had a good look around the area before moving over to the wreck.

This was the bow area, on its side and broken up, I moved up and back to the engines which are huge, then back along the hull, staying high i could clearly see into the bottom of the holds, which were in ballast. Back to the stern which is broken and tilted up i entered here in full daylight and with at least 15m of viz out over the back, doing 3 different penetrations through her at 40-42m I then exited out to see Trebor just below me on the seabed.

Turning around I worked slowly back along the hull to the bow and off to the shot, but the line had broken so after another scoot around the bow area I moved up to the top of the engines at 35m and sent up my blob with 15 min of stops showing. A slow ascent and stops cut short by my 60% deco gas had me on the surface at 50 min and very chuffed with this most excellent dive.

Back on the boat everyone was buzzing until Trebor got back onboard and showed everyone his ass as he got changed despite this it was a fantastic days diving and superb value at £25.

Great banter and a great bunch on the boat for a quite superb dive on a very seldom dived and intact wreck. Sorry no pics as i left my phone at home, hopefully some to follow and possibly video as Gerry had his headcam on Water was 7 Degrees at depth and 8 degrees at 6m.

Team list:- Gerry, Paul Oliver, Rob Harrison, Nigel Ingram, Alan, Carl Freeborn, Craig

So thats 7 fantastic dives this year already - could be my best year ever.

Paul Oliver

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Friday 20th March - HMS Hermes

We met up in Dover at 0730 this morning in bright sunshine & with no wind, to load up Neptune and head across the Channel to dive the wreck of the WW1 Cruiser converted to Seaplane carrier HMS Hermes, a very impressive wreck similar to the Scapa cruisers off of the French Coast.

Leaving Dover the sea state was fantastic in the sunshine, there was much kit fettling as we headed out and crossed the channel to ever improving water quality.

On site the sea was flat and the water very black, there was a buoy on the wreck but we put our own shot in and it was clear slack was here and we had cracking viz. The first few divers were in when a boat approached us, It was the French Police to warn us not to steal their buoy.

They soon headed away as we all looked suitably innocent and we were all soon in the water, as I dropped down the shot the light stayed and at about 20m the yellow sand was visible on the seabed along with the top of the wreck, some cracking viz of about 8-10m and broad bright daylight. Clipping my reel off I left it in place as I can navigate this wreck with ease in this viz. The wreck is inverted with a list so the starboard side is up and you have easy access to many swimthroughs.

The shot was near the stern and next to several penetration points and iI swam through one of these to have a look on the far side, then back in and along inside the hull along a room above the engine room which exits on the top of the wreck at 26m. Back down the side and i worked my way slowly in and out of the hull to the bow. There were masses of fish on her and these cut the viz down a lot but it all felt incredibly tropical. The water was a warm 7 degrees and i was not cold till late in the dive.

Paul Oliver

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Wednesday 11th March

So a good dive yesterday was followed today by an even better one today as we went out on G Wizz's boat Excel 3 to an unidentified freighter off of the French coast. We had a great flat sea for the run across the channel and were soon on site.

Kitting up was still going on when Gerry sent up the first porthole, as I dropped down the line there was much less plankton today and we had a great 6-7m of light viz on the wreck. The shot was to the rear of the huge engines and the place was teeming with fish. As I dropped down into the hold I hit my MoD of 40m and my puter started bleeping at me, so no seabed for me today then. Having a good rummage around the engine room area it was then up onto the decks at 35m and i found a deck gun on its side.

The wreck lies with the tide and there was no silt, lots of portholes and lots of entry points so just about everything you want. After 20 min i headed back to the shot and as i was enjoying the peace and quiet of having the wreck to myself there was an irritating buzz and Captain Deco appeared on his scooter, doing impersonations of the Red Barron and circling me. After a few min of this he buggered off and I got on with enjoying myself. Leaving the bottom on 28 min i headed up for another gas switch and stops with the sunlight trying to kid me i was not freezing. We even managed to scoot back into Dover just as the bad weather came in, so another great dive and day out. So a balmy 7 degrees water temp at 40m which was quite comfertable for my 41 min run time.

Paul Oliver

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Tuesday 10th March - HMS Flirt

Yesterday we went out on Neptune to dive the WW1 Destroyer HMS Flirt which sits upright and 4m proud in 40m.

We had 8 booked but only 5 were on the boat, so loads of space as we headed out of Dover on a very flat sea that picked up to a lumpy force 4-5 on the dive site.

The water looked very clear but once we stopped there was a green tint, dropping down the shot we had a thick layer of plankton around 6m deep but soon dropped through this. On the wreck it was dark but with about 6m of viz in our torch beams.

The top of the wreck is at 36m with the decks at 38m and the sandy seabed at 40m, as i dropped through 38m i had a metallic taste in my gas so moved back up onto the top were the taste went away, so stay on the top today for me. I had a slight nitrogen narcosis buzz as well which was a nice reminder i was on a wreck in cold dark water at nearly 40m so stay focused. I had a good slow bimble around the decks which are rich with brass fixtures and fittings before heading up after 28m to some routine gas switching and stops in the 7 degrees water.

Paul Oliver

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Friday 20th February - The Cuvier

After a cracking dive Wed on HMS Brazen the well'ard divers of DUE formed up at Dover Marina this morning to hit one of the best wrecks off of Dover the Freighter/Liner SS Cuvier, that sank on 9 March 1900 after a collision. The sun was out, no wind and no fog - on board we had 5 of Canterbury divers in me, Carl, Simon, Rob and Gerry.

On the way out there was clear flat water and sunshine, on site there was cracking viz and after a couple of attempts the shot was in and it was slack. Divers were soon in and I went last with Graham, he had ear problems and signaled I should continue down, as i dropped through 35m the lights went out and I knew the shot was off the side of the wreck. Landing on the seabed at 41m it was pitch black, but the water was incredibly clear, and next to me was the towering steel side of the wreck. Back up 6m to the decks and as I was trying to find a belay point for my line a scooter went past followed by another, ah there was 3 thinks I and looks to my left as Captain Deco appears and tries to run me down. Graham turned up now, but clipped off his reel and went in the opposite direction to me, so solo diving again for me. Once they had moved off it was up onto the deck and along to the 1st class cabins. There was about 5m of dark viz and it was ideal for a rummage through the cabins. I was having problems reading my 'puter in the light and had to go on top of the cabins a couple of times to do this in the better light. I noticed several big crabs but wanted a lobster, none big enough were on show though.

On 25 min i was back by the shot and as my hands were frozen i headed up to do some deco and exit the water on 40 min. So a max of 41m on 28% backgas and 65% deco gas, water was 6 Degrees with about 5m of viz. On the boat there were lots of smiles and wincing as cold hands thawed out, but the brews and sausage rolls soon had everyone warmed up and buzzing after an excellent winter dive.

Paul Oliver

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Wednesday 4th February - The Unity

After a bit of a O Fu*k momment, leaving myself 25 minutes to get to Dover+load kit etc I turned my van into a formula one car over-taking on blind bends, speeds in excess of 85 miles per hour and general white van man type stuff (ed: please note not something we encourage at Canterbury Divers, but knowing Rob we're not suprised). I had a missed call from Mr Oliver so I knew I was in trouble, however I did make it about 10 minutes before the 2pm leave. Everyone was early and just wanted to get going. (Where are you Guys)

On boat the weather and viz were looking good for the time of year. The viz looking about the same inshore as offshore.. skippers eye had the viz at about 3-4 metres.

I think we could of arrived on site a bit sooner as the current was quite strong going down the shot. My mask was flooding and I found my self in a right two and eight at 6m trying to sort it

The darkness continued to the wreck. I clipped on my reel (On top of the waister) then crossed the wreck and dropped to the sea floor. I dropped the reel and connected a strobe to the reel. Scootering along the hull the wreck stopped/disappeared into a sand bank where I found quite a few large scallops on the sea floor so decided to retrace back and pick them up (25 in total). All as good as the scallops that I got in Scapa, most as big as my hand.

All I needed was a big lobster for main course and I was sorted. Carrying the scallop's about was proving a pain so back to the shot with them and on 36 minutes decided to call it a day.

Really enjoyed the dive did'nt see much of the wreck, loved the scallops though. Dived 30/15 again on a 40metre dive with 54 deco gas H.L planner+15 Run time 63 minutes

Rob

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Sunday 4th January - The Afghanistan

Well DUE got the New Year off to a cracking start with a dive today 4 Jan 2009 on the wreck of the 2286 Ton steel hulled and 4 masted Barque the Afghanistan built in 1888.

On 3 June 1905 while on route from Hamburg to San Diego with a general cargo she had moored up in thick fog off of Dungeness, soon afterwords the Channel Fleet of the Royal Navy sailed into the fog and started to slow down, however the Battleship HMS Caesar rammed her causing her to sink almost immediately. Picking up 12 survivors, 18 others being lost the other ships were alerted, however 2 more Battleships collided and a third became entangled with another freighter.

Afghanistan


Today the wreck lies in 40m with some scour to 44m, a general depth of 38-39m broken in 3 parts with the stern standing very proud. She is very nicely placed in a wide area of the separation zone of the shipping lanes on some very nice white sand that improves the light levels considerably.

This morning after clearing a heavy layer of frost of our windscreens we met up in Dover for a very civilised 1000 Hrs meet, leaving at 1030 for the 2 hour steam down to the site. The sea started off very flat but built up to a choppy F4 as we went down.

On site we had some very nice clear water and as soon as the shot was in it was clear we had an early slack. Glyn Marine was soon in to tie us off with the rest soon following in:- GBH, Getafix, Weazelz, Hebails, Chriz, Ian, Madscuba, Trebor, David Burke, Jason P, Gary Frake the well 'ard lady diver in Leslie and final myself it was a real YD gig.

Down the shot we had a very nice 7m of light viz and the shot looked to be roughly amidships next to a huge mast laying off the side. Lines went both ways along the wreck so not bothering to reel off i left my strobe as a marker and went back under the shot rummaging over the side before turning back and along the other way

The water temp was 8 degrees and with 30% as backgas i had a good long no-stop time before just getting into stops as i released the anchor for it to promptly get caught in some old fishing net cutting this free it was time to go as my hands started to freeze up a bit. Definatly a wreck that needs a few more visits this year.

Back on the boat after some uneventful stops without bothering to use my stage bottle, it was coffee and sausage rolls before a much smoother and quicker run the 26 miles back to Dover.

So a great start to 2009 with DUE getting off the mark the way it intends to continue

__________________
Paul Oliver
Canterbury Divers Neptune of Dover

Carl Tom

2008

February, March, April, May, June, July, August, December

Sunday 21st December - The Cuvier

After a far bit of weather watching and a long chat with Dave of Neptune we decided to go out for the Cuvier today despite the borderline weather forecasts. A main factor was that I knew there was viz out there from when i crossed the channel on a ferry on Thursday afternoon.

At Dover we met in the dark and with very little wind, by the time we left it was light and the sea did not look too bad. We covered the 16 miles or so to the wreck quite quickly and with the wind behind us it was a smooth ride other than when we crossed the shallow brown water over the Goodwin Sands.

Amazingly my guarantee of viz was meeting some skepticism as we were about 4 miles from the dive site but as we got closer it improved till we were on site and it looked damn good

As we shotted the wreck the wind got up and typically we had the strongest wind all day as we kitted up and slack was a bit late, however Glyn was soon in and tied us off while I helped kit people up and drop them in.

By the time I was ready to go Glyn was up with a big bag of spidge so my turn I was using my Seaskin undersuit and thermal boots for the first time and as soon as I was in I had a floaty feet problem.

Keeping my feet down a bit I was off down the shot with a bit of current still running, I could soon see the wreck and how good was it 8m+ of very clear nice and light viz.


The shot was over the stern hold and you could look through the holes in the deck at all the crockery lying about. Clipping my reel off to the shot I did not bother reeling off but sorted my buoyancy out and dropped through a hole into the hold, the viz was very good in here and it was very light, after a circuit of the hold where I had my feet nicely under control I moved up onto the deck and off towards the 1st class cabins having a slow mooch about in this great viz.

I had a good look around the cabin area before a slow return to the shot where I made sure it was clear and despite having lots of gas and not wanting to go I decided at 10 degrees I had done long enough and up I went for a slow ascent and the normal stops on 60% deco gas after 30 min on the wreck with a backgas of 26% and a max depth of 38m.

Back onboard lots of grins as we all decided that was a great dive with great viz and even Subaquaman was happy with the viz.

A bit of a lumpy run home to Dover but back in for a Sunday roast and the footy.
 
Paul

 

Saturday 9th August - The Strathclyde

Zero Viz and Atlantis Divers had Neptune booked today and had a few spare spaces so we (me, Debs & Carl) joined them in Dover for what should have been a 2 dive day, however with the strong winds forecast for later on we stuck to a single dive on a local wreck.

After much debate Debs got her own way and we headed out for the Strathclyde, a local favorite that is up to 8m proud in around a max of 30m - this is a very nice and intact wreck that sunk in 1876 with a general cargo on route to Bombay and gives up bottles, ink pots and crockery on a regular basis.

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I was diving with Tom Roberts and we were the last in dropping down the shot to find a adequate 3m or so of viz. Getting to the bottom of the shot which was on the Port side of the wreck, there were a group of divers faffing around but I caught sight of the waister tied off above them so cut over to this and tied of my line.

We then crossed the wreck and turned left at the starboard rail and went off towards the bow, which we soon came across I then tried to tell Tom this but my hand signals were lost in translation.

Meanwhile Carl & Debs were happily pottering about spotting numerous lobsters (one of which was enormous), lots of edible crabs and a large conger and picking up (& discarding) pottery. Debs was back on the boat, to find most of the twin-set divers had finished their dives, after 49mins but Carl was another 8mins due to his pitiful Nitrox mix.

Turning around I reeled in back to the point we had crossed the wreck then carried on the opposite way towards the stern, having a nice slow mooch about in this great wreck. After a while I got to the end of my line and as discussed borrowed Tom's reel and carried on, till we got to the broken off stern section where the better penetration points are, after a look around we headed back to get back to the shot after 40 min, as I was on 30% I had 1 min of No-stop time left, while Tom on Tyre Gas had 18 min of stops fortunately after he switched to 74% this was reduced to 8 min.

So a max depth of 28m in 17 degrees water for 55 min with 3m of quite light viz, a rather good mornings dive made even better as I was in my Semi-Drysuit again which was just right in these conditions.

Paul Oliver

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Wednesday 6th August - The Loanda

We set sail with a fair wind and a hearty crew (with the exception of Rob who was full of foreboding about crap vis and why couldn't we go further out, etc, etc, etc.). 

Upon arrival at the Loanda site we were all a little worried that we only seemed to be about 100 yards off shore.  Surely Captain Perrin had put us in the wrong place???  However, we needn't have doubted him as he soon had the shot over the side with the help of crew members Craig and Libby - and down it went towards a very large blob on the sounder. 

Debs and Carl were first in and (along with Rob and his scooter), after a bit of lift and shift, managed to tie off the shot at the lowest possible point they could find on the wreck.  Nice.  Up came the bag and in went Derek and myself.  After a brisk 200 metre swim to the shot we paused to get our breath back and down we went into the inky darkness.  The shot line snaked down, along, and up to the tie off point where we reeled away in search of treasure. 

We spent the next 45 minutes poking about in two of the holds and came up with a goodly haul of tat - including a miniature mug type glass with handle that Del found - and three full perfume bottles (along with some still corked substance that looks like ginger beer, and various other bottle type stuff).  Eventually my torch (which I had been charging from a caravan battery on my way to Dover - don't ask) gave up and I was plunged into darkness.  We headed back to the shot but got separated.  After the usual separation drill (thinking "he'll be alright, I'm off.) I got to the shot and untied it - grabbing great handfuls of line as it snagged on every possible bit of the huge wreck as I drifted across it.  A healthy 34% meant no deco beyond my safety stop so I surfaced to see Del's DSMB only a few feet away. 

Back on board we all compared spidge and Rob decided that it had been a f**king cracking dive after all.  He had a nice lobby for his dinner and I clutched my perfume bottle in glee all the way back to the quay.  Unfortunately, due to a butter fingered key passing incident we all then spent the next couple of hours trying to get Del and Debs' keys back up from the bottom of the harbour.  Deb found hers but a few of us tried to get Del's without success.  Rob, Carl, and myself managed to construct a "pants hooking device" to poke through Del's sunroof gap so that he could get a lift home in proper clothes rather than his wetsuit.  To cap it all, when I got my kit together to go and explore the harbour bed I must have dislodged my perfume bottle from its safe stowage and just managed to hear a distant "roll, roll, splash" as it left the quay in the darkness and plummeted to the silt below.  Bugger.  Anyone fancy a return trip soon?

Simon Woollett

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Sunday 27th July - The Brazen

We set sail from the slipway aboard the mighty Sea Explorer (or Animal II as I call it) with a flat sea and hot sunshine.  Skipper Jon reliably informed us that the six mile trip to Brazen should take about 15 minutes - so we all hung on for dear life and Jon opened up the throttles.  15 minutes later we were at the Brazen (or were we???)  several minutes of motoring around (and one call to Neptune for revised marks) and we were there.  Jon and his crew (Libby) shotted the wreck.

While we all got kitted up at leisure in the acres of space that are available on deck.  Debs and Carl were about to drop in when Carl realised his mask was broken.  Being a resourceful science teacher he immediately produced his spare mask (also broken).  However, he made one good one out of the two bad ones and off they went into what looked like pretty good vis.  In no time Jon's self inflating shot lifting bag appeared and Derek and myself followed them down the shot.

At 18 meters I attached Jon's "emergency DSMB" and down we went into the gloom with my top quality Russian Army Surplus kit happily free flowing like a bugger.

At the wreck it was clear that vis was pretty good (about 6-7 metres) and there was plenty of light.  The shot was on the stern near the torpedo tubes and there was plenty of opportunity for rummaging around as the sand bank seems to have shifted a lot since I last dived this wreck.  Derek and I did a fair bit of poking around (there are now swim-throughs right across the boat) and access to several rooms is easy.  We spent a while in a room with lots of electrical switchgear (Derek brought up a "100% British" ceramic switch that looks really good).  After a while exploring the stern (including my failure to bag a lobster that slipped my grasp) we headed off towards the bow across the sand bank.  The bridge is exposed and there are further penetration opportunities here.  Eventually air and deco got the better of us and we headed back to the shot.  However, it was gone.  I think Richard had encountered some problems and he and Alf had to cut short their dive and release the shot. So we bagged off and drifted gently up into the sunlight.  Getting back onto Jon's boat is easy enough in a flat sea but the boarding ladder might take some getting used to in rough weather. 

Once aboard we regailed each other with tales of what we had all seen - and tried manfully to consume the complimentary tea and biscuits despite Jon's insistence on going full speed (50 knots????!!!??).  All in all it was a great dive on a wreck that has changed for the better since I last dived her.  She is now much more exposed with lots of opportunity to explore and poke around.  Can't wait 'till next Wednesday when we are hoping to carry on our odyssey of wreck rediscovery by visiting Loanda.

Simon Woollett

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Saturday 19th July - Whitstable Harbour Day

After the obligatory full English Dave and I set up the stand on the North side of the harbour.

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It was a sunny though rather windy day. The harbour was packed and lots of people came to see us. Feeling like a couple of goldfish we were often taunted through the glass by children with their drinks & sweets. Later Dave played a game of pat-a-cake with them giving mum and dad a chance for a break and time for a chat. Interestingly many of the very young ones thought it was scary and were reduced to tears. Perhaps next time we’ll have a banner saying “Come and see the scary divers”.

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A very good day and one that put us in the publics eye for all the right reasons.

Also many thanks to Clive and Mike for their help and all who came along to say hello.

Chris

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Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th July

Saturday Dive 1 - I had Neptune booked for 2 days diving this weekend and we had watched the weather all week as the big SW Winds blew clean water up the channel, and were forecast to drop off for the weekend.

Saturday was a go, the wind was W to NW so we would get some shelter inshore where we had some viz. We had a full boat Sat morning, had to bin our first choice of the Henry B Plant and went for the Strathclyde which is only a short run outside the harbour.

Sunk in 1876 this big and intact wreck usually gives up a few nice souvenirs, more details here:- Canterbury Divers - Wrecks

I was in first and had a nice 3m or so of viz on the wreck, this was reduced a bit as more divers got to the bottom of the shot but as I worked along this great wreck it improved, I had a good rummage and the light was good enough for me to know when i had entered her and to see a way out. So after 50 min it was back up to find an interesting collection of bottles on the boat

Dive 2 - was a bit choppier as we went off of Folkestone to the wreck of an early steamship in a general depth of 30m we are calling the Latona. The bell has not come off of this great wreck that is very intact with the stern high and clear and the bow buried in a sandbank.

After a ferret in the sand of the stern hold I spent most of the dive amidships where I had better than 5m of nice light viz as i worked around the engine room and bridge area, another great dive on this intriguing wreck

Sunday Dive 1 - Today the forecast was better as we went out on a very flat blue sea to dive the ever impressive Carmen, upright and intact in 45m with the decks at 38m this has long been one of my favorites. The sea was perfect and the water crystal clear as we kitted up and the first divers went down in these fantastic conditions.

was in late to find a stunning 12m+ of viz and broad daylight on this fantastic wreck, the shot was in the forward hold and I clipped my reel off and went headed up towards the bow, straight into the forward winch rooms for a great swim around in here, then up onto the bow and a look down at the seabed off of here.

Back along the starboard side I dropped into the hold and cleared the anchor which was under a metal plate and then lifted this onto the deck, getting my breath back I worked back along the port side, through the accom and bridge and along to the stern and the small stern cabin area.

Back around it was along the starboard side, through the accommodation again looking at a few portholes swinging then back up the shot for some deco.

Meanwhile Rob had scootered around the wreck, dropped down by the bow and found the Bell on the seabed in 53m sending this up on a bag he then went up on the deck and failed miserably to bag a lobster.

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2 Portholes had also come up and Carl had picked up the ships sextant.

Dive 2 - After lunch we headed out again but had to change targets due to the wind again and dropped on to the Laristan which had a great 6m of viz for a nice pootle around. I managed to wrap myself up in my line then cleared up some fishing net before getting back to the shot.

As I was the last off of the wreck I cut the waister and swung on the anchor like Tarzan as it flew off in the current, however the wreck of the Denbeighshire is right next to the Lariston and I soon smacked into the side of this, bouncing off a rather large mast before heading on up.

A rather excellent weekends diving with some great wrecks and great viz.

Paul Oliver

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Saturday 21st June - U8 & B2

We set out of Dover today with a full boat and despite the doom and gloom from the Met office had a flat calm sea.
This is the start of a series of Sub dives and despite the less than favorable tides we had an excellent day, also losing their Dover Cherries we had Broady and Mrs Broady, Patricia McCartney, London Sean and his buddy Ben plus Harri.
Also many of the normal Dover divers in Blanaid, Juz, Slippery Peter Woolmer, Rob, Carl and Debs.

Dive 1 - U8

First target was the early model U-Boat the U8 which was built in 1910-11, this Sub is very unique in that it was spotted and attacked while trying to get through the Dover Barrage and was the first U-Boat sunk by the incredible Dover Patrol, she was damaged after attacks by HMS Viking and HMS Ghurka and ended up surfacing to surrender before sinking on 4 March 1915, an event that was all over the national papers at the time.

U8 surrendering

Today we had a limited slack as we dropped down the line to find a bit of current running over the wreck and a dark but clear 5m of viz. The wreck sits in a general max of 36m with a scour under the stern to 38m.

Dave had the shot about 3m behind the Conning Tower so after a quick look down towards the missing props me and Harri headed up to the rather small Conning tower and had a good look at the optics and periscope, we then had a slow rummage along the deck towards the bow. The current had picked up a bit and was doing a good job of clearing the silt that was kicked up.
After a look at the bow i drifted back to the shot and had another turn of the conning tower before clearing the shotline before heading up for some routine stops, a rather good dive to a max of 37m for 40 min on 30% in some rather nice 14% water.
After some quality seafood in Folkstone Harbour we headed back to Dover for lunch then dive 2 on the very early model British Sub HMS B2.

Dive 2 - B2

This single compartment B Model Sub was built in 1904 with a displacement of 316 Tonnes and is the only one still in existence today, she was on an exercise off of Dover on 4 October 1912 when she was rammed by the 22,500 Ton liner SS Amerika just forward of the conning tower, with a loss of 13 of the 14 man crew.

B2

For nearly 100 years she has sat on the seabed off of Dover, and in the past was buried from the bow to the conning tower in sand to a max depth of 29m. Today we dropped down the shot to find her in 33m so after a look around one end and thinking the props were buried me and Harri moved along her hull having a good look around till we found the conning tower at 29m, strange i thought, but it should be buried past here then after a look at this and the open hatch we moved on.

So on we went over a sand wave with just a bit of hull showing to get to the end then after a look around we had rudders and a prop so i then realised the sands had shifted and she was very much exposed

Working back we found the gash in the hull from where the Amerika had struck then carried on back to the bow where the shot was tied off in her Torpedo tube housing

So a cracking dive on this recently uncovered wreck with a max of 33m on 30% for 35 min in a very balmy 15% water. After releasing the shot i drifted off to see the chalk wall of the hole she sits in and which will probably fill up again in the near future.

Paul

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Saturday 31st May - Uncharted Wreck

Me and Captain Deco had booked up to go out with G Wizz and Craig on their boat today and we arrived at Dover to sunshine and a very flat sea. After loading the boat we headed out of the Harbour with 3 targets in mind and after some limited discussion decided to go for an unknown and uncharted wreck.

We had a very pleasant run up to the dive site during which time Captain Deco admired some of Gerry's odd tat on the boat, one item a brass plate got very close attention until Jay having used his Clouseau detective skills decided the writing was legible and said "Sqinder" so we now had a brass plate from a Squinder.

Gerry then pointed out it was an O and said sounder.

Arriving on site Gerry then showed Jay how to shot the wreck using the tidal boil off of it to locate the wreck, and then use the Sqinder to get the shot in the right place. The wreck stood up 5m proud from the seabed at 29m, so our my 28% and 56% were not quite the right gasses for today.

Gerry was in first and secured the shot, then me and the Captain were in minus our stages and down the shot in some nice but slightly cloudy 5m of light viz. The shot was in a hold at 28m but there were so many fish around us we could not see where it stood up and which way to go. After a bit we swam into the bulkhead and followed this up to some cabins and the bridge area.

uncharted wreck

We had a good look for bells around here then worked along the starboard side dropping down into the engine room and doing a simple swim through before following the deck back to the steering gear complete with wheel. The stern cuts back sharply and we had a look at the big old propeller before moving back along the wreck, into the holds again and on to the broken up bow. Several lobsters were caught and let go, we had some big dogfish and a very good dive leaving the wreck after 45 min to do some deco, should have had 36% for this one.

So a total of 67 min to a max of 29m in 13-14 Degrees water. Gerry bought a couple of portholes up but they are going back for someone else to have.

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Thursday 29th May - El de Bayo & Seine

We went out of Dover on Neptune yesterday to dive the El de Bayo in the morning and the Seine (Champagne wreck) in the afternoon. After the strong winds and rain overnight it was a lovely flat calm day as we bimbled out of Dover for a slow run up to the South Goodwins for dive 1 on the El de Bayo.

This is a 2058 Ton steel freighter built in 1896 that sunk in 2 min after a collision in fog on 12/5/1911.

I have dived her twice before, the first time in 12m of viz, which is when I did the sketch and the 2nd time in a very dark 3-4m of viz, today we had something in between with a darkish 6m or so, there was enough ambient light to see around and to give a good idea of exit points on the swim throughs, unless your name is Rob.

El de Bayo

Dave had the shot in just short of the broken off bow on the Port side, and Brian was in and had it tied off nicely. I was in last with the responsibility of releasing it at the end, so had to ensure I was the last up, so had a plan involving at least 40 min on the wreck.

Captain Deco was after promotion on this dive as he had a twinset of 22%and no deco stage, however between Rob and Colin they sorted him out with a stage and a means to carry it so he did not keep us out there for an extra hour or so.

The light was good enough to not need a distance line as the shape of the wreck is very clear so i ran mine from the shot to the side then mooched around, swimming out of the front of the hold and dropping down to the bottom of the bow at 40m i then worked along the side looking for any portholes on the seabed, after a 10m or so swim i went back up onto the deck at around 33m and worked along the Starboard side doing a couple of small swim throughs and having a good look at the bridge area.

At the stern break i had a rummage around the bulkhead and then headed back along the port side once again having a good rummage back and forward across the deck until i got back to the shot on about 35min. I then had another look around this area while Colin returned as the last diver and headed up.

We had a little current now so i cut the waister on the shot and hung on for a Tarzan swing across the deck on the shot line, but instead it swung down into the hold, so i quickly grabbed it back out and made sure it cleared the starboard side rail and off we went for a quite pleasant drifting shot line deco.

So 65 min runtime to a max of 40m on 30% and 56% in some quite pleasant 13 Degrees water with my suit leaking in all the normal places.

Between dives we had lunch in Dover and it pored with rain, all the lightweights bailed out and Adie joined us, however the conditions were not good enough to dive the Seine which is in quite a busy area so we went for the treasure ship the Castor.

This ship sank in 1896 with a very valuable cargo of Roman artifacts gathered by the Dutch Ambassador in Turkey, statues from this wreck have resulted in thousands of pounds being paid in reward.


BBC News | UK | Britain returns ancient marbles to Turkey


Well this afternoon the weather held off and we jumped into a flat calm sea to find a silty 2-3m of viz on this quite shallow wreck. She is in a max of 28m with the bow and stern standing quite proud up to about 20m and a general depth of 24-26m.

Treasure finding


The bottom of the shot was quite silty but moving off it got better, this is a great wreck with never ending holes and gaps to poke into and have a rummage around in, but everything you touch produces a cloud of silt.

So after a good 30 min of rummaging I headed up for tea and sausage rolls while Paul Sullivan did about 70 min with a torn cuff on his drysuit i had taped up with some insulating tape.

So a rather good days diving.

Bring on tomorrow and an uncharted wreck.

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Sat 17 May - An unknown and the Traquair

Went out of Dover today on Gerry's boat to have a look at a couple of local wrecks, due to the strong winds we needed to stay close in and sheltered by the Cliffs. As it was shallow wrecks I was on a single 15L and Pony today, which was a nice change from the twinset and stages.

Dive 1 was about 2 miles out and planned for the rather proud wreck vaguely labeled the Angelus, however on site a local fisherman was trying to recover a lost net on her so we binned this and went out another mile or so.

Jumping in on an unknown we were looking at 33m max, however the shot landed in a bit of scour, Gerry had gone in first and secured it and I dropped down the line in a very still period of slack to gradually deteriorating viz. My suit was leaking in all the normal places and the water was 12 degrees warm.
On the wreck it was very dark with about 1.5m of viz we were not returning to the shot on this one so I moved off, but soon realised I had no green glow above me, I turned back to the shot to attach a distance line and got a green glow so realised I had swum straight into the wreck initially soon afterward Rob got to the bottom and swam in as well.Moving up I was having trouble reading my puter in the poor light, I followed the top of the wreck for a while before finding a couple of bollards over the side, so now realised it was on its side.
After about 25 min and thinking i was on an old barge I bagged off and started up for tea and biscuits. On the boat we had all thought the same, that it was a barge except Gerry had found the engine room at the end of his dive so it looks like a small coaster lying on its Port side in a max of 38m

After a big breakfast in Dover we went out for dive 2 on the Traquair a coaster that struck a mine on Jan 12 1916, this wreck is about a mile from Dover and stands 8m proud.
Jumping in we had better viz and light with about 2.5m of viz, the wreck is very proud but falling apart and had lots of spars and beams stinking out, it lies on its Port side and there is lots to have a poke around into on the seabed at 29m after a look around at the bottom i worked up and along the top which is at 24m.
So after 35 min I sent up my bag and had a slow bimble to the surface.

Paul Oliver

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15th May - HMS Hermes and HMT Jacamar

Had a full boat out of Dover yesterday as we went across the Channel to dive HMS Hermes a Pre WW1 Cruiser converted to Seaplane carrier, weather was good but we had some large swells still that nearly caused Madam Poisson de Chunder to abuse her sicky hat again.

Dave soon had the shot in and we had slack and some nice clear looking water so in we went. The water was a balmy 12 Degrees but very bitty.
On the wreck it was a bit cloudy around the shot area but still a good 4m and dark but with some ambient light. After tieing off I headed off towards the bow with Kay and Gizmo mooching along.
We soon had some current running as slack was early but it was fine behind the wreck, looking inside there was much better viz without all the plankton. However I wanted to move a long a bit so stayed outside. We soon came upon a gun mount and I spotted the gun lying on the seabed just next to it, after this we came across a large open area that turned out to be a gun turret mounting with the turret on its side just next to the wreck. As we finished rummaging around here Kay signaled turn around for her, which was just as well as I was at the end of my reel line (I usually take 2 distance lines for this wreck) so we headed back to the shot, once Kay was off me and Gizmo had a look around this area, but as the current was up now we did not fancy much deco in it so headed up a bit earlier than planned.

So a 40 min dive to a max of 29m on this great wreck.

Back in Dover for some food and half bailed out of dive 2 so with only 6 of us diving we went for a small wreck which still has a Bell on her somewhere

The Armed Trawler Jacamar was part of the awsome Dover Patrol of WW1 and sank on 28 Jan 1917, she is upright with a slight list to starboard in a max of 29m and almost perfectly intact.
Decks are at 25m and we had a good 5m of light viz on this very seldom dived wreck. Kay had ear problems so I dived solo with my torch off a lot of the time taking in the atmosphere on the wreck.

The search for the bell involved a look on the seabed where the gun lies and pulling at lots of bell shaped bits, but no luck. The stern still has the toilets in place and the crew accommodation at the stern is easy to enter and have a rummage in, when Nigel's not in the way. As she's a trawler you can also cover the whole wreck very well in a single dive, but I may well go back.

So a quite excellent 2nd dive to a max of 29m in 12 Degrees water for 45 min

Paul Oliver

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May bank holiday weekend diving off Dover

As our trip across the Channel to dive HMS Hermes had been blown out on wed, I had quickly booked up Neptune for Friday as the weather forecast was looking very good. I had a bit of a sweat getting the last of the minimum of 6 divers together but in the end we had enough and out we went. The sea was flat, the sun out and we only had a half full boat so loads of space.

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Andy Mumford, Paul Oliver, Madam Poisson de Chunder, Captain Deco, Colin Young, Adrian Jones

Dive 1 – Cuvier

On site Dave soon had the shot in and down we went, me and Madam Poisson de Chunder went first with the job of securing the shot line. We had a careful dive plan calculated on our near perfect gas match (Madam – Trimix 22/45 @ £45 and 50% for Deco, me Nitrox 30% @£2 and 61% for Deco).

I had to make two attempts to tie off the shot as I had too much rope and got a birds nest, meanwhile Madam had her reel sorted and we moved off only to stop and go back to untangle Colin who had committed the cardinal sin of getting himself wrapped up in a Cave Divers Line. After telling him off for his Muppetry we untangled him and moved off again towards the stern having a good mooch and ferret. After a while I found a great hole in the deck into the hold, that looked just big enough, and I could see another hole in the floor of this hold down into the lower hold which is the one to get into. I dropped into the hole and my svelte like figure easily fitted in, so I sank down, wiggle wagging my torch at Madam to let her know what I was doing, she was obviously not going to react to signals from a poxy Greenforce Torch and carried on admiring the perfect belay she had just done. I now had my eyes at deck level with just the top of my head above deck as I looked across the deck at her about 6m away, I then decided to go let her know where I was going, however we then got distracted by other stuff and ended on carrying on to the stern, where we turned back.

As we went back we came across the spidgeing frenzy as Captain Deco and Adrian bagged up the Porthole, and carried on back to the shot, once everything was clipped away we had a few more mins around the shot then up for the deco, as my slow ascent and Madams deep stops stayed roughly together. At 6m we had Jay Spidge Dancing and grinning away, till we finished our stops at the same time and headed up to hear the many telling of  the story of Captain Deco’s Porthole.

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So 64 min to a max of 37m in 10 Degrees water with a darkish but nice 5-6m of viz.

Dive 2 – Pomerania

This is a very popular Dover wreck of a liner sunk in 1878, we went out not expecting much viz and got that, diving as a 3 myself, Madam and Captain Deco fumbled around in a dark 1m or so of viz, with so much sediment in the water it was like diving in a blizzard, we had no green glow so could not tell if we had entered the wreck at all and called it a day after 25 min.

Max 27m on 32% in 10 Degrees water for 29 min, on a character building dive.

Dive 3 – Heron (Neptunus)

Having got home at about 2230 Fri night I was up at 0500 to get to Dover and out on Gerry’s boat Excel 3 for today’s fun, we left Madam in bed and Captain Deco driving aimlessly around Kent...

We had a fantastic flat calm sea and the sun was out as we headed down to Dungeness and dived the Heron, a steamer that sank after a collision in 1947. The water looked quite clear as we got there but slack was very early so we got in to find about 3m of lightish viz, the first time I have dived this wreck, it is the one that Dave Batchelor got the bell off of that is on Neptune, and that was after they had been diving her for 20 years. Neptunus was her original name.

We were coming up on bags off of this one so after 35 min I sent mine up to drift off having not really been able to get a good feel for this wrecks shape. A nice dive though and well worth another visit.

Max of 30m on 30% for 37 min in 10 Degrees water.

Dive 4 - HMS Paragon

After lunch we were going for the Queen off of the South Goodwins, but the water looked pants so Gerry decided we would go over the Channel and dive HMS Paragon, after a great crossing we hit this wreck which sits in an area of strong currents and bright yellow sand, and gets great viz but a short slack. It’s a Destroyer sunk in 1917 and sits 5m proud in 29m.

Dropping down the shot with Roy Plummer we soon had the wreck in view and a very nice and light 6-7m of viz. Working to the back of the wreck I did a good long swim through then went back and found Roy, we then worked along the top of the wreck till he followed Nigel who later sent up a very heavy and impressive brass torpedo tube cover. After 30 min the currant was up and clouds of plankton were blowing over the wreck greatly reducing the viz so up I went.

Max 29m on 30% in 11 Degrees water for 37 min.

A rather good 2 days diving off of Dover/Dungeness/Calais with some fantastic conditions.

Paul Oliver

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16th April - The Cuvier

After lots of last min calls yesterday we had a full boat on Neptune today out of Dover to dive the Cuvier, our favorite wreck - 12 Divers and 3 crew which would have 14 in the water.

The Sun was out and as we left Dover on a nice flat sea we had good quality water immediately. On site though it looked rather green and bitty as we have an early May plankton bloom; the shot was soon in and it was slack an hour early, so kitting up started.

During this though while moving out of someones way I caught my suit and ripped a hole in the ass. A few had gone down when I jumped in with fingers crossed that the hole was just on the outer material, but i soon had a flush of 9 degrees water filling my suit, so straight onto the lift I went.

Meanwhile Andy Mumford had a Death Box Failure at 9m as he had not done the full Death Box Divers Pre-Dive Prayer so he bailed out to a leaky reg and ended up on his snorkel as he returned to the lift.

Madscuba had a free flow that no amount of shutdowns and Nigel's repair efforts on the wreck could not fix, so as he was on Indies he had a shorter than planned dive. He did consider swapping his stage reg over, but at that depth he would have needed it on the stage soon after completing the task so binned it.

The others however were having a great dive as a mild current ran through the wreck clearing the silt as they spidged. Carl had this feeling of the wreck trying to suck him deeper inside as he found a nice selection of crockery. Rob was wizzing all over the place on his scooter not realising that he was losing deco gas till he tried to use it, but he had enough backgas for his 40 min of stops, however he found several available stages on the shot and used them to complete the deco. So on the boat everyone was back, most with big smiles as the wind started to get up from the North East and the temp started to drop and much top quality spidge was admired.

Water was 9 to 10 Degrees and there was about 5m of viz despite the early May bloom. Next trip:- HMS Hermes on Wed 30 Apr, spaces available.

Paul Oliver

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31st March - The Cuvier

After yesterdays cracking viz on the Mandovi a boat load of us left Dover on Neptune to dive, probably my favorite wreck, the ever impressive liner Cuvier.
As we moved away from Dover the viz got better, the sea got calmer and the sun even came out.
On site Dave soon had the shot in while we started to kit up, as we had missed a very early slack yesterday we were taking no chances today and were on site 2 hours early, and it was already slack.
We had been cruising over some lovely black water for a large part of the way out but on site had a fair bit of sediment and plankton in the water.
So in we went, i was diving with Chasey who had been fixing his Death Box with some DIY again and was worried about it trying to kill him, however he was ready before me and went in ahead of me.
Once i jumped in i realised my torch was still clipped to its battery pack behind me and got Captain Deco to pass it around, then off down the shot meeting up with Mark at the bottom on the deck just forward of the 1st class cabins.

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I noticed Rob (Trebor) waiting around so took the chance to blind him with my torch to get him back for doing the same to me on the Latona a few weeks ago moving off we started to rummage our way through the cabins, Chasey grabbing a big lobster then letting it go as it was in berry.
We were soon surrounded by other distance lines, so i indicated going the other way which mark was happy with so off towards the bow we went. By now our eyes were used to the dark and we had about 5m of viz and were able to work by the ambient light.
I stopped to scrape away at the telegraph and then the binnacle but they were really just random metal bits, then Chasey plonked a large Porthole down.
So i got my bag out and after some fafing about Chasey got his Jon line out and we tied all 3 together and i sent it up, well nearly as it did not want to go however Mark cut away the fishing net it was caught on and it was away .
I then had a very nervous few moments as i hoped marks knot tieing was better then his spelling and maths as i looked up waiting for it to drop back down on us. Meanwhile a very large ship was passing quite close to us and we were bouncing up and down on the deck, this noise also covered up the sound of my alternative free flowing, i eventually realised that i had a lot of bubbles passing me and sorted that out.
By now i was looking at a 45 min run time which was all I planned on at this temperature so off back i went. Bagging up a big crab to go with Marks Lobster. Meanwhile further along the wreck Big Si had had enough of using his air so decide to use some of Captain Deco's. Running out at 38m with over 30 min of Deco to do can be a problem, but good drills and staged Deco gas helped in this one.They got to the shot just after me and Chasey and Mark spotted the long hose deployed so stuck around to help them, i meanwhile got on with my ascent and deco totally oblivious to all this.
Meanwhile Adie (Dovershark) had been handing spidge up to them, realised he was on his own and got back to the shot location just in time to see torches disappearing off and no line so came up on his DSMB.
Back on the boat it was the normal drinks, sausage rolls and banter while we waited for team Deco to finish. Jay once on the boat kept drooling over my Porthole which is now showing lots of quality brass as it has probably come from one of the 1st class cabins.
Another great dive in 8 Degrees water, 5m of viz and a 50 min runtime to a max of 38m on 29% backgas and 68% Deco Gas.

Paul

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30th March - The Mandovi

After a couple of worried days of weather watching and nearly canning the dive 10 of us went out of Dover today on Neptune to punch into the Force 3 waves for 12 miles to the site of the Mandovi off of Dungeness.
About 4 miles out of Dover we had an incredible change in the viz, with a VERY clear line in the water where the brown yukkie sea met the clear blue water blowing in from the SW.
On site the water was that fantastic shade of black that says - mega viz.
We were on site 40 min before slack but the tide had already turned giving Dave lots of problems hooking into the wreck which is just outside the shipping lanes.
Eventually we were in, Paul Sullivan was down the shot first to tie in the anchor and had a fantastic 10-12m of viz at 37m and no real need for a torch.
The others quickly followed with me and Rob in last, as soon as i was in the water it was clear the current was up, but the water was fantastically clear, while i waited for Rob at 6m i could see well over 12m all around me as the others bubbles came up. However we had a fight on our hands and a real struggle to get down the line against the current. At the bottom i had a major CO2 headache, and we had about 6m of viz around the stirred up area of the shot.
I quickly untangled Warmwaterdiver who had some rather girlie pink line wrapped around his manifold, and once Rob had sorted out our line we headed off into the current and across the wreck.
I was hoping my headache would go, but after 10 min it was worse and i had only had a glimpse of this narrow wreck with wooden decks that lies with a list to starboard in 35-37m.
I gave Rob the throbbing head signal and said i was heading up, in reply to which he got wrapped up in someones line, so after untangling him i went back to the shot.
After a struggle i released the anchor and left the shot on its waister and up i went, with a slow ascent and safety stop before getting out for a very welcome cuppa.
The others soon followed and most had had excellent dives and could not believe the fantastic viz and how quickly their bottom time went.

So a rather good day out in some 8.7 Degrees water with up to 12m of very light viz at 37m

Bring on tomorrow morning and the next one F3 forecast again.

Paul Oliver

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17th March - The Latona

After some debate yesterday about the weather we decided to head out of Dover still today, but not to cross the channel and do our original target the Cruiser HMS Hermes off of Calais.
Meeting up in Dover there were 11 of us on the boat and after a bit of debating we opted to dive the Latona off of Folkstone unless the viz looked bad, when we would push further out.
On site the water looked OK and Dave soon had the shot in, we also had slack at least 40 min early. So we quickly started getting kitted up and in. The sea was quite calm this close to shore as it was a Northerly but we could see the fishing boats staying inshore to avoid the lumpy conditions mid channel.
I was taking Trebor for a DL Practical Lesson/Demo of Dive Leading, so we were a bit slow, getting in last. Jumping in it was a balmy 8 degrees, there was a bit of current and my suit was leaking in all the normal places and i had a quick freeflow to sort out.
Our descent was slow as i emphasized how to look after an inexperienced Ocean Diver and we passed into the gloom to hit the wreck at about 25m, we had about 2m of viz and after tieing off we crossed this quite narrow wreck away from the majority of other lines.
The viz was better away from the shot improving to a dark 3m or so. This wreck is an early model of steamship which was also fully rigged for sail, it is very intact with the bow buried in a sandbank and as far as we know the bell is still there somewhere
We thought we were heading for the bow, but after a while the curve of the stern appeared so we turned around and retraced our route, part way back bumping into Paul S who had managed to get his contents gage stuck out of each. I also managed to drop my reel over the side of the wreck, but we were able to carry along to my last tie off where i recovered it.
Moving along we soon came to the more broken up bow area, after a quick Bell search we headed back to the shot where i disconnected my line and asked Rob if he was OK, he then blinded me with his torch and i fumbled around in the 1m or so of viz looking for the shot line
So up we went for the 7 mins of deco and safety stop to surface on 45 min with blue hands and about a pint of seawater in the right boot of my drysuit

Paul

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20th February - HMS Brazen

Had the chance for a birthday dive today, so jumped at that. Had the whole morning to sort my kit out, and just as well. Warmed a twinset and my suit up next to the boiler, then when I rigged it up found it only had 150 Bar which would have done for the dive, but with the cold conditions I did not want extra hassle if I had a cold induced free flow. So swapped that for me other twinset, 210 Bar of 30% that will do nicely. Now came the regs palaver, after a mix and match which took over an hour and involved lots of free flowing I had cobbled together 2 working regs from 5 and I appear to have lost a DS2. Anyway at the last minuet I am ready to go and off to Dover.

I had thought we were not going to get out due to lack of Divers but between mine and Chris’s contacts we had 11 divers on the boat.

Out of Dover Harbour it was Harry Flatters and the fog had lifted to give a mile or so of surface visibility, we were soon on the site of HMS Brazen, a well dived and popular wreck of a WW2 Destroyer.

As we are kitting up i realise

a. My suit has shrunk (ed. we've heard that one before!).
b. My weight belt has shrunk.
c. I have left my 5mm gloves in my garage.
d. I’m gonna have to use my holey old 3mm gloves.

Down the shot then, the water is about 10 Deg at the surface and a bit bitty, on the wreck at about 26-28m there is a darkish 2-3m of viz and the water is 8 Degrees.
The viz at the bottom of the shot is OK as its sandy here so not much silt to stir up, the shot is caught down the middle of the 4 torpedo tubes which point over the side of the wreck.
I drop underneath and have a look at the torpedoes that are still in the tubes, all are still there. Back up I decided that as there were about 8 lines running away from the shot as most of us are diving solo I’ll use the others and off I go
I soon come across 2 trying to remove a porthole and pass above them, then work my way around the wreck, poking into a few holes and having a look at the depth charges and one of the guns, after about 25min I decide my hands are numb enough so head back to the shot having had a good mooch about.

So back on the boat for coffee and sausage rolls while the spidge starts to appear, 2 portholes and couple of lobsters, a brass sign then 3 immaculate 3” anti-aircraft round shells, that have all been fired at the Stukas attacking the ship 67 years ago, and yes I had swum over them 4 times
So a cracking dive for February, even more so after over 3 months of blown out dives, my last dive being the Latone in early November.

Paul Oliver

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2007

(including reports from our globe trotting diver Jackie Mac)

January, February, March, April, June, July, September, October, November

3rd November - The Latona

Rob called me on Wednesday to say a dive was being organised by Roy from Dover BSAC on the Neptune - meet time at 0800; Paul emailed round the club that evening and 4 out of 8 divers were from Canterbury BSAC. A happy crew set off in fantastic weather, still debating over the target as we set off; Teeswood was vetoed - Rob was about to stage a mutiny - and the initial target was the Strathclyde. Unfortunately the vis looked soupy so we went further towards Folkestone were the vis was better. Rob & I shot down the line - my cold not bothering me too much. At the bottom Rob reeled off and we went for a pootle around the wreck. Vis was a good 3m and a cracking wreck it is too, we went towards the stern dropping down to 32m to look at the huge prop with the large stern arching overhead, then we moved towards the bow passing a porthole, edible crab, 2 large winches at an average depth of 29m. We got to the end of Rob's reel and I clipped on and reeled off further down the wreck in perfect slack tide. While Rob stuck his head into various parts of the wreck I valiantly wrestled with a scallop which I stuffed into by bag - regrettably no more could be seen and as I was on 28% nitrox I turned us back a little earlier than I wanted to at 7mins of deco time. I left Rob at the bottom of the shot line to potter around a little longer and in dead slack I finished 10mins of deco. A lovely dive.

Debs

17th October - MV Teeswood

We had a full boat out of Dover last night. Roy the plumber, Nigel Ingram, Madfish, Scubamad, and quite a few divers from Dover & Folkestone clubs.

It was dark before I dropped in. I was diving with Scubamad; however, after exchanging ok signals at the bottom of the shot, I followed the wrong line and ended up with the wrong diver on the other end. Retracing back to shot, I clipped on my own line and off I went. The wreck is on its side, topside has many features including bridge at the stern and the accommodation towards the bows. The underside of the hull is a little dull and unfortunately this was where I headed. Reaching the stern and props, I continued along the stern until my reel finished. On my return to the bridge, noted by the hand railing and portholes, Nigel was tying in the waster. The viz had improved to 2-3 metres now the other divers had gone. So I headed out to look around the bridge and the portholes. My Nitrox21 was a bit weak for the dive and the deco was clocking up. So up to eighteen metres I went and switched to 50 percent. It was a bit of a mission to get back on the boat as the lift was out of action. The skipper Dave Batch cobbled something together and the lift slowly raised me up. Madfish climbed on board on all fours shouting for help. Roy the plumber, scubamad were already on board and Nigel Ingram completed the head count. Roy was proudly showing a Sea Bass which he'd caught - which was very impressive.  Big Al passed around the hot sausage rolls which were very welcome after an hour in 15 degree water. A really enjoyable dive which I hope to do again.

Rob Harrison

13th October - HMS Brazen

More diving on HMS Brazen this weekend, as myself and Debs return to Fifty Fifty diver for more brazen activities. This time two boats left the public slip way “fifty diver" and its older counter part "fifty fifty". Each boat packed with twinset and stage divers and a sprinkling of single cylinder divers. It was a late meet - on site for about 5 o'clock. Good weather and good top side viz, all expecting another top quality dive.  

Down the line 'perrin' style had me covering the 25metres in no time just stopping short of the sand bank, which covers  and uncovers the wreck. Debs reeled out (ed. Rob's cunning plan was to make out that he didn't know wether or not to reel out suckered me into grabbing my reel!) into the current, starboard to portside passing a sand bank and large netting (the debris field). The deck littered with bent and twisted metal hides a square hatch with a ladder going down into the sand.  We approached the wreck high up over the decks from the stern, to amidships, to the bow. The deck is peeled way where a large gun sat, only the gearing remaining. A large boiler is also there with brass taps on the bottom. The deterioration has exposed the inner compartments which we have a look into - I got to see my first port hole from the inside out with the bolts or dogs to open it. The next noteable part of the dive was the large deck gun. It stands upright, points at a 70 degree angle and is approx 4metres long. I want to say it points towards the stern???  I picked up a shell from the base of the gun which was about 10kg and about the size of a pony cylinder (ed. 'picked up a shell' how to lose a buddy in one lesson!).

Continuing towards the bow it gets quite broken up or as I thought completely covered in sand. The viz was reduced a bit and I lost orientation on the wreck. I was confronted by a huge eye-let right on the nose of the Brazen. The bow is twisted off and is complete and laying on her side. This was indeed a surprise. This makes easy access into the bow which is partly filled with sand. Amazing.

Debs signalled a turn-round and off we went back to the shot. As no more lines were clipped on I released the shot and tied the waster in. I can report that the Hms Brazen is STILL a great wreck to dive and would suit everybody from the very experienced to new sport divers. So another 45minutes bottom time 12minutes deco and 61minutes runtime.

Robert Harrison

8th October - HMS Brazen

A last minute dive was put together yesterday on Fifty Fifty Diver in Dover after some reports of good viz on HMS Brazen the day before. Myself and Debbie booked on with skipper Don. Ever though the boat was full (10 twinset divers and two single cylinders divers) we made good speed to the Brazen at 30 knots. Debs and I  were  diving together and I reassured her that my diving skills and air consumption were much improved from when we last dived together (see Debs for other stories if you must).

Down I go clip on near the shot line and wait for Debs who arrives a moment later. Debbie takes the lead along the port-side from the stern pointing out portholes and the torpedo launcher which we swim under. Large deposits of sand gives only 1 metre of clearance from the bottom. The current is running across our path so decide to retrace our line, round the stern and continue starboard side.

There's no real need for a torch except for looking in holes along the hull. About 3-4 metre of viz and good light levels. Heading towards to bow the superstructure is less proud of the sea bed than the stern. The main deck stand approx 4 metre proud in 27 metres. Even though the bow is only half a metre proud it was great to see the front of this great ship. A large winch dominates and cleats line the front section. The trip down the starboard side is interrupted by a reel change which Debs is happy to do and more than likely use up that one as well. However, I decided to turn the dive to recover the line, Debs indicated that she had more than enough air to continue. Slowly retracing the outline of the Brazen we returned to the stern. Up onto the deck there are many features which I couldn't  make out, a circular hatch leading to other decks, large deck gun points upwards were a few I did recognize.

After a good 45 minutes on HMS Brazen we return to the shot for about 12 minutes deco and 1 hour in the water.

A very enjoyable dive.

Rob Harrison

6th October - Dover Sub weekend

Day 1

Dive 1 - UC46

After a cracking days diving on the Friday I was up early to fill my cylinders with a cunning mixture of O2 and Air and waited with fingers crossed for the outcome, as I was doing this Carl turned up to collect his cylinders hoping for a reasonable mix as well. After some topping off we headed off to Dover and the meeting on Neptune.

We had a full boat and 2 diving crew members but Neptune has room to cope with all this, except the Dude was onboard taking up 3 places as usual. Out the harbour we went into a bit of a lumpy sea which we had to punch into as we were heading into the wind.

Finally on site Dave soon had the shot in and it caught on the wreck. We had several changes of plan about who was the expendable diver going in first on this one and eventually Glyn went in to sort the shot out.

The target was the UC46 a UCII Class German WW1 Sub, sunk returning from her first mission by HMS Liberty on the night of 8 Feb 1917. She surfaced on a clear night and was spotted by the Destroyer who opened fire, but this blinded her crew so her Captain, Lt Commander King ordered her to ram the sub which she did. Sinking her with all her crew.

I was diving with Madam Poisson de Chunder again and we went in next, gliding down the shot into the gloom, we had a bit of current running still so had a horizontal swim for the last bit to the wreck which greeted us with a mass of fishing net, this completely covered the gun billowing above it a bit in the current. It was rather dark but we had a good 5m or so of viz.

Moving across the net we had a quick look at the shot which was caught in the net hanging down the port side of the sub. The Sub is very upright and proud with a slight list to Port, as I now knew exactly where the anchor was caught and the waster tied off I did not bother reeling off and we dropped down to the seabed and turned towards the stern at 41m.

The stern is quite damaged but recognisable, we noticed and anchor on the seabed and I could see the drive shaft but no propeller (apparently others found it), working around there was a strange column on the other side of the sub and this turned out to be a rolled up net with a buoy at the top holding it up.

Working our way forward we passed the conning tower again and I noticed a huge hole in its side, madam missed this as she was lower down, and passing the gun we went to the bow. After a min or 2 here we worked around and along the most interesting part, looking down into the empty mine shafts, having a good look at the external torpedo tubes and finding the spilled ready ammunition for the deck gun.

I stretched our bottom time a bit to look at clearing the anchor, but it was too busy around here and after getting a kick in the face I gave that up and showed Madam the hole in the conning tower before we headed up, after a look at a Tompot Blennie peering out of the brass of the rangefinder we headed up for the deco.

So 68 min runtime to a max of 41m on 29% Backgas and 52% Deco gas in 17 Degrees water.

Dive 2 – Night Dive on UB78

I have dived the UB78 a few times and was looking forward to a night dive on her, as we lost the anchor on dive 1, and that was Dave’s spare after we lost another on the Henry B Plant recently we were using No 3 shot/anchor which was a bit light. This landed just next to the wreck and as we went down the shot line ran between the gun and conning tower.

This sub a UBIII Class attack boat sank on 19 April 1918 after striking a mine while trying to sneak through the Dover barrage.

Having a good look at the gun me and madam did not reel off again but headed up to the bow where I showed Madam the torpedo tubes which are easy to see as the outer hull has rotted away, on the way there I caught several lobsters and waited for her to pass me before waving them in front of her mask.

Up and around the bow we worked back past the prominent gun and conning tower, then down to the blown off stern, spotting some damn big lobsters in the wreck as we worked back. At the stern we had a good look inside before moving back to the centre past the prominent open hatch halfway along.

At the Conning tower I headed off to the shot which was a couple of meters off the wreck on the Port side. Up the shot we went at the end of a rather outstanding dive.

So 38 min runtime on 34% to a max of 29m in 16 Degrees water, and no deco.

Paul Oliver

Day 2

Dive 1 - UC64

After the late finish of day 1 it was an early start on Sunday for day 2 with my alarm going off at 0445 for the drive to Dover and the 0600 meeting. There was also some fog on the way down which I hoped was not going to be on the sea as well.

On the boat we were missing Gareth and Maggie who had to leave early but Clive was filling one of their places, also Juz was stuck in bed despite Blanaid being there in her normal cheerful mood. Steve S was also there taking his normal amount of abuse from everyone having gotten up at 0200 to get there.

Out of the harbour we went on a much calmer sea than yesterday to head over to the site of the UC64 a very successful UCII Class minelayer who had claimed 27 victims and which had been sunk on 20 June 1918. She was trying to sneak through the Dover barrage when she set of an alarm and was attacked using depth charges by several of the Drifters on station.

On 6 July 1918 she was dived for the first time by Commander Damant’s Royal Navy divers, the Tin Openers who blew off the conning tower to get inside.

Today once Dave had the shot in it was my turn to be the expendable diver, the last time I dived this wreck I had a minor chest infection and had to can the dive just after hitting the seabed at 42m, so today I had an MoD just beyond this and was looking forward to getting on the wreck.

Down the shot I went, with it getting darker at 37m which was showing on the fishfinder as the top I had a look around, but could see nothing, so down some more past 40m still nothing then at about 44m I see the wreck in my torch beam, the anchor is caught on a net cutter and bouncing about, looks like I have got here just in time as its about to bounce off.

I grab the waster and tie it off to the net cutter, meanwhile things have got rather noisy as a large ship is passing close by and I’m bouncing up and down on the wreck, this however masks the annoying bleeping from my computer telling me I’m a bit deeper than planned. Meanwhile a pair of the biggest lobster claws I have ever seen appear from underneath the sub below me, but I want a look at the sub first so head on up and along the hull.

The Sub is very broken with the conning tower off and lies with a slight list to port, she was on her way out and the mine shafts are full.

I would not normally reel off on a sub but Clive and Blanaid are due to join me, so I run a line up the centre of the sub so they can find me. The sub is at quite a steep angle and I worked up from 47m to the top at 37m.

I soon cam across the gun and after this found the hole where the conning tower was, it is very prominent and I had a good look at this, also at the conning tower over the side, about this time Clive and Blan joined me an we moved off towards the bow, however after last nights late dive I still had a tissue code and was into deco soon after getting onto the wreck, after 25min I explained to Blan and Clive I needed to turn the dive and offered them the reel which Clive took.

Back to the shot I went, with a last look at the monster lobster before heading up for some deco followed by a rather nice cuppa.

So a 55 min runtime on 29% and 53% to a max depth of 47m in some rather nice 16 Degrees water.

Dive 2 – Liner Pomerania

On the boat there was much bleating on about spidge and a consensus to bin the last sub and go spidge hunting. Personally I was quite disappointed as I was looking forward to the last sub but went with the spidging option, even though I was unlikely to pick anything up.

However after 3 days hard diving and a tissue code to match I did not want a long run for a short bottom time and in the end we went for the Pomerania, which is a large liner and a very popular Dover wreck which sank after a collision with the loss of 48 passengers and crew on the 25 Nov 1878.

On the wreck we had 4m or so of light viz subject to who was rummaging where, my reel jammed at the start of this dive so I just followed others divers lines out and back before heading up after 25min for a cuppa.

So 30 min to a max of 25m on 31% in 16 Degrees water and dive number 70 for the year.

Altogether another great days diving with another great sub and puts me on my target of 70 (Sea) dives for the year with a few more to come over the next 3 months.

Paul Oliver

5th October - The Sabac & SS Unity

Dive 1 - The Sabac

The Sabac is a rather large freighter of 2811 Tons that sank after a collision with the larger Dorington Court in dense fog at 1055 on 7 Jan 1962, 7 miles off of Dover, whilst on a voyage from Ploce (Yugoslavia) to Rotterdam with a cargo of Bauxite (used in the manufacturing of aluminium). The Sabac was holed on her port side and sank in 5 min with the loss of many of her crew in the very cold water.

Today the wreck is incredibly upright and intact in a max depth of 55m with the decks at about 45m and the 2 sets of superstructure standing above this up to about 42m.

I was diving today with Madam Poisson de Chunder who was diving on a very expensive Trimix fill to my poor mans weak Nitrox (maybe not quite weak enough though), and we had a cunning plan involving 30 min at 45m.

Once the shot was in we jumped in and down the line for a quick 6m bubble check, Madam had a very small leak from one of her regs but we decided that it was not too bad so carried on. Down we went with it getting a bit darker until we hit the deck at 45m.

It was quite dark but we had a nice clear 7m or so of viz in our torch beams. I knew there was superstructure near us and wanted to get into this so had a look around trying to decide which way was best, we soon opted for left and off we went to find a steel wall in front of us, great, there was a door to the side but we went up and along this looking down into the cabins below us through the holes in the roof, once across this we dropped down to have a look in the other side.

Madam wanted to enter here but my gas was a bit hot at this depth and I did not want to stay this deep too long, so we looked at another section just down from the cabins and Madam decided to have a look into here, we were now at 50m and this was the first time that Di had been this deep, she asked if I wanted to have a look along the corridor, I felt it looked a bit narrow even for my svelte figure, so in she went.

I watched as she frog kicked along to the end of the corridor, about 8m or so then stop, she then started some strange fin movements and I decided she was either Oxtoxing or trying to swim backwards, after a few moments the convulsions continued getting closer to me until she came back out, well half of her, she then stopped for a bit, then had some more spasms, I tapped her leg to let her know she was out then realised she was catching her stage bottle on the door frame, why doesn’t she come up a foot or so I thought, eventually the light came on and she did this managing to get out at last.

Shaking my head at women trying to reverse we went back up over the cabins and back to the shot. Back at the shot we had lots of gas left but our deco was racking up a bit so we left the wreck just short of 30 mins and off we went up the line with our plan in taters.

Madam worked her deco out in her head on the fly while I stuck some deep stops in and used my SUUNTO, I was hoping her sums were better than her reversing, but we managed to survive with no sign of DCI.

So a total run time of 71 min to a max depth of 50m with me using 26% backgas and 53% for Deco, in some rather nice 17 Degrees water. On this incredibly impressive and intact wreck.

Dive 2 - SS Unity

After a nice long surface interval and some lunch we headed down Dungeness way to dive the ever impressive Unity which was torpedoed by UB57 on 2 May 1918 whilst sailing from Newhaven to Calais with Ordinance Stores.

This is a fantastic wreck being upright and intact in a max depth of 40m and a general depth to the decks of 32-35m, for this dive we had been joined by Debs with her camera.

Down the shot we went to find a fantastic 8m or so of viz and some very nice light levels, as we neared the bottom of the shot we found a large conga looking at us from an air intake.We then worked our way along the deck in a kinda zig-zag pattern with me reeling off and the Ladies shopping for spidge around me. This wreck has lots of bits lying all over it and is a superb rummage. As we got close to the bow hold a rather aggressive Lobster came past me and after a bit of a struggle he was bagged up ready for dinner later.

About this time I turned the dive as my tissue code had pushed us into Deco quite quickly and that was raking up a bit, so to Debs obvious disappointment we turned around and headed back to the shot. At the shot all 3 of us had something in our goody bags and up we went for the normal deco stops.

So a total runtime of 49 min, with 30 min or so on the wreck using 28% and 53% again in 17 Degrees water to a max depth of 37m. It was dark by the time we got out for a rather lumpy ride back to Dover.

Paul Oliver

23rd September - SS Cuvier

I had booked Neptune for a single dive day to visit The Steamship Liner Cuvier, built in 1883, displacing 2,299 Tons and measuring 100m long by 12m beam which sank after a collision with the SS Douvre of Norway on the 9th March 1900 with the loss of 26 lives, and became the first liner to sink in the 20th Century.

We had a large contingent off Canterbury Divers on the boat with Derek, Adrian, Carl, Rob, Clive, Debs, Keith and myself, with the numbers made up by DUE members. The sea was a little lumpy as we left Dover, but good enough to dive still.

Myself and Rob had dived the wreck the day before with Falcon divers and had a very nice 8-10m of light viz, during that dive we had covered the length of her having a good look around the broken off bow section.

Today I was crew and had anchor releasing duties so was going in last. The sea was rather lumpy while kiting up was going on and a few looked a bit worse for wear but eventually all were in. Meanwhile i had managed to puncture the sleeve of my drysuit, but i was not going to stop me diving as the water temp was a very nice 17 Degrees, I just had to keep my run time shorter.

In I went and down the shot, the viz was a very nice 8m or so and quite light, I connected my reel but soon afterwards decided i would not need it so left it as I swam along the corridor between the first class cabins on the port side towards the stern, having a quick rummage and watching the stream of bubbles coming out of my drysuits arm.

On the way to the stern I passed Carl and Debs who had been rummaging and were carrying some pointless spidge, past them i got to the stern and dropped over to have a look at the rudder and prop, I could not see a prop so assumed it was gone and did not drop right down to the seabed.

Back onto the deck I dropped into the stern hold and had a very nice swim around this looking at all the broken crockery lying in the silt. This really is a fantastic hold as there is lots to see, a nice big gap of about 2.5m between the silt and the deck and lots of holes in the deck planking letting in light.

After a while I came across Derek and Clive spidging and left the hold by the entrance above them. Back on the deck i worked my way along the starboard side cabins before returning to the shot to try and release it.

Unfortunately it was well caught up and we lost a prong on the anchor recovering it later. Up the line on 35 min for the routine deco (ed. where he proudly showed everyone on the line the leak from his drysuit) and then on the boat to a lot of very smiley faces as everyone appeared to have had a rather good dive.

So 55 min runtime to a max of 38m using 30% and 53% in 17 Degrees water, a rather great day out.

Paul Oliver

9th September - Herne Bay

After being advised by John A that viz off Herne Bay on Saturday was an impressive 3m, a small group met up at Neptune’s Arm on Sunday morning for a dive to the Pudding Pan off Herne Bay - the 'Pudding pan' is apparently either a roman wreck or maybe some kind of settlement. Roman artefacts have been found there in the past and the University of Southampton spent quite some time surveying it a few years ago so there is some info on their site at http://www.arch.soton.ac.uk/Research/PuddingPan/pudding2.htm .

 Slack was at 11.40, so we (myself, Jason, Dave C, Jon B, Phil and Bryony Chapman from Seasearch) were all kitted up and ready to leave at 11.00, only to find that the Valliant wouldn’t start!! We spent some time trying to track down if it was a fuel or electrics problem, only to find that the kill switch wasn’t in place L Once that was sorted the engine started first turn and we set off to find the Pudding Pan. We set course for our destination, which we were sure was around 2/3 of the way between Herne Bay pier and the wind farm – as we were heading out past the wind farm we realised that we were probably heading for the wrong mark; things had also been slowed slightly as there was a problem with water coming into the boat between the tube and the hull. As we had hit slack we decided to do a drift dive where we were.

 Jon B and Phil were the first pair in, followed by me and Bryony. We descended to around 8.5m with a nice light 3-4m of viz. This was my first dive where I was planning to complete a seasearch observation form since attending the course earlier this year – and what a bonus! my dive buddy was Bryony, the Marine Officer for Kent Wildlife Trust and my seasearch instructor. I had such a great dive, the bonus of being able to dive with Bryony who helped me to identify the large number of sealife forms was brilliant!! We saw numerous starfish (one of which had decided to curl into a ball to be blown along the seabed like tumble weed), hermit crabs, dahlia anemones, tube worms, a spindly spider crab, plumose anemones and various byrozoans. We ascended after a very leisurely 40 minute drift dive.

 In the meantime, Jason and Dave C had dropped in for their dive – Jason being assessed on his final Dive Leader open water exercises, the first of which was a CBL. The second was as we returned to Neptune’s Arm where Jason needed to perform a rescue tow with AV and recovery of an unconscious casualty (Dave). This was performed in open water with recovery into the boat, rather than on the beach, as by the time we returned to the slip the tide was well on it’s way out, the beach was a mud slick and the ramp was very congested as a large catamaran had been beached on it, taking up half the ramp space!

 After completing the exercise and getting the boat out of the water, Jason very kindly treated us all to some very welcome chips!

 A very big thank you to Jason for organising the dive, this was definitely one of my best dives and I thoroughly enjoyed the seasearch aspects of it.

Kay

6th September - Andaman & Unity

Day 2 and we are out for the Andaman, a huge wreck on its side in 53m rising up to 33m.

I was due in last with Simon the clean up the shot, as we were expecting to go to 53m we went nice and slow to avoid the CO2 hebie jeebies, as it was we found the shot on the wreck, on top of the superstructure in 37m, it was pitch black but we had a rather nice 5-6m of viz in our torch beams. We lined off and dropped into the wreck working down to 44m, it was very hard to tell if we were inside or working down the deck as we could not see a wall on one side, but the pipes etc looked like they were all internal.Working back up we had another look around the side of the bridge before heading up after 35 min for the routine deco. On the boat everyone was very happy with the dive, many had been to the bottom and all 9 deep air divers could remember the dive wellBack to Dover and Subaquaman suggested for an extra £5 each we could head down to the Unity where we may get some better viz so we went for this option, and boy was it worth it.

Dropping down the shot it was a bit murky but on the wreck we had a very good 8-10m of light viz, the wreck is very intact and shipshape with the ends broken off spilling its cargo of general stores over the seabed, this really is a fantastic wreck with so much so easy to identify, plus monster crabs, lobsters and scallops to be had. Me and Simon swam around in awe, just wishing for more bottom time, then we found a Cuttlefish who was happy to entertain us for a while before we headed back to the shot. I released the anchor but it dropped into a hold so we had to put up with the current on the deco, and getting to 6m found one on an AAS doing his last 20 min of stops. The perks of shot line returns is that there is lots of gas about, so once I had completed my stops I clipped my stage onto him and he finished off on that. So 40 min on the wreck to a max of 39m, and a bit of extra deco.Back on the boat everyone was really buzzing after an absolutely fantastic dive and a great culmination to 2 days of top quality Dover wreck diving.

Paul Oliver

5th September - Henry B Plant & MV Teeswood

Once upon a time about a year ago, well just over actually on 1 Sept 2006 a wide eyed DIR Fundamentalist called Jay arrived in Dover to join some well known YD Dover regulars and diving disasters for his first Dover dive after much puddle splashing, that day we dived on The Henry B Plant in 15m of viz followed by the MV Teeswood in 12m of viz. During this dive he joined the disaster that is Team Chaos, made up of The Diving Dude, Chasey and ahh Paul Oliver, who are probably as far removed from DIR diving as you can get.That was the day the Dude forgot his rebreather and had to borrow the skipper Dave Batchelors single 18L, and later had to be forced up the shot by Chasey. Jay’s kit was the picture of neat and tidy in a true DIR sense. On the 2nd dive he earns the well deserved moniker of Captain Deco for his top quality deco planning and use of 21% to pad out his stops by an extra 30 mins or so.

Well a year later after much corruption he turns up in Dover as Captain Crowbar with a sledge hammer on his belt, at lest 2 different size crowbars stuffed into the stage bottle bag he now has, several bolsters and chisels and a lifting bag big enough to raise the Titanic. This he has no-where to store so it goes into a goody bag to float above him like an Underwater Spidger Marker Buoy (USMB).

Jay

Well the sun was out and 9 of us left off of Neptune onto the WW2 Liberty ship Henry B Plant to drop down into a disappointing 4-5m of vis, a good rummage was had still, me and Gizmo worked back to the torpedo damaged section then back forward over the bridge, having a look in the back of this, then forward with a look at some tank track looking cargo and on to the gun platform forward of the bridge on the uppermost Port side, despite the limited viz we were both having a great dive and had a good 45 min on the wreck to a max of 37m before heading up for the 20 min or so of stops. Meanwhile I had not seen much of Derek, Debs Simon and Adrian but suspect that there were not many pictures taken as it was all a bit bitty out there today.

Meanwhile Captain Deco had returned to the boat minus any spidge. During post dive chat Dave decided to get Jay a porthole, so the MV Teeswood became the target for after lunch, and a complete repeat of the targets a year ago.

So during the break in Dover Dave sorted out the right type of bolsters and off we went to the Teeswood. To get the portholes off of this one you need to do it from the inside with a small bolster as there is a rubber washer/seal inside the porthole that will just bounce a large bolster back out.Down the shot me and Gizmo went to find some quite poor viz, the shot was by the bridge and it was rather dark. I promptly lost Gizmo and while I had a look for him could hear an MP3 player playing rock music to the sound of a lump hammer whacking away inside the wreck.Soon enough I found Gizmo and off we went around the wreck, trying to avoid the other lines, once we turned the dive the music and whacking had stopped and we proceeded into the gloom to then have the end of my line approach us, damn, snapped again.We knew we were in the rough area of the shot but could not find it so as Mark was getting a touch low on air he sent his DSMB up, I decided to send mine up so they would know there were 2 of us drifting off, but had a bit of a clusterfcuk with it and binned it, however just as we were leaving the wreck I spotted the shot right by Marks left fin So rule 2 was not broken. A max depth of 32m with 35 min on this very enjoyable wreck.

Back on the boat there was no porthole, but it’s ready and waiting for another visit.

Paul Oliver

8th July 2007 - Pomerania & Unknown

We launched the Valiant off Dover slip a little before eight in the morning and set off into a beautifully calm sea. The first wreck we dived was the Pomerania.  The shot landed right on the wreck and first in were Rob and Carl.  After about five minutes Robs DSMB popped up with a bit of line attached to it, but nothing else! He did explain why he did this, but I've forgotten what he said so you'll have to ask him yourselves.  After half an hour the first pair appeared again and it was mine and Paul's turn.  We descended down to 25 metres, tied off by the shot and set off across the wreck.  The viz was quite good (2-3 metres) and to start with there was no current.   The wreck was in good order and we made our way across the deck, despite my efforts to lead us off the wreck into the sand.  Paul saw a good size Lobster, but by the time he had got my attention and showed it to me, it was ready for him, so he had to do without his dinner! On the way back to the shot the current started, and I got to experience a drifting safety stop at 6 metres. 
 
In the afternoon we were off to visit the UB78.  We set of out of the harbour into a sea that, in our absence, had been whipped by the wind. After about 15 minutes we were making little headway against the waves, and decided to leave the U-boat in peace and bother another wreck.  We chose a mystery wreck, spotted by Carl and Debbie on sonar but not yet dived, which they had christened 'the big hit'.  Paul had been viciously attacked by his breakfast and decided not to go in, so me, Carl and Rob dropped in together.  As we descended it became progressively more gloomy, until all I could see of Rob was his tank in front of me.  We landed on the sea bed, in crap viz at about 27 metres, Rob tied off a line and disappeared into the gloom, while Carl sent the anchor up, and then followed Rob.  The big hit turned out to be a large metal ship, around 40-50 metres in length with a well preserved mid section, but a bit broken up at the bow and stern.  As we started along the wreck, the visibility improved until we could see for about 2 metres.  Carl saw some small, upside down bath tubs in the hold, and Rob found a load of spars by the stern, although we couldn't find any propellers or a rudder, so it could have been a barge.  There was less life on this wreck than on the Pomerania, with only a few fish milling around. 
 
All in all a very good days diving.

Phil Buckley

10th June 2007 - HMS Hermes & HMS Blackwater

HMS Hermes

A nice civilized start time saw us meeting up in Dover at 0830 to load up on Neptune and head across the channel to dive the World War 1 Cruiser converted to Seaplane carrier.

 HMS Hermes

This was my  2nd dive on her, the first time we had very poor viz however today I was first down the shot and we had a stunning 12-15m of viz and broad daylight, and she is a truly stunning wreck in these conditions.

After securing the shot which had dragged off of her by about 12m or so I reeled off with my buddy Gareth trailing behind.

.

On the wreck we soon found a break and entered the hull swimming down through the engine room and out the far side, before turning back through the last of the stern section. Fantastic stuff.

Inside the Hermes

Reaching the end of my 75m of line we used 10m or so of Gareth’s to get to the very end, turning here we headed back to the break and then up and over the hull, the far side was quite mundane so we went back over and along towards the bow, however I got to turn around Gas point before we made it there.

Paul

Heading back to the shot we came to the snapped end of my line, no shot, no wreckage and some scrape marks in the sand, however as we did not want to waste any more time on the bottom Gareth sent up a DSMB and up we went, so 50 minuets on the bottom followed by 20 min of ascent and deco in a balmy 16 Degrees water.

There were huge grins all around on the boat as we headed back to Dover and lunch.

Ed. I took my camera and took a few shots while diving:

.

.
. .
Rob
Keith
Simon and his 'new' twinset
Derek Simon
Carl

HMS Blackwater

A Destroyer sunk following a collision in 1909 the Blackwater sits in 33m of water and is 3-4m proud for most of her length., however she breaks up a lot in the amidships area where she was struck during the collision.

HMS Blackwater

The shot had landed just forward of the winches on the bow area, however this was quite hard to identify due to the large amount of silt that had been stirred up around the shot area cutting the viz right down.

Reeling off I went across the deck and the started working towards the stern. There are lots of holes in her sides where the hull and plates have deteriorated, once you get level with where the bridge would have been the wreckage drops down and becomes very broken up.

Despite the silty sand this was an enjoyable dive with a nice light 0-4m of viz. So a 43 min dive to a max depth of 32m.

.

Paul Oliver

3rd June 2007 - Loanda

Sunday morning 08:30 a very foggy morning saw John Cooke, Richard Cooke, Clive and Myself turn up to dive the Loanda. After an age of my very poor reversing down the slip, we finally got under way. The trip was fairly good and we arrived ont he dive site with loads of time. We shot the wreck and realised the shot line was too short, as it floated off down the channel. We added 10m more and hit the wreck perfectly. Then we sat and sat and sat. Finally we decided that it was time to dive. John and I went in first to secure the shot. We dropped in and down we went. It was green then went black, vis was about 1m in the torch beam and zero without. I found the shot burried in the wreck and started to fight the current to secure it. By now John had returned to the surface after losing me and I was conducting a lift and shift in total dark with a current running. I also had the worse case of suit sqeeze ever, you should see the marks over my body (ed. ugg what a thought!). Once the line was in I left the bottom after my agreed 20 mins was up and was flag poled to the 6m mark. Once out Clive and Richard got ready, I warned them it was running hard and in the dropped. Clive got to the shot, Richard shot off down channel in the current. Clive decided to bounce the shot but only managed to get to 17m before cutting the line and our losses. Drove back to shore as the blue sky appeared and the sun came out, typical!!!! All in all a good learning experience for all of us, especially the reversing down a slip. My dry suit is now repaired and can inflate correctly.

Carl

Hi all,
Took a diving trip to the Blue Hole off Belize yesterday.  It was everything that Blue Planet made it out to be.  We left Caye Caulker at 5.30 in the morning for the 56 mile journey across reefs and open rough seas (real roller coaster - luckily we got there when we did, I could just feel regurgitated ascending the gullet).  It is perfectly round except for a small broken part.  Its only about a metre below the surface and is surrounded by reef.  Its a caldera (a blown volcano) which the seas have covered.  It really is spectacular.  We ascended onto a sandy edge which was alive with fish and corals at about 10 metres and then over the rim.  It was just like a rocky pot (only 300m wide!) but we stayed close to a wall. 
We went down to 40 metres and into an overhand where there were huge stalagmites.  It would have taken 4 of us linking arms to span some of these.  They looked like giant teeth.  We then moved along and back up and over the rim again to decompress.  Saw reef sharkes in the blue of the hole and the most huge and ugly goliath groupers on the rim. You couldn't have decompressed in a better place!

The Blue Hole

We dived two more reefs after this and visited an island which is a booby bird and hardwood tree sanctuary where we had lunch.  Sand, palmtrees...blue blue calm sea, hot sun and a cooling breeze.
Many more days here and I will look like the locals! Thats if you can drag me away

Take care

Love Jac xx

25th April 2007 - Liberty Ship Henry B Plant and SS Lariston

After a good days diving out of Dover yesterday we met up again this morning for the long haul up to the Henry B Plant, an intact Liberty ship on its side in about a max of 41m. This is my favorite Dover wreck and I had been looking forward to this for some time.

Henry B Plant

At the marina Chunderfish took possession of her new Steel 7 which Nigel had kindly painted Pink for her.

Chunderfish

Off we went on a very nice flat calm sea with the expected Sea haze holding off.

We had a few missing off of this one so a bit of space on the bench, and me and Chasey were diving as team Chaos, minus the Dude, which should have meant a good dive.

I went in first as the expendable diver to tie the shot in but Chasey had a delay, Desperation joined me at 6m and told me that Mark had a problem then he dropped down the line, I followed and into the dark and gloom we went.

Dan was soon back up though and pointing to my torch, his was hanging up by his ear where he could not find it, so I pointed to it as it floated past his eyes.

On the wreck Dave had landed the shot just by the bridge and after a short struggle I had it tied in, meantime Chasey had joined me and let me know he was there by blinding me with his torch.

We then started to work around the superstructure, the viz was not bad once your eyes got used to the gloom and we were away from the busy area, working our way around though I had constant mask leaking problems, and Chasey eventually offered me his spare. At that point I had it working so did not bother, but it was still a hassle.

Working on we headed towards the stern, getting some ambient light on the shallower sections. Turning the dive we went back to the shot area and had a good look around here before I headed up with Chasey having a last Lobster search. Not as good as my last dive on this wreck but still very enjoyable apart from the damn mask leaking.

The Deco was a pain as we had Jellyfish all over us, and my gas swap was a nightmare as I had jellyfish tentacles all wrapped around my stage bottle reg. So 40 min bottom time at a max of 37m in 10 Degrees water with about 4m of Dark viz silted up in places. Using 31% Backgas and 52% for Deco.

Dan

Dan ponders his lost lifting bag and quality spidge, while Chunderfish tells Rob that diving Commando style is a good, DIR Holistic approach to diving

Dive 2 – SS Lariston

Dave Batchelor

Dave Batchelor shotting the wreck, with Nigel giving helpful advice.

After some lunch and a 4.5 hour surface interval we headed out to this big and popular wreck just short of the shipping lanes. The Viz looked ok with a green plankton tint and Dave had the shot in after a struggle, as we had some wind over tide making it a bit lumpy.

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501 Diver despite having his face hideously damaged by the Sun, Jellyfish stings and some Anti-Aging Cream soldiers on to shot the Lariston with John Perrin watching


Down we went and it was very bitty at first but once we got below 16m we had some lovely clear water and even some nice ambient light. The shot had landed next to the proudest point and was at 28m in a gloomy area, but once lined off and untangled myself from some fishing line and 2 other distance lines I had a look inside the hull before moving out to the side and up to the top at about 22m, here I had some fantastic viz looking along the deck in good ambient light with 5-6m of Viz .

Then a silt stirrer cam along and ruined all that, I waited for it to settle, but we had full slack then and it did not want t go. Soon after I started to get cramp so headed up after a very nice 35 min in a Max of 30m in 10 Degrees water using 32% and just getting a no-stop dive in.

So a very good days diving all round, and there is some good viz off of Dover again, it’s just a little dark under the plankton layer.

Paul Oliver

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24th April 2007 - El de Bayo & HMT Drumtochety

After some poor viz reports over the last week or so 11 of us met up at Dover Marina to go out in some fantastic weather and look for a good target wreck with some viz, while we got ready to go Rob realised he was missing his Undersuit, then while scrounging bits he managed to forget his weightbelt, meanwhile Chasey was pondering how he was going to fit into his old drysuit as his repaired one had not arrived.

Out we went but as there was a sea haze this meant we had to stay away from the lanes so we headed up the East side of the Goodwin Sands till we had some viz and a nice target in the El de Bayo, this is a very big and intact wreck with the decks at a nice 32-33m which I had dived for the first time last year in a very nice 10+m of light viz.

The Dive: Dave had the shot in and we started to kit up, Chasey got through a LOT of KY Gel getting into his suit, GBH stayed attached to the bench then once released had his torch pack up so Mr Torch himself, Gizmo, lent him a spare and Captain Deco decided me and Chasey were taking too long so jumped in only to return a few minuets later to ask in a high pitched voice if anyone could connect his suit hose.

So down we went, there was a lot of plankton from the surface to about 9m but it then cleared up and we hit the wreck at 38m in the pitch black but with a nice 4-5m of viz in our torches. It was immediately apparent that the shot was inside the wreck as we had dropped into the forward hold and were surrounded by metal.


Paul Oliver's sketch of the El de Bayo


Up onto the deck we went with me reeling off and Chasey and Captain Deco in a loose Team Chaos formation, along the decks we went having a good rummage, the viz was great for concentrating your attention, Jay waved a top quality porthole at me but I convinced him it was a toilet seat and we binned it, moving on we got towards the stern break and while here Jay realised he was on 21% to my 29% and Marks 1.1 setpoint on his KISS Rebreather so set off back ahead of us.

Me and Mark finally decided to head back for me to meet Chunderfish who showed me a Reserve Gas Signal, which apparently is some Yank Cave Troll signal for “ Stop there, we are using your line, and want some more time before you reel it in”

After a suitable pause while I watched my stops click up a bit more we headed off back to find everyone else but 501 Diver had gone, so up I went, while Chasey chased a last Lobster.

A very good dive with 40 min of bottom time and a routine 24 min of assent and stops using 29% Backgas and 52% Deco Gas in 10 Degrees water.

Back Row - GBH, Paul Oliver, Madscuba, Captain Deco, Desperation, Rob, Adrian. Front - Mark Chase, Chunderfish, Gizmo, G Wizz.


Dive 2 – HMT Drumtochety

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Back to Dover we went for a very nice lunch before meeting again for Dive 2, we went out Viz hunting and our first target looked quite murky so we pushed out to the edge of the lanes and HMT Drumtochety an Armed Trawler of the Dover Patrol that sank after striking a mine on 29 Jan 1918.

Rob and Captain Deco Viz hunting

Slack was very late, the sun was up and we had a 5 hour surface interval, the plankton was thick again but below 10m it cleared up and we landed on the wreck to a very nice 5m of Dark Viz. This wreck is very upright, intact and proud in 35m, Jay reeled off and was straight into the holds, I generally floated around above the holds looking in and we had a very nice look around.

The wreck is a bit small for 10 Divers but we managed to untangle each others lines and all had a cracking 2nd dive. For me this was 34 min to a max of 31m in 11 Degrees water with only a safety stop to do.

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Adrian realises that having lent Rob his Undersuit trousers Rob always goes Commando!

A rather excellent days diving and we are out again Wed for another 2 wreck day.

Paul Oliver

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10th April 2007 - UB38 & U8

Having spoken to Innes the author of "Lost Patrols" and the countries formost Submarine expert at DiverSE I had arranged a Dive day off of Neptune to coincide with Innes being in the SE. Unfortunately the tides were a bit harsh with a 0545 meeting at Dover.

However we had all 12 there and onboard Neptune so out we went looking for some Viz, the initial targets had been shallow inshore Subs but there was no viz there.

Out past the Varne bank we went to find some quality Viz mid channel, the target was UB38, a very successful UBII Attack sub that had sunk 49 allied ships. On the 8 Feb 1918 while trying to get through the Dover barrage she was sighted and attacked by the Dover Patrol and 20 min later after submerging struck a mine and sunk. She was dived on for the first time soon afterward by Commander Damants Tin Openers.

UBII Class U Boat




Today we dropped down to find the Sub in a max depth of 32m, with the shot line draped over her gun, she lies on her Port side and is quite intact with the outer hull largely corroded away.

I got on the wreck soon after Innes and we had a very nice 4-5m of light viz, having had a good look at the gun and into the conning towers open hatch i was surprised at how empty of sand she was as you can see a lot of the control room.

The periscope is intact and the optics are on view.

Moving to the stern this is heavily damaged and the props have been salvaged. Along to the bow passing the open gun crew hatch, which again gives a very good view into the quite empty interior. The bow is quite broken with one section just froward of the hull where i bagged off a nice lobster, the decking is gone and you can see all the winching gear for the anchor.

An excellent dive with a total run time of 47min on EAN30 Backgas and EAN80 for Deco in 10 degrees water. The sea was a bit rough though



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After a return to Dover and a big fry up we went back out for Dive 2 on the U8 a rare pre War sub with no deck gun. This sub had some success in the early part of the war but on her 3rd patrol was located and attacked by the Dover Patrol, after sustaining a lot of damage the Captain ordered abandon ship and they surfaced to do this, becoming the first U-Boat to be photographed sinking as the crew were taken off in lifeboats.

U8


Today the wreck sits in a scour of 35m with the decks at 32-33m, i did however get a depth of 37m under the stern.

Upright she is very intact with her prominent conning tower, the stern is intact although the props have been salvaged and there is a large net hanging down off the stern, this is easy to avoid. She is 60m long and quite clean of obstructions and having covered the length the impressive bow is very intact.

The site is very silty and although we had some nice Viz of 3-4m it did stir up a bit with the 11 divers on site and we had a few areas of virtually no viz.

So an average depth of 33m and a max of 37m and a 37min runtime in 9 degrees water.



Rob, Carl & Debs
Rob, Carl and Debs discuss post dive beer options.


A rather excellent day


Dianna
Chunderfish after being told she cannot enter the bridge in her Dry, Drysuit.


The happy crew

Noel & Kev (Woodstock Divers), Gary and Dianne (YD) Paul, Rob, Carl, John Perrin, Debs (Canterbury Divers) Innes McCartney (Periscope Publishing), Pete & his buddy (Falcon Divers) All smiles at 0615 in the morning



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The Lobster is now named Fred and the centre of attention

Paul Oliver

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7th April 2007 - UC64

After some great weather but poor viz on the Dover Easter Gig so far i joined the boat for my only dive of the weekend. Dave had decided to head out to Le Colbert, a bank in mid channel to find a submarine to dive.

As we headed out the viz got better once we crossed the Varne Bank and on approaching the site of UC-64 it looked damn good.

UC64 was a mine laying German sub that set of an alarm on the Dover Barrage when trying to sneak through on the 20 June 1918. There then followed a lot of depth charging by drifters of the Dover Patrol until they were sure she had been destroyed.

Soon afterward Commander Damants "Tin Openers" RN Divers were on the site, reporting the Sub badly broken up, they also used more explosives to get inside and recover code books and other intelligence items.

Today we got on site to see some top quality viz but the wreck was pushing some of our gas fills, so several of us needed to get onto the top of the wreck at 37-38m

I had drawn the short straw and was diving with Captain Deco and we were soon in, however i straight away had trouble breathing, but decided to have a try and see if it eased. At 6m e did a bubble check and i patted my chest to show Jay i had chest/breathing problems, he then checked my suit hose was connected, which it was,

Down we went slowly and my chest got no worse, however we eventually hit the seabed at 41m with a dark but nice 4-5m of viz and i started to struggle to breath so i tapped my chest again and Jay checked my suit was connected again.

I then decided enough was enough and told Jay i was going up, he started to go up with me but Juz passed us soon followed by Getafix and Jay asked if i was OK if he joined them, OK said i and up i went nice and slowly doing my normal safety stop.

Meanwhile Chris and Svenja went past but soon aborted due to MoD's and the others had a good swim around this very interesting and broken up wreck, with big propellers, mine chutes and many other items to see. Back on Neptune i de-kitted and we soon had others returning. Soon everyone was on the boat except one.

Eventually he was up and telling us Captain Spidge had returned, on board Jay showed us his Brass German Bedpan Helmet

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But then decided it was probably a washing bowl along with an ammunition container latch

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Yet another top days diving off of Dover then!

Paul Oliver

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30th March 2007 - The Moldavia

Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.; 1903; J. Caird & Co.; 9,500 tons; 520-6x58-3x24-8; 12,000 i.h.p.; 18-5knots; triple-expansion engines.

SS Moldavia

The liner Moldavia, serving as an auxiliary cruiser, was carrying a number of U.S. soldiers when she was torpedoed by a German submarine on May 23rd, 1918, in the English Channel. She continued under her own steam for 15 minutes, but at the end of that time it
was realised that she was gradually sinking. Troops and crew were safely transferred to the escorting destroyers, but 56 American solders who were on a lower deck lost their lives by reason of the explosion and the sudden inrush of water.

SS Moldavia

 

My dive on this massive wreck started a bit slow as i ended up clipping on stage bottles for Janos and Nigel, removing extra bungees from between Chaseys back and back-plate, sorting the Dude out and Mark Powell even asked me to make him a Tea while i was faffing about.  

So finally i was kitted up with frozen hands (It was only 7 Degrees on the surface), in me and his Dudeness went getting to 42m and then realising the wreck was next to us, so we came off the shot and up over the wreck as we were on the Hull side of it., however the others had kicked the silt up as usual and we only had about 3-4m of viz initially, and off around the stern we went, with the viz getting a lot better. We were having a good mooch about while getting a feel for the shape of the wreck, and as we rounded the stern area i realised we had dropped a bit and were just above the seabed at 50m. After about 10 min i felt a bit rough but went up a few meters and felt better, we then followed along the top of the wreck for 5 min till we found a huge gun pointing up at the surface. 

The Dude then dropped down towards the decking and from behind him in his torch beam i had a good 10m+ Viz  so i followed him down and out along the low torpedo damaged area at about 47m, feeling fine again now. This area has lots of plates and decking lying flat and lots of holes to look down into.

We soon got close to DSMB time and i wanted to do this from a high point not the 47-48m we were at so we went back to the start of the stern section and up onto the top having a good look inside as we did so, this meant i was sending up my DSMB from 38m and we were also going to be pushed off the top of the wreck by the current, not into it..

I'd sent up my DSMB when we had a slight delay leaving as the Dude realised Steve had asked for a DSMB off each diver, not 1 between 2 and sent his up. So off we went and were soon into my Gas switch to my 58% Deco gas, which my 'puter did not want to do, and it took me about 3min to get this done then the hang time. The Dude told me then he had no timer or VR£ working, and was freezing as he had burst the zip on his undersuit earlier and had it tied together with cable ties.

After a cold hang we were back on the very impressive brand new Channel Diver and the Dude found the Donuts, which did not last long.Then we had the long slug (3 hours) against the wind back into Brighton, but it was a rather excellent dive.

So 70 min total runtime in 9 Degree water to a max of 48m for a bottom time of 35 min on EAN 26% Backgas and EAN 58% Deco Gas, and a rather excellent dive. 

Paul Oliver

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28th March 2007 - The Varne Wreck

12 Very enthusiastic divers met up at Dover Marina with the Sun shining, a totally flat sea on view and the promise of a cracking dive to come . On the down side though we had a lot of Fog and it was apparent we would need to dive somewhere that this would not cause a problem.

We also had some fantastic Neap Tides which often means an early slack, so after some discussion we put the site to a vote and with a 10-2 result went for the Varne Wreck or Plate Wreck, this site is next to the North Varne Lightship, and far enough out to get some viz whilst being well protected as the shipping avoids both the Varne Bank and the Lightship marking it.

Once on site we had about a mile of surface viz, a totally flat Sea and Captain Deco running around the ship shouting "Paul, Paul LOOK AT THE VIZ, LOOK AT THE VIZ, Loooooook at the Vizzzzzzzz . ." and it did look rather good as we could see about 10m of shotline going down .

This is an Unidentified Wreck in 35m which was a wooden ship with a General Cargo including lots of crockery, glass, cement and muskets have also come up from this site. The ship has disintegrated and we are just left with a pile of spidge full of lobsters on the seabed.


So me and Chunderfish were diving together, with me running the line, once on the wreck site we had a good 6m of light Viz and started to move off, however we soon swam into a silt cloud as there was much digging going on, after coming across several divers in the murk and getting the line caught around my knife we paused to let the silt settle down, but it was not happening, so we turned around and went the opposite way.

We had seen some decking and general rubble, plus some cement bags and barrels up until now, however we soon started to find Lobsters about, i picked up a good size one, but it was a female in berry so off it went, then another good size one, in berry again . we now crossed past the shot and a few lines and off the other way, with less divers and much better viz .

So off we went rummaging, Chunder now had a selection of spidge in her goody bag which was looking very Non-DIR and we had a nice bit of wreck very much too ourselves, we also had lots more Lobsters which were all in berry or a bit too small, 1 which was rather cheesed off with Divers inspecting it decided to go for me and we had a struggle till i told it to get lost.

Turning the dive on 32 min we headed back, discovering that most of the yellow line that was all over the place was mine as we had meandered a bit. As we approached the shot area we came across the Muvver of all Lobsters under some decking, and decided to leave that one alone as it would be too tough to eat.

So on 42 min we were on our way up with Chunder running the Deco, however my SUUNTO did not appreciate the deep stops and once the run time was complete it still showed 10 min, so we did that extra then back onto Neptune for Coffee and Cheese and Bacon Thingies, with much comparing of spidge .

An excellent dive with a total time of 80 min to a max depth of 35m in 9 Degrees water with a very light 6m of Viz and all for only £20.

Mugs from the Varne Wreck

2 of the Mugs that came up today .

Paul Oliver

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17th March 2007 - SS Hermann

After some very close weather watching we decided we could still just about get a dive in out of Dover so met up at the Marina after a round of last min cancellations and replacements being found, 5 cancellations and 3 replacements found on the morning of the dive so only the last 2 non attendees need to pay.

With the strong winds due in later in the day we ruled out crossing the channel or diving in the lanes so went out to the SS Hermann which is on the edge of the lanes about 6-7 miles out.

This was a Steamship built in Newcastle in 1881 which sank following a collision near the Varne Lightship on 29/10/1906 whilst on a voyage from Antwerp to Malta with a General Cargo, we like General Cargo's but this one would appear to be mainly bags of Concrete.

SS Herman

On site Dave soon had the shot in and the water looked nice and clear with the promise of 5m or so of viz. Nigel was in first to secure the shot and soon other were leaping over the side. I was crew today so helped the others kit up then went in last to ensure the anchor was cleared at the end.

Heading down we now had a lot of sediment in the water and by the time i got to the anchor at 32m it was pitch black with about 3m of viz in your torch beam. So nothing like yesterday on HMS Paragon.

There were quite a few lines running off the shot and some divers coming back so I did not clip off but moved along some decking out of the way and had a rummage. After a while when i could see torches ascending I moved back in to attach my distance line, but now had lots of fishing line wrapped around its mechanism. Alan Getafix turned up then and offered me his reel to borrow, but as I had my knife out I stuck with clearing mine up, Alan provided the light for this.

Once done I attached my line and off I went, in the dark I went away from all the brass and bridge fitting and instead looked at lots of cement bags. At some point I smacked my head on some decking which caused a lot of swearing and after 30 min I went back to the shot which was now clear of distance lines.

I then had a battle to release the anchor, making sure the waister was still well secured, I then had to wait for a bit of slack to pull the prongs out of the wreckage, after about 5 min the chain dipped a bit and out it came to disappear into the gloom. I thought for a min I was going to be left behind but the waister snapped tight and up I went.

The viz was actually worse at 6m than at the bottom, so well done to all for stirring that up Captain Deco gave me a good close look at his Flippers before Rob told him I was below him, he then showed me yet another pathetic attempt at deploying a Jon line. I then met Dianne with her latest Prada Diving accessory and Janos, however I had minimal stops so was soon back on the boat, the 6m point having been like diving in a washing machine.

On the boat everyone was happy and Captain Deco showed off his new fully functional DR4 Torch which he had found and Nigel showed off his quality Lobster.

Unfortunately today the Boats Crew was a rather pathetic B Team as me and Nigel were filling the role, and we had failed miserably with the Bacon Sarnies or Sausage Rolls, and only had the kettles sorted out once we got back into Dover.

So another good dive off of Neptune and due to his poor standard of crew Dave only charged £20 for this dive.

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16th March 2007 - WW1 Destroyer HMS Paragon

Today 12 off us met up in Dover to head out on Neptune to Dive the WW1 Destroyer HMS Paragon, and it was a rather excellent days diving. The ship was sunk in a German raid on the Dover Barrage in 1917, here is what Charles Hocking has to say about the ship and it’s sinking.

HMS PARAGON

British Navy, destroyer; 1913; Thorny croft & Co.; 917 tons; 265-2x26-5x10-2; 22,500 i.h.p.; 31 knots; turbine engines;Yarrow boilers; three 4 in. guns, 2 T. T.

The destroyer Paragon, Lt. Bowyer, was patrolling the submarine barrage in the Straits of Dover on the night of March 17th, 1917, in company with the Laertes, Laforey and Llewellyn. At about 10.50 p.m. a German destroyer force led by Cdr. Tillessen steamed into the Straits with the object of breaking the barrage. The first ship to encounter them was the Paragon, which was torpedoed and overwhelmed with gunfire when in the act of flashing her challenge. She blew up and sank immediately, only ten of her complement of 77 being picked up. The Llewellyn, which came on the scene in time to rescue the few survivors, was also torpedoed but, fortunately, did not sink.

HMS Paragon

 

Across the Channel we went with the water clarity looking better all the time, once on site Dave soon had the shot in and in we went, wow, great viz at least 8m if not more, down the shotline to find the wreck proud and intact in 29m of water. The seabed is sand and shingle and the wreck is bow end into the current so no silt.

I decided to reel off as this was a return to shot dive, however it soon became apparent there was no need for this. The shot was next to the broken off Bow area, and would be roughly at the point the Bow gun turret is in this picture. I headed around the open end of the wreck and soon spotted a Torpedo Tube (Empty) on the seabed, moving on from this I worked my way along the Starboard side of the wreck which is incredibly intact and proud for a Destroyer standing 6m proud with the top at 23m. There are lots of areas you can look into and although there is quite a bit of netting and fishing line on it, it’s all easy to avoid.

The current had got up quite a lot and I had a struggle working my way back to the bow end, and once I was round this I had a laugh as I was pushed past my line and had a bit of a job keeping it tidy. On the way back I decided to have a rest on the seabed to get my breath back while the masses of feeding fish ignored me.

After a last look around the area of the shot it was up the line for a short 5 min of stops, by this time the current was very strong and we were hanging like washing in a gale under the boat. If the line had not been attached to Neptune I suspect we would have found the buoy at about 9m as Steve S was here causing a huge amount of drag.

A rather excellent dive followed by a mildly lumpy trip back to Dover. So a max depth of 29m, 8-10m of very light viz, 10 Degrees water temp and a dive time of 45 min.

Neptune

 

Getting ready to go, working clockwise around the boat from the stern/ lift we have Trebor, Captain Deco, Bully (Sitting - Back of Head), Steve S (Green Top), 501 Diver, Nigel Ingram, Colinicky and Mark Chase (Best sides to camera) and G Wizz on the pontoon.

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2nd March 2007 - SS Cuvier

Despite some concerns about the Channel Viz and Weather after having a good look at several weather site’s and ignoring the inshore forecast anomalies a happy band of 11 met up in a very sunny Dover Marina to go out on Neptune today. We had 4 of Canterbury Divers on this Charter and I had filled up the rest of the places on YD.

Our original target was HMS Hermes on the French side of the channel but we changed this to the SS Hermann which is on our side about 7 miles out of Dover, however as the viz here looked very poor and the sea was rather calmer than we thought we ended up going up the Channel 14 miles to a spot in the middle of the shipping lanes to dive the SS Cuvier, a big 2,299 Ton freighter 100m long x 12m Beam that had Cabins for 80 first class passengers.She had sunk on 9 March 1900 after a collision with the Freighter Douvre, so almost 107 years to the day we paid her a visit.

The closer we got the better the viz looked and on site we knew we were in for a treat, we needed to have the shot on the top of the wreck and Dave did this no problem. We then needed an expendable diver to secure it and Nigel was promptly nominated.

Once he was in we quickly followed suit, hmmm or some did, as several decided sitting on my kit while they waited to get in was a good idea, so I ended up the last one kitted up and in.

As soon as I was in the water I had a rush of cold water down my neck, but hey the viz was too good to worry about that. Down the shot me and Gizmo went for our first dive together since the U90 last July. We could soon see the others then the wreck below us.

The shot was perfectly on the highest point at 32m next to the first class cabins, as I tied of my line I was looking down into the Port side cabins and corridor between them. After some faffing with my torch we were off and moved across to the starboard side dropping down to the deck in front of the entrance to the corridor in about 34m.

We then could not resist the urge and along the corridor we went, looking into cabins then up onto the deck again, a look around here in the rather outstanding 8-10m of viz with no real need for a torch.

We soon were looking through the rotten decking into the holds and I dropped into the first one, this had a large pile/bank of silt in the middle but I had a large hole the other side so across we went through to the next hold under one of the few areas of solid deck.

Back up onto the deck again and we slowly moved over the holds looking through the gaps at the pottery below, then at another hole just about big enough for me I dropped down into the large stern hold, there was crockery everywhere, but it was in heavy silt so after a look around I resisted the urge to dig and went back up onto the deck.

We then carried on back to the stern where we met Janos and the Dude and got a very chuffed thumbs up to the dive, we then turned the dive and headed back through the same rather excellent swimthroughs to the shot.

Very reluctantly we headed up on 40min to do our deco in a mild current then back on the boat after a rather excellent 65min total run time in 9-10 Degrees water with fantastic light and viz.

On the boat it was Coffee, hot sausage rolls, Doughnuts and 11 huge grins as we all talked at once about how great the dive had been. A fantastic day out.

Paul Oliver

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14th January 2007 - HMS Flirt

3 of us from the Club (Me, Rob and Adrian) were out on Neptune diving on HMS Flirt, a WW1 Destroyer that is about 15 Miles out of Dover today.

After the recent strong winds we had a good calm weather window and took the chance to get out of Dover on Neptune with Dave Batchelor and crew. As we got to Dover we had a clear Blue Sky and a nice flat sea. We had a full boat of 12 with a couple who were new to YD Gig’s in Daniel and Sandy.

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So out we went towards HMS Flirt a WW1 Destroyer we last dived on the 19 December, the water inshore was very brown and ‘orrible looking but as we got further out it started to look better, and once we were on site looked very good. While we were kitting up it was discovered that the lift had taken one look at Juz and Steve S and had gone on strike so the crew (Dave, Alan and Brian) started rigging a pulley system in its place. This was soon tested as Chris and Svenja had binned there first attempt after a leaking pillar valve was discovered at 6m on Svenja’s tank.

I was soon in with Kim H and down we went to discover the shot as usual smack on the wreck and we had a rather excellent 5-6m of viz with some very good light levels. I did a quick bit of extra tying off of the waster then reeled off as we started into the mild current along the wreck. I soon spotted my goody bag a broken reel from the last dive here on 19 Dec 06. So dropping down to the seabed at 40m I gave the bag a poke, and amazingly the big lobster was still in it but also was still alive. I was tempted to keep it but decided that as it had survived nearly a month in there I would let it go, so cut the bag open and let it out.

Moving off we paused again while Kim cut a fish out of the fishing net, getting his stage bottle caught up a bit, but he soon had that free and waved the very lucky fish away. We carried on along the wreck coming across lots of net at the end of the superstructure, then seeing a nice row of brass ammunition shells lined up below us. We carried on along but the wreck had petered out so worked our way back to the shot adding an extra 5 min on to our planned bottom time as the conditions were just so great we left after 35 min to meet the rest at a rather busy 6m stop.

Meanwhile Chris and Svenja had on the 2nd attempt got onto the wreck, where Chris then asked Svenja for her slate, after writing on it he gave it back to her whilst kneeling on one knee at 40m in the middle of the channel. Svenja was somewhat surprised to read “Will you Marry me” on the slate. So very much congratulations to them both

So back on the boat I was somewhat worried when I saw the jury rigged lift as Steve S and Juz had already stretched the rope that was now running to the capstan, but it all worked and I was soon back onboard for Coffee and Bacon Sarnies

The ride back was a little bumpy and Madfish Dianne amused us by upchucking into her hat earning her a new username of Chunderfish

So an excellent days diving with 11 Degrees water temperature on a very nice wreck with great January Viz of 5-6m and for me and Kim a good 76 min runtime to a max depth of 40m and more importantly a great day for Chris and Svenja.

Paul Oliver

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