13th June, 2015 : “We few, We happy few”
‘Well not quite as dramatic as Shakespeare might have put it (Henry V act 4 scene 3) but a few of us went to Plymouth diving at the weekend and I know Kevin enjoyed himself (or so he said even though a bit Green around the gills). A big thank you from me to Pete for being our non-diving cox for our dives’ – Rooster
For the detail, read on…
An initial flurry of interest for a Plymouth diving weekend on 13th/14th June ended with Pete as Cox, John as Dive Marshall and Mary, Laurence & Kevin as divers. Overcast skies over the Mount-batten centre greeted us along with a heaving car-park of kayaks each kitted out with 2 fishing rods & every gizmo imaginable – turned out there was a sea-kayak fishing contest raising money for Help for Heroes. We spent a good 15 minutes in the boat compound convincing the brakes on the trailer to un-seize & then Laurences’ trusty blue van towed the Assault (one of BSAC Aerodivers two RIBs) to the upper car park where we threw in our kit & proceeded to the slipway to launch. Pete guided the boat to the jetty where we boarded and headed out to the Mewstone – an island once joined to the shore, now isolated and impressive as it slopes into the seabed.
Hanging on for the 10-15 minute ride while the boat bounced its’ way out of Plymouth Sound was an experience in itself and the choppiness didn’t abate as we drew near the island itself. A couple of us were quite ill but we’re made of stern stuff (aren’t we?) & once in the experience made all other thoughts distant memories. Worst bit was being sea-sick before the dive due to a very heavy swell & I wasn’t the only one: Pete Davies (cox) was also sick & Mary not feeling too well. John & Laurence were both fine.
- First dive from the rib (the Assault) with Laurence as my buddy. The dive itself was amazing – best dive so far! Fish & anemone’s & starfish & sea cucumbers, it just went on & on. Visibility was as good as you needed (8-10m) and the four of us had a good 45 minutes bottom time around 22m, the environment a marked contrast to the heaving swell above: Fingers of rock stretch into gullies of light coloured sand along with prolific marine life. (Now all I need is a Sea Life Identification course to know what I saw!) Typical wildlife includes Urchins, Dogfish, Pollock, Spider-crab & Lobster. Didn’t really find the ledges until near the end as we crested a rise but it didn’t matter.
After a spot of lunch & feeling much better Pete promised a much calmer dive; this time in the lea of Rame Head meaning it was sheltered & flatter.
- Second dive in the lee of Rame Head was much calmer with John & I spending a good 45 minutes in slightly worse viz around 12m exploring the kelp forest with occasional white sandy clearings. Wildlife consisted of hundreds of tiny fish & a lobster I found waving its tentacles at us from its lair – a complete contrast to the earlier dive. On return to the surface the sun had broken through and we re-boarded & headed back to winch the boat out & pack it away.
A much appreciated shower in deserted changing rooms and then we said our goodbyes & agreed we’d had a very memorable day of Plymouth diving.
I’ve never been to the Mountbatten centre and compared to Cromhall or Chesil (where I have been) it is luxury!. Regulars advise they’ve clamped down on security with passes & gates being the order of the day but once you’ve gotten the logistics down they aren’t a problem There’s a restaurant upstairs or a very reasonably priced sandwich van up by the upper car park. Air fills round the back at In-Deep are not cheap (£5 for a 12) but convenient.