West Bay 5 – 7 May 2012

CSAC divers (Andy, Gary, Clive, David, Mark, Chris R, Chris M, Paul, Adele, Miles and Geoff; Pete unfortunately fell ill and was unable to dive) and shore supporters congregated at the West Bay harbour on Saturday morning at 8.30am. It was windy, with a strong NE breeze, plus a hint of coming rain. Despite these unpromising conditions, divers set off aboard Huntress 2 in high spirits.

First dive was the Gibel Haman at a depth of c.31m. This is a British steamship which was torpedoed in September 1918. The bow is in good condition rising several meters from the seabed. Midships, the ship is more wrecked from torpedo damage. This was a dark dive – diving by torch light! – due to low visibility following several weeks of stormy weather. There are lots of dead men’s fingers on the wreck. Other marine life included some large crabs and a lobster.

On returning to the surface, the strong cold wind meant divers quickly chilled through and were not particularly warmed up by the skippers hot tea.

For those of iron (frozen!) constitutions, our second dive was the Baygitano in about 21m. Given the low vis from the first dive, there were low expectations for a clear dive (last year there had been a panoramic view of the wreck in gin-clear water). Following the shot we landed on the boiler in a current. If possible, there was even lower vis than on the Gibel Hamam! This dive was a grope about on the wreck – moving from plate to plate in the dark.  After a while, we about turned and tried (unsuccessfully) to return to the shot with a fairly strong current adding to the navigation challenge. Divers deployed their SMBs and returned to the surface.

After an aborted first dive, David had manfully endured a leaking neck seal during the second dive. His suit seemed half full of water on the surface. Other kit challenges during the day included the seemingly close to final demise of Gary’s (dry) suit and a cuff seal leak for Geoff. Chris was trying out his GoPro Hero video camera for the first time (see the link below for the West Bay 2012 video!).

Divers were delighted to return to shore. Post dive decompression took place in The George; warming up nicely too!

Sunday morning brought calmer conditions and even some hints of sun. With a very relaxed start time due to the tides, the first dive was “The Pomeranian” which is a large and interesting wreck, lying at about 33m. She sank in April 1918 following a torpedo attack.  Torches were on full power as we explored the wreck ‘at night’ and could really on guess at what the ship looked like or where we were on the ship.  Despite hope of finding a diving helmet (only one from a cargo of 16 has been found) and Royal Doulton china, neither of those items was recovered in the gloom that day.

The second dive was a drift dive over the Sawtooth Ledges: basically a scallop hunt. The low vista was variously attributed to the silt generated by those divers who returned with larges swag bags of scallops. During part of the dive we swam over the furrows from scallop dredging. The destruction of the sea bed caused by scallop dredgers, in effect undersea ploughing, is marked: large grooves in the sea bed and all the surface life dredged away, leaving a desolate waste land behind.

Clutching our personal catches, checked for size so any too small were returned to the sea, we headed back to harbour ready to clean them and eat them for supper or breakfast.

After a stormy night, Monday morning dawned with heavy rain and strong wind.  Even in the harbour the water was choppy and the forecast was for a wind to Beaufort Force 6 later that day.  So the skipper declared diving off for the day and the boat was unloaded.

Thankfully, Clive had fully recovered after an evening spent in the pot at Poole following a numb arm after his two dives.  CSAC divers packed up made for home.  A star find during the weekend was a porthole: catch of the year 2012?

Thanks to Andy for organizing a great weekend.  Miles has picked up the organizer’s baton for next year and we look forward to West Bay 2013.


Here are some pictures from the weekend;

Here is a link to a video of WEST BAY 2012:  link


Be Sociable, Share!
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Skip to toolbar