West Bay – May Bank Holiday 2013 – Drama & Great Diving

West Bay 2013

CSAC goes to West Bay in Dorset for a bank holiday of diving. 13 divers and their families descended on West bay this weekend for 3 days diving off the local boat Huntress 2. An annual pilgrimage to West Bay that did not disappoint !

Day #1 was sunny but way too windy for diving safely, one look beyond the harbour walls and you could see the white horses… gale force 4-5 occasionally 6.. not enough Stugeron in the world is getting me out in that… let alone trying to get back on the boat after a dive in those seas..

So we all went to Weymouth for the day to sit on the beach and eat fish and chips..

Day #2 was Day #1 rescheduled, two shallow dives to get us in the swing of things, lovely sunny day, flat calm:

Dive #1 The SS Baygitano, torpedoed by UC-77 in 1918, sunk off Lyme Regis in 20m of water.

Water temp was 8 degrees at depth, vis was around 4-8m.

Lovely wreck with loads of life on it… Highlights for me was the 3 cylinder triple expansion steam engine upright ( 4-5m high) standing next to the boilers.. never seen one upright before… Also a 2m conger just floated by, behind us…mid-water…

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Dive #2 Saw Tooth Ledges ( Rock formations) off Lyme Regis in 22m of water..

Water temp was 8 degrees ( 13 at surface) and vis was 4-8m again.

This was supposed to be a drift but when we got in there was no current so it was a gentle swim along the ledges and across the top of the reef. Mostly a nature trail… with lots of scallops, huge crabs trying to avoids us for fear of ending up on the BBQ later, dog fish, fan corals and the absolute piece de la resistance..a ray ..never seen one in UK waters before..

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Day #3 – Woke to thick fog but decided to go out and review the situation once we had dropped the first shot line. No point in jumping in if the skipper is not going find you afterwards !  However, once we got there it was apparent, from the fly bridge that the skipper could see for quite a distance..The fog didn’t fully clear till 1-2pm.

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Dive#3 – Moidart wreck, collier sunk by torpedo 1918, sunk off Lyme Regis in 32m of water.

Little weary of this dive as it was nicknamed the Moidark ! But it proved to be a good vis dive with a high profile wreck, we dived as a three, lost the 2 of them, found them again only to discover it was another buddy pair who were confused by my indicating an ascent as going into deco! Nope not you… spotted my buddies trying to wrestle a crab from some netting… no luck and we came up the shot..

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Dive #4 – St Dunstan wreck, dredger, hit a mine in 1917, sunk in 28m of water.

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This is a large wreck with a lot of heavy machinery still visible with its shape intact, interesting dive, shot on mid point, swam two lengths and up the shot again. Although we had a 2.5 hr gap between dives, still managed to notch up a few mins deco .. (AIR).. must switch to Nitrox…

On this dive we had a little bit of drama, the three of us returned to the boat fine, one other diver missed her safety stop and was put on O2 as a precaution. Meanwhile my buddy started to complain of aches and pins and needles in the lower back/legs.. ow oh… possible DCS …

Next think we are calling a helicopter to evacuate him to a chamber near Weymouth.. all very exciting. Everything ok now after 8hrs in pot/no diving for 6 weeks for him.

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As for the dive, we didn’t miss any stops, not particularly cold or strenuous, so not sure what the cause was.

Lessons learnt: Don’t hesitate to call the coastguard and have an O2 kit of your own READY… ours was not plumbed in for immediate use so had to rely on a rebreather initially.

Anyway, great weekend diving, even with the drama at the end.. can’t wait to go again..

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