Last September’s trip to Weymouth had seen some particularly rough weather wipe out a day’s diving and it was with much anticipation that we ventured to Weymouth early September, in the hope of a full weekend’s diving – it didn’t disappoint!
Basing ourselves at the Bunk House in Portland, most arrived Friday evening and assembled at the Cove Inn for a quick scoop before an early night. Impressively, as we all went off to bed Jeremy was landing at Gatwick airport and headed straight over to Portland to arrive in the early hours.
Up before dawn on the Saturday morning, ropes off from Weymouth quay was 0645 on Woody’s boat “RW Two”. Joining the 12 intrepid Aquanauts was “Wee Shazzy B”, tagging along as “Boat Biatch” for the day. There was some concern about how Sharon would react to spending a day on the boat with Woody, though I was more concerned for Woody, to be fair!!
Sea conditions weren’t too bad, though an unusual “corkscrew” swell began to take its toll as we headed out for the first dive of the day – the Eleanor R. Lying in circa 26-30 metres, this is a wreck which Woody hadn’t been to in around 20 years and apparently he had come out the day before especially to find it. Visibility was ok, though poor light made the descent feel more like a night dive below 10 metres. The Eleanor R is renowned for Conger Eels and there was much discussion post dive about just how many there were. Frustratingly, myself and Nick G didn’t see one!! Clearly this wreck is not dived very often, and is all the better for it in terms of fish life.
Following a surface interval close inshore to escape the swell, the second dive was a full on scallop bash off Portland Head. Fittingly in Weymouth, the scalloping was of Olympic standard with a very impressive haul brought back on to the boat.
Back on shore, several of the group elected to enjoy the weather and impressively walk the 5 miles or so back to Portland. A celebratory high tea back at the Bunk House marked Jo’s birthday together with the ringing of bells – more precisely the fire alarm which was set off by the birthday candles, but luckily for us a Fireman was on hand. Saturday evening was a cracking trip to the local Tandoori to further celebrate. Unusually Bonz didn’t seem to have his normal appetite, though that might have been the mention of the specially requested quadruple Fahl.
Returning to the Bunk House, we chatted to some Czech divers who were also staying there and swapped a few dive stories over a shot of Metaxa, before heading off for some much needed sleep and another early start. Some got more sleep than others as our Czech friends decided to party hard well beyond 4am, much to the chagrin of Hajo and Sarah who bore the brunt of it, and were none too impressed!!
Sunday dawned to something of a murky start as we headed out to sea to dive the Alex Von Opstal. The journey out was made all the more entertaining by Mr Willett’s world class knot tying, as he stepped into the role of Boat Biatch, in the absence of Wee Shazzy B who didn’t fancy another day at sea.
Lying at a similar depth to the Eleanor, vis and light on the Alex turned out to be much better than the previous day making for a really enjoyable dive and apparently there was a conger there as well, though I didn’t see it – again!!
Second dive was another productive scallop bash in a similar area off Portland Head, before returning to Weymouth, and a gloriously sunny afternoon.
Thanks to Christian and Vanessa for the excellent dive management and what was a cracking weekend all round!!