Archive for Bonz

The Big Pike Hunt

Five intrepid divers left home at ridiculous a clock for the first dive of the year. Phil was keen (understatement) and arrived at Stoney Cove bang on nine a.m. with Steve. Paul, David and I arrived a little later but there was still room in the lake front car park! In fact, there was only Phil’s car there.

Phil had two missions, the first to work on his depth progression and the second to look for the big pike whilst circumnavigating the pit. Steve took him down to 25 metres on the first dive only to find out after the dive that Phil had already done a 25 metre dive. Mission failed.

Meanwhile, Paul, David and Myself had a mission of our own and that was to find the two new wrecks. We headed out to the Nautilus submarine in the clear 7 degree water from the steps and on down the cliff to the Wessex helicopter, then we swam  to the Stanegarth via Nessie. Paul had heard that a bearing of 140 degrees from the stern of the Stanegarth would take us to the Defiant. By the time we had moved away from the stern to set a course, we could see the tug boat in the 15 metre viz. From the end of the wreck, we could see the trawler Belinda and beyond that a tracked tank that none of us knew was there. We headed back the way we came and followed the anchor chain from the Stanegarth to the cliff and up to the Viscount nose cone before heading back to our entry point.

We heard that there were pike under the shop, so Steve and Phil headed out to the shop to fulfil Phil’s second mission. They found a dozen or so pike but no monster! After 25 minutes Phil got bored and they turned back. A 59 minute dive but only half of one side covered. Mission failed.

Having had a stoney burger and chips while Steve and Phil were diving, it was our turn to look for the pike. We jumped in at the bus stop and gently swam out to just beyond the shop where we found the pike and spent some time watching them floating around without a care in the world while I took a couple of photo’s. Heading back, we found a few crayfish and went for another look at the sub and the room under the pub before finishing our dive.

A good start to the year, whilst Paul found that a dry suit and three under suits kept him toasty warm, David felt the cold a little. Steve found his 5mm gloves kept his hands warm but had difficulty in operating a camera. I was just happy to be diving and even though Phil failed his missions, he claimed it was his best dive yet, (wait until you dive some sea wrecks), and he picked up a new nick name. PIE.

Hoping for a great diving year.

Bonz

Weymouth 23rd + 24th July 2011

It all started a week and 12 hours before we left for Weymouth when Pete offered Steve and me  a lift. With lots of planning and a couple of 50 hour weeks in 4 days from Pete and myself, (Steve had his usual 20 hour week) we left Steve’s around 11.30 after elevenses for the two and a half hour trip.

With Woody’s boat on its way back from Alderney, we parked up and settled in to the Old Rooms for a pint or two and a wander into town. We met Chris, Christopher, Frank and Bob with the customary ice cream from Old Harbour dive shop and waited for the return of  RW TWO.

Some time later, we were still waiting, so while Chris’s gang went to book the Indian, we headed up to the bunk house and settled in. Soon after, Mick, Tony and Timmy arrived in Weymouth and deposited their dive gear and Tony on the boat which had finally turned up before unloading at the Bunk House. Then it was off to the Indian where Terry the tapeworm was exposed as my inner being.

A leisurely start to the morning with the usual Bunk House fry up and we all headed down to the boat to set up our gear. Slack water wasn’t until 15.00, so we still had time to avoid the Old Rooms and go to the coffee shop. At 12.30 on the dot, Woody fired up the engines, swore at the navigation instruments and then apologised to them. We were on our way to the Salsette.

With a 2 hour journey out in a relatively calm sea, there was plenty of time to chat about anything and everything diving. The key words were Terry, Gloop, Gaffa tape and “er er that’s mine”

The Salsette was a huge liner, 5,842 gross tons, 440 feet long and 53 feet wide. Built to run the express mail service between Aden and Bombay, she was torpedoed on 20th July 1917 and sank in 28 minutes. She now lies North to South on her Port side. Steve and I descended the shot line and Steve reeled off. We dropped down to the seabed and followed a mast out in 47 metres and 7 metres visibility. Back at the main wreckage, we found the bow and a slight current as we rounded it, so Steve reeled back in and we headed towards the stern along the slanted wooden deck that was broken in places and allowed us to see the deck below. All too soon, we had to return to the shot for our deco stops. 67 minutes of worry free diving, Fantastic.

With a late return, some of us had fish and chips while we waited for the cylinders to be pumped and the rest of the gang went back to the Bunk House to shower and change. By 21.00, we had the cylinders back just in time to meet the rest of the gang returning. We swapped places and after shower, change and coffee, Frank and I walked along Chesil beach and took some photos of the sunset before nipping in to the Cove Inn for a pint. We met Chris and Christopher as we were heading back and stopped in another local for a few games of pool and bumped in to a hen party. We later learned that the rest of the gang had found 3 hen parties!

Sunday was a much earlier start with another fry up. The ride out to the Sidon was a little bouncier with more talk of Gloop and Gaffa tape. The Sidon was an s class submarine and sank twice. Once in Portland harbour after an explosion in her torpedo bay in 1955 and after being raised and used as an ASDIC target in 1957. She now lies in 37 metres and stands 8 metres high. Once again, Steve and I were buddied up and I decided to take my camera as the vis was so good the day before. We followed the shotline to the conning tower and headed towards the stern as there seemed to be a lot of activity around the conning tower. We rounded the stern and headed along the port side to the bow passing the torpedo tubes and a conger. The Sub is standing upright, looks like a sub and can easily be covered in one dive. We ended up in the conning tower and the time seemed to fly by. Another 68 minutes of pure brilliance. The first time I’ve dived this sub and it wins hands down over the M2.

With a 2 hour interval, we kitted up once again for a scallop bash. There seemed to be plenty at the start and then there were slim pickings for a while before another good patch. Mick and Tony were doing well and sent 2 full bags up, but the lifting bag had a leak and the whole lot sadly returned to the seabed. Back on board, we piled up the days takings and divided them up amongst everyone, ending up with a dozen or so each.

We still managed to get ashore at a reasonable time and unloaded the boat in record time. 2 hours later, we were back where we started, drinking coffee at chez Willett. This weekend made up for all those earlier weekends that have been blown out. May there be many more.

Bonz

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