Bristol Channel Divers
6 November - HMS Scylla, Whitsand Bay, near
Simon and Fiona's Seasearch Diving continued last Saturday with a dive on the new big attraction in the South West, the wreck of HMS Scylla. A report of the scuttling of this Leander class Frigate appeared on this web site in March (click here for details). The sun nearly came out and it was dry with light NW winds so good conditions for the time of year. Again the dive had been organised by MCA coordinator Amy Bugg using one of the RIBs from Deep Blue Diving. This trip had been popular so there were two dives but we opted for the more leisurely 12:45 trip; which was just as well as we got delayed by an accident on the M5 near Exeter.
A 20 minute boat trip took us across Plymouth Sound and around Rame Head to the wreck site in Whitesand Bay. The recent gales had broken the shot line which has been there all summer but our skipper soon resolved this with his own shot and off we went. The viz was better than last weekend but still only 3-4m. On a wreck this size it was more than sufficient with a decent torch. The overcast skies unfortunately meant it was quite dark at the sea bed (around 25m) and although there are lots of openings to penetrate inside we were quite cautious. There is a surprising amount of life which has already established lots of common starfish and urchins all over the superstructure, the hull above the old anti-fouling paint is covered in solitary sea-squirts and a few plumose anemones are now appearing. The National Aquarium are monitoring specific species on Scylla to identify when they appear in the colonisation process so we had a simple tick box form to fill in on our return to say what we did and didn't see. We managed a 50 minute dive as the depth ranged from 25-14m being such a large ship. Certainly one to go back to another day.
to visit the site dedicated to HMS Scylla
31 October - Cawsand Bay, Plymouth
Some of you may have already hung up your fins for the winter but your intrepid Chairman and Treasurer braved the elements all in the name of marine conversation and went diving at Plymouth last Sunday. We have been members of the Marine Conservation Society for a few years and this was our first opportunity to undertake a Seasearch Dive. We had attended the one day theory course in February and now we could put our recording skills to practice. The dive was very straightforward and one of a series being organised by Amy Bugg, the Plymouth Seasearch Coordinator, to monitor the eel grass beds in Cawsand Bay on the South West corner of Plymouth Sound, likely maximum depth 10m. Unfortunately the SE gales last week had reduced the underwater visibility to about 1m so some close attention and a decent torch was required with your face a few inches off the sea bed to spot and record the flora and fauna. A buddy line was essential if you wanted to keep in contact!
If you have trouble identifying marine life then MarLIN, the Marine Life Identification Network for Britain and Ireland have lots of helpful info. Check out these links for some of the species we saw on Sunday:-
Respect Our Wrecks!