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Bristol Channel Divers

Swanage 21st August 2005

We changed the first dive back to the mussel beds that we had been going to do before. This is because we, skipper and I, decided that Peveril was not very good for that day The mussel beds were ok to do this time because we were doing them early in the day when the tide is going the other way to what we would have been doing on first plan starting shallow and going deeper up to 25m) We were dropped in at about 15m (closer to the cliffs) and skipper advised us to stay at this level - go east, which looking at the dive log most managed to do, give or take a bit.

When you first get in the water the current is quite slow (normal) so you have time to sort out your SMB. Skipper wanted SMBs up almost immediately, blow them up before going in, do it on surface or when down. We decided on inflating on board which we did (skipper blew them all up for us). After skipper told me, I then gave the brief to the others. John and Paul had a good talk on Paul's nitrox/air and what to do in the case of emergency, which they did.

I talked about people on a drift: if you are not holding the reel and in charge of the SMB then either hold on to the connection clip (that you may connect your SMB to you BCD when not in use) or holding hands, not as daft as it sounds, or holding onto bit of buddy's BC just so that you can be in contact as much as possible and not spend your dive trying to keep together. Also it is good if you want to draw your buddy's attention to something you have seen just as much as if you have a prob. etc. Everyone did this! Paul had brought a buddy line and he and John got attached, everyone else held SMB reel clips.

I don't think anyone other than myself and Nikki had done a drift dive before, so this got their adrenalin going! Paul had done a drift dive abroad but not in the UK.
It was reckoned that the current was about 2 knots. Kris and Skipper decided this on watching our SMBs move across the sea. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their drift dive.

The Second dive - The Fleur de Lys. A boat just out in Swanage Bay. This had hardly any current on it at all. All went with same buddy pairs. The viz was not very good but there was loads of fishes etc., to look at if you go close enough. I have dived this wreck before on clearer viz and it is a wooden hulled boat and where the boards are coming apart all sorts of creatures live. It still has its engine etc. Also Martin, the skipper, told us there are John Dorys there and a large lobster which loves a fight and the lobster has always won so far! There is also a conger. Neither of the latter we saw.

Everyone seemed to enjoy this as well. I think the fact we had such lovely weather helped too.

We had a 3 hour break between dives when we all had some lunch, most of us had brought stuff but there is a cafe etc., so everyone was ok.

Kris was really good to have on board as a none diver. He helped everyone that wanted it (most of us) with kit etc., he took down the air in readings and times of going in for the log. On the second dive he did air in and out etc. On the first dive he couldn't do air out etc., because he was driving the boat back to harbour whilst the skipper gave us all hot drinks included in the dive price, so I took those. On the second dive the skipper brought along another guy who steered whilst we were given hot drinks. Nikki checked the log and did the second sheet.

Although I think Kris was really envious of us diving, he was very very helpful and made the day good. He helped with off and on loading of kit etc. In fact he jumped in to help at every opportunity.

We dived with Martin Jones of Swanage Boat Charters.

Carol Dale

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