by Pippa Hembry
Preeda organised this wonderfully comfortable, blue-skied and fun trip, and it was a roaring success. Over dinner on Saturday night in a gorgeous traditional pub serving incredible food the conversation turned to why we wouldn’t take Blue and Yellow more often to Swanage!
In my mind the Top 5 things about Swanage are:
5. Just 140ish miles from Ironmonger Row Baths.
4. Comfy static caravans with a great pub for dinner.
3. Skilled skipper on a spacious hardboat with hot chocolate, a toilet and lift.
2. Massive ghostly conger eels all over scattered wrecks.
1. Beautiful heritage pier set up for divers with showers, toilets, an excellent dive shop, gorgeous views, cafes, ice creams, parking, shore dives…
Everyone arrived by car and train on the Friday night and checking into the static caravans (with power showers) was easy. Saturday morning we hired any remaining kit from Divers Down on the pier, who are a straightforward and friendly outfit. Walking or parking on the pier were both possible and the vehicles made for a base.
We started with an early morning shore dive under the Pier and then had two dives on the hard boat on the Saturday and the Sunday. The diving was really well arranged, with the Skipper taking us to dive sites marked with buoys and shot lines.
This was only my second British Clidive trip and it was a wonderful moment on my third dive when – although I couldn’t see anything above, below or to my left or right when descending the shot – I realised that I trusted the skipper that the wreck would be there at the bottom and I could enjoy the descent into the green with confidence.
The visibility was reasonable good and the sites we dived (Valentine Tanks, Fleur de Lys and barge, Clay MacVay, Old Harry Drift Dive) hosted huge spider crabs, shrimps, shoals of fish that looked ethereal in the green, and numerous conger eels with heads so wide you were afraid to get too close and meet the rest of the body. There were dives around complete wrecks, dives on broken up remains of what must once have been a boat, and a super fast drift dive that I missed but everyone else loved.
Overall, I think everyone enjoyed the diving on this trip and is keen to return!