A tale of missing bits and bits that could be missed

The July 2023 Plymouth Trip Report by Cathy Kremer

All photo credits to Cathy Kremer

Queen Scallop

The Plymouth July trip was awaited with a lot of anticipation and spots filled up quickly. I was looking forward to diving the English South coast as I hadn’t been there yet.

Before the start of the trip there was plenty of talk on the WhatsApp group about travelling logistics for 16 people and 2 RIBs and around unorthodox food choices (will come back to that later!). Things however did not go as planned…

First, the bits that could have been missed:

  • Challenging windy weather. Fortunately, the trip wasn’t cancelled, but the weather resulted in lesser diving than we had hoped. Nick S – where was the “Bloody Great Windbreak” that you were supposed to pack?
  • Yellow having an engine failure. Cox Gillian first called out a PAN-PAN, and then a MAYDAY while Yellow dangerously approached the rocks, but help hadn’t come yet. After the manoeuvre the anchor was stuck, and serious manpower was required to free it. Gillian, I think you need to adapt your communication with coastguard to the French ferries’ style and take on a French accent.
  • Some unlucky divers’ mishaps tripping over the trailer coupling or falling on the slip. The slip is “lovely and wide and easy” someone had suggested in the group chat … the van which had to work very hard to get Yellow out of the water might disagree as well. [Ed: The Clidive DO can currently be heard muttering in the background something about ‘unlucky’ being properly spelt M U P P E T]

We will leave to your imagination the sweary acoustics Steve added in real-time!

  • Sore throats, flu, and other troubles. Our dear DM Michael unfortunately had to sit out Sunday’s dives and others were only caught once they were back home. Everyone is now safe and well again, except for some scallops – RIP.

The weekend was nevertheless an instructive one, and we got to do some chart work on the Saturday afternoon when we couldn’t dive (thank you, Steve!).

Due to a band playing at the Bori (click here for a musical interlude) we retreated to the Mount Batten Centre’s lounge on the first floor which also has an interesting library – were you familiar with the “she-anenome”?

[Ed: Looks more like Bo Jo on a Stag Do]

We also saw some crabs, lobsters and small critter on the harbour dives.

Now to the missing bits:

  • Only 10 divers and 1 RIB made it to Plymouth, the others sadly had to drop out of the trip and missed out on all the fun. Though Gian Maria made up for some of their faffing by running back to the van a record breaking 3 times to pick up all the things that he had forgotten (… we ended up not being able to do that dive as the weather got worse).
  • Although the HMS Scylla had been located on the sonar, mysteriously none of the buddy pairs found it [Ed: I refer you to the previous comment from the DO]. Chat GPT suggests as possible reasons inaccurate sonar data (should we get Yellow’s instruments tested…?), divers’ equipment failure, inaccurate sonar readings or user error (surely that can’t be right? [Ed: Can’t it?!]). I’m leaning towards Chat GPT’s other explanation: “strong underwater currents, shifting sands, or other environmental factors could have moved the wreck or affected the divers’ ability to find it”.
  • Duke Rock. Now the shifting sands’ explanation sounds even more plausible… the dive looking for scallops on the sandy bottom was however still a good one. And in the end we found some other rocks with huge common prawns on them.
  • Sufficiently hungry divers to eat up all the food served at the Clovelly Inn. A timer recorded the struggle of various individuals who wrestled their way through their huge plates. See picture for the scores of those who had to admit defeat. I’ve also learned that Clidivers are divided into pork belly partisans and gorgonzola steak enthusiasts. Choose wisely which camp you adhere to. I am currently still with the atheists, and it was a (very tasty!) Greek lamb for me.

Big thanks to Michael who managed to organise the trip despite some unfriendly conditions and busy times at work. And cheers to the whole group, Brendan, Gian Maria, Gillian, Michael, Mihnea, Nick S, Pranav, Steve, and Susie, who made a fantastic weekend of it!

All smiles despite the trials and tribulations
Posted in Dive Trips