Of Rough Seas, Warships and Pirates

Trip report by Gianmaria Negri Porzio

Second trip of the season to Plymouth for Clidivers during Late May Bank holiday, and we could not hope for a better weekend, given the forecasts of rough weather. Huge thanks to Mihnea for his first trip as Dive Manager, and Gillian and Joli for their immeasurable expertise and advice that made everything run smoothly.  Last but not least to everyone else in the group: Pranav, Marta, David, Brendan, Christian, and Dom: it is so true that the success of the trip is all in the group of divers!

After escaping from London’s traffic on Friday (someone was so traumatized they went to Bristol…), we were ready and excited to dive! For the first site we opted for the classic HMS Scylla: indeed, Yellow’s depth gauge is still unreliable and showing 300m depth everywhere, hence we had to use InDeep’s shot (this time we asked!) Unlike a previous trip, we had no problems finding it).

Viz was the best I have ever had in my relatively small UK diving experience: approximately 15m – so much that we could almost see the wreck from the surface! Lots of life and several possibilities to peep around the corridors while remaining in the light zone. We got a jewel at the start!

Tompot Blenny: David Chavarria

When we got back on Yellow, the sea was quite lumpy and someone started to get seasick (I will not name these people…) while driving back to shore. There we had our quick lunch and I got a tasty Cornish pasty. For the second dive of the day we went to Mewstone Ledges. Sea was even rougher and waves were a couple of meters high (some unofficial reports talk about 6 meters…) and another person felt sea sick and had to puke; this time I will name and shame: it was me, and the cornish pasty became fish bait just outside Yellow. I don’t remember a lot of that dive, except feeling well underwater, but having to throw up again at the surface, while signalling all was okay to the RIB. That was a new experience! On the bright side, I had more space in my belly for dinner, which we had at the Borringdon Arms. Everyone was very tired after the day, so our after-dinner party was with the bunk beds at the Mountbatten Centre.

On Sunday morning we went to the Poulmic wreck, a WWII minesweeper, similar to the Elk. Conditions were still choppy, and we had another collective experience of sea sickness (I was still among them). Struggles and pains were repaid by a beautiful dive: lots of life was hiding in the cracks between the metals and beams of the splattered wreck. We were even blessed by the ghostly presence of a stealthy octopus [David Chavarria].

During the lunch break we organised an expedition to the nearest Morrison to buy more Kwells for the group, who welcomed the tablets like they were a miracle. Thanks to them, the afternoon dive at Bovisand bay was uneventful. Mihnea also practised twice a “man overboard” drill with our trustworthy Bob, a simple white buoy: the second time was a 10/10, while the first… let’s just say there is a reason why Bob is not a real person. The day concluded with a delicious roast with a sunset view at the Bridge, when everyone was happy to leave and meet their bed early. 

Monday arrived, and with it an early start in order to get back home at a reasonable hour. Our first dive site was Devil’s Point, a deep cliff on Drake’s Island. Before jumping in the water, we had to wait for a warship to navigate though the channel: looking at it slowly appearing behind the island made it seem even bigger than in reality! The wait was repaid by a scenic dive: lobsters, crabs, and even two cat sharks chilling on a slope!

A quick change of bottles later and we were ready to dive Cawsand Bay. It is a nice and sheltered site when the wind is too strong to go outside the breakwater. A sandy bottom divides islands of kelp, sheltering lobsters and crabs. Looking through the vegetation as if you were in a mainland jungle, is absolutely mesmerizing. I spent a good minute studying a crab slowly walking pass me on a rock!

With us there were two other InDeep’s boats, so the place was full of divers. Nevertheless, a “pirate” yacht really wanted to pass through all the RIBS. Our cox and the others were quick-witted enough to form a defense line and the yacht got the message, one way or another. It is funny how that the day started with a warship and ended with an overly excited yacht not behaving in the best maritime way!

In the end, the trip was fantastic, as always happens with the club. Going back to London and returning to the daily routine is not easy, but a beautiful rainbow helped us to get ready for the week! So long, and see you next time!

Posted in Dive Trips