Well here it is .....that place of divers pilgrimage , the Pier at Swanage. Some would say that you cannot truly call yourself a UK diver until you have dived the Pier. Well that might be a load of ol'tosh but Swanage is a lovely week-end dive trip location. It's in ready striking distance from those living on or near the Merdian line on the south coast.
There are plenty of good B&Bs at reasonable prices, loads of places to eat, a pleasant bay, a promenade that meets most divers needs (good cheap food and drink!) and of course there is a diver centre with gas station actually on the Pier. The Pier has free trolleys to carry your dive kit and the dive boats tie-up a few yards from the dive centre. It's convenience diving!
Our trip (15th & 16th) turned out to be a great social but weather, last minute cancellations, equipment and other events took some of the shine of the diving ! Never one to be too concerned about my nosh I just happen to mention in passing that the Anchor Inn does a tasty dish of scallops and the Italian restaurant down the road presented a very enjoyable bowl of mussels in a white wine sauce!
Several of us stayed at Buddies B&B where hosts, Lesley & Jason looked after our needs with enthusiasm. They say they are diver friendly and they are! Here I go again .... the breakfasts were all you could possibly ask for ! Jason is a Divemaster and operates dive tours through his business http://www.scubadivingtours.co.uk/ . Interestingly Jason knows an old acquaintance of ours....Amro Shehata of the MV Valerie fame! Small world eh?
Personally my diving was limited to two dives on the Kyarra. Swanage's most famous wreck. During our stay divers were pulling up perfume bottles from the wreck just as they have been doing for decades, there seems to be plenty more to find! The second dive was better than the first and gave us a nice slow cruise from the bow to nearly the stern. Visibility was around 4m with our max depth at 28.7m. The sea conditions on surfacing from the second dive, on Sunday, were much better than Saturdays when it was almost possible to hide a dive boat between the waves.
It was good to see Sheila & Ernie on the trip but sad that four divers were unable to join us through events having booked. We certainly had a good time 'debriefing' the dives in the evening !