27 August 2007

T R Thompson Dive ~ 27th August

In diving terms it was oddly quiet at West Quay, Newhaven today (August BH Monday), time was there would be a handful of dive RIBS from a variety of clubs heading out to sea but it was strangely quiet this Bank Holiday, which given the splendid sunshine, was not what you might have expected. Still it did give us the choice of wrecks ...and we chose the T R Thompson!

The sea was very calm as we whizzed out to the wreck site in quick time. As soon as the shot line was in the water it looked like the viz would be good - and we were not disappointed! The shot landed directly on the wrecks middle line just forward of the stern. Excellent! The seabed was at 32m whilst the stern stands high above that. In clear view was the gun and steering quadrant. Having cleared the shot we swam towards the bow , passing a length of small chain (approx 4" links) , two winches , a folded (spare) Admiralty Pattern anchor and the remaining three bar railings to the boilers and engine. A truly huge edible crab was on the boliers , his pincers were two-thirds the size of my gloved hand. Whilst another boat may have taken this beast we left him to fight another day!

The viz was probably 5 to 6 metres and there was very little current giving a super dive. I was grateful for Nitrox giving me a little more time margin and it was good to know on a deeper dive such as this that all divers had ponies or twins.

After a good tour we headed back to the surface for soft drinks & choccy bics on the boat! While we had been on the wreck a small cabin cruiser had caught fire near Birling Gap and following an explosion had sunk. Luckily no-one was hurt and by the time we passed over the site the RNLI had attended and stood down.

See:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/6965708.stm

Of course we kept the time honoured traditions of the near obligatory post-dive bacon roll at the Coral Cafe where we met up with some diving chums for a chat and , of course, put the world to right!

The building works at West Quay are so advanced that it's almost hard to recognise the place and of course the developers have not finished yet. Lord knows what we'll do when we can't get a bacon roll, the Coral Cafe is a place of pilgrimage for so many!

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