I had my week planned out for me but that all changed on Sunday when the phone rang. Steve from Channel Diving calling to say that he had just taken a group out to the T.R.T and the Viz was amazing, he had 5 places going for tomorrow(Monday) and thought it may be a good idea to get my backside down to Brighton nice and early and get some Video of the T.R.T in such good conditions. (Good marketing Steve)
After quick group text to other MD'ers it transpired that most couldn't get the time off at such short notice with the exception of Andy N and as I was owed some time off a quick buzz back to Steve saw 2 places booked.
A bright and early 6.30am start got me down to Brighton Marina with time to spare and was joined shortly after by Andy. Sarah also made an appearance as she had booked her annual Channel Diving jamboree this week.
Steve had obviously had success in filling the remaining places as the boat was now full ( doesn't anybody work) Soon it was ropes off and the journey out to the T.R.T began.
We arrived at the wreck exactly on slack with everybody kitted up and ready to go. It never ceases to amaze me how organised it all is when diving from Steve's boat, everything runs like clockwork nice, simple, straight forward and no fuss.
On entering the water I was a little confused about where I was diving the water was clear and very blue not the normal green English Channel we all love. Divers descending 15m below could be clearly seen and i knew this was going to be a classic TRT dive.
We were not disappointed,very soon the wreck appeared below us and we were still descending.
Shoals of of bib & pollack covered the TRT like a living carpet, divers could be seen all over the wreck it was almost like dives I had done on the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea, it was that good.
With the camera rolling Andy and I got to work capturing as much footage as possible.
With the visibility so good it was possible to see large areas of the wreck for the first time in context and I was shocked at how much the T.R.T had deteriorated even over the past year.
The stern is now collapsing at an alarming rate with a huge section on the port side now collapsed over the prop. The Gun has moved again and is now is a slightly different position to what it was last year. The TRT is over a 100 years old and has been lying on the seabed for over 90 years so it is to be expected that the old girl is losing her looks a bit like an aging hollywood star, but far more interesting. I still find it very sad that within a short period of time I expect the stern will collapse totally.
We continued our dive across the wreck and even though she is crumbling fast I still find her very beautiful and still a fantastic dive. With our personal connections with the wreck through the N.A.S project and the relative we are now in contact with and the conditions we were diving in today made this dive on her even more special to me.
As the motto on Steves diver lift says" time and tide wait for no man or woman " it was soon time to head back to the surface and I must say I was very reluctant to do so but we had already incurred a small deco penalty, so with the now traditional wave goodbye to our old freind we started our ascent back to a very different, less tranquil world.
Back on board Channel Diver the decks were a buzz, every diver raving about the dive, with one couple saying it was the best dive they had ever done in UK waters. I also managed to get a call in to Mr Jack the T.R.T crew relative whilst over the site and talk to him about the dive. We will be seeing him on the 22nd July and weather permitting, he will be out on the boat himself.
Our second dive was on the Palace pier and even though that is a very pretty dive I would have still preferred to have been back down on the T.R.T.
I will start to edit the video footage over the next couple of days and post it on the Blog. Skipper Steve after previewing the footage wants a copy to have on Channel Diver to show groups he takes out to the wreck on his wheel house DVD player which is a nice touch and will hopefully raise the profile of the wreck even more.