The best made plans as they say! Four of us actually made it to Swanage Pier on the Friday 4th July and three entered the water for the Pier dive! What was supposed to be a 'stop-off' on the way to Looe became the signature dive of the aborted trip!
Travelling to Swanage was a bit of a pain, well to be fair much of the blame for that lies in Sussex roads (what's new!) normally getting West of Chichester (and out of Sussex) is a bonus but delays on the roads in Hampshire just added to the fun! The best part of the journey was the very short chain ferry ride at Sandbanks. Still , arriving at Swanage the sun was shining and the sea in the sheltered bay was quite calm. To get us in the mood for spotting marine life some shellfish were consumed at a kiosk on the promenade , then with plenty of parking spaces on the pier itself , we kitted-up for a short walk to the steps into the water. All very genteel. I can't say it was the best viz we'd had on the pier dive but it was good enough for a nearly 60 minute dive.
Max depth 4.5m which pretty much equates with much of my former inland dive site experience! So I suppose 32% Nitrox was an unnecessary luxury! And with 150 bar of the stuff left at the end of the dive I could have happily done two dives on the same cylinder. We saw shoals of 'fry' and some larger wrasse , a few spider crabs and a single flat fish. Not too much of a massive list. But it was pleasant enough.
So where did the lobster supper come into the equation? Good question! Well, while some others have fallen from the moral high ground of a 'no take' policy and gone for trophy photos with the largest creature they've killed, we are more confused! I say confused because whilst no lobsters were taken by us we were able to overcome the dilemna but just having four of the blighters served-up with thermidor sauce and washed down with a couple of bottles of pouilly fume at our hotel over looking the bay that evening! Diving can be soooo arduous at times but luckily three more courses followed by coffee & liqueurs eased the strain.
A night in a room with a sea view , waking to glorious sunshine across the bay , a cooked breakfast and a stroll down the private steps to a secluded beach set us up for Saturday. But on reaching Devon by early afternoon the weather fell apart so we cancelled the next stages of the hurriedly assembled plan B and headed back to East Sussex , where, of course , the sun was shining!
Final score, a day and a half of sunshine, one shore dive, four lobsters in a delightful dinner versus half a day of duff Devon weather. Oh , and more than a glass or two of petrol!