25 August 2008

No Wreck Dive ~ MV Sussex 23rd August

Almost a rarity for a week-end in August this year , Saturday 23rd was a really pleasant bright day with clear blue skies. Admittedly it was more like a really good early October day than an August day! The sea was pretty flat and there was little wind. Good omens for sure ?

MV Sussex was comfortably uncrowded with just eight of us diving. We slipped through the sovereign harbour lock quite early and arrived on the site of the Alaunia in good time, allowing Skipper Mike to indulge his passion by catching half a bucket of mackerel in a few minutes.

On entry the viz wasn't too promising with about 2 to 3 metres, as we got down to about ten metres depth it was torches on as we followed the long , horizontal for some distance, shot line. At one point I saw on the edge of visibility a couple of Bib and thought 'here we go!' nearly at the wreck. Alas, not so! As we reached the shot it was proudly resting on the sea bed! On the basis that I had seen a couple of Bib on the decent Simon and I (first down) picked up the shot and carried it in the direction of the fish sighting. No luck after a few metres! OK , try the opposite direction. Carrying the shot became a degree harder when four other divers were on the line. So a six diver sand rendezvous took place. At this point I lined-off and tried a 30m circular search , this too became too tricky when I found the other divers were now on my reel line! Another sand rendezvous at 24 meters! With about 25minutes have elapsed Simon & I called it and ascended on the shot line. Later back on the boat , a couple of divers had found some wreckage late in their dives. Very disappointing. About the only trace I saw of wreckage was a steel hawser part buried in the sand. In seeking to pull it out of the sand to give a direction the wreck it had the last laugh and gave me a very painful puncture wound to the left hand. And they say you can't scream underwater!

Our consolation prize for no wreck was a hot pasty. After a surface interval filled with my cursing the hawser we thouoght about the second dive. With the viz so bad near the site of the Alaunia we didn't have much optimism for a drift dive closer in. I had a tiny problem with the high pressure hose to my gauges and was about to bin the second when I was loaned a set of gauges by a far wiser diver than me who had already decided that one dive was enough! As soon as Simon I got in we knew it was going to be low viz & fast! We kept together only by holding onto each others kit but after a few minutes of just dodging rocks at high speed it was a mutual 'thumbs-up' and back to the boat. Hmmm, hasn't this year been disappointing! I comforted myself with my plans to dive Croatia & the Maldives later in the year as I waited in the A&E Department to get my hand checked-out! Good news there , at least the tetanus jab went into my thigh and not anywhere else too embarrassing!

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