03 November 2008

City Of Waterford Dive 2nd November with Channel Diver

You know when you expect the worse and then you have a pleasant surprise well Sundays dive on the City of Waterford was a great example of that.

After the appalling weather on Saturday I was expecting the trip out to the Waterford on Channel Diver on Sunday to be cancelled but a text from Uncle Ernie Saturday evening confirmed the trip was going ahead but I still didn't hold out much hope for a decent dive.

Sunday morning in Chatham dawned damp and foggy, but as I headed down to Brighton , early morning sunshine promised a much better day, although I still wasn't hopeful about conditions underwater.

Meeting up with fellow Meridian Divers Uncle Ernie Tracey and Jim plus Mac Jim's mate from up north we boarded a full Channel Diver and headed out to the Waterford Site.

The other divers aboard included divers I had met earlier on the year on dives on the Thompson and I received some good feedback on the TRT Blog and videos .

Looking at the water colour heading out I still wasn't hopeful but what the heck the weather was warm and sunny, the company was great and was at sea again.

On arriving at the site Steve dropped the shot and guess what there was promise of some visibility so with a mixed bag of twinsets rebreathers and singles with ponies it was time to kit up and enter the water I ummed and aarghed about taking the camera in and decided it was worth a try although I felt I was being a bit hopeful..

With the shot disappearing into the gloom below we started our descent with Ernie,Tracey and myself buddied together I was expecting lights out at about 10m but soon it became very apparent that this was going to be a cracker. We hit the wreck at about 31m there was plenty of ambient light and vis was between 4-5m and the wreck was stuffed full of life.

Its been 8 years since I last dived the Waterford so orientation took a little time, but we were soon heading towards the stern gently gliding over deck machinery,holds, engines and the Crab family. Being a newer wreck than most of the other wrecks off East Sussex (sunk in a collision in 1948) the Waterford is still pretty much intact with some of the superstructure still evident at the stern and some of the wooden planking still on the decks. One thing that was noticeable was the temperature on the bottom still 14.c very cosy. With Uncle Ernie and Tracey proving the lighting I attempted to capture on video the Marine Vista that lay out before us, having to fight our way through the shoals of bib meandering across the the wreck.

With all of us on Nitrox we had we a enough time to pretty much cover most of the wreck although we didn't make the bows but before long it was time to pop up the blob and return to the surface and a cup of the hot stuff.

I opted out of the second dive on the ledges due to only having a limited amount of gas on the first dive but Ernie and Jim went in and had a 30 minute bimble until they ran out of reef . Again a respectable couple of metres vis.

As I said at the beginning I had expected the worse but what I got was one of the better dives of the year. It just goes to show that you can never assume anything when it comes to diving in the UK or as Uncle Ernie says" just stick with me and you will be alright "
I cant wait to dive the Waterford again I had forgotten what a great dive it was.

Video highlights will be posted in a couple of days. Really glad I took the camera down now.



Tracey said...

I have to agree with you Tad - excellent days diving and thanks to you & Ernie for making up a nice threesome!!!! Looking forward to the video

Anna said...

I would love to do the waterford give me a shout the next time anyones off to do it, Nice report Tad

Tad said...

will do Anna got to admit wasnt sure we was going to be doing it ourselves on Saturday

Jimbob said...

Great Dive. Mac says thanks to everyone for making him welcome.
I was very impressed with the Waterford, good viz makes such a difference, being able to back away from the bows and see the shape of the hull rising out of the sand, with both anchors covered in jewel anemones and dead man's fingers was superb. Wish I'd taken my camera!
Looking forward to seeing the video.
Thanks guys