07 September 2010

Quail Dive 5th Sept from Buccaneer By Jools from TWSAC

A steam/sailing ship built in 1870 but by 1886 had sunk in the Channel. With a beam of less than 30ft and a little over 220ft in length she sits in a general depth of 40 odd meters. A mishap in the fog, colliding with another vessel, sent her to the bottom, complete with general cargo.

Tad had called me up to say they had space on ‘Buccaneer’ out of Shoreham. Jumping at the chance I called in a third man. (Safety in numbers)!!

Parking is just above the jetty so loading was easy, no sooner was kit stowed the crew were dishing out tea and biscuits. Out past the harbour entrance all onboard opted for the wheel house. The easterly wind pushed the waves hard, against the port side. Just in time.... more tea and biscuits.

The boat was full of eager divers donning suits before the shot was placed. Tad, Dave and I waited till last to have clear deck space. With another chance at this endless supply of Rosie lee.

Departure is over the port gunnels, freefall and splash. Being short in the leg, I could have done with a box. A well timed wave sent me nuts skywards; the rest of me fell into the abyss!!!

Regrouping at the shot the decent begins. The light soon disappears; the graininess of the water is picked out in the torch beam.

Roger is just leaving as we arrive on the upper deck. 37m on L/W. Working our way around the perimeter to start, we peer through the rusted hull plates.

The soft layer of silt easily disturbed. The wreck has been split in two and you can swim into the upper holds. Clearer water is ahead, with a ladder leading up and out. Tad and I continue forward, under the deck and into a second. Dave goes over the top, meeting us as we exit at the helm. This had stopped us going further as it has collapsed through the deck. The wheel is still attached in part. The outer rim has gone leaving the hub and spokes. I’m sure there is a third hold but my deco meter is running a tab. coming back out, Dave has found something of interest. (Will have to let the ROW, know first). Dave blows the delayed as Tad and I bag up his catch. Just enough time to clip it to the delayed as it goes top side. Piece of cake.

Talking of which we had a few minutes of deco time to think about tea and cake. Tad and I had a game of scissors, rock, and paper. I threw in my own version of dynamite, which soon stopped the game. It’s the same sign for going up!!!

It’s a must do again dive now I have a better orientation of the Quail.<

Thanks to Jools for the write up reproduced from the TWSAC Blog www.twsac.blogspot.com

Thanks to Chris and Buccaneer team for another jolly day out


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