The last time I remember diving
from Swanage was when Princess Diana died and the weather was
too windy that Sunday morning. So we were thoroughly depressed
from both upsets and went home to find the mass of the UK driving
numbly at 50mph.
Friday - 13:45
This trip was much different. Myself and Caroline Trewhitt set
off 08:00 in the C-Life beast towards Swanage and to board 'Mary
Jo' for 13:45 and dive the AKA 'Firth Fisher' or also known as the SS Castlereagh. Reason being
I had a Trimix in my twins from a cancelled deep Brighton dive
the week before and wanted a dive suitable for the gas rather
than blow the lot. Otherwise I was going to be penalised on the
Sat morning Kyarra dive and have very long decompression stops,
due to trimix's slow off gassing properties.
We were the only two divers on
the lovely new yellow looking 'Mary Jo'. Martin gave a superb
boat briefing and welcomed us aboard as newcomers. So we received
the full works, knowing who I was and what I was doing that weekend.
Definitely use him again. However NO LOO. Not so good.
The Firth Fisher was rather a
dark dive with 2-3m viz, and for the first 5mins we did not find
the wreck. We took the advice of our skippers briefing to head
North East and low and behold - Caroline tapped me on my shoulder
to alert I was about to head-but the Port side of The Firth Fisher.
'Arh hear it is' This wreck is only 500m from the Kyarra and
is upright, almost intact and always full of fish. Any group
that takes the time to find this ship will not be disappointed
and if you cant find it the Kyarra is right next door. It's in
34m with a 3-4m hole under the stern and it stands about 3m.
Quite an interesting wreck with
High water slack of 36m. There might have been a 38m at a push
and a dig. There was a scary looking bomb/torpedo thing I was
cautiously glaring at it for a minute or two, which I described
to Martin afterwards to be told it was a fender and nothing to
worry about. There were a few large Bib, very large Crabs and
one Humongous Conga Eel sitting in the boiler, which made Caroline
step back or rather I should say fin back with excitement. We
did get quite a strong tide by 40mins run time and decided to
go for the 45mins plan and started deploying our DSMB and prepared
for the deco stops. We found it extremely difficult to hover
We had a good turn out of C-Life divers and had one space free.
Until I found out Frank Collins was not turning up because of
having to nurcher his Koi Karp pond to electric plumbing health.
'Killer Prawn' was the small hard boat we used and Mike was our
skipper who gave a stern and sobering briefing. We dived the
Kyarra' which was a P&O
Cargo ship and then a hospital ship in WWI. The Kyarra was laden
with a mix of general cargo and amongst other things, marmite,
gold pocket watches, bottles of champagne, red wine, perfume,
ladies silver purses, ceramic tiles and divers gold (BRASS) -
don't ask me what the fascination with Brass is all about. Probably
got dropped from the diving syllabus in the mid eighties when
we started to appreciate things like wreck protection and preservation,
when lump hammers and chisels were no longer 'standard kit'.
Long before my time, honestly. She resumed to being a cargo ship
in 1918 with passengers destination Sydney from Southampton.
But was torpedoed (5th May 1918) by the same German sub UB-57
which hit the Moldavia off the Sussex coast (which I have also
dived 50m). Six lives were taken on fatal day. The cargo was
a mixed bag of Marmite, perfume, champagne, gold watched, bottled
drinks, sauces. Apparently this shipment of marmite affected
the distribution in OZ, and thus they created their own and could
be the reason why they have vegemite as they never received Marmite
- oh spooky.
on Kyarra (I found part of far right bottle and other types not
Our dive was on low water slack
at 30m with 4m viz. We descend and travelled along to the bow
section where still today you can find many of her treasures.
As I did, of broken green bottles which could have contained
ginger beer and linseed oil, and a piece of tile. I showed my
catch to our group and imagined back to 1918 and the other treasures
which still lie waiting to be found. I think this is wear Ken
lost his knife.!
Saturday - 13:40
'Swanage Diver' was our large rib for dive two and Peter was
the thick eye-browed yellow Wellington booted skipper. Good briefing
but a bit stern. Dive two was the 'Betsy Anna' which sank 17th Aug 1926. She is 63m long and
foundered while under tow. She sustained damage off the Devon
coast. The bow has now collapsed and stands 5m above the seabed
at 24m. She is broken slightly so can be disorientating to keep
following the plan of the ship without going in circles. I did
try and find one of the anker's by following a very long anker
chain, to find another section of which was the bow. Many fish
had made their home hear including a John Dory and yes a Conga
was living in the boiler again. A very good dive with allot of
recognisable body work. Another superb dive.
That afternoon some divers jumped
under the pier for an easy 3-4m dive alive with marine fauna.
Tristan and Bronwyn just dived the Pier all weekend and had a
fab time and even found some anemone clustered at the far end
of the pier. Then we had Dorset Cream teas and a Chinese eveningmeal
in town later that night .
Back on 'Killer Prawn', Sunday was a bit too blowy for The planned
Aeolian Sky so we decided to go for the Kyarra for more treasure
hunting. Alas were about to jump in and a fellow neighbouring
skipper called the dive off and so did ours. Doh ! Bit of an
anticlimax. So we came closer in for a protected drift and a
half, Meaning it was fast 'Pevril Bouy'.
or was it 'Wells'.(Sorry about those that were sick, take
a tablet night before and at least one hour before departure
next time). Swanage is renowned for its very fast drift. They
are either described as fast drifts or very fast drifts. Hmm.
Anyway myself and Caroline found a John Dory fish, a Red Gurnard
and I picked up to pieces of different pottery. Today they have
been identified and dated as English and 1900 century. I cleaned
up all my treasure this morning. I might kick out the silver
from one display cabinet in the dinning room or in the sitting
room. Not sure how that will go down with Danny. But I am sure
you can probably guess.
Sunday - 13:00
Our final dive was situated at the north side of Swanage bay,
a small 12m deep fishing boat wreck 'Fleur De Lys', . Only sank a few years ago but boy has she got
allot of fish life. A large school of Pollack was clouding the
wreck. great dive for beginners and open water divers. I am sure
our skipper said he bought it for 50p. Hmmm.
Got chatting to Pat (Patricia)
in Divers Down shop with Peter and they have a vast selection
of trinkets scooped up from a Kyarra dive. It was also mentioned
Peter would take us out on a guided Kyarra dive so we can all
find some treasure. I am planning to do this soon and await his
requirements. Have asked about Fri 7th and Fri 28th Oct en-route
to Weymouth Weekend.
I would like to take this opportunity
to thank you all for attending and look forward to seeing you
all very soon in alphabetical order apart from myself;
Caroline Trewhitt (or commonly know as Truant, and can anybody
see me behind these damn twins)
Helen Hindin (Does my bum look big, Pink Drysuit Diver)
Iain Patton (Och no, just one more we cream tea please)
Tony Irvine ( I'm now a techy, don't you know, MATE (brought
up in OZ)
Keith Bennett (DMT- (Divemaster Trainee) - when is it time someone
else cleaned and swept out the van with a toothbrush !)
Ken Hughes (where's me f.....g knife)
Kevin Dykes (very nice drysuit) - C-Life Sale http://www.clife.co.uk/equip.htm
Phil Lhermette (Lambing gel distributor)
Russ Hargreaves (Where's the sick bags please)
Shaun Young-Rogers (expert DSMB entangler) - Do one more dive
and receive the PADI Specialty.
Slav Krause (the bigger the better, with ice cold Vodka of course)
Stephanie Tyler (Including the kitchen sink diver)
Tristan Webb and Bronwyn (Pier Specialty and Marine Fauna Divers)
And myself Dr. Barnard (Marine Biologist (BSc 60% passed) and
Treasure Hunter, adorned with suicide belt - NOT)