This was a different dive trip. A low-pressure system over Ireland brought heavy winds to the
Channel coast. Laura’s WhatsApp messages grew ever more ominous as the weekend drew nearer:
probably no Percy, maybe no shore diving, and only hopefully some diving at all. Laura and Nathan explored possible shore diving sites on the rain-soaked Friday. The winds hadn’t yet reached their full force but it already looked bad: too much exposure to the elements everywhere, like at Windspit.
Despite the warning signs, eight of us assembled in the Anchor Inn in Swanage for dinner on Friday:
Laura, Nathan, Simon, Sofia, Lucy, Richard, Cara, and Steve (aka myself). Spirits were good
despite the weather (how can spirits ever be low in a pub). Thibaut turned up as we were leaving.
So, no diving on Saturday. While blustery and speckled with some downpours, the day was lovely.
Laura and Nathan graciously took on the task of driving to Dorchester to outfit Percy with a new
Simon, Sofia, Lucy, Cara, and I rode the steam train to Corfe Castle and then hiked to Worth
Matravers. By lunchtime, everyone had reached the Square and Compass for pasties and cake. The
pub-cum-fossil museum is an important part of club trips to Swanage, as I am told. How can spirits
be low …
Richard, Lucy, Cara, and I completed the day by hiking back to Swanage. For a change of scenery, we rounded off the evening by cooking dinner or getting takeaway at the lovely townhouse Laura had found for the trip. So no “divers up” after some pleasant shore dive but Richard and Nathan are up from their beers in front of the mural in the townhouse.
We were finally rewarded for our patience on Sunday. Slightly calmer winds and another brilliant
day allowed us a couple of relaxed dives under the Swanage Pier. Simon and Sofia decided to sit out
the dives and provided surface cover for the rest of us. Laura and Cara’s challenge for the day was
to find an anemone shrimp and they succeeded quickly. Nathan and I found numerous crabs in anemones before coming across a shrimp while Thibaut managed to see a Tompot Blenny. He
was mightily exhausted after the 3-metre dive with his rebreather.
Despite the lack of diving it still turned into a lovely weekend. With the sound of gulls, the smell of a sea breeze, and the company of club members, how could it be otherwise?