During the Early May Bank holiday we had a wonderful time at the West Bay, Dorset. The dive was organised by our diving officer Aidan Fewster.
It was a very long drive for me from Central Milton Keynes to Bridport and guessed what I was the first to check in at the Parkdean Caravan Park (because I have retired) & Whatsapped the caravan location info to the rest of the 5 participants. Nathan taking Lucie with him had a very long slow journey as he had to go to collect the Landover and then the Club boat. They and Aiden eventually arrived at the harbour very late and successfully launched the boat before coming to the caravan around 11:30pm.
The caravan (the 11th from the Reception) was so close to the entrance and it only took a few minutes for us to walk to the harbour.
We didn’t take part in any of the family resorts evening entertainment (for family & kids) because we were busy with our tasks.
It is very convenient to get from the booked caravan to the harbour and the view there was great. The boat-launch ramp can be seen.
Our group of 6
We had dived twice to see the wreck of The Baygitano. On the first dive we could see clearly the large boiler, the rollers and the steel beams broken out from their assembled positions. On the second dive we went to the bow, where a large arch-shaped structure is still standing. It was possible to do a swim-through there but we went around it and then off onto the sand to hunt for scallops.
The more advanced divers dived the deeper wrecks of the Salsatte (40m) and the St Dunstan (35m) pictured above.
During my dives (limited to 20m) I did not see large shoals of fish but had seen a large Common Lobster, a large Conger Eel, several Spider Crabs, a large Blue Crab, a small Common Prawn, some Leopard-spotted Gobies
a huge Cuckoo Wrasse and a Top Knot. There were also large Jewel Anemones, Trumpet Anemones (in a few occasions), Sea Fans (pink), many Sea Squirts (white colour), Sea Fans Sea Slugs, Spotted Cowries, Painted Topshells and orange club nudibranchs.
On the West Tennants reef Nathan and Alex saw their first ever Sea Mouse. If you haven’t seen one before do google them – they are quite amazing to look at.
Our group members of 6 took turns to dive in groups organised by Aidan. When I was on the boat, I had two opportunities to steer it, under Nathan’s expert guidance on boat handling, to go alongside or ahead of the group but keeping a safe distance from the group while it is underwater as revealed by their DSMB on the surface. I had previously steered a large boat owned by my long-term friend along River Thames on two occasions but this was a fast-moving RIB this time.
Our Club boat – Perseverance Too.
It has been a very enjoyable experience to have 3 days’ dive from our Club boat, Perseverance Too, in West Bay. A member of our team was hiding the face from the above photo.
A local group of divers talked to me when they were walking past our RIB after they came back from their RIB. Alex woke up from his little nap and they asked him where we had come from and where we were diving. I heard how Alex (our Chairperson) answered their questions. He said we had people from all over England, etc. but he stayed so humble (rather than saying we were from BSAC No. 1 Club from London and waving our flag or his eye-catching blue beanie!). I could see that the lead person of that group was looking at our boat very carefully while admiring it (see the right-hand photo).
We didn’t take part in any of the family resorts evening entertainment (for family & kids) because we were busy with our tasks. Nathan, our Training Officer, had been tirelessly giving training & advice. On the second evening he gave a training lecture to Alex and Aidan while on the deck chairs just outside our caravan. He then came inside and gave me the written test for Sports Diver course.
A photo of the cheers at the George: Alex Soubeyrand, Aidan Fewster, Nathan Piper, Lucie, Sofia and me. We had a most wonderful time on the Saturday and Sunday evenings at this pub called the George, which has abundance of local atmosphere and at just a short walking distance away. The food portions were big and the service excellent.
On the last day of our West Bay dives we had an opportunity to search for scallops for fun. The score from my group (Alex as my buddy) had harvested only very small nos. as this was my first time & Alex spent more time guiding me. Sofia, Lucie and Nathan are clear winners!
I must mention it has been organised very well by Aidan; there had to be plenty of hard work put in prior to the date. Before, during and after my dives, Alex has been giving me a lot of advice and assistance (also from Nathan, Aidan, Sofia and Lucie).