Sunday, 28 June 2009

28th June - Glorious visibility...........spider crabs and European cowries

At last a perfect diving weekend...................low winds, excellent visibility underwater (8-10m at the Far Mulberry) and not too hot on the surface. Although we had programmed some dives in Bracklesham Bay we switched everything to the Mulberry to take advantage of the conditions and on Sunday I had the benefit of watching the air display over Pagham in the afternoon. Finished Sunday afternoon by 'rescuing' a visitor who had tried to swim out from East Beach at high tide - the existence of a strong current sweeping him towards the Lifeboat station seemed to be a complete surprise.

Friday evening we dived the Lifeboat Station; good visibility and many spider crabs - advancing over the sand they reminded me of the Martian machines from War of the Worlds. We drifted over to the second anchor (not the one with the line to the Lifeboat leg but the other nearby one - giving the exact position would remove one of my validity tests on Divemaster Trainee maps of the site :-)). Thence onto the Landing Craft which seems to be about a foot high at the moment before swimming alongside the Boathouse and then back to the beach against the slight current. I forgot to closely inspect the walkway legs - last weekend, Gavin had reported seeing many European Cowries feasting on the sea squirts - some books seem to think they are quite widespread and numerous - now all I need to do is get a photo of one locally.

Friday, 12 June 2009

12th June - catch-up...........

Much has happened since my last entry although weatherwise the wind has stayed rather too firmly in the East for much of the time necessitating trips to Hound Reef rather than the Mulberry (one group were particularly disappointed not to be able to dive the Mulberry on the 65th anniversary of D-Day).

The East Beach proposals / concepts were potentially very good news for divers...............additional launch ramp and jetty coupled with dive centre on the water's edge. Additional sports facilities and retail outlets were also included in the area currently occupied by the toilet block and beach cafe...................much will depend on the what funding can be obtained and it was easy to forget that the concept will probably take several Phases to reach complete fruition. Meanwhile, Chichester Council removed some more gravel from the current East Beach ramp although the lower half remains covered.

Visibility is still impacted by the lingering elements of the plankton bloom but has varied from 2-5 m on different sites...........the moorings last night were about 2-3m on the low water slack; with little wind today I'm hoping it will have improved for tomorrow's marshalled dive before the monthly BBQ.

We're delighted to have received a grant from SEEDA (South East England Development Agency) which will enable us to make some changes to the physical shop front.............coupled with this we had a Customer Experience Enhancement Training afternoon (phew) from Metamorphosis which helped us identify a few changes that we plan to make inside the shop as will probably take a few weeks to fit everything in but amongst other things expect to see our Marine Life Reference Guides move to a more formal Resource Centre coupled with other information to help you plan dives beforehand and work out what you saw afterwards.

And finally..................last weekend saw Linda and Jo, one of our trainee divemasters, take advantage of an invitation for us attend the BBC Springwatch show near Brighton; it's never clear beforehand whether you are likely to be rushed off your feet or need a good book at these events - in this case, both Linda and Jo were busy all day explaining about diving and what can be seen in Sussex Diving -obviously the BBC has done well in creating a wide awareness.

After tomorrow's BBQ, our next event will Sea Selsey on 4th July - Jo has bravely volunteered to help to man a stand for us since Linda will be involved in the show overall............we're hoping for weather and attendance like last years.

Interested in SeaWeed...............not sure what you are looking at? Keen photographer? Try - this is the basis for a new book to be published next year as a SeaSeach guide and photographs are sought :-).