Sunday, 27 June 2010

June 26th and 27th - blue skies, little wind and good visibility :-)

A somewhat belated blog for this weekend reflecting the late slack water times. Visibility today seems to have been somewhat less than yesterday although still good - this was particularly noticeable on the Mixon this afternoon where at the bottom 2-3m was about the limit with a distinct improvement as you ascended the wall - on the ledge, at least 10m in brillant sunshine. Plenty of crabs and lobsters but not lucky enough to see the large shoal of fish on last week's video.

Over the weekend, Mulberry visibility was approx 8m - still many reports of nudibranchs; under the Lifeboat yesterday it was typically around 3-4m under the Boathouse but further out at the Landing Craft it was easily nearer 10m; I particularly liked the shoals of juvenile  bib and the conger sun-bathing nearby. Plenty of marine life in the Draft dive today with rays,dogfish and plaice all seen.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

20th June - Good visibility at Mixon Hole and Mulberry - Smiling divers!

Less wind this morning so flatter sea and much smoother ride out to the Mixon; like yesterday only dive boat on site although Wight Diver went past at one stage heading offshore. Moved slightly further West for the drop-off point today since two of the divers had dived yesterday and reported that cliff was as sheer as they had seen before...........30m W gave them the nice drop into 21/22m and levelling out to 25m; this pair also reported coming up onto a nice overhang with plentifull sponges............the second pair went further West and found themselves in the middle of a large shoal of young fish (possibly pollack or poor cod)........Red Gurnard on a stately walk seen by both pairs. Peter Cox has kindly given us the link to his video from the dive.......Mixon Hole Sunday 20th June 2010. (now I'm jealous at having to just sit on the boat!)

Second dive was the Far Mulberry and by this time, wind had dropped to a pleasant NE F3.........joined on the site by the repaired Bristol BSAC RHB (huge thanks to J Craft who had worked hard overnight to make their second day diving possible; the RHB had been damaged yesterday whilst trying to help another dive boat that had formed a permanent bond between itself, it's shot and the target wreck!). Excellent visibility at 5m+ and plenty to see - many comments on the large lobsters that seem to thrive in this voluntary conservation zone. Wind had freshened to a brisk NW F3 for the return as tide battled wind.

One of those days when driving the boat is a real pleasure as everyone comes up smiling and having seen some great marine life............

Saturday, 19 June 2010

19th June - good visibility, offshore wind - enjoyable diving

Offshore wind (N-NE with some occasional excursions to NW) at a consistent F4 meant that whilst it was flat calm next to the beach, it was somewhat livelier further out. First dive today was the Mixon - some reasonable swells here over the hole; followed my usual practice of dropping the divers just on the ledge so a simple swim forward brings them over the wall. Visibility at least 10m with most of the divers reporting looking upto the ledge from 20m and seeing plenty of life. Second dive was the Mulberry drift - essentially moor upto the Mulberry and let the divers decide whether to explore the sheltered side or drift - 8m visibility here and whilst there don't seem to be quite as many fish as last year (colder winter still delaying the build-up in numbers?) there are plenty of juveniles to see; nudibranchs also still plentiful (definitely feels as if there are more than in previous years or are divers better at spotting them now?). Final dive on the Mulberry - wet trip out into the consistent NE; this trip timed for the HW slack - visibility still 8m and the colourful marine life delighted those divers on their first UK Boat dive. Spent much of the day listening to a very busy Coastguard - Selsey lifeboat launched to assist several boats with engine failure (Selsey Lifeboat), unexploded ordnance somewhere near France and people stranded on a sandbank somewhere else.

Chris Woods personally delivered the Seasearch Marine Guides we needed last night (our last stock went very quickly) and confirmed that the new Guide to Seaweeds will be published shortly - looking forward to this as we have a prolific selection of weeds, sponges and squirts under the Lifeboat but most guides only cover a limited range.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

12th June - blue sky again, offshore wind and Tope

Blue skies with a strong offshore wind so nice and calm next to the beach (very clear water here) whilst some swell and slightly more waves further out. First dive today was the Britsum drift - good vis at 4m; we followed this with the Selsey local drift - to the long list of marine life seen on this dive, we now add Tope which was seen not just by our divers but also by those on Renegade (the visiting Triton RHIB) -a number of the usual suspects also showed; dogfishand plaice in particular. Visibility on the Mulberry at the end of the afternoon however was best described as variable- partly due to the sheer number of divers on the site (4 RHIBS) but also because there is still some plankton in the water - vis seemed to vary between 1-2m. At the end of the day it was very peaceful at East Beach - flat calm water and just a local tree/log floating past! (reported to the Coastguard as a potential hazard to boats). Earlier in the afternoon, a seal had been seen fishing whilst the mackerel were inshore.

If you follow our Twitter comments then you will get out upto date information on visibility and other items of interest - timing and frequency depends on the time available between dives. Please let us know if there is any information you would like to see us include in the Blog or Twitter :-)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

6th June - Rather too much wind after midday at Selsey - Exhausting day at Springwatch

The forecast had been for increasing wind later in the day but it arrived rather earlier than expected at 8am this morning - luckily it decreased after high tide and we were able to dive the Mixon with only a light chop on the water. No diving terns today and the plankton remains (however those diving the Basil this morning reported good visibility and less plankton so perhaps we are starting to see the end of the bloom). However shortly after midday the wind shifted SW and freshend so the local drift dive had some swell and consequently reduced visibility - the trip back into the wind was wet and so we decided that was enough fun for today and cancelled the last dive, Far Mulberry. Unlike yesterday, not so many fish seen on the drift today - it was as usual at a nice pace and certainly fins are almost an optional extra. We look forward to next weekend and hopefully, less plankton and wind!

Linda, Jo and Tone returned from Springwatch (at Brighton today) exhausted having spent all day answering non-stop questions on diving, marine conservation, shipwrecks and underwater photography. Tone was able to renew his aquaintance with David Bellamy and Linda inadvertently delayed the Mayor of Brighton's tour when he turned out to have been a diver. Countless children created their own fantasy fish.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

5th June - Warm,blue skies however plankton still with us

Nice cruise out to the Mixon this morning and both buddy pairs in on slack - spent a pleasant 45 minutes watching terns diving into the water off the Mixon basket: plankton still with us so visibility averaged 2-3m. Second dive was a drift off Selsey - visbility on this much better at 4m+ - the drift direction changed midway which made life more interesting. Plenty of fish seen - nice shark's tooth found by one buddy pair and nudibranchs still very much in evidence. Final dive was the Mulberry - visibility here again 2-3m - with the site to ourselves, everyone could have a nice leisurely dive - again plenty of fish (cuttlefish, pollock and bib) and more multi-coloured slugs!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Monday 31st May - Much less wind, 2m visibility and flat sea

Again the forecast was right and the wind dropped overnight although it went more to the NE initially than anticipated - the big swell that had been evident on Sunday was significantly reduced; by the end of the day,the sea was completely flat. The first two dives went ahead as planned (Mulberry, TeaPot) and we switched the last dive from Hound Reef to a local drift dive to get the best visibility - consistently, visibility was approx 2m with the TeaPot also being dark at the bottom. There is still plankton in the water and Saturday's storm also added some stirred-up silt - however cuttlefish, thornback rays, dogfish and nudibranchs were all seen.