Saturday, 28 August 2010

August 28th - Inner Mulberry for a change

It was nice to have blue sky this morning as we launched Pheonix very early at Itchenor- Far Mulberry first and visibility approx 2-3m; not surprising given the wind of the past few days. Second dive was supposed to be the Landing Craft but a quick survey from Hillfield Rd suggested that visibility would be very limited. Instead, Tone took the divers to the Inner Mulberry and briefed on the swim-through and suggested finishing with a drift. Everyone appears to have enjoyed themselves with some opting for Tone's suggested dive plan and others simply staying on the Inner Mulberry itself - difficult to assess how the dive compares to the Far Mulberry on the basis of just one visit so we'll try and find other opportunities to include it on the schedule.

Not sure how the rest of the weekend will work out - there is obviously some more wind on the way and lurking in the background is Danielle - we're hoping that particular lady will decide not to pay us a visit.

Monday, 23 August 2010

August 22nd - Rock Appreciation at Vobster and Making a Fish!

Open Water weekend on the Training Courses and this time the weather did not fully co-operate :-(

We managed to dive under the Lifeboat on Saturday; although breezy (SW F5) with some waves further out the low water slack had about 4m+ visibility. However with similar weather forecast the next day then we judged that the planned Advanced Open Water deep dive on the Brigitta (TeaPot) would not be feasible on Sunday morning and hence decided to go to Vobster.

Vobster proved to be a good choice from the point of view that we had sunshine and no rain: visibility was not that different from the Lifeboat Station and the students all found the thermocline at 12m that dropped the water temperature to 8/9C! We explored the Jaquin II, aircraft wrecks and admired the wizard exhibit!

Meanwhile Tone took Phoenix to the Mixon on Sunday afternoon; visibility about 6m and everyone seems to have really enjoyed the dive - given the forecast for today (and more importantly later this week), Phoenix then went around to Itchenor so she would be safe during the storms.

We also supported the Marine Display at the Selsey Centre organised by the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group - the 'Make a Fish' activity went well. Over the weekend some 500 people visited the exhibition and we're grateful to everyone who came and spent time on the stand explaining Diving and Marine Life to the visitors.

And the Rock Appreciation at Vobster - that was the nickname one of the |DMs invented for the Underwater Naturalist Adventre Dive for the AOW course - we did find some underwater snails and a shrimp that had more than a passing resemblance to a wasp in body shape and colour.

Monday, 16 August 2010

15th August - Some wind, big Spring tides - successful BBQ

Big Spring tides this last week - on Thursday, large sandbanks appeared off Pagham(the Inner Mulberry standing well clear of the water) and at East Beach; looked without success for the line we had laid to the sunken car. We ran two dives on Thursday with fossil teeth being very much the objective - several large teeth found on the Fossil Beds themselves whilst a few teeth also found at the Far Mulberry.

Saturday was overcast with a breeze - dives included a fast drift dive, some reasonable visibility on the Landing Craft. Nearly 30 people on the Marshalled Dive meant some careful logistics since slack was not until 1815 - we held the monthly BBQ afterwards and I perfected my skills at cooking in the dark!

By Sunday the wind had gone round to the North East with rather too much gusto - managed to fit in the local drift dive off Selsey but then moved to using Hillfield Rd - much more comfortable than East Beach. The sun came out but the wind stayed brisk - however the Britsum and Hound Reef all ran as planned.  Enough wind remaining at the end of the day to making putting the cover on Pheonix something of a challenge.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

1st August - Lifeboat Launch Day and Thornback Rays

Still plenty of wind but the rain stayed away and it was quite warm; we managed to run all the planned dives over the weekend with a few white waves accompanying the return trips. On one of the Sunday drift dives, everyone saw Thornback Rays :-). Visibility has remained good.

Our stall on Lifeboat Green was busy throughout Sunday with Barrie's photos of the Leach's Spider Crab and Scorpion Fish from under the Lifeboat proving particularly popular. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (just down from us) were also busy and it was an opportunity for us to catch up on their recent work. Stephen who usually spends weekends making tea/coffee for everyone in the Dive Centre had an opportunity to demonstrate his acting skills as part of the Lifeboat demonstrations - there must be a demand somewhere for someone who can fight in a rowing boat and end up in the water! We're glad to say that his brother was one of the ILB crew that pulled him from the water.