2000: Scilly Isles, MV Maureen
A week away to the beautiful Scilly Isles on the not-so-beautiful liveaboard MV Maureen. We departed Dartmouth and headed down the coast towards the islands stopping to dive on the way. The diving in the Scillies is fantastic, with clear silt-free water and oodles of life. Highlights included seals, the King Cadwallon, the Cita and my first ever dive on the Maine.
This was generally a good week, but if I organised another trip I think I would probably drive down to Lands End, get the ferry across and then use a day boat rather than a liveaboard. The reason for this is that we lost a day and a half each way in transit to the islands, so really only got 3 days diving there. As an aside, the MV Maureen isn’t running anymore, so if you do want to do a liveaboard I think your only option would be the Loyal Watcher.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Mark Emuss, Chris Boddington, Dave Elphick, Eddie Driver, Ed Wilkins.
2001: Scapa Flow, Triton
This was the third trip the club had made up to the Orkney Isles in the last five years to dive the German Fleet wrecks in Scapa Flow. Although there were a few problems this week the Ferry Inn and Triton delivered as usual and we got to dive all the favourites: Brummer, Koln, Dresden, Karlsruhe and Kronprinz Wilhlem as well as a smattering of blockships.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Mark Emuss, Dave Elphick, Dave Solomon, Ed Wilkins, Roly Parslow
2002: Red Sea, Valerie
This full liveaboard booking saw 20 of us head off to Egypt to dive the northern wrecks and reefs. Not a patch on UK diving… : )
2003: No Trip
No “official” club trip this year, although visits were made by small groups of Croydon’s finest to Normandy and the Red Sea.
2004: Falmouth/Plymouth/Weymouth, Under Pressure/Venture/Kyarratoo
This was a mammoth one to organise. There were only 5 divers in attendance, but the logistics of sorting boats and accommodation for 3 venues consecutively (not to mention having to make sure we got to each one in time) caused me many a headache…
Starting in Falmouth we dived with Steve McEwen from his boat Under Pressure for 2 days on the Manacles, Mohegan, Volnay etc, before starting off eastwards towards Plymouth where we were diving with our mate Pete Fergus. Whilst in Plymouth we managed to fit in dives over 3 days on the usual suspects (Persier, JEL etc). We also got to see the World fireworks championships.
The weather had been on our tail all week, but we’d been lucky so far. Unfortunately our luck ran out when we got to Weymouth. We managed to do the first day’s dive on the St Dunstan, but the second day was blown out. Still, we managed to squeeze in a few beers on the blown-out day with Paul Cooper, skipper of Kyarratoo (who has now also packed in).
This week was challenging but in the end was very good fun. The diving and company was good and it made a nice change to be able to visit a bunch of our favourite skippers all in on go.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Clare Walton, Chris Boddington, Chris Griffiths, Ben Stock
2005: Sark, Protector
Having visited the Channel Islands back in 1991 with the club I fancied a return journey, but didn’t want to do a liveaboard. After a bit of internetting I found out that Ivor Jansen and his Weymouth-based boat Protector made trips to Sark every year, a couple of emails later and we were booked up!
This is perhaps my favourite of the week-long trips we have done. We had an excellent crew, the boat & skipper were top notch, the seas were mirror calm (except when we were doing the long runs across the channel to and from Weymouth!) and most importantly the diving and viz was spectacular.
Highlights of this week included the Heron and the Schockland. We enjoyed sunshine and evening BBQs and ate at some very nice restaurants. Sark is a wonderful place and after this trip I was determined to return some time…
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Clare Walton, Andy Hart, Jaime Dawson, Chris Boddington, Rick Whitby, Chris Griffiths, Ian Mulcahy.
2006: Sound of Mull, Loyal Mediator
Rick Whitby took over trip-arranging duties for this one and booked the George Mair’s excellent liveaboard Loyal Mediator to take us on a trip up the Sound of Mull as far as Skye then back down via various Hebredian islands. The wrecks in the SoM are excellent, very intact and in reasonable depths. Unfortunately the viz wasn’t that great during our week up there, but we made the best of it and got diving every day. My favourite dives during this week were the Thesis and the Port Napier, a wreck that breaks the surface at low water but that is very intact allowing lots of exploration.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Clare Walton, Andy Hart, Jaime Dawson, Chris Boddington, Rick Whitby, Chris Griffiths, Ian Mulcahy, Dave Elpick, Claire Cohen
2007: St Vaast, Normandy, Channel Diver
Another trip organised by Rick. This really was an expedition, where we spent a full week diving mostly unknown marks in excellent weather and flat seas. St Vaast is a lovely little fishing town that is chok full of Frenchmen who done their best to make us feel unwelcome, they didn’t get the better of us though as we dived their wrecks, stuffed our faces and drank their lager.
My fondest memories of this trip involve my dives on the “Pot Wreck” and an LST (that was full of Sherman tanks) with Bob Lenham, who’s sadly no longer with us. We had viz aplenty, nice long bottom times, flat seas and both surfaced with grins on our faces.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Rick Whitby, Chris Griffiths, Wayne Haist, Bob Lenham, Chris Boddington, Ian Mulcahy
2008: St Vaast, Normandy, Channel Diver
This was booked on the back of the very successful 2007 expedition. Unfortunately it turned out to be an awful trip where the weather didn’t play ball at all. Best forgotten, but if you’re really interested you can read my write up of the trip here.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown; Chris Boddington, Wayne Haist, Dave Elphick, Chris Griffiths.
2009: Sark, Channel Diver
And so to the most recent of our little jaunts: Sark the Return. Once again we were on Channel Diver, but on Sark, a new venue for Steve (he usually concentrates on the French coast between Cherbourg and FeCamp). I had put a lot of time and effort into organising this trip and amassed a large amount of data on the diving including wreck positions, Hydrographic Office reports, divers info and various articles etc. The trip didn’t go as well as expected mainly due to the weather. Suffice to say we still made the best of it. You can read a full trip report here.
- Croydon Crew: Paul Brown, Chris Boddington, Rick Whitby, Dave Elphick, Chris Vanstone, Margi Porthouse, Dave Kennedy
So there you have it, 10 years of expeditions covering everything from liveaboards to day boats, deep wreck dives to snorkelling with seals and ignorant Frenchmen to welcoming Channel Islanders. In addition to the trips above, Alan Glen has been running an annual Scapa Flow trip for many years and is again this year.
If you’re interested in joining us on our expeditions please get in touch.