As usual Croydon BSAC 23 are running a couple of trips to Plymouth this year to dive the wrecks and reefs of the West Country. The following is a bit of information on the weekends and the dives that are available to us.
As usual we have Pete Fergus’ excellent hard boat Venture booked for the 4 days. She makes a top class diving platform and comes complete with a steaming hot kettle, head, kitting-up benches, diver lift, very tasty hot lunches and one of the friendliest skippers on the south coast.
The following dives are the “usual suspects” for these weekends, which are of course all weather dependent.
One of 2700 Liberty Ships built for World War II, the James Eagan Layne was sunk by U1195 on 21 March 1945. She now rests in 22m of water with the bows only 6m from the surface and makes for a wonderful dive. The wreck is relatively intact and it is possible to swim almost the entire 441ft length of the ship inside the hull. Lots more history of the JEL here.
Probably one of the best recreational-depth dives on the south coast, the Maine is a firm favourite with Croydon BSAC’s divers. The Maine was sunk by torpedo from UC-17 on 23 March 1917 and currently sits on an even keel in 35m with the decks in around 20m. The bows and stern are intact and provide some very interesting swim-throughs. The prop was salvaged by Torbay BSAC, who brought the wreck in 1961 and still own her today. More history.
Another WW2 casualty, the Persia sank on 11 February 1945 after being hit on the port side by a torpedo from U1017 with the loss of 20 of her crew. Today this 5832 ton steamer makes for a terrific dive, even though she is well broken. She is always covered in large shoals of pouting or pollack and is covered in invert life. Se lies in 28m in an area that usually provides excellent visibility. Further information.
The Scylla was sunk as the UK’s first artificial reef on 17 March 2004 ad now sits upright only a few hundred meters from the James Eagan Layne. She makes for a good training dive and is becoming home to a variety different species. For a good history of the ship look here.
These two offshore reefs make excellent scenic dives for both the novice and the experienced diver. Gullies, swim-throughs and spectacular walls in good visibility make these two of the best scenic dives on the south coast. Both rise from a 45-50m seabed with the Eddystone breaking the surface and Hand Deeps levelling out to a kelpy pinnacle at around 10m. Both are firm favourites and are on the “must do” list if conditions are right.
So there you go, a summary of some really special diving. There are spaces on both of our Plymouth weekends this year, so if you would like to join us please get in touch. Dates of this year’s trips are:
- Easter – 2/3/4/5 April 2010
- August Bank Holiday – 28/29/30 April 2010