Club Dive, 27 June: City of Waterford

England were playing Germany in the last 16 of the World cup, so numbers were down (weakness was shown).  It was the warmest day of the year so far, 30C, the sea dead flat calm, and loads of space on Channel Diver. Once again the City of Waterford was our main target, although with a high spring tide it would be some 7m deeper than last time we dived it.  I buddied up with Warren, after giving the briefest of dive briefing s to the 8 lucky lads and a lass. 

City of Waterford
City of Waterford

We were delayed in jumping in, the tide wasn’t running to Steve’s timetables.. .so I dekitted, opened my drysuit and undersuit and fished for mackerel.  20minutes later we were ready to go, I struggled back into my drysuit, zipped up, threw my wing on and picked up my video camera and jumped in behind Warren.  That’s when I realised I had a problem… my legs and waist were getting wet.  I called Steve back and was hosted aboard.  My drysuit zip was closed all but the last two inches…DOH!!! Quicklyzipping up I leaped back in in my now soggy Weezle.

The viz on the line was looking good, although there was still a lot of sediment in the water. Steve had shotted the bows of the Waterford, near the anchor gear.  A winch sits on the bow, encrusted with life, a single anchor chain leads off the front of the bow.  Warren and I dropped into number one hold and swam on, the bottom is full of silt, and the starboard side mostly intact, bit the port side has the out hull open and a school of pouting where hovering here.  We made our way through the wrecked hold bulkheads and on to the rubble strewn mid-ships.  Warren pointed out the old captain’s toilet.  Years ago when I first dived this wreck I can remember the toilet looking almost new, as it was sheltered by the structure of the bridge.  This has now sadly gone, and the toilet is mostly covered in growth.

The port side of the mid-ships still has its hull ribs pointing proudly to the surface, here more schools of pouting dance in the weird green twilight of surface background.  The viz was around 6m and easily diveable without a torch turned on as I did, however there was still a lot of suspended matter in the water which didn’t help videoing.

We rounded the stern and the current began to pick up, more schools of pouting with the odd wrasse or pollack thrown in.  The numbers of large crabs were missing, although we didn’t look to closely, it could be that they have been taken by hungry divers. Warren was playing spot the conger with himself, I was too busy getting annoyed that I’d brought a standard lens and not a wide-angle.  We returned the way we’d come, and back onto the bow for some more conger spotting (there’s one living down one of the holes to the chain locker).  Then we came back up the shot for 10 minutes of deco.  

Back onboard, the sun was out the sky was blue and I hung were wet undersuit, pants and socks up to dry from the fly bridge of Channel Diver, and settled down to a crab sarnie and some sun. 

The undersuit wasn’t dry for the second dive so I brought out my spare Weeezle (see I’m a good boy scout!). We dived Ship Rock (known by other names in the club), the viz was poor, less than 1m in places but usually around 2-3m.  The sand was constantly thrown up, it was like diving behind Carvall.  In the ledges were a number of large (sometimes very large) brown crabs.  Lots of juvenile pouting clung to the rocks, wrasse of various typed darted around, usually away from us.  We found two large lobsters, one of which was very photogenic.  I was searching all dive for some nudibranches, when I discovered a small colony of them.  Small, less that 1cm long, white with yellow horns and gills.  Suddenly they were on almost every rock I looked at.

After an hour we surfaced, and discovered England were 2-nil down… it would get worst… but we came back to shore, loaded to 18 ton of dive gear into our cars and went home happy.

Chris Boddington

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