With our lovely British weather causing so many dives to be blown out of late, it was music to my ears to hear from Chris Vanstone that he had some spaces to fill on an Eastbourne week from Monday 25th to Friday 29th July on our much loved Channel Diver ( AKA Choppy Charters ). Looking through the list of planned dives for the week, I immediately thought I wonder if I can have a week off they are all such great wreck it was difficult to know which ones to pick and the weather was looking at its best for a long time.
Quick check on the work schedule and sadly prior commitments only allowed the Friday, but hey It’s the Twins wrecks (the Irisbrook and Ville de Bordeaux), yes tried to dive this back in May but weather cancelled the day so excellent Twins here I come, weather gods be good and bring on the sun shine.
So, quickly on the phone to Steve to book 2 spaces as I knew this would get booked very quickly I knew this was going to be a dive to remember and wow it was one for the record books.
We loaded up at Eastbourne Harbour, it’s so easy to go from Eastbourne everything is just on hand, even a local Asda for grabbing some much needed breakfast and lunch for later on the boat. Off we set, four from Croydon BSAC 23, myself, Roger Smith, Mark Breare and Chris Vanstone along with some fellow Ifield members and some Channel Diver regulars who knew this was a dive not to be missed. Everyone was kitted up in good time ready to get on the wreck as quickly as possible it was one of the first times I have seen a que formed waiting to jump off the back. Myself, Mark and Roger were quick to get in and down we went, a quick stop at 3 meters for a group bubble check and I was off down the shot leaving Roger and Mark to follow my bubbles to visit these much talked about two wrecks sitting side by side. Roger arrived and fired up his camera, I checked my hair was still neat and tidy and offered a quick pose for the opening scenes. We hit the first wreck at around 37 to 39 meters and travelled along from stern to bow with the water temperature at a very nice 16 degrees and the viz was cracking, at last good viz not like my last in May out of Brighton with 0.5 on the Waterford, it was a good 6 to 8 meters. We headed along the wreck towards the bow in order to meet the sandy seabed which is about 10 meters wide before hitting the second wreck as discussed in the brief, the wreck was excellent with lots of parts and holes to explore and the torch was working a treat, like Luke Skywalker’s light saber.
As we left the bow section of the first wreck, the depth was down to about 46 meters, the bow section is a little broken up but we knew upon leaving this and crossing the sandy bed we would hit the next wreck. I took up pole position and lead us off to the awaiting sight of the next wreck to comes into view. Well, much to mine and our amazement we didn’t to the next wreck because as I moved across the sandy bed I noticed a lifting bag and something else sticking out of the sand, hey ho, it’s a Porthole attached to a lifting bag, we was like lions at dinner time, straight over pulling at any part that was sticking up, this caused the viz to go for a while but a quick stop and the viz settled again very quickly due to the course sandy bed. Well, we pushed and pulled and Roger by this point was pumping his gas into the lifting bag already attached to try and get this thing moving but it wasn’t having any of it because there was a gaping hole in the top of the lifting bag. Well like a cowboy gun slinger Mark Breare was quickly in like a rat up a drain pipe attaching his lifting bag ( Only the one I sold to him a month ago because I couldn’t be bothered to carry it, hey lesson learn’t there for sure ).
With his side sling pumping gas like Billy the kid into his lifting bag she still wasn’t moving hoo no. A few more rev’s on the gas trigger and hey hoo baby “Huston we have lift off “ she was going to the sky. We all watched in slight amazement still that this surreal situation had just been placed upon us as this porthole drifted upward out of sight.
A quick group gas check and it was agreed we exit for the much loved decompression stops. By this point we had about 30 minutes of deco so the safest route was up following the porthole, all wondering if it made it to the surface or not. We arrived at the much favorite 12 meter point, after a deep stop on route, a quick group gas switch whilst swapping round the reel between us and the count down from 19 minutes begun. We had an inquizative jelly fish join us whilst deco’ing so a quick nudge to Roger to wake him up, I’m sure he was having a power nap and outcome the camera for some nice close up’s shots of our visiting friend. Deco finished and back on the boat feeling fresh as a daisy. The helium mix is definitely a must for this type of dive as it makes the head so clear you can remember everything. Back on board for a nice cup of Choppy Tea and a biscuit. It was great to see our efforts had paid off as the porthole was sitting nicely next to two of the largest lobbi’s I’ve ever seen I think they had claws bigger than my hands, anyway a few pictures with the Lobbi’s and back to more tea and the journey onto the next dive, Light House station. This was an excellent day, everything was brilliant, fantastic service as usual from Steve putting us straight on the wreck and looking after us in the usual super silver service on Channel Diver. Can’t wait to go back, will certainly place this as number 2 spot on my favorite dives list.
Roger’s Handy Cam of the dive :