For the past few years I have arranged trips to dive the Normandy coast from the good ship Channel Diver (see past trip reports and galleries here: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). This year was no different, so on the morning of 25 July 10 of Croydon’s finest (plus guests) left a sunny Eastbourne in mirror-calm seas for another Dieppe adventure.
The plan on the was over was to dive an unknow mark in the east-bound shipping lane. This was a large steamship of around 2-3000 tons lying in 40m on a beautiful white shingle seabed. Visibility on the wreck was around 8m and the shot was placed on the stern of the ship. Heading forward artefacts could be seen all over the wreck including some huge portholes and a helm that was well burried. The holds of the ship have been filled with shingle, but the stern, midships and bows all stand proud of the seabed, the bows make for an impressive site and the midships area allows for a swim about inside the wheelhouse. Unfortunately slack water on this wreck was non-existant, the tide just turned and started running the other way immediately, this made for an uncomfortable ascent as, due to being in the middle of the shipping lane, we had to come up the shot.
Post dive there was the usual excited chatter, food and loafing about as we made the 3 hour journey over to France. The sundeck seemed particularly attractive to some of the crew, can’t think why…
We were tied up in Dieppe by 6pm and headed off to the Hotel de la Plage to check in. The evening was spent stuffing seafood and drinking cidre, red vino and strong lager. All of which are the traditional diver’s friends.
We woke on our second day to more sun, but the breeze had picked up a bit. This meant that it wasn’t flat-calm, but the seastate was still fine so we headed out to the wreck of the Braga. We’ve done this one before, so I won’t go into loads of detail, but suffice to say that visibility was good again and that it was covered in seafood – scallops like dinner plates, lobsters all over and crabs thet would look perfect in a pot. As we were heading back and firing up the BBQ we were lucky enough to be joined by a pod of dolphins. One big fella was very keen to check the boat out and danced in and out of the wash from the boat’s twin hulls and rode the bow-waves for about 10 minutes. A spectacular sight and a real treat.
Our second dive was the Briegland, unfortunately the visibility inshore was awful, so I can’t tell you much about this one other that all the copper on it was making certain scrappers on the boat very jealous! Post dive we headed back to Dieppe for more seafood, booze and the frankly terrifying sight of old men being allowed to blow-torch their own creme brule!
Day three and our final dive was another mid channel unknown, a small mark that Steve had said that he hadn’t put divers on before. As we were heading back to the UK the annoying French rules about not taking anything from the seabed didn’t apply, so with lift bags, goody bags and other toys strapped to us we jumped in. One reaching the bottom of the shot we were met with a completely intact trawler lying with a list to starboard on a white shingle seabed in 10-12m viz. Not too shabby!! This was a small wreck only about 150ft long, but she still gave a good dive. The wheelhouse was still reasonably intact and the boss of the ship’s wheel was still in place on the small helm. Nothing was found to identify the wreck, and there was no sign of damage that would have caused her sinking. After thist very enjoyable dive we headed back to Eastbourne in mirror-calm seas with the whole crew agreeing that it had been an excellent trip. Big thanks to skippers Steve and Caroline for looking after us. Some pics: