The weekend of the 10/11th October saw the last of our summer season, monthly charters of dive boat "Tango" out of Weymouth. Four members joined two from Swindon to make a COVID safe crew to dive the Elena R at around 29 metres, followed by a drift in Balaclava Bay on the NE corner of Portland. Ropes off at 09:00hrs and a short steam out towards The Shambles bank where the Elena R sank in Nov 1939 after hitting a mine.
Elena R was a 4,500 to Greek steamship that has been well salvaged and broken up sitting on a shifting sandbank.
The viz was not brilliant at 3 to 4 metre but following some rough weather about what was expected. Sea temperature was warm at 17º deg. Fair amount of the usual fish life, including cuckoo wrasse, several large lobsters, some bright blue and others mixed yellow/brown. Some large wrasse and congers inhabited the boiler which was patrolled by blennies. A good-sized brown crab was also spotted amongst the twisted metalwork.
When all were back on board we steamed into Balaclava Bay to shelter from the freshening NW wind. After a 2 hour break it was back in the water for a drift across the bay at about 20 metres. 40 minutes was our limit. The sand/shingle was dotted with various sea weeds and clumps of Ross Coral (not really a coral but a bryozoan). The fish highlight was an Undulate Ray that had the confidence in its camouflage not to move.... brilliant.
Also seen was a spotted dogfish and a fine red Gurnard, sitting out in the open and again remained motionless. 40 minutes dive later, and we were back on board for the short steam back into port.
An excellent day’s diving for the last Tango weekend of a very unusual summer.
Muriel's first Open Water dive.
4th July 2021
Muriel joined us for a "Try Dive" in November 2019, and signed up for Ocean Diver training at the start of 2020. The first couple of lectures were done in the pub on a Wednesday as usual - then came Covid. We continued the Ocean Diver lectures, revision and Theory Test via Zoom. With Lockdown 2 looming, Muriel decided to "listen in" on the Sports Diver theory that we were then starting! Muriel is the most qualified member we've ever had, who's never been in the sea! June 5th and the restrictions eased, and we were able to offer Muriel her first Ocean Diver pool session. This was rapidly followed by a 2nd 1:1 session in a small private pool. Swanage was delayed a week due to bad weather, and almost again after a "covid scare" - but everyone continued to test negative - so we finally got Muriel into the open water on July 2nd. After some initial "loose fin" issues, and a slight "navigational error", we were on our way - just don't mention crabs! We saw a lot of crabs, and each larger than the previous. Our pre-dive checklist is now B.A.R.C, Buoyancy, Air, Releases and what to do if you see Crabs. Bravo Muriel.