Only four of us on Nauticat today: Steve, Spike, Claire and me. Steve, although we had only just met, was going to buddy up with me - which wasn't a problem as he is relatively new to his YBOD and wanted to take it easy.
Once in the water, we descended slowly as Steve was having problems with his torch and a low battery warning on his VR3 (back light automatically goes off......what a PITA that little safety feature is!!!!!) Shot was inside the wreck, amidships and was trailing over the edge in the current. Visibility was very poor - about 1M and being at 40M it was pitch black. I didn't know the wreck and was with a new buddy, so for safety’s sake I decided to reel off the shot line. This was probably a wise move as the current was pushing us off the wreck and without the taut line as a navigational aid, we could well have drifted off and not found it again!!!
We turned right and reeled off the shot, following the edge of the ship until we ran out of metal. The edge looked to be a pointy bit which I could only guess was the bow (without having the visibility to put it into perspective, any sort of identification was difficult – that’s my excuse and I am sticking with it).
We turned around and I reeled back in...........which is not easy when you can't feel your fingers! Even though I had the safety of the line, I still managed to swim inside something. The current had pushed me slightly onto the deck of the ship and as I was finning along, the top of my cylinders made that awful metallic 'dink' sound that all divers fear……steel-on-steel. I couldn't manage to see-saw myself up to see what I had hit, as the space I was in was too tight. A slight turn of the head and I could see a steel plate or bar over the top of me. I pushed myself backwards (as I’m not as good as these DIR fellas who can reverse fin ) and exited the ‘obstruction’. We carried on reeling all the way back to the shot. There was lots of fine sand on the wreck and one or two crabs. The occasional small cod wandered in quite close and then shot off once startled by the torch beam.
Upon reaching the shot, we carried straight on to see the other end of the wreck, swimming over a clutch of squid eggs hanging off a discarded piece of rope as we did so. Keeping the same profile i.e. more or less along the edge of the ship, we swam around a large winch and more miscellaneous bric-a-brac lying of the deck. We passed a nice size edible crab that would have been worth bagging if I wasn’t having to fanny about with the reel. Spike and Claire found a good size lobster but it was laden with eggs……does that mean spring has arrived?.............my fingers were telling me not. The edge of the ship eventually petered out, taking a sudden dip and then disappeared into the sand. We turned and headed back to the shot. At this point I was relying on my hands muscle memory alone to do the reeling, as all feeling had gone.
Back at the shot line we clocked 30 minutes bottom time and called it a day. Steve freed the weight from the wreck and we decided to take the lazy gits way up, via the shot line. A couple of bouncy deep stops and then an uneventful ~15 mins @ 6M.
On the whole, the poor viz let down what would have been a very good dive. The sandy sea bed would suggest good viz when the seas are calm and the sun high – certainly worth visiting again during the summer. Steve clocked up another hour or so on his unit, so he was pleased with that………….and did I mention that my fingers were cold