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· Registered
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As it's fresh in my mind I thought I'd write a short trip report.....

UE-UK (www.ue-uk.org) or "DIR Britain" is an SAA club for DIR divers.  We arrange trips around the UK for like-minded individuals.  Last weekend (18/19 Oct) we had a trip arranged with Ivor Jansen on "Protector" out of Portland.

Eight divers assembled down in Portland for a couple of dives, the first of which was on Saturday with a departure time of 13:00.  The weather was...well, a little shitty!  A NE F5/6 was blowing and we were all a little unsure as to whether we would be diving or not.  Our capable DO, Ian Butler had arranged this as a 21/35 dive itha single deco gas (50%), realising that the chances of getting to anything offshore was fairly remote and limiting our depth to about 45m.

After some discussion, we decided to dive P555, a submarine on the West side of Portland Bill.  We set off at 13:00 as planned and arrived at the site about 40 mins later.  The trip out was OK but we were promised a real white knuckle ride home against the wind.  My dive buddies on this trip were Howard Radcliff and Michael Williams.  Diving in a trio, we were the first team in. We plopped in, assembled at 6m, made our checks and descended to the wreck.  Once on the wreck, we checked each other out to make sure all was well, signalled and continued our dive.  P555 is quite an interesting wreck as it was deliberately sunk for sonar practice, after an incident in Portland harbour in the 1950's, similar to that which afflicted the Russian submarine "Kursk" a couple of years ago.

I find submarines a bit boring, especially if I have dived them before (I've dived P555 a few times in the past).  We swam around the sub an ascended the conning tower which is at obout 35m.  As this is a fairly shallow dive, we deployed our SMB from the wreck.  We do this as a team. One member pulls out an SMB and spool and offers it for inflation by another team member.  The third team member assists by illuminating the spool/SMB.  We do this whilst ascending slowly, thereby not loosing any time.  Once deployed we start our ascent until we reach about 80% of the average depth, then we slow things down to about 3m/min until we reach about 23m.  At this depth, we all ensure we are nice and neutral and get ready for our gas switch. At 21m we switch to our 50%, starting our timers when the last switch has been completed.  After 5 min at 21m, we continue our ascent and complete our timed stops at 18, 15, 12, 9 and on to 6m where we spend about 10 mins and then a very slow (1m/min) ascent to the surface.  This is really just practice for deeper/longer dives, but it's good to keep the skills honed.  On the surface, we wait for Ivor to come around and pick us up.  Protector has a lift (we avoid boats without lifts) which makes our exit from the water (even in a choppy sea) easy.  Back on the boat, we sit for a few minutes, dekit and then get out of the choppy waters and eat our lunch which Ivor provides.  There were no drama's, problems, issues or difficulties from anybody.  This is just a typical DIR dive!

A couple of the guys did a second dive (lobby hunt), but I usually stay on the boat.  This was particularly exiting as we witnessed a helicopter rescue of a couple of climbers who were stuck on the cliff on the West side of Portland Bill.

The following day (Sunday) called for an early start.  We were due to leave the jetty at 8am.  The weather on Sunday was WORSE! A F6/7, increasing to a Gale 8 from NE was forecast, but Ivor was quite happy to go out when many of the other Weymouth boats decided to stay at home!

Anyway, we set off a few minutes late after some of the guys waited for their 21/35 fills.  Today I would be diving with Howard in a pair.  We were to dive the Frogner, a Norwegin steamship in 40m, not far from P555 on the West side of Portland Bill.  We got a bit beaten up by the sea on the way out and I was glad that my seasickness now seems to be cured after spending most weekends on dive boats over the past few years.  I suppose I've just got my "sea legs".

Howard and I were fully kitted and ready to go when Ivor shotted the wreck.  Unfortunately, with the dodgy conditions, Ivor took 3 attempts to get the shot in to the wreck and we were really relieved to get in the water. After our checks, we descended to the wreck and were greeted with 8m visibility!  I had not dived this wreck before and found it very enjoyable, despite the current!  It was running pretty hard, the strong winds delaying the slack slightly.  We spent the whole dive dodging the current and pulling and gliding our way into the current and letting it take us back along the wreck.  There were some huge pollack on the wreck and the usual large conger lurking in all the usual places.  After 35 mins in the balmy 15 degree water, we decided we had seen enough and Howard pulled out a spool and SMB which I inflated and we made our way to our first stop.  At the stop, Howard passed me the spool and executed his switch.  After my switch I took the spool back from Howard and I ran the deco from there.  I don't usually use spools, prefering to use my reel, but I had forgotten how nice they are to use and after this dive I bought myself a 150' spool to add to my 50' and 100' spools which I only generally use for cave diving.  I think I'll make more use of the spool in future, but I'll still carry my 400' reel, in case I need it for penetration, or to shoot an SMB from a deep wreck for some reason.

On the surface, we could tell that the conditions had deteriorated even more.  We boarded the boat, dekitted and helped the others board too.  Lunch was had off the leeward shore on the West side of Portland Bill in a nice calm spot.  Then, we had to strap everything down and make the journey back around the Bill to Portland Harbour.  This was quite something! probably the roughest sea I've ever been in.  Protector really handles these sort of conditions well. Ivor is an excellent skipper and he's good company too.  Anyway, we made it back to Castletown, no drama, no issues, no problems.  Just another DIR dive in paradise!

How was your weekend?

· Grumbler-chief in Residence
1,921 Posts
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Spent it in the lakes walking up a sodding great hill, then ate a vast quantity of rather nice food, twas fab in fact, need a dive now as I have been out the water for over two weeks, ah well, such is life.

Catch you soon


· A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
15,284 Posts
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Nice report Bob

I spent that W/end in bed with Flu
but I didnt feel so bad about having canned the Friday dive for Andrew and myself (due to ill health) as it was blown out anyway. Phew that saved me £35. Saterday was blown out too so all in all not a good W/end.

This W/end was better. Capenwray Saterday and Chessington World of Adventure with the kids Sunday and NO Q's Fan bloody tastic. I got to go on Ramases Revenge the Vampire Ride and The Samari all with less than 10mins Qing



Mark Chase
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