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Ive done all my diving in Thailand apart from 2 dives in stoney cove, these were in November. I got asked to go on a club 'reccy' to see if Portland would be a good place to run a club trip. So 4 of us headed down from loughborough on Monday morning to see what it was like.

When we got to Portland we stop at Fathom and Blues to pick up keys to their bunkhouse and then headed straight there. The bunkhouse is about as far south as you can go in Portland. Brilliant views the whole way around. Its cheap and clean and perfect for a large group. We dumped are stuff and decided to head to Chisel Cove to do a shore dive.

Forgot to mention the sun was splitting the sky, couldn't of asked for better weather. When we got to Chisel cove we decided would dive in pairs one at a time so we had some shore cover. First 2 struggled into the water and off they went. I just lay and enjoyed the lovely weather. After 40 minutes they surfaced and it was time for my first UK sea dive. I got into the water and struggled to get my fins on as i slowly got washed deeper and deeper. Finally got my fins on and we descended. My first thoughts where it was freezing, maybe i should of bought a drysuit. After 4 minutes I checked my air and 80 bar had gone, not good i really needed to control my breathing. Luckily i managed to get it under control and the cold wasn't so bad after a while.

This allowed me to enjoy the dive, the visibility was great about 10m and 8 degrees water temperature. Didn't see that much, a few wrasse, some kelp. Think thats about it, Surfaced after 44 minutes and crawled back up the beach. All in all was a nice dive to start with. Back the gear and left at about 19:30 sun still shining.

Next day we had 3 boat dives planned on one of Fathom and Blues ribs. First dive was on the landing craft and Bombardon Unit. Again 2 buddy pairs and i was leading mine as it was a pretty simple dive. Rolled into the water and descended next to the line. The vis was only about 2m here water temp was 8 again. swam around the landing craft and found the line to the Bombardon Unit. This was a bit more interesting to swim around, only because now and again everything would go dark when you swam underneath it. After swimming around it a tried to find the line again. I hadnt swam quite far enough around but realised and went back and found it straight away. On the way back the visibility dropped to 0 because of silt that had been kicked up. I nearly swam straight into the landing craft when we got to it. Back up the line and end off dive.

Straight to the next dive site Countess of Erne, it was pretty cold sitting on the boat in a wet semi dry for 60 minutes but at least the sun was out. Down the line again and just a slow swim around, penetrating whenever we could. Again vis was around 2m and there wasnt as much silt. Interesting to swim around, lots of dead mans fingers and other things i dont know what they were, i really need to buy a book on British marine life.

We headed back to shore for some such and to get cylinders refilled before our 3rd dive. We were heading out to the dredger but unfortunately the boat broke down on the way they so we couldn't do the dive. Scimitar diving sent a boat out to tow us in and that was the days diving over.

Next day we decided to dive the Royal Adelaide, not realising what we were letting ourselves in for. Took us a while to find the marker on the beach for it, then we had to lug all our kit up on down the beach to the water. Took us about 90 minutes just to do that. Its a long walk with kit. First 2 went in found the wreck quickly and had an amazing dive, they said the current was picking up quickly. Me and my buddy then went in. As we had been told there was a strong current and it was picking up quickly. We didnt find the wreck as we couldnt kick against the current enough to get to it. According to our shore cover we were pretty close. Was a shame not to see it but i will next time im in portland.

That afternoon we had another boat dive planned but i sat it out as i was still pretty cold from the first dive. Instead i wandered down to the O'three store to look at dry suits, though decided they were too expensive for me. The other 3 did a drift dive just out of the harbour and had a great time.

Today we got up early as it was our last day, payed our bill and fathom and blues then decided to head to Lulworth cove for a quick shore dive before we headed back to loughborough. Again quite a long walk with kit to the water and got a few strange looks from people on the beach as we were kitting up. This was my 100th dive and it was disappointing. Max depth of 5m and no marine life at all. Wouldnt bother going back again.

All in all a good trip and would be perfect as a club trip as there are so many different dives to do. I look forward to going back, with a dry suit!
 

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Getting Grumpy, Old and Twisted
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Nice report, Portland is a great intro to UK sea diving. You'll enjoy your next UK sea dives even more after this.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Next ones are St Abbs next week, pity i wont be able to gewt a dry suit by then. Its moved to the top of my list of must buys
 

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Great report Repta. Sorry to hear the vis was poo in the harbour. It honestly can be good sometimes! And you really do need a drysuit!
 

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Great report! Well done to you on your first foray in the UK. St Abbs was 6/7 degrees last weekend. Get a drysuit as soon as you can!
 

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TTFN
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Nice report. Like the others say get yourself a drysuit (try eBay - if it doesn't fit then just sell it on), the water is just about warm enough now to dive comfortably.

Don't give up on Lulworth Cove, it's too early in the season to see much life, easterly winds wouldn't have helped the vis, on a good day it is as good as Chesil.
 

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Beach-bum-Blonde Mafia ;o)
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Nice write up Repta :thumbsup:

And it goes to show to others that not all YD members are of the well'ard techie disposition :teeth:
 

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Owner of the Frankinspo
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After 4 minutes I checked my air and 80 bar had gone, not good i really needed to control my breathing.
Don't worry too much about air used at the start of the dive. When taking a cylinder into cold water the gas compresses and you often lose 30 or 40 bar just jumping in, especially if the sun has warmed the cylinders and raised the pressure beforehand.
 

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a few points for you in a wetsuit. , and i dive in one all the time,

when you hit the water DONT decend strait away. wait untill the initial shock has passed then start the dive. you do suck the gas alot more when your body isnt comfortable. its better to spend a minute or two on the surface where you can breath free air, and be in sight of the shore/boat incase your body decides its not chuffed with whats its asked to do

have a dive time in mind and stick to it.
when im diving at the moment in 8 degrees i have 30-35 minutes as an acceptable dive time, 40 is the agreed time which can be extended if its being interesting or lots of munchables around and 50 is the hard limit beyond which i am risking myself and will not do. i intend it to be 40 mins to surface not 40 mins to stops.

make sure you have achange of clothes to jump into IMEDIATLY you take the suit off. or have some seriouse wind proofing with you to put on and then a warm layer over the top.

other than that you have picked the worng time to start uk wet diving. its hard at the moment, but its easier if you start when its "warm" and get used to it as it cools down
 
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