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Mark W
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Well, a cracking weekend was had by all down in Plymouth. I joined a well-established group of divers of whom I can say that all of them were great guys and had a really good Craic.

We all trundled down on Friday night - some from as far away as Lancaster, myself from Malton, and the majority from Malvern.

After trying to find the correct camp site (helps if the directions to the camp site you're given correspond to the actual campsite you're booked into) we pitched up and went to the pub.

Saturday morning came round and as the sea mist cleared we trundled down to Mount Batten where we picked up the hard boat, and headed off to the Rosehill.

The sea state was calm, which made for good progress. The Rosehill was in about 30 to 35m and made for a good dive. We dropped down another boat's shot (they kindly let us do this) into decent viz - about 10m lateral but you could see the surface from the top of the Boilers at about 20m. We had a good look around - some of the guys saw the congers which live in the heat-exchanger pipes which are on the side of the boilers, and we saw the usual pollack, bib and so-on. There was quite a few edible crabs of which some were decent size. The wreck is quite slipped and on it's side - it's quite difficult to make out which is which, and even though we tried to find the gun, we missed it (although a few of the other guys found it).
We *just* went into deco, and slowly made our way back to the boat.

The second dive was the James Egan Layne which I have to say is one of the best dives I've done in British waters. The viz was exceptionally good, and with the sun out made for a fantastic dive.
We dropped down the bouy line onto the bow, and dropped into the hold to the bottom at 22m, and went down the starboard side of the ship going through the bulkhead plating which have rusted away just leaving the supporting struts to give an eerie underwater steel girder 'multi-storey car park' feel to the whole wreck. I even felt like some of it reminded me of the World Trade centre with the vertical and horizontal structures. Nonetheless, we got to the flattened out section and decided to head back along the port side, still inside the wreck. We saw quite a few conger and various other fish and made our way through various rooms and passages to the point on the port side where the torpedo had hit the vessel. You could see where the metal was peeled back as the ordanance had pushed through the plating and the deck struts which had fallen due to the force of the collision.
We went out through this hole and round the bow of the boat, slowly rising as we went, seeing the name on the bow and arriving on the bow as the rest of the group did and sitting at 6m conveniently doing our stops!

We had some swell to contend with when we got back onto the boat, which made a few green faces, but we made it back for 4pm which gave the nitrox guys time to get a fill before the shops shut.

Wandering back to the camp site feeling tired but happy, went to the pub. Nuff-said.

Day 2 and we get up to find it's dreadfully foggy. I figured it I wasn't in the mood to cook so I ended up trundling to the McDonalds which happily was on the route between our camp site and Mount Batten.

We got out on the boat and the fog lifted a little, so it was still thick but 1/2k viz rather than 100yards. Going towards the Perseir there was a large discussion about whether we were actually going to get in today, as obviously if you're a few miles out if the fog comes down thick and you come up on your DSMB there's a possibility you might not be seen so we all played it safe and used the shotline as the only entry/exit point to make it simple. This meant our navigation skills had to be top notch.

Which they were. The wreck was in 30m and pretty broken up, apart from the boilers which is what we dropped down onto. After swimming just a few yards the viz cleared amazingly to about 20m or so, and it was at that point I felt someone poke my right arm - I looked up to see my buddy pointing in front of him with amazed looking eyes. There was a massive shoal of fish which were diamond shaped, quite large and silvery-white with yellow tinges and cod-type barbs on their chin. There were thousands and thousands of them all going across the wreck in front of us - and it was stunning to see. We watched the shoal disappear and moved off across the wreck, and I found a cuttlefish, so we played for a while and then turned round. Went back across the broken up wreck - almost like it had imploded with the plates strewn everywhere and girders all over the place. The wreck was quite strewn. We then bumped into some of the others who had been the other way, and all made our way up the shot to a stop, and then out.
When we got back on the surface the fog had cleared but the swell was still in effect.

We had a slight detour to tow back in a fishing boat who had a trouble with his gearbox, then we headed off to a Scenic dive called 'Angel Reef' just outside the breakwater. We dropped down onto the pinnacle which was at 10m and it was a cone-shaped structure all the way to the sea floor at 20m. Saw a few dogfish, loads of urchins (some with a faint red colour, some with a faint blue colour), and noticed that the Crown of Thorns starfish seems to be eating everything in it's path. There's thousands of them.

After milling around the reef for a bit we deployed the DSMB I had in my pocket, and we did a long stop at 6m as our final dive ended.

Everyone was tired but had a great time as far as I can tell. The Boat we were on was 'Amoco' run by Dave Booker, and I can heartily recommend him and his boat! Thanks to Dave P. who organised the whole thing (it was wicked!).

Attached is a pic of a conger I took on the J-E-L in one of the tubes on the port inside of the wreck.


Also, here's a superstructure shot for those of you who've done the JEL before you'll recognise it!
 
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