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DUE CEO, Booking agent, Coffee maker & Dogsbody...
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SS El de Bayo and HMT Drumtochety – Dover Tue 24 April

After some poor viz reports over the last week or so 11 of us met up at Dover Marina to go out in some fantastic weather and look for a good target wreck with some viz, while we got ready to go Trebor realised he was missing his Undersuit, then while scrounging bits he managed to forget his weightbelt, meanwhile Chasey was pondering how he was going to fit into his old drysuit as his repaired one had not arrived.

Out we went but as there was a sea haze this meant we had to stay away from the lanes so we headed up the East side of the Goodwin Sands till we had some viz and a nice target in the El de Bayo, this is a very big and intact wreck with the decks at a nice 32-33m which I had dived for the first time last year in a very nice 10+m of light viz.

Formally the Urania (That’s what the bell says) this 2058 Ton Steel Steamship built in 1896 by Craig Taylor & Co of Stockton was sailing from Huelva to Rotterdam with a cargo of Iron Ore when she was struck near the engine room by the Liner SS Westmorland in dense fog off the South Goodwin’s. She was so badly damaged she soon filled up and sank in 2 minuets. The Captain and 4 hands being sucked down with her and drowned.

Diving

This is a big and intact wreck with the bulk from the bow back to the break from the collision upright and intact standing 6m proud in a general depth of 38m dropping to 41m in the scour by the bow. The decks are at 32m and very clean of obstructions with the open holds and several masts and spars lying across and off the decks. The forward hold is quite empty and the bow is broken off allowing you to swim out of here and look down at the broken up bow section. There is a hole in the chalk seabed where the bow would have struck it.



The rear of the main section has a bulkhead intact giving it a very square break profile, you can follow the debris including the prop shafts back to the broken off stern section which would be a reasonable dive on its own.

The Dive

Dave had the shot in and we started to kit up, Chasey got through a LOT of KY Gel getting into his suit, GBH stayed attached to the bench then once released had his torch pack up so Mr Torch himself, Gizmo, lent him a spare and Captain Deco decided me and Chasey were taking too long so jumped in only to return a few minuets later to ask in a high pitched voice if anyone could connect his suit hose.

So down we went, there was a lot of plankton from the surface to about 9m but it then cleared up and we hit the wreck at 38m in the pitch black but with a nice 4-5m of viz in our torches. It was immediately apparent that the shot was inside the wreck as we had dropped into the forward hold and were surrounded by metal.

Up onto the deck we went with me reeling off and Chasey and Captain Deco in a loose Clusterfcuk formation, along the decks we went having a good rummage, the viz was great for concentrating your attention, Jay waved a top quality porthole at me but I convinced him it was a toilet seat and we binned it, moving on we got towards the stern break and while here Jay realised he was on 21% to my 29% and Marks 1.1 setpoint on his KISS Rebreather so set off back ahead of us.

Me and Mark finally decided to head back for me to meet Chunderfish who showed me a Reserve Gas Signal, which apparently is some Yank Cave Troll signal for “ Stop there, we are using your line, and want some more time before you reel it in”

After a suitable pause while I watched my stops click up a bit more we headed off back to find everyone else but 501 Diver had gone, so up I went, while Chasey chased a last Lobster.

A very good dive with 40 min of bottom time and a routine 24 min of assent and stops using 29% Backgas and 52% Deco Gas in 10 Degrees water.


Back Row - GBH, Paul Oliver, Madscuba, Captain Deco, Desperation, Trebor, Dovershark
Front - Mark Chase, Chunderfish, Gizmo, G Wizz.

Dive 2 – HMT Drumtochety

Captain Deco, Gizmo, Dovershark, Trebor, Chunderfish

Back to Dover we went for a very nice lunch before meeting again for Dive 2, we went out Viz hunting and our first target looked quite murky so we pushed out to the edge of the lanes and HMT Drumtochety an Armed Trawler of the Dover Patrol that sank after striking a mine on 29 Jan 1918.

Dovershark and Captain Deco Viz hunting :)

Slack was very late, the sun was up and we had a 5 hour surface interval, the plankton was thick again but below 10m it cleared up and we landed on the wreck to a very nice 5m of Dark Viz. This wreck is very upright, intact and proud in 35m, Jay reeled off and was straight into the holds, I generally floated around above the holds looking in and we had a very nice look around.

The wreck is a bit small for 10 Divers but we managed to untangle each others lines and all had a cracking 2nd dive. For me this was 34 min to a max of 31m in 11 Degrees water with only a safety stop to do.


Dovershark realises that having lent Rob his Undersuit trousers Rob always goes Commando :eek:mg: :eek:

A rather excellent days diving.
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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I am bloody convinced that neoprene shrinks. I used to fit in that dry suit with a 200g thinsulate under it and today I was a tight squeeze in a base layer :D I looked like Tina Streater in her silver Lycra jobbie but with a few more lumps all in the wrong place :D

Many thanks to G-Wiz for lending me a suit inflation hose as I had forgotten my old suit had an Apex fitting.

Famous last words from Nigel: Don't worry, Ill leave your repaired suit on the boat :rolleyes: :D

Bloody annoying thing was I had a great dive for trim and balance, best so far with the new KISS and now I am concerned Ill put my proper suit on and it will all go to rat poo again :D

Many thanks to Paul for doing the line laying, and many thanks to Captin Deco for the best comedy moment when I realized he had a blue light on his head during the dive :D once a copper always a copper. I was waiting for him to nick someone for speed finning :D

The dive ended all to quickly, I was having a great time. I really think that wreck deserves a look in good viz. The the "Paul Oliver" 5m (bout 2m to you and me) was adequate but could stand a tad of improvement if the decks are to offer safe penetration diving.

Just as we were ascending the shot I spotted a monster lobster so I dropped back for a go at it. Sadly (for me) it was well inside the wreck and i had no way of flushing it out. Shame as it was a good 6-7lb.

All in all a cracking dive. It was a bit short but with just a base layer on I couldn't have lasted much longer anyway. Deco boy and Paul were great dive buddies as usual.

Oh and i would have offered the Jaffa cakes around again but ChunderFish ate them ALL.

Role on tomorrow.

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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"Cracking"days diving.

Well it was an early start to get down to Dover for the 8am meet time. As usual we all said our hello's and struggled with our dive kit to Daves boat Neptune.
My buddy Rob (TREBOR) then informes me that he had infact left his undersuit at home even though when i met him at his house he had stated that he had packed the van the night before, like FUKC did he. Oh well i had a cheap set of thermals he could use so lent him them. Dives were great and Paul has described them really well as always. Little narked on the first but that soon went after about 2-3mins of leaving the shot. No spidge this time even though i did see one HUGE ass artillery shell, that was fizzing on the decks and cautiously finned away from. On the return trip i finally realised that Trebor had been diving MY! thermals without underware! And quote him "BUT I NEVER WEAR UNDERWARE" Oh well they have now been permanantley passed over to him as ScuabJay was immitating him using them to wipe his "BITS". Thankgod they only cost £14 from Asda.
All in all a great days diving, great food during the surface interval and a well deserved beer folwing the days events.
Again Dover has proved to deliver some top notch diving even though the vis could have been slightly better.
Cheers TREBOR for another uneventful dive.

Thanks to all for a great day.

Catch you soon.

Adie

PS very annoyed that i could not make the Henry B Plant dive today. for all you that dived it please post a trip report and pics so i can see the fun you had.
 

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Creature of the night
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Sounds like a great day out, I'm gutted I couldn't make any of this brace of dives.

Did Baloo trample anyone on the shot? ;)

Safe diving,
Steve
 

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Doyen of the Dodgy Dances, whilst being too legit,
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Getting a bit paranoid!!

Me and Mark finally decided to head back for me to meet Chunderfish who showed me a Reserve Gas Signal, which apparently is some Yank Cave Troll signal for “ Stop there, we are using your line, and want some more time before you reel it in”
I think I should explain why Chunderfish and I were stealing Paul's line. I had had a bit of a mare of a time with it up until that point.
It started as soon as I hit the water. As I entered I felt a cool trickle of water enter into the left leg of my drysuit, I checked my pee-valve to make sure it was completely closed - it was. The leak wasn’t too severe and my undersuit was doing a good job of soaking up the water so I carried on.
As we descended the shot, the early plankton bloom created a dark curtain that blocked all of the rather glorious but hazy sun from penetrating below 25m. So this was going to be a dark dive. No real problems, I had volunteered for reeling off duties and away we go. Dianne and I had already discussed that we didn’t need to go racing off and cover all of the wreck (just as well really as it turned out).
So at the bottom of the shot, unclip the reel. For some reason I could not work it loose. I had placed it on my left d-ring, which was not a wise choice, as it had got caught up with stage cylinder and I couldn’t get it off. Dianne tried once and failed then finally by yanking the stage out of the way she unclipped it. Hoorah at last , in fact I pretty sure I heard her give a faint cheer. By this time I was a bit cheesed off with myself for clipping it in such a stupid place!
I started to reel off and Dianne moved off ahead of me. We had gone a few metres before it dawned on me that I had to tie the line off at places. Thankfully we hadn’t gone too far and I backtracked a little and found a suitable tie off. ”Doh”, I thought, “get it together”. By this time Dianne was a few metres ahead of me and towards the limit of my visibility.
I caught her up finding another tie off along the way to find she had stopped and was indicating it was a dead end, at this moment I realised we had swam further into the hold and were surrounded by metal. I will admit to having a small paddy at that point and I signalled Dianne a single thumbs up which we had agreed earlier meant I’m not happy I want to go back. (two thumbs up meant I’m really not happy I wanna go home)
At the moment in time, my thoughts immediately turned back to Garf’s experience in Scapa where he and John swam straight from the shot into the wreck and got lost. Now our situation was NOWHERE near that. For a start I had hold of the reel in my hand and we were only two tie offs from the shot. The combined things of leaky suit, the incident with unclipping the reel and the poor vis was at that point enough for me. I was even hearing things in I could have sworn my right post was leaking. Somewhat paranoid.

We returned to the shot and I just hovered there holding the shot. Dianne signalled she was going to have a look around the shot and then along the line left by Paul. It didn’t even register that she meant for me to follow her along the line. When she came back and signalled again, I got the message this time but was still paranoid about my apparently leaking right post. I signalled Dianne about this and she checked - I was all clear. I shook myself from the paranoia and continued on along Paul’s line which went up and over the hold onto the deck. We mooched along the line for a while and I started to appreciate just what a fantastic wreck this was. Unfortunately we met up with Paul and Mark all too soon who were reeling back to head to the shot. So we about turned and made our way back to the shot.
So thats how we ended up on Paul and Marks line sorry chaps it wasn't Dianne's fault but mine!!

Even with that experience I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I thought Dumtochety was beautiful covered in Anenomes.
A BIG THANKS to Chunderfish for being a top buddy, putting up with my shenanigans on the first dive and in the end making it a pretty good one and as ever to Paul for organising the day. I am becoming quite a convert to the dover way of diving.

Mark
 

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What a great write up - thoroughly enjoyed diving with you Mark - it will be my turn to reel off next time & this afternoon will be practising reeling off in the garden! The only thing that spoilt our dive was Paul, turning his one and wanting his line back - if he just kept it white like the others, we wouldn't have known it was him......

Anyway, I shall compile a list for us line-jumpers...

Paul Oliver - bright green - taut as piano wire - but usually ends in tears...
Mark Chase -yellow - taut in places - may result in a mis-calculated deco
Trebor - white - goes to some good places - deco is run to a strict discipline.
Chunders - will be pink - BEWARE

Dianne
 

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Steve S said:
Did Baloo trample anyone on the shot? ;)
No, he really is getting quite graceful in his old age :D

Dianne
 

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Creature of the night
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No, he really is getting quite graceful in his old age :D

Dianne
It must be just me he likes to trample then ;) glad you've decided to go with the pink line, it keeps our configurations standardized :D

Safe diving,
Steve
 

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It must be just me he likes to trample then ;) glad you've decided to go with the pink line, it keeps our configurations standardized :D

Oohhhhhhh, I forgot the GUSAC standards for a moment there & you had already booked pink - we'll make it our official colour & I'll be round later with the pink paint for ya cylinders!!

Dianne

Glad you are keeping an eye on things & not letting our standards slip!!
 
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