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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As Mrs Calamity and I have just been for our first dives at Stoney Cove, I thought I’d post this trip report for those who, like us, are usually found diving in the big salty quarry known as “the sea”.

To be honest, we wouldn’t normally drive six hours from Portland to go diving in a quarry, but we had a family birthday and a wedding to go to that conveniently both happened to be within a half hour of Stoney so we thought we’d give it a go - perish the thought of a weekend without diving!

Both of our visits were on weekdays, and there was plenty of space in the lower car park – even arriving at lunchtime on a sunny Friday afternoon in half-term week. Having said that, there were still plenty of divers around, so I guess it must get pretty busy at the weekends.

Our first visit was spent exploring the sights in the intermediate area. Good visibility (three or four metres), reduced weighting requirement, and no current meant that the dive had a very relaxed “confined water” feel. Consequently we didn’t use much gas and did a leisurely tour of most of the underwater attractions on the east side of the quarry. Mrs Calamity (who almost never ventures anywhere near an overhead environment) was quite happy exploring inside the Stanegarth, which really says something about how good the conditions were.

We visited the expert area of the quarry during our second visit. The visibility was even better than when we first visited – the bottom was clearly visible as we got ready at the Bus Stop. Our dive plan was straight forward enough – go down to the deep hydrobox, back up the wall to the bus, then head to the Stanegarth and ascend using the shot line. However, when we got to the bottom of the ramp the hydrobox was nowhere to be seen. Hmm... We thought about scouting round for it, but by then a large cloud of silt had reduced vis to a couple of metres and Mrs Calamity was keen to get out of the murk and into clear water to the south. So off we went, finishing the dive with the sun shining down onto schools of fish beneath the overhanging sides of the quarry, and a long surface swim back to the bar.

So, what was our overall verdict? The underwater attractions made the dives enjoyable, but not so enjoyable that we’ll be coming back regularly. I read a post elsewhere that described Stoney as being a halfway house between a swimming pool and the sea – I agree, and I would certainly consider come back if I needed to try out new kit or techniques in a controlled environment.

Compared with our usual sea diving we did find it was very much colder. A combination of wearing our dry suits and plenty of cheesy chips between dives helped combat the nine degree chill. The OW students we saw bobbing around in wetsuits should definietly get medals for bravery, and possibly purple hearts for frostbite to their nether regions. Vis was generally excellent with very little silt, except at the deepest part of the quarry (I guess it mostly settles at the lowest point) which made navigation easy in the intermediate areas but a little more challenging at the bottom of the quarry.

Finally, the map we were given when we paid was less helpful than it could have been. We now have a better map we found on the internet, and I reckon we could have found the deep hydrobox had we known it was actually off to the side of the ramp, and been a little more careful with all that silt. Oh well, perhaps we will have to go back after all…

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Thats MISTER Blue Boots to you....
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It is interesting that you say you felt colder in Stoney... I know people say that the sea is generally warmer than inland sites, yet the recent temperatures has disagreed with this. I am regularly getting 13 in Stoney right now, and 11 in the sea, yet in the sea I feel warmer. I don't get that... maybe it is because there is more to concentrate on in the sea ?
 

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Nice report!

I'm amazed that it's still so cold! Brrrrrrrrrrr! Not been there since Feb when it was a balmy (or is that barmy?) 6-7-ish centigrade.

If vis is good down in the deep zone the Hydrobox can actually be seen from the road (only seen it that good once) but easiest way is to drop off the road at a diagonnal just after the 22m ledge.

Enjoy your next visit! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Water Temp

Thanks to my O'Three it didn't feel cold at all, but my computer gave me ten degrees at the surface, and nine degress at the bottom. Diving off Portland last week I had fourteen degrees at twenty meters - warm, but the visibilty was terrible.

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