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Continuing our 5 days diving in the south west Lou (Fluice), Jen (Jen S) and I joined the trip organised by Mark Davies diving from Venture (contracted by Deep Blue, Skippered by Pete Fergus).

We arrived in Plymouth on Easter monday evening and after meeting Mark, Kate and John Nortcliff in the Premier Lodge bar we headed to the nearest pub for a bite to eat followed by a quick stroll and a reletively early night.

The next day we met at the world famous Cap'n Jaspers for a bacon roll before heading off to meet the boat on the Mount Batten pontoons. Adrian Kelland and Martin Hall (diving doc) were already on the boat as we loaded up to head out to dive Scylla. Lou, Jen and I dived as a 3 so as we could get some group photos. We dropped down to the seabed at the stern and under the rudders (shame to see no props in place!!) before working our way along the starboard side and onto the heli deck. We had a quick swim though the heli hanger before working along the part side deck up to the bridge before crossing to the starboard side and heading to the bow. We then came back to the bridge and went in for a look. After taking a few pictures (Jen is heading into the Navy in sept (she hopes) so was in heaven!!) we had a look round the superstructure aft of the bridge before headin up the bridge shotline. All in all a nice dive. As people have commented, very clean and sterile, no life at all (I saw one fish!).

Second dive that day was on the old faithful James Egan Layne. I have done this wreck pretty much to death so didn't do too much. A nice 40mins admiring the wildlife! We filled out cylinders at Deep Blue (£5 for a manifolded twin set)

The next day it was just the 5 of us. The sun was shining and the sea was flat calm. I was keen to do the Persier again and thankfully the others where happy. It was a really good call. Viz was 10m+ and there was just one other boat of divers there. I am a big fan of this wreck and it didn't disappoint. Max depth 30m, water temp was tipping 11C for a bit. Lots and lots of fish as always on this wreck. Still keep meaning to drop off the reef next door though!!

We finished the trip with a second dive on the Scylla. The 3 of us had decided to have a good look inside. This we did, spending probably 60% of the dive inside. We went into the stern to start with, then out onto the port side. Back in and forwards to just aft of the bridge, then though the captains cabin and surrounding area. Jen's torch packup up at this point so we had a quick swim though the bridge and then called it a day.

The sharp edges people keep talking about are very real. Looking at the cut outs especially there are some nasty parts. There is also some white sealant type substance on the upper area. Not sure what it was used for. Both Lou and I ended up getting this on our wings. It rubbed off with white spirit.

All in all, a cracking couple of days diving. Thanks very much to Mark Davies for organising everything - including the weather. It was great to meet some YD'ers (Kate, Adrian, John and Doc) and get some top quality diving done at the same time. Venture's skipper Pete Fergus is a very interesting chap, he was in the paras and went through 75% of SAS selection in the 70's before being RTU'd with a wrist injury. He had got many stories to tell about that and his several years of commercial diving, skippering and more recently writing. The boat itself is O.K, he is planning to put a bench down the middle which will make diving on twins a whole lot easier!

Paul
 

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I have to agree, it was a great couple of days and followed on very nicely from our Exmouth jaunt.  All I can add really is that the skipper did a great line in post-dive snacks, including melon and jaffa cakes.  The weather really made the trip and I strongly regret not packing any sun cream!

Lou
 

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<font color='#000080'>Best laid plans of mice and Tim

Now we've all seen the picture of Tim's new baby, and while she is adorable the litttle mite has played havoc with Tim's diving life, even months before she was born. The poor boy has effectively been grounded since January pending the imminent arrival. He's been desperate to get wet!

So, a couple of days before the birth is due his wife says that if he likes he can go away for a couple of days around the Easter break because her parents will be staying over and can look after her, the new baby and the other two kids. Not needing to be told twice Tim is straight on the phone and a plan is hatched. I already had it in mind to head south for the two days after the bank holiday weekend so we decided that we'd go look at The Scylla. A few enquires were made and we found a free boat and I booked it. I told Tim we were on and he went to tell his good wife; who instantly told him that he had another thing coming if he thought he was going off diving and leaving her with the kids on her own!

Bloody hormones! So, having got the ball rolling, Tim couldn't make it. Sorry mate - maybe next time.  


The Venture

This was the boat that I booked and we really lucked-out with this one. The skipper, Peter, provided a service second to none. The boat is clean, modern and well appointed (though some may have difficulty with the ladder which has rather narrow rungs). But it has plenty of room for kit storage and benches for kitting up.

The boat sails from the floating pontoon at the Mount Batten centre which means getting in and out and loading gear is an absolute doddle - no long climbs up slippery harbour ladders.

Where Peter excels is in his customer care. After each dive we were presented with slices of melon to refresh our dry mouths, then hot drinks with buscuits, cake, jam tarts - the lot. Peter also has a varied background in commercial diving and has great stories to tell about his experiences. He's also written a couple of books based around diving and if you're lucky he'll tell you about them. Very entertaining!

The Diving

Paul has pretty much covered it. It was very interesting on The Scylla. Yes, it was completely devoid of life, but it was good to get in and around a wreck in almost total safety. It's still very clean with none of the problems you'd associate with silting. There are holes cut into the side of the ship at regular intervals so it's unlikely that you'd get lost inside without soon finding a way out. As a first introduction to wreck penetration it is absolutely ideal and I'd suggest that if you're looking for that you should get to it soon to make the most of it. We spent most of our time on the upper deck but did venture down to the middle. We did find silt down there which clouded up a bit and that will spread around the whole ship soon.

Around the superstructure there was white silicon sealant everywhere, as Paul mentioned. All the railings were covered in it, and for the life of me I can't understand why. Perhaps someone can shed some light on that? Anyway, take care not to get covered in it!

The other wrecks were new to me and really very good dives. On the Persier we managed to rescue a spider crab caught by some monofilament, which was very pleasing. Loads of life on those to make up for the complete lack on The Scylla.

Back on YD Form

Until recently all the YD trips I'd been on or organised had been excellent. Only when we went to Anglesey a couple of weeks ago did we suffer with awful viz and consequently poor diving. But of course, the company was as good as ever.

With this trip we're back on form! Brilliant weather, great viz and superb diving to go with the ever present good company. Long may it continue.

If you fancy it Peter has a weekend free due to a cancellation on 14th and 15th August. I can't make those dates and will be buggered if I'll organise a trip that I can't go on! If anyone fancies it I can wholeheartedly recommend it. Give Peter a call on 07778 494274.
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>Again, have to agree a very enjoyale trip with four very very enjoyable dives. I will admit I was in heaven on the Scylla (wish they'd left the guns on though!!). The Persier was like an aquarium and the JEL will always be one of my favourites. Thanks to Paul & Lou for putting up with me taking endless photos and for being excellent models!

The boat was pretty cool too - the skipper amazing! I didn't actually eat a proper meal on Wednesday due to the amount of melon/cakes/biscuits I had consummed on board!!

Thanks to Mark for organising the trip. Really nice to meet some fellow YD'ers - I can put faces to names now!!

Hope to meet up again soon,

Cheers,

Jen


PS. Will post some photo's when I get the chance!
 

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<font color='#736AFF'>What a difference from the Anglesey trip! Anglesey was supposed to my introduction to UK diving and I have to be honest, it didn’t grab me. But Plymouth has really opened my eyes to it!

Out of the 4 dives (3 wrecks) that we dived, my favorite was the Persier, purely for the amount of life that was on and around it!

I look forward to having more of the same quality dives very shortly!!!!
 

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How do I get rid of that god damn capital letter in the subject (I can't seem to edit it)? - it is annoying me already!

Paul
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Kate @ April 16 2004,15:21)]What a difference from the Anglesey trip! Anglesey was supposed to my introduction to UK diving and I have to be honest, it didn’t grab me. But Plymouth has really opened my eyes to it!

Out of the 4 dives (3 wrecks) that we dived, my favorite was the Persier, purely for the amount of life that was on and around it!

I look forward to having more of the same quality dives very shortly!!!!
I'm glad Plymouth has made you feel better about UK diving Kate. The Persier is one of my favourites too. I enjoy swimming through the prop tunnel for some reason, finding the rudder and spare prop.

Adrian
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>Ok, so here's some pictures.

This is me.
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>Me pretending to "take a fix" !!!
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>Paul & Lou swimming down starboard side from bow towards bridge.
 
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