Portland Bill

Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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Anthony Mould
Diving Officer
Posts: 69
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:28 pm

Portland Bill

Post by Anthony Mould »

Another dive report for the site.

Sunday started drizzly and early, with a 6am departure from Portsmouth to get across to Dive Beyond at Portland Bill. The plan for the day was a pair of easy dives from RHIBs to get myself and another new Diver acquainted with UK waters, all organised by Doc Adey at Swanwick Divers (BSAC 2589) https://m.facebook.com/groups/807446719 ... le_browser

The drive down to Portland was smooth, with a dramatic view of the Bill spoilt by drizzle, but the day brightened up as we met up and sorted plans. I buddied with a rebreather diver who wanted to be chilled out while he tried a new camera and we headed out to the first site, the wreck of the James Fennell, a small admiralty traweler that ran aground in fog.

The trip round the bill was smooth thanks to light winds and we dropped in on what looked like a complete section of hull. As we pottered about looking for wildlife I was astounded at how much there was to see, from tiny delicate filter feeders to what I am told was a rare sighting of a crawfish. What really struck me was how organic the structure of this wreck was, its broken ribs looking like jutting teeth and the whole ones looking like, well, ribs. Back on the surface it was chocolate and hot blackcurrant and back to the harbour. By this point it was gorgeous and I immediately proceeded to get slightly sunburnt as I’m ginger.

We had a choice for dive 2 of pulpit rock at the end of the Bill or Balaclava Bay, the latter was chosen to give us a sporting chance to get home through the holiday traffic on the A31. This was a drift dive, going from about 0.3 kts on entry to about 1.5 kts on Exit. We dropped in and popped up SMBs and then let the current take us, it was like being on a drive by safari! Crabs, wrasse, and all manner of beautiful foliage abounded. The big thing that struck me was how much hard work the SMB was though, especially when the surface water sped up, so I gladly handed it back to my buddy about 2/3s of our time through the dive after takin it to let him take some photos. We decided it was getting a bit fast and called our dive about 5 mins before our time limit and found the RHIB about to come over to recall us as the Cox thought it was fast too. Up we all came and back in we went.

All in all a fantastic day out with a friendly bunch from Swanwick which let me tick off a few more things in Dive Leader and made me think, “this UK diving lark is pretty good!”

Photos taken by one of our photographers are here: https://m.facebook.com/hugh.waite.7796/ ... p_activity

Matt B
Chris Blackburn
Club Member
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:32 pm

Re: Portland Bill

Post by Chris Blackburn »

Sounds like a great way to spend a day.
Maria H
Posts: 1592
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:05 pm

Re: Portland Bill

Post by Maria H »

I can see why you accepted the job offer on the south coast Matt. It beats Eccy or Capers hands down!
Matt Burleigh
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue May 22, 2018 10:12 am

Re: Portland Bill

Post by Matt Burleigh »

It was lovely out, a rare day with Easterlies so the sites on the West of Portland were very calm. Hopefully I get a call from Otter soon so I can do it in a drysuit that fits!
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