I took Tom’s space on a Liverpool University club trip to Swanage. I was thinking Club 18-30 but was shocked to discover that the Chorley branch of SAGA out-parties the students on dive trips
We dived off Spike, a twin hulled boat with plenty of deck space, operated by Divers Down. They are based on Swanage Pier, and were also able to provide fills, so it was all very convenient.
I’ve heard great reports about diving Swanage Pier, and wasn’t disappointed by the night dive we did under the pier. The main highlight for me was a large cuttlefish that stayed around for ages, maybe attracted to our torches. Also a free swimming lobster and a pipefish (a close relation of the seahorse). All in all, a lovely night dive with a max depth of less than 4 metres.
Kyarra wreck – viz was 2-3m, so it was hard to figure out which bits of this flattened wreck we were looking at.
Fleur de Lys & Ammo Barge – Fleur de Lys is a trawler wreck, and there is a rope that can be followed to an ammo barge. Viz was better than the Kyarra, and there was more life. We saw another large cuttlefish.
Drift dive Old Harry rocks – the white chalk cliffs of Old Harry rocks are spectacular above water https://jurassiccoast.org/visit/attract ... rry-rocks/ and so I was expecting great things underwater as well. The vis wasn’t great as we drifted across a fairly flat and featureless seabed at a fair pace. We saw one cat shark, and a few colourful sea squirts and starfish. There was probably loads of small marine life, but we whizzed past it at speed! I like drift dives, and this was fun but not as impressive as the drift dives off the Isle of Man or off the west coast of Scotland.
Aeolian Sky wreck – a much bigger wreck, but viz not great so it was heard to figure out what we were looking at, and we ended up re-tracing our steps a few times to avoid drifting off the wreck.
All in all, an enjoyable weekend and I'd certainly recommend it if you're in the area, but there is probably better diving to be had with less than a 6 hours drive & that don't involve the M6 southbound The vis probably wasn't helped by it being the biggest tides of the year (equinox spring tides for the more technically minded).
It was also Swanage folk festival while we were there, so there was quite a carnival atmosphere and strangely dressed morris dancers all around town. For once, we weren't the most strangely dressed, even in drysuits or undersuits.
P.S., if anyone suggests that you go glamping, don't be fooled in to thinking there is anything glam about it
Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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