Trip Reports‎ > ‎

2011 Westbay April

Wantage Dive Club – Eight get wet, warm & serenaded(!?) in West Bay April 2011

https://sites.google.com/site/wantagediveclub/trip-reports/2011-westbay-april/mark_westbay.jpg?attredirects=0This years Easter diving was from West Bay, one of the club’s regular venues but one usually visited later in the season but a welcome change of venue from our usual Easter at nearby Portland. A full boat of eight divers was going to dive over three days from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, the weather forecast looked good, the planning completed and camp site booked so Steve and I picked up the Osprey RIB on the Thursday afternoon and set off on another mystery road tour powered by Sat Nav!

An uneventful 3 hour trip later and we fuelled the boat and parked and locked it up for the evening at the top of the slip at West Bay. Steve and I have become slightly paranoid about the welfare of our club’s longest serving boat following the warning words we got from Roly (our former Equipment Officer who stores the boats) ofIf anything happens to this boat when you’ve got it don’t bother coming back!. As his company cuts large steel girders up to order we decided to take him seriously and double check everything!

https://sites.google.com/site/wantagediveclub/trip-reports/2011-westbay-april/img_0284-300x225.jpg?attredirects=0Arriving at Highlands End camp site at Eype, a club favourite with good facilities (but sadly they won’t take the boat in high season) we found Chris had already arrived, set up camp and eaten his ostrich steak, (fancied a change from fillet), so we pitched the tent and the three of us walked down into West Bay so Steve and I could eat fish and chips, met Mike and Amanda and had a well earned pint!

Good Friday dawned bright, clear and still so breakfast, pay for and launch the boat, meet Caroline, David and Neil, tell everyone the buddy pairs and off to Saw Tooth ledges for what promised to be a gentle drift. As we had diving coxswains Chris and I went in first to allow me to take over from Mike. Visibility wasn’t great, we traversed a sandy bottom after a free descent and just after we came to one of the ledges Chris pointed at his regulator and switched to his octopus so back to the boat after 10 minutes with little chance to see more than a few Cuckoo Wrasse! David didn’t have a much better time as his lovely red front entry suit (makes him look like Santa) decided he should have a bath immediately he got in! The other 5 managed to dive without technical difficulties, so our first morning ended with Chris cleaning his regs and David going to O3 at Portland to get his normal suit back after repair.

https://sites.google.com/site/wantagediveclub/trip-reports/2011-westbay-april/img_0302-300x200.jpg?attredirects=0The afternoon was the Baygitano in 20 metres just off Lyme Regis. It’s a club favourite with all the Bib and Congers that live there, the shot landed on the wreck and everyone had a great 40 minutes with 10 metre visibility. The boilers and engine block are really easy to find, Blenies are in the boiler tubes and Chris and I also found an imposing looking lobster. AA great dive for all and it was clear, calm and very sunny and hot on the surface. So a great finish to the day after the kit issues in the morning.

As the boat was being parked at the harbour overnight, Steve and I went to Morrisons to fuel up for the next day and actually remembered to put the petrol in as well as get ourselves a pasty unlike a previous trip’s boat crew!

Our evening meal was being cooked by David at the campsite, so we had one of our great team effort evening meals with Mike and Amanda walking up from their B&B in West Bay to join in. Even our Australian neighbour called by to compliment Chris on his vesuvian snoring overnight and saying he didn’t know why the night before he’d told us to tell his kids off if they made a noise!

https://sites.google.com/site/wantagediveclub/trip-reports/2011-westbay-april/img_0300-300x200.jpg?attredirects=0The afternoon was the Baygitano in 20 metres just off Lyme Regis. It’s a club favourite with all the Bib and Congers that live there, the shot landed on the wreck and everyone had a great 40 minutes with 10 metre visibility. The boilers and engine block are really easy to find, Blenies are in the boiler tubes and Chris and I also found an imposing looking lobster. AA great dive for all and it was clear, calm and very sunny and hot on the surface. So a great finish to the day after the kit issues in the morning.

The second day dawned as clear, calm and bright as the first, and we set sail for the St Dunstan for the morning dive. There were two other RIBs on the wreck, so we lowered a shot, and Steve and I stayed on the surface while the rest of the boat dived. Everybody had a good dive on the wreck of this bucket dredger at 31 metres that also had the 10 metre viz we had on the Baygitano, the swim through the middle of the wreck was amazing and we got to see the 2 propellers. The only downside was that David had contracted a sickness bug, so it was his and Caroline’s last dive of the weekend as he had been leaning over the side of the boat a lot!

https://sites.google.com/site/wantagediveclub/trip-reports/2011-westbay-april/img_0312-300x225.jpg?attredirects=0Saturday night being our last night seemed a good reason to treat ourselves at the camp site restaurant, little did some of us we know that we were to be treated to a true Saturday night is cabaret night courtesy of the karaoke kings and queens of West Bay! Wantage’s closet performers of Amanda and a recovered David were spurred on by the next table of some Harley riders and girlfriends from Newbury. Amanda’s rendition of Cockney RebelsCome up and see me led Neil to join in on a duet of Jefferson Starship Built this City before David decided the world should know all about Sweet Caroline. Unfortunately, the six people I saw outside thinking of coming in for a pint didn’t agree and made a hasty escape into the night! Apparently there was also an attempt to murder Delilah but Lyn sensibly restrained Neil, so Amanda committed the pre-meditated offence! Tiger Feet (with backing dancers) and the joint Wantage/Newbury finale of Amarillorounded off an evening without comparison in the history of entertainment!

We dived the East Tennant Reef in the afternoon, the write ups said it was one of the best marine life areas along the Dorset coast, there were loads of weekend fishing boats out but after 30 minutes of finning round a silty bottom, albeit with some fan coral to look at, we all decided that either we had the wrong reef (not according to the GPS) or substances had altered the reviewers perceptions; still you can’t win them all!

https://sites.google.com/site/wantagediveclub/trip-reports/2011-westbay-april/img_0293-300x225.jpg?attredirects=0Saturday night being our last night seemed a good reason to treat ourselves at the camp site restaurant, little did some of us we know that we were to be treated to a true Saturday night is cabaret night courtesy of the karaoke kings and queens of West Bay! Wantage’s closet performers of Amanda and a recovered David were spurred on by the next table of some Harley riders and girlfriends from Newbury. Amanda’s rendition of Cockney Rebels Come up and see me led Neil to join in on a duet of Jefferson Starship Built this Citybefore David decided the world should know all about Sweet Caroline. Unfortunately, the six people I saw outside thinking of coming in for a pint didn’t agree and made a hasty escape into the night! Apparently there was also an attempt to murder Delilah but Lyn sensibly restrained Neil, so Amanda committed the pre-meditated offence! Tiger Feet (with backing dancers) and the joint Wantage/Newbury finale of Amarillo rounded off an evening without comparison in the history of entertainment!

The following morning we had reduced to 5 divers due to kit and David’s sickness bug, the wind had got up and so rather than take a choppy ride out to the Gibel Hamman with the possibility of not being able to dive, we dived the St Dunstan again. We had another really good relaxed dive with a pair and a three and got back with plenty of time to take the boat out of the water, wash it off and enjoy lunch, an ice cream and a good journey home. [ED: Mark had an emotional farewell with the Harbour Master, not sure how his knees got grass stains].

A great weekend’s diving, helpful locals and some unexpected entertainment gave us a great Easter start to the season!

Mark Giddins

Watch the video: