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2013 Portland Sept

Making the most of bad wind conditions

Divers: Amanda Johnston, Caroline Prior, Dave Wright, Geoff Paige, Mike Little, Steve Colam

10 days to go – weather doesn’t look too bad. 5 days to go – forecast not quite as good. 2 days to go – winds picked up since I last looked. Day before – it’s blowing a bloody gale, have you seen the forecast? We decide to go to Portland anyway – we’ve paid for the accommodation so might as go. May be we will find some shelter.

Day 1: Saturday
Plan – dive the M2 in Lyme Bay. Slack at 10.30am and let’s leave at 9.30am. Not too much wind visible from our sheltered B&B. Get to the harbour at 8.15am and all’s well. No kit failures and make it for a launch at 9.35am. Really promising although the wind farm generator things are going really fast – surely this is too important. 

OK who wants to drive – Amanda gets to drive out and Geoff to drive back. Calm through the marina and then it get’s more difficult. Those 20mph winds, gusting to 30mph prove more challenging. New plan – get the most experience coxs’n Mike to drive. 10.15am – turn round having almost got to Portland Bill in very challenging sea conditions. We are returning to dive the harbor. ☹

At least it will be easier going back to port with the wind behind us. We made the right call as became so much better. Anyway, low and behold, corr blimey, what did see Steve think he saw – a dolphin. Yes right, too much Guinness from the night before we all think! Another sighting. Clever beggar that is Mike slows down and sure enough there they are. What happens next was we followed dolphins for 30 minutes from Church Ope Cove to almost Portland harbour entrance. Geoff & me got the cameras out and got some pictures (the small spec that you see in a picture is a dolphin is a tough sell!). In total, Caroline & I think that there were probably 11-15 dolphins. We later thought that they were Common Dolphins, although can’t be that common as the local dive skipper had never seen any in Portland.

Back to the diving – we eventually got to dive the Countess of Erme. An OK dive with acceptable viz. It’s not the M2.

[ed: you didn't mention anything about the cream-tea eating competition!]

Day 2: Sunday
Wind has dropped to force 4. Let’s see if we can make it to the M2 – it should be sheltered on other side of the Bill. What a great day. Bit windy but manageable. What was strange was that no one else was on the water. The whole sea to ourselves. Found the wreck, put the shot in (great work Mike) and then dived. A great dive as always – good viz.

Moral of the trip – sometimes you get very lucky. What was forecast to be appalling weekend weather wise turned out to be one of the best weekends of the year. Spending 30 minutes dolphin watching was excellent. Having the M2 to ourselves was great.