(On hard boat out of Shoreham)
We met in the Shoreham Café at 10.15am. Julian, Alan K, Alex K, Stuart, Bob, Malcolm, Steve and I. After a tasty breakfast we headed to the yacht club to meet our Skipper Chris West and his able assistant John. We loaded up the boat and were advised to kit up before we left as the sea was quite rough. Once on board we headed out quite quickly and yes the sea was rough. We were heading into the waves and across the waves most of which wanted to join us on deck! I found sitting on the floor with my back to the wheelhouse and my eyes closed the most comfortable position. Julian assumed his usual ‘head tucked under his wing’ sleeping pose and the others did their best!
Once we arrived at the dive site the wreck was located and the anchor dropped, it was then retrieved as it hadn’t caught on the wreck and dropped again. The waves by now where becoming very tall with only short troughs and so 3 of our number fed the fish!
John then descended the shot to secure it to the wreck and we were told to kit up and be ready to go. Alan and Alex were going in first followed by Steve and me. Unfortunately Alex was unable to dive so Alan joined us in a 3 and in we went. As we descended the shot the water cleared and we had 5-6m visibility. We had needed to enter the water with some haste and so hadn’t had time to make a plan for 3 people. Luckily our excellent training kicked in and those club night discussions of signals we use. The City of London, or Ikeda, is a reasonable sized wreck with plenty of life on it, it has an area you can swim into, lots of metal structure to identify and crabs and lobsters in abundance.
We spent 45mins exploring the wreck and then Steve asked if we were ready to ascend at which point he also pointed out a very large crab strolling across the sand at the end of the wreck, Alan highlighted it with his torch so I dropped to my knees, flipped it on it’s back and scooped it into my goody bag! My first crab and 27cm across its shell! Alan then sent up his DSMB and we followed.
On returning to the surface we found Malcolm and Bob still onboard with the skipper. Alan was first up the ladder, the swell was still large so this was quite a challenge. I followed, with help from Malcolm and then the skipper motored over to Steve. Stuart and Julian’s blobs were already on the surface and they followed shortly after.
We opted not to do a drift dive as 6 of our number were feeling decidedly off colour. We returned to Shoreham with both the wind and sea in our favour and the sun shining until 10mins out when the heavens opened and saved us the job of having to rinse our dive gear! (JM)