Paul Clunas & Julian Avis
Julian and I took the last 2 places on the Sea-Zone out of Newhaven, plan was to do the TR Thompson followed by a drift. Total of 8 divers on the boat, the other 6 were experienced divers from Bexley.
The Sea-Zone is a 10m Aqua Bell hard boat with a 300hp diesel , GPS plotter, sounder, loo, and plenty of dry storage space, Mark the skipper, a nice chap and also a diver. No lift but good entry/exit point and ladder.
As the weather was set to deteriorate the skipper opted for a site closer inshore, the MV Lancer II, a fishing vessel converted to a minesweeper (like the Northcoates) We are the last pair to drop in, surface viz was poor and only got worse as we descended, this was exacerbated by the loss of light at 12m so it became a nil viz, night dive at 23m! We are able to feel out way around and become ‘intimate’ with the wreck, finding the bow and other recognizable parts in the murk. 35 minutes was enough, blob deployed, safety stop then back on board for hot drinks and buttered scones, how civilized!
Skipper suggested we did the drift further West for improved viz, set off towards Brighton for a 45 minutes steam (more coffee and scones) Arrived at the South West Rocks, a reef varying in height from 1-4 m in 12-13m , deployed a shot to ensure we landed close by, then popped an SMB when we were on the reef, tried initially to swim along the reef against the current but became a real drag on the blob, turned around and had a good poke around in the reef crevices, viz was 2m but much more light.
Both would be better dives in decent viz but a good day was had by all.
There is a dive shop (Newhaven Scuba) right next to the marina which provides air & nitrox on demand and ready to dispense plenty of advice on the local diving conditions.