July 2016 – Portland

Report by George Mitchell (Click here for the full report _well worth reading – and here for some of George’s photos)

Diving Trip to Portland 27th to 29th July 2016

Portland BUDC Dive Crew

 

It has been a while since I have dived off Portland. In the 80’s and 90’s and early noughties we were spoilt by having the chance to dive the Hood. Once that peach of a wreck dive was classified as “out of bounds” it rather took the gloss off any enthusiasm for Portland diving. Yet we should not ignore this area. There are other wrecks and drift sites that make it worth the trip.

….We were on board the “Skindeeper” and away to the M2…..

The M2 is not a huge wreck so we managed to see most of it. Our second dive was really late in Balaclava Bay over an endless stretch of crepidulata fornicata with occasional clumps of the two large bryozoans that we find around our coast, flustra and pentapora foliacea, the latter also known, falsely from a taxonomic point of view, as Ross Coral. The dive ended at nearly 8pm following which we ate a hearty meal at a restaurant in the marina…….

After an excellent breakfast next morning we were heading out to the Alex van Opstal a 5965-ton Belgian motor ship. …… The wreck lies on its port side and as a result of the mine explosion is essentially in two halves so navigating it means following the line of the hull across a patch of open ground in to get to the bow. …..  During the break we were offered tea or coffee or cocoa and a pie! The second dive was off Lulworth Banks where again there were bryozoans in abundance amongst the few huge shells from the naval firing range near Lulworth. ….

Our final day here started with a longer trip out to the Aeolian Sky. …

The last dive was probably the best drift of the trip. We were dropped off on an excellent scallop bed. … They were jumping up for a pastime straight into Tim’s hands and then into the goody bag! What a way to end the trip.

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