We had another boat dive booked for today at 10:05 so we arrived at the pier at 8:30 thinking there would be plenty of car parking spaces. There were three left and we took two of them, a few minutes later someone took the last spot. We had to meet up at the boat at 9:35 so we had just under an hour to get our kit set up and trolley it along the pier.
Andy the skipper gave us 10 minutes notice that we would be dropping in soon so did our final preparations. Another two divers were on the boat and we were all told to line up like soldiers and jump in one after another. The DSMB was inflated on the boat and we all stood in line waiting for the 3-2-1 go.
- Divers: Paul, Simon, Jane
- Max Depth: 17.4 metres
- Dive Time: 63 minutes
- Water temperature: 13 degrees C
- Viz: 3-4 metres
- Dive Details: As we steamed out to the site, Simon offered to deploy his DSMB so I could get some footage of the drift. We descended into about 14m water depth and found ourselves immediately whizzing along in the current, heading back towards Swanage. The drift takes you over beds of queen scallops, reefs made from the tubes of small crustaceans, cobbles covered in red algae, anemones, sea squirts, sponges, hydroids and lots of Elasmobranchs (sharks and rays)! The highlights, as they appeared head on out of the blue, and disappeared just as quickly, were the starry smooth hounds that effortlessly swam past us, into the current, offering fleeting glimpses of their classic streamlined shark body. We also spotted a spotted ray with an unusual black snout, a species of gurnard (that flashed past before we could identify it) and plenty of plaice as we were swept along over the relatively flat seabed. The dive briefing stated that should we get separated, send up DSMBs and continue the dive. After finding myself in a patch of slower water, I managed to catch up with Simon and Jane but after a second temporary lull in speed, we were separated and I sent up my DSMB to have the last 10 mins of the dive floating solo! We were also briefed that end of the dive is marked by an increase in depth to about 18m and after seeing one more smooth hound and doing a 3 minute safety stop I ascended to get the lift back onboard, a few minutes over the agreed 60 mins dive time! We did this drift on neap tides but on springs it must be even better!