Advanced Diving Week – Report
We’ve recently hosted the second of our Advanced Diving Weeks. Once again we’ve been able to provide the opportunity for divers qualified in Advanced Decompression Procedures (ADP), Closed Circuit Rebreathers (CCR) and open circuit TRIMIX to dive at appropriate depths.
Despite the weather initially looking a bit dubious (it is August after all….), we managed to keep to the plan and dive a number of sites not visited by service divers for a long time. Everyone came well dived up so we were able to have an initial dive to 35m in Firestone Bay just round the corner from HMNB Devonport.
Tuesday saw us take three boats approximately 18 miles to the wreck of the Maine, located near Start Point. All divers enjoyed some truly excellent visibility on this lovely wreck from 1917. Although the storms of 2014 have caused much of the bow and first two holds to collapse it is still a great dive with plenty of opportunities for easy penetration and lovely light conditions created by the golden sands on which it sits.
The next day we split into two with the CCR divers heading for the Scylla and James Eagan Layne where they used the units to conduct dives of 75 minutes duration each! Fortunately the water temperature is lovely at the moment so cold wasn’t an issue. Once again visibility was great providing the opportunity to really appreciate the scale of these two sites.
The ADP and TRIMIX divers were progressing the depth with a visit to the wreck of the old paddle steamer The Totnes Castle which lies in Bigbury Bay to our East. The sea bed was located at about 44m and once again was made of golden sand that reflects the light nicely making it a great dive for vis.
The final day saw the CCR divers doing more long run times on Mallard Shoal in the Sound and then Tinker shoal in the afternoon. Meantime the open circuit divers managed to get on the wreck of HMS Foyle which sank in 1917 and now lies in 50 metres due south of Plymouth. No-one knows when this was last dived on duty but our Chief Instructor is the only member of JSSADC staff who had ever dived it. This dive was much darker than the others with vis in the region of 2-3 metres adding to the ‘advanced’ experience. The wreck itself is scattered and broken but there was lots of things to see. Unfortunately even with TRIMIX and high percentage NITROX to decompress on our bottom times were very limited. Still there is always next time!
If you’d like to get a feel for the week’s diving then please have a look at the video below produced using footage from two of the participants.
We haven’t released the programme for 2016 but those with advanced skills may wish to keep an eye out for next year’s dates!