Being the first outing of the season, Vixen and Fox had been checked over for seaworthiness, working order and the necessary safety equipment. Boat checks completed and participants suitably introduced and made familiar with the boats all were suited, booted with lifejacket on. We launched at 11.00am. The slip is steep with an unusual steel hawser arrangement so that at low tide tow vehicles are operated safely on the flat ground above. Tidal range was 3.4m.
LSSAU visit Portland 28 & 29 April
The first trip to the coast of the year and the weather was not kind to us – but didn’t stop us from having some fun - diving and boat handling.
The Team: Kyle, Sam, Nathan, Simon (aka Pils) and Marg.
Has ever we received a warm welcome at the Chickerell Scout hut. The hut is having central heating installed so it will be even better in the future. Slight down side - the local Fish & Chip shops seem to have taken to closing about 10pm on Friday nights, so we had to resort to the Chinese take away for our after journey supper on Friday evening.
Vixen was made welcome at Clarks Boat Yard in Castletown, where she spent 2 nights, getting her on to the grass by the Scout Hut is no longer a practical option.
After getting a permit to dive in the Harbour from the Sailing Academy we launched from Casteltown slip – which is free. Portland Harbour was reasonably calm and close into the inside of the Harbour wall the sea was completely flat. We dived the Countess of Erne. The visibility as expected was about 1 – 2M there was a lot of sand in suspension, there had been storm force winds during the week. The buddy pairs were Sam & Pils, Marg & Nathan. All followed the outside of the wreck; there were plenty of sea squirts, some spider crabs, pink sea fan, sea slugs, and various sponges. Kyle was boat handler (as well as towing Vixen down – thank you Kyle). We were the only divers in and around Portland Harbour!
After the dive the wind (North Easterly) was picking up so we decided that after lunch boat handling was the best thing to do. Saturday afternoon was spent going through the skills of the BSAC Boat handling course with Nathan & Sam; we got wet and laughed a lot. For the confined area skills we went into the Sailing Academy Marina, and after admiring many of the boats moored there skills were achieved in difficult conditions as the wind was increasing the whole time. Two boat handling lectures were completed Saturday evening
Over lunch chatting to Scimitar Divers we were told about their efforts to raise a yacht that had sunk on her moorings in the Harbour during a storm the previous Wednesday night – several other boats were damaged. By the end of the Saturday the yacht was off the bottom and had been towed to the Harbour wall by Clarks Boat yard, ready to be craned up and pumped out on Monday. However there was a North East gale on Saturday night and much of Sunday, and we suspect the partially submerged yacht will have been damaged further.
Gales were forecast for Sunday so when we took Vixen off the water Saturday evening we got her ready for the journey home. Scimitar Diving generously allowed us to use their kit washing facilities to wash Vixen and ourselves down, and Smudge filled our cylinders – with no charge – thank you Smudge & Sarah this was greatly appreciated.
Sunday was a gale with lashing down rain so as planned we went to Vobster for a dive on the way home. We dived in the same pairs as Saturday. Sam & Pils explored down to 22M, Nathan & Marg visited the 12M area and found the aircraft which was full of tiny perch. The vis was at least 5M and the water temperature about 9C about a degree colder than the sea. The diving was good and we all said we would dive Vobster again.
The ‘washing’ of Vixen continued on the journey back to Fox Box as we drove through torrential rain all the way home.
A good start to the season but let’s hope the future trips have better weather.
As a result we will bring forward the time when we meet at the Royal Oak in
Bitteswell to around 8.30pm with nibbles etc from 9.00pm.
Hopefully many of us will be able to make it.
We thought we could start things off on the 24 November with Jim telling us
about his recent trip to Croatia during which the team he was with, had some
interesting historical dives. There will be an article in the new Dive
magazine around that time hence the timing of his talk.
As many of you will be aware, we start the new year with a dive weekend
planning meeting, choosing dive sites for the coming year and volunteers
putting their hands up to organise a given weekend. For the less experienced
members this can be a little daunting, however there are many willing
experienced hands who are more than happy to jointly organise a weekend.
This will be on 12 January, so please make every effort to be there.
With that in mind, we thought it might be useful to have a members night in
January but after 12th, where we take a look at why we organise weekends and
the sorts of things and skills that are required. As I shall be progressing
diving skills by starting Advanced Diver, it fits in nicely for me to take
In February, following the theme of organising and planning, Coops will take
us through the trip he organised in c1985 to Roatan. It will be interesting
for many of us to understand the complexities of organising such a
challenging exercise. For those of you who maybe don't know, it was
the trip to Roatan that LSSAU was formed.
In March, Marg will take us through the sorts of things she encounters on
her overseas trips, this time telling us about her most recent trip to Fiji.
It is always interesting to learn about the various things we divers find on
the seabed and deem sufficiently interesting, important, essential that we
have to bring them to the surface - broadly described as tat. As a well
experienced collector of tat, in April Rich will bring along various items
he has "saved" and invites everyone else to bring something along, along
some comment/ pictures etc as to where it came from and something as to what
it is and its origins if you know them. Who knows, there may be gold, buried
For May, with the weather hopefully warming up and the diving weekends
us, we thought a session on how to correctly use the radio would be useful.
The current thinking is for us to invite someone with a fair degree of
specialist skills along to take us through the use and protocol of inshore
Rather than continuing on and planning more for the rest of the year, we
thought it would be best to stop for now in June with Coops telling us about
Leicestershire's contribution to the space race with "The Skylark Years"
which he presented last year to the 50th anniversary of Leicester University
X-Ray Astronomy Group.
That leaves us with an open book for further subjects during the year and
for any member to volunteer to enthuse the rest of us in some chosen subject
or field of their choice. The great thing is that anyone can step forward.
The actual dates for each month are noted on the calendar in
scubascouts.co.uk website, so please take a look and note them in your
diary. Hopefully this will give you all plenty of notice. I am sure that
they will be both enjoyable and interesting, more so if we get a good
turnout, so can I please encourage you to make a note to attend.
If I have missed names from this email, please forward it on to them as such
omission is by default not by design.