We were lucky enough to get a break in the weather to allow us this trip out to the SS City of Waterford around 8 nautical miles south of Brighton. Although the weather on the drive down to Brighton marina was pretty foul, with rain and lots of fog when we arrived the sky was pretty clear and the sea was pretty calm.
We boarded the Channel diver in the Marina and got all our gear set up prior to embarkation, tying tanks and gear down as the skipper Steve said that it was going to be a bumpy ride out to the site. He wasn’t wrong, the boat bounced pretty much all the way to the site all 8 miles and it took just under an hour so when we finally stopped there were a few green faces and few people (no names mentioned) decided to feed the fish over the side!
Dive 1 – The SS City Of Waterford
We kitted up and in our small group entered the water. The skipper had dropped the line down to the stern of the wreck and told us that if we went with the tide we would end up at the bow. We followed the line down and found the stern pretty much intact, with a few holes here and there also a large winch. There were pouting and Pollack everywhere so always something to look at, we followed the edge of wreck around the stern and along to a number trawler nets where the wreck sinks into the sand, here we looked around and found a number of crabs (which we bagged). Due to the depth of the wreck there is not too much bottom time so we had to start heading back to the shot line via the other side of the wreck. Here we found what looked like a wheel house which was pretty open. As we got back to the stern we found an opening in the deck which was also open on one side of the wreck, we went in to investigate and found a massive edible crab! After a few minutes of wrestling, Paul eventually bagged him and we set off for the surface. Unable to find the shot line we sent up our DSMB and surfaced. I must say that the wreck was great and the vis was pretty good, I would like to dive this again and maybe start a bit further in as the wreck is pretty big and I don’t feel like I did it justice!
After a cup of tea and a biscuit we were off to our second destination, the Brighton Ledges. By the time we got to the site the sun was pretty much on its way down and the light was fading and it was looking like it was going to be a night dive !
Dive 2 – Brighton Ledges (in the dark!)
I suppose it was Halloween so diving in the dark was perfect. Kitting up on the boat in the dying light was fun to say the least but we all got there and got in the water. We dropped straight down as the current had started to kick in so the skipper said not to wait around on the surface. We hit the bottom, deployed our DSMB and headed North to find the ledges. We found them no problem, the only issue was trying to hold on to the DSMB in the current one hand and a torch in the other and trying to read a compass in the dark! All a bit much, but we did see a few fish hiding in the ledges as well as the obligatory star fish scattered all over the bottom and after 28 minutes we deiced to ascend. You would think this would be easy but trying to reel in a DSMB and keep an eye on your depth with a touch that you cant get hold of it was a nightmare. We did however surface with no problems and the skipper (although it was pitch black) was able to see us and come and pick us up.
All in all it was a great day and I would love to go back and dive the City of Waterford again (with more air next time!)