After gathering on the Princess Quay Marina in Tynemouth, we loaded the excellently kitted out Spellbinder II owned and run by Alan Lopez.
We set out on a lovely leisurely sail out off the mouth of the Tyne in beautiful (almost perfect) conditions, 12 divers in great spirits. After an hours sail up the Northumberland cost we arrived at the first dive site, the Hanne wreck just a few miles of the coast near Blythe. With a medium current running north to south buddy pairs descended down the shot line. Unfortunately despite the excellent weather the visibility was truly awful, around 2-3 m max. Dive time on the wreck was restricted to the amount of time you could stay with your buddy.
All divers ascended on SMB reels, some with buddies some without, but this was a testament to the skill and expertise of all the divers in the club who all followed safety procedure and arrived safely with smiles on their faces in what was very challenging conditions, the only casualty the loss of a much loved diving fin.
What was seen of the wreck of the Hanne was potentially a beautiful dive in the right vis.
We then headed further back down the coast to the wreck of the Pandora in the hope of finding some better visibility. Well the vis was even worst, less than a metre. Again dive time was restricted to how long you could stay in contact with your dive buddy, but again everyone enjoyed the dive and arrived safely back on the boat. Unfortunately the second half of the pair of fins departed to join it’s other half on the bottom of the North Sea.
After the skipper’s highly commended stew and mash lunch, we decided to head back south of the mouth of the Tyne just off South Shields to attempt one more dive on the wreck of the Oslo Fjord Bullet ship. This World War II wreck sits along side another wreck in about 14-15 metres. Only two hardly souls dived the 3rd dive, club safety officer and tec expert Tim Saville & and club award winning photographer and videographer Andrew Pepper. This proved to be the most challenging dive of the day with visibility down to less than a metre. A scramble along the bottom amongst the sandy sea bed and ship wreckage this proved to be a superb dive and highlight of the day, with loose bullets and cartridges strewn all along the sea bed. Both divers arrived back on the surface together after a textbook safety stop.
We then headed back to dock de-kitted, some members enjoying the excellent free shower facilities on the marina, and gathered in the Zetland floating bar for some famous five style ginger beer and lemonade and cake (beer and crisps).
An excellent day all round just let down by some unpredictable visibility. I feel a club renegade trip returning there soon. Watch this space.