The Torch, Chacabuco and more…


Anglesey Oct 2015

Trip Report : Anglesey 10th and 11th October 2015

Twas the teeny tiny crescent moon that made us start pondering about tides as we hurtled down the Welsh coastal road in the dark very very early on Saturday morning, and we were right to worry. The Menai and the Irish Sea in general had several extra bucket loads of water sloshed on top of its normal depth meaning that the range of ordinarily achievable dive sites were now techie dives that only proper divers, and Tim, could do. Undaunted, eight of us loaded our kit onto Scott Waterman’s boat and spread ourselves out comfortably into Keith and Amanda’s spaces as they were definitely not proper divers, preferring to spend the weekend in work rather than come out to play.

As the dawn blossomed gloriously over flat calm waters we trundled out into Liverpool Bay to do a wreck called The Torch, and then on Sunday we did the Chacabuco. I mention them together because they were briefly connected at a point of impact one stormy night in 1873. The Torch – being of iron construction, fared slightly better of the two, remaining afloat for several hours and, conveniently for us, travelling to slightly shallower waters before giving up and sinking beneath the waves. The Chacabuco however sank like Phil Barber, quickly, alone and to greatest depth.

So – The Torch – we dropped down onto the 1860-era low-pressure box boiler and obviously we marvelled at its style given that it was not the usual cylindrical Scotch boiler that became standard later in the century. Those not interested in ironwork played with the fish, in the fish, around the fish and up and over the fish. This is because there were fish everywhere – so many fish that you almost couldn’t see the boiler at all. Fish everywhere. Giant lobbies everywhere too – the sort you know wouldn’t be any good to eat cos they’re old, wise, tough and wrinkly….a bit like Steve Stapleton. A lovely dive and worth doing a spot of deco for, hanging in a chilled out state at 5 metres, mesmerised by the plankton.

Dive 2 had to be a drift dive as the aforementioned excessive amount of water rearranged itself. For those who didn’t follow the plan, it was a short drift over naked sand dunes. For the proper divers it was an amusing bumpy ride between sticky up bits of metal with crazed looking fish and divers hiding behind them to shelter from the current. It wasn’t a long dive, but it was a fun one.

This meant that unfortunately diving finished early and some were in the pub at 4pm. When the sensible ones who went and had a kip first joined the silly ones, the words “we’re shit-faced” echoed happily round the Liverpool Arms. Clandestine chips were eaten outside the pub door to try and mop up some of the gin before we went to the rather splendid Dylans Restaurant where the boys admired a ginger bottom in a very inappropriate manner and we all ate too much, talked too loudly, laughed too much and generally lowered the bistro-like tone.

Sunday dawned too early and we welcomed Phil Barber to the Club…not the Dive Club….the Four-Dives-in a Weekend-Club. Having then nearly chucked him out of the Club because he was 10 minutes late to ropes off, we trundled out for what seemed like hour after choppy hour to dive the Chacabuco. At 35 metres, we were all happy to rack up some deco to max our bottom time playing with the congers under every slat of metal and generally just enjoying the beauty of this dive site. Dive two, after yet more tea and hobs nobs (now the definitive biscuit for every good dive trip, confirmed on the Radio 2 shout out), was a bimble along Puffin Island. I’d forgotten how pretty, albeit a little gloomy, this site is with its strange table-top rocks with lurking lobbies, congers, dog fish and a little octopus in a hole. Underwater shrieking was heard as the Club Minion was briefly captured by a lobster’s claw, but thankfully he was rescued and returned safely along with everyone else to the jetty at Menai where the tidal waters had disappeared to such an extent that the ramp was almost vertical. On the way back a little bit of brown liquid spirted out of Phil Barber which was all quite entertaining but also slightly disgusting.

Cracking weekend – special thanks to Stephen Free who was, as always, a perfect Trip Secretary and to Scott Waterman who ensured we had a slack bottom. Thanks to everyone who made it such a laugh – Tim Saville and Liz Saville, Stephen Stapleton, Stephen Free, Bob Jones and Philip Barber, Ruth Hair and Barry Shaw and thanks to Keith Johnson and Amanda for giving us more space on the boat….tee hee 🙂


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