14 UBUC’ers left Bristol bright and early at 6:30am on Saturday morning, only to reach Lyme Regis and discover a very choppy sea. Even the harbourmaster was warning us not to go out, so in the end after a discussion we decided to postpone diving activities until the next day. Cue a day of ‘fossil finding’ (smashing rocks), ‘going for a walk’ (falling asleep on the beach) and ‘going to the pub’ (OK that one was accurate). Oh, and flying some kites!
We stayed the night at Lily’s house, cooked a big bolognese and played quite a few card games, plus we were serenaded by Tang and Olli’s finger twiddling on Lily’s piano!
The next day we were back at Lyme Regis harbour at 8am and were welcomed by a flat calm sea, sunny skies and pretty much perfect weather conditions! We launched the boats on the main slipway, and drove them across the harbour to pick up the divers and gear (so we weren’t in the way of the rest of the slip). The first wave of divers then headed out to the Baygitano (which we had the right coordinates for this time – N 50* 41.777; W 2* 56.077).
We noticed there were two other boats at the dive site when we arrived, although both were fishing vessels. There was a buoy in (seemingly) the right place for the wreck and we enquired with the fishing boats as to whether the buoy was attached to the wreck. The skipper told us it was, so with much relief we sent all of our first wave of divers down. As usual however, you should not trust non-divers, as our divers came up a while later exclaiming ‘it’s just a lobster pot!’. Whoops.
Thankfully, the current had sent all of our divers onto the Baygitano, so all managed to dive at least part of it on the first dive. Ollie tied his DSMB to the boilers and so we had a make-do shot line that we would use for the rest of the day.
Thus, on the second wave, all divers immediately found the wreck, and this time we were on slack. The wreck site itself has an undescribable amount of life on it, mainly consisting of huge shoals of pouting, bib and the occasional pollack in the midst. There are loads of conger eels hidden under the plate (and some were out swimming around, unusually), plus loads of nudibranchs, crabs, lobsters and a large cuttlefish! The bow of the ship is still partially standing and you can squeeze yourself through it. The stern is pretty flat, as is the rest of the wreck aside from the three boilers. The vis was very good, 7-8m in places.
We had another two waves of dives on the wreck, before recovering the DSMB on the last dive and heading back. We finished diving activites at 6:30pm and managed to get back and get all the gear cleaned by 11pm, not bad going considering there’s a hour and a half drive back as well. We had some pizzas from the White Rabbit whilst we were cleaning the gear.
All in all, even though the original plan didn’t exactly work out due to the weather on Saturday, we all managed to get 2 dives each on an absolutely stunning dive site, plus had a great time at Lily’s house (thanks Lily!) and lovely day spent on the beaches of Lyme Regis. Thanks to everyone for coming!