Anton's Advanced Diver trip to the Skerries
The weather report on Wednesday night showed only a small window for diving which coincided with slack water. Alternative dive sites were found to each side of Anglesey just in case the weather deteriorated.
On Wednesday night Adrian decided he was coming home on Sunday night due to work commitments and John wanted to come down Friday night as early start Saturday. Anglesey Outdoors was contacted and the accommodation was changed accordingly. Adrian contacted Anton on Friday and said Mark was coming down Friday instead of John who suggested that Mark book in as John as it did not take a lot to confuse the receptionist at the centre.
Anton and Iain left Leyland an hour and a half after Adrian and Mark but arrived five minutes after them! Nobody is sure what they got up to on the trip down; let's say what happens in the van stays in the van!
Breakfast was booked for 7:00 and everyone arrived at Bol Sach slipway on time. The boat was loaded and moved down the slipway. Mark boarded the boat and waited for launch. On unhitching the trailer the brakes failed and quick reactions from Adrian to put the launch strap onto the tow hitch saved a search and recover exercise.
The rest of the team boarded and the crew set off to the Skerries. Mark and Adrian took the opportunity to use the GPS coordinates loaded by Iain to find the wreck. Iain organised the divers into two waves to enter the water as soon as they were kitted up.
The spot was perfect as the first thing Anton saw was the anchor winch. Both groups of divers were dropped on the wreck and boat crew retreated off the rocks to a safe distance as the tide changed direction. Run times of 40 minutes were stuck to by both teams of divers and good pickups were done.
Over the radio came weather warnings so the cox decided to head to port rather than enter the natural harbour on the Skerries for lunch. John managed to keep his lunch down but suffered cuts to his head from a bungie strap which gave way in the rough seas. Not sure if Mark’s idea of right of way should be demonstrated with the Dublin ferry.
Back at the slip Anthony demonstrated how to moor the boat so as to protect it from the elements and John stowed all the anchor lines for ease of use.
Due to the high winds Anthony arranged for the second dive to be in the harbour. Adrian and Mark decided to take on the role of shore cover and proceeded to demonstrate their extensive knowledge of using the VHF radio.
Back in the sheltered waters of the harbour the viz soon made three solo dives and put Iain’s skills of watching for bubbles to the test. John was heading towards the harbour exit, Alistair should have been following the wall and Anthony heading towards the slip.
Iain recovered all divers while Adrian and Mark prepared the trailer for recovery.
Chorley BSAC turned up as we were packing up the boat and Anthony arranged for them to dive off our boat Sunday as Adrian was full of cold and everyone else wan't sure the viz encouraged a Sunday dive.
Back at the digs Anto told John to book in as Mark so as not to confuse the receptionist, this did not work and Alistair and John ended up sharing with Chorley.
Ged, Anthony and Iain formulated two dive sites to dive on Sunday taking into account the weather forecast. The shot line was adjusted to the correct length of line and two small buoys added to monitor the current were added to the line.
The Lady Meath lies just out side the harbour out side the shipping lane and stands seven meters off the sea bed at the highest point. Iain was coxing the boat and with a little help from Maria managed to find the wreck with the plotter. The shot was dropped and then moved a little after checking it. Anthony split the divers to dive as a three and two with a max run time of 40 minutes to SMB up on the surface.
The shot landed in the middle of the wreck and between several beams, putting a small amount of air in the lifting bag made it easy to lift it and place it on the deck ready for retrieval later on.
The first group of divers headed to the stern section while the second group headed to the bow which is still intact.
Iain had to chase off sailing boats who do not under stand diving flags.
The first wave of divers managed to surface on the shot line while Maria and Mandy put their DSMB up exactly on 40 minutes.
After a quick dart into the harbour, lunch was taken at the cafe near the museum. The sun came out and the winds dropped to zero.
A several of the divers didn't have enough air for a second dive it was decided to skip it.
Anthony and Iain when out in the boat to check the marks and found them to be spot on for future reference.
A big thanks to Ged for helping to wash the boat down back in Leyland.