At the end of September a few folks headed off down to the far reaches of Cornwall to dive the Manacles. The club has dived in the area before, but through another company ‘Dive Action’. This time it was with Porthkerris Divers.
Porthkerris Divers has a great operation, with diving and accommodation all on site. There is a ‘burger’ van on site serving all freshly prepared food of great quality, and they will even lay on a BBQ providing everything including the plates, charcoal and mood lighting. And an excellent meal it was too on the Saturday night.
Everyone turned up on Friday, with some arriving early in the day to get a few extra shore dives in. We had booked the apartments rather than the log cabins, so we had great accommodation a short stroll up the hill from the dive centre.
Saturday and Sunday we were diving from Cornish Cat, which as indicated by its name is a large catamaran, with plenty of room on deck but with a slightly odd arrangement where some people kitted up in an anteroom to the mail indoor space (where a free lunch was provided).
On Saturday we dived Chynhalls (a scenic dive at about 22m) and the Carmarthen (a wreck at 22m). A regular occurrence over the week-end was being chased by Cuckoo Wrasse, this one gave me a run around for a little while on Chynhalls.
Fortunately we took the obligatory team shot on the first day, since Pob went down with a cold and was decidedly sniffy on the Sunday.
The Carmarthen was 4000 ton steamer which gave us plenty to look around, but due to where it sank it also gave us the chance to explore the nearby reef as well. I have no great wreck photos, but Clare did find a nice anglerfish just as we came off the wreck.
Sunday saw us diving Pen-Win rocks and the Helford River. Both of these are scenic dives, with encrustings of jewel anemones in myriad colours which lit up under the flash from a camera strobe.
The Helford River provided a drift down the river, giving some the chance to collect scallops and oysters and others to just look out for various rays, dogfish, gurnards, cuttlefish (my first UK one!) and other photo opportunities.
We also snuck in a sneaky third dive off the shore at Porthkerris – a dive called Drawna Rocks, reputed to be one of the best shore dives in the UK. More cuttlefish to be seen (by 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th), along with (as single for us) John Dory – others who swam further out than us found a whole shoal.
After that dive, Clare and I headed over to Falmouth for a meal out with Benjamin and his girlfriend Robyn, whilst everyone else went out to the pub in St Keverne.
A couple of folks headed home on Sunday night, but most stayed for at least one dive on the Sunday. Clare and I stayed to do the Mohegan, whilst a couple then went to do the Volnay as a second dive. These were done off of the Cornish Kitten, which is still a catamaran, but boarding is done by bringing the front of the boat onto the beach where you enter fully kitted through a drop down ramp, ready for the short run out to the Manacles.
All in all it was a fabulous week-end of diving, with great company, a good BBQ, lovely weather and an excellent location.
Thanks to Pob for organising, and Tim, Tom, Martin, Peter, Julio, Eve and Clare for making it fun.