one of those hugely succesful day trips on the Ocean Spray out of
Brighton; a good, tight crowd, pretty sensational weather, calm
We started the day on the SS Fortuna, a Dutch
steamship which hit a mine and sunk in 1916 with a full cargo of
cement. She lies at the far end of 30m and is fairly intact, apart
from a big hole at the stern where the mine exploded. As we dropped
down the line viz deteriorated quickly and by 20m it was pitch black.
In order to get the most out of the dive we'd decided not to go
all the way to the bottom and instead explored a hold at about 33m.
There were substantial shoals of large bib everywhere, hanging just
at the edge of the torchlight which gave the dive an eerie but beautiful
edge. The wreck was festooned with white, doughnut shaped sponges
which had holes in the center. It was a satisfying dive and inspite
of the tight viz well worth while.
The second dive was in the gullies much closer
inshore and much shallower. I have had some beautiful dives in these
gullies, which are trenches worn out of the limestone seabed. Because
of the limestone and sand much light is reflected around and viz
is usually pretty decent. It was in these gullies that I saw my
first ever pipefish! The conditions were much as expected, though
a slight drift made it difficult to stick on the limestone rather
than drifting off onto the sand. There were a few lobsters, velvet
crabs and prawns to be had for those willing to peer into nooks
and crannie, and the sandy plains have a good reputation for flat
The beautiful photos are all courtesy of Mel,
the photographer with the mostest.