Brighton, October 2004  
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Another one of those hugely succesful day trips on the Ocean Spray out of Brighton; a good, tight crowd, pretty sensational weather, calm seas.

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 fish.

The beautiful photos are all courtesy of Mel, the photographer with the mostest.

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