Pembrokeshire Dive Report

Day 1

DSC_0057The ten man Barnsley BSAC team rocked up to Pembrokeshire to try No. 88 from the “Top 100 British (edit…. Low-Vis) Shore Dives” rated 3 stars….

There are two Blue Lagoons in the UK. They are very similar in a lot ways. Mainly, viz! Rubbish. One thing to consider on any dive is Paul’s “Test of benefits vs effort”. The site is very picturesque and easy to get to IF you are not carrying 70lb of dive equipment. It took 3 trips up a hill, across a bridge, down a slope, over rocks and finally a six foot drop to the beach to deliver the gear. So Paul’s test score is “Not worth it”.

IMG_0043The Lagoon is blue – that much is accurate. However, the walls are covered in silt that stirs up with the slightest of water movement. SMB’s are a necessity due to the added threat of being dive bombed by Tombstoners. What a fantastic dive!

The return journey out of the pit was so much fun.

Post dive notes – always take a gas fitter on dive trips. They come in handy for fixing hot water systems. Also make sure you have an ‘Irene’ – they make really great chilli-con-carnes.

Day 2

Gower Dive TeamA beautiful South Wales sunny morning greeted the dive team in their Celtic Divers accommodation – a newly refurbished house ‘Ty Newydd’ in the picturesque village of St Nicholas.

Fed and watered by the team cook, “Come-on-Irene”, the team headed down to Fishguard harbour to transfer equipment and divers to the MV Wandrin Star.  The skipper, Mark, headed the boat out to Strumble Head – with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture blurting out over the ships tannoy – for the first dive of the day.

Unfortunately, the ‘viz-o-meter’ reported around 2-3m’s of viz, due mainly to the exceptionally large spring tides.  Undeterred, the first two dive pairs entered the water.  Within 10 minutes, both Ann/Trev and Neil/Rob had abandoned after experiencing zero visibility (pitch darkness!).  The skipper put plan-B into motion and headed out to the wreck site of the Liberty Ship ‘Dan Beard’.

Lesser-spotted-TrevThe viz was marginally better at this wreck site – certainly dive-able.  The Dan Beard was a 7176-ton Liberty ship, torpedoed further out to sea by U1202 on 10 December, 1944. The wreckage is well broken up and scattered amongst boulders at the bottom of the cliffs near Strumble Head. There is a nearby cave containing a mast and other debris.

The dive pairs geared up and entered the water. F

Following the Dive, the team off-gassed in glorious sunshine on wooden deck-chairs to some light jazz music played over the boats tannoy!   Unfortunately, the viz conditions were such that other dive sites were ruled out, meaning a second dive on the same wreck area.  Undeterred, the dive team geared up and entered the water for a second wreck dive, but this time having more luck spotting anchors, ammunition cartridges, spiny crabs, and, a white octopus (MarkR)!

Gower Dive BriefingThe team returned to Fishguard harbour and headed back to Ty Newydd for a shower and change before journeying out to the ‘Sloop’ Inn in Porthgain.  This is a wonderful pub full of various bits of diver memorabilia serving great food.  A big thank-you to MarkR for generously providing wine!

So in summary, a slightly disappointing dive in terms of visibility, but otherwise an enjoyable day with some decent wreck-spotting, great weather and good food!

Day 3

The weather conditions worsened slightly, with some overhead cloud.  This meant the visibility was also slightly reduced.  Again undeterred, the dive team set an objective of starting the dive in the caves at the foot of the cliff.  A choppy surface swim saw all the divers congregate inside the cave for a quick team photo.  After some brief cave exploration, Chris and Rob headed back out to the wreck site to spot the huge ‘Dan Beard’ Anchor and the return of the white octopus! The rest of the team remained in the cave.  Unfortunately, due to the choppy seas some divers didn’t fair so well, succumbing to sea-sickness on the boat!

Pembrokeshire Photo Album

Big thanks to Chris Hill for organising a great trip! Also, thanks to Mark Robinson for his generosity at the ‘Sloop’ (and boiler repairs). And, Irene for breakfasts and general mothering!!  The rest of the trip photos are below…

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