Clyde trip report – a skipper’s perspective

I like that Robin Hood Dive Club crowd, they make my life easy. There I was sitting at home on Friday in Dunoon by Holy Loch and my Facebook started pinging again. They’re on their way to the Firth of Clyde for a weekend of wreck and scenic dives. They included me in their FB chat group so was able to follow their progress. Some I knew, Tim, Liz, Keith, Amanda and Tom and others I was going to meet tomorrow for the first time. It’s 9.00pm now and the last ones have arrived at Roberta’s Guest House in Largs.

My name is Jason and co-owner of Wreckspeditions, also skipper of our boat, the Starfish Enterprise (yeah, a little bit corny). We operate wherever we need to, but mainly diving everything the Clyde and Scottish Lochs have to offer. Tomorrow I’ll be picking them up from Inverkip Marina.

They’re on time as usual and I get to meet the new divers, Dan, Trevor and Andy (they seem OK). So, just three rebreathers this year, down from 4 last time out. Still enough room on the spacious 8 metre RIB, fitted out with divers in mind. The weather forecast has improved and everyone is smiling as they think they’ve beaten the weather. I live here, I know it will change for sure.

Our first dive is on the Akka, the largest wreck in the Clyde at over 130m long with depths ranging from 16m at the bow to 40m to the seabed at the stern. When it’s good it’s very, very good but visibility can change pretty quickly so I hope they’re smiling when they come back up. Tim & Liz are first in to check the shot and place the strobe in the right place. It also frees up lots of space for the others to kit up. I’ve fitted a couple of kit platforms at the rear to help with that.

That’s 45 minutes gone and the first ones surface, the rest popping up over the next 15 minutes. The chatter on the boat is positive; the visibility has been pretty good with everyone having had a good dive and all managed to find the shotline. Tea and coffee all round with home made scones goes down well. Back we go to Inverkip Marina for a soup and a roll and to refresh the cylinders. Still the weather holds, we might get lucky whilst the rest of the country is swimming in thunderstorms.

Our second dive is going to be on the Inverkip pier, and nice scenic bimble with lots of fish life, scallops, giant starfish and crabs. Don’t think the fishermen on the pier are too impressed with us being there. But I’m polite and apologise in advance for any lines we might (will) get tangled in. Again everyone is happy, the talk is again positive. Everyone seems to have got the measure of the entries and exits and work as a team to help de-kit. It’s back to Inverkip to disembark and we quickly agree a plan for Sunday.

Ping, ping, ping goes Facebook Messenger, it sounds like they’re having a good time in Largs at Tony Macaroni’s pizza and then a few sherbets in Room, a local bar with live entertainment. I’m busy at home in Dunoon watching the weather forecast deteriorate.

Sunday comes, everyone’s on time, nobody’s hung over and it’s still not raining. We’re off to dive the Wallachia, another wreck in the Clyde at around 34m that can offer differing levels of visibility. The wind is picking up a bit so will be glad when it’s done. Off they go and I can spend the next hour worrying. Here comes the rain, glad I togged up right today as it’s not one for tee shirts.

And up they come, and I can see smiles again. Tom and Andy are first back and they’re happy. Everyone finds the shot line and again the Pathfinder strobe has done its job. The other six pop up 5 minutes later at the same time; this will be fun. The wind has picked up and the rain is pouring. I spend a frantic 10-15 minutes getting everyone in and safe. Apparently the visibility has once again been excellent and those who have dived the Wallachia before say that it’s the best they’ve ever had. The highlight being the giant propeller covered in soft corals and plumose anenomes. Nobody could remove any of the bottles in the hold, I told them they are welded in but still they try.

It’s a bit quiet in the back as we arrive back in the marina to discuss the final dive and the weather has added a touch of gloom to the proceedings. There, someone said it and the rest quickly agree. Let’s call it off and stick while we’re ahead. That suits me too so I help with washing down kit and carrying cylinders back to the cars.

Ping, ping, ping goes the Facebook Messenger over the next few hours. Some make it back to Yorkshire quickly, some stop for a sleep at Gretna, but by 8pm I know they’re all home. I can rest easy. I like that Robin Hood Dive Club lot, they can come back again.

A Weekend To Remember

Jason

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