A weekend of recreational depth wreck diving off the mouth of the Tyne aboard Allan Lopez’s Spellbinder II. As a bonus Allan usually puts on a cooked lunch each day. This dive location is so close we only need accommodation for the Saturday night, which is at the Premier Inn in South Shields.
Very early Saturday morning saw our intrepid divers heading
up the A1 towards South Shields to pick up Spellbinder, our dive boat for the
weekend. The rain was so heavy that at one point I was tempted to call the
skipper to come and pick us up at the roadside with the boat as I’m convinced
the water was deep enough.
As it happens we all managed to make it to the jetty at Mill
Dam on time to hit our ropes o target. I did have a chat with a bloke called Noah
at the jetty who wanted to take an even number of his menagerie of animals onto
the boat with us but unfortunately we didn’t have enough room for the giraffes
so had to leave without him.
Skipper Allan Lopez navigated us out to the first wreck
SS Eston successfully and we were encouraged by the reports of 7m of viz from the
previous evening. Now I’m sure some of you will have been on many trips and
read enough of these reports to know where we’re going next. Sure enough the 3m
of viz was a little disappointing but everyone had a decent swim around the
wreckage and some of us even found some recognisable parts of it.
The second dive took us to an old favourite on this coast
with the wreck of the Pandora. No talk of good viz this time which is just as
well but we did get another metre or so which helped. Lots of life on the bow
section with a new split in the wreck to give a bigger swim through in that
area. Some divers found their way to the stern to find the prop mostly buried again this
Having done two dives we now got onto the main event on any
Spellbinder trip – lunch! As usual Allan didn’t disappoint and a bowl of
steaming chicken curry and rice was presented to each of us almost before any
kit had been taken off.
Something shocking did happen at this point as human dustbin Jay Lawson couldn’t
eat all his lunch. This has never been seen before with Jay and I can only hope
it doesn’t happen again.
For those hardy souls who were up for it there was a third
“cheeky” dive on the wrecks of the Oslofjord and Eugenia Chandris which lay on
top of each other just off
the mouth of the Tyne. Not everyone did this and the Dive Avoidance Specialty
will be awarded to those divers in accordance to club rules – you know who you are
The Sunderland annual Air Show was on for the weekend and we
did get to see some impressive formation flying and a direct fly over by
a Chinook helicopter.
As we came back in to the Tyne Allan had some bad news for
us as the weather forecast for the Sunday winds wasn’t great and the diving for
the rest of the weekend was to be cancelled.
As you will understand, everyone was pretty put out by this,
but in the best club traditions we quickly put this setback behind us and went
to the pub. And then another pub, which was followed up by an evening meal at
the Man Vs Food restaurant in South Shields.
Unfortunately, Food won and Jay had to settle for a doggy
bag in an attempt to retrieve his rapidly disappearing reputation as the club
food processing plant.
Thanks to everyone on the trip for making this a great, if slightly shortened, weekend.
Final picture is in the form of a caption competition. My effort on this: “To his horror, Bob suddenly realises that he’s run out of pies!”