Saturday 4 August and another early start for us as we departed Essex at 4am in the morning for the drive down to Swanage for our ropes off time of 8:40am with Divers Down on Swanage Diver for the first dive of the weekend to the Kyarra.
Upon arrival at the pier at 7am and joined the queue of cars waiting for it to open so that we could park, the weather being glorious and coinciding with the week long Swanage Regatta and Carnival meant it was going to be a busy day!
Important things first though and we all trooped off to the cafe for a hearty full English breakfast to set us up for the day, then back to the pier to set up our kit and load onto the boat.
8:40 came and we were off for the short 10 minute ride to the permanent shot line on the Kyarra and we all kitted up, sun beating with out drysuits already feeling like they had leaked before even jumping into the water.
Read more about the Kyarra at Kyarra Wreck Tour
Once we completed that it was back to the pier to fill up our air and have a nice long surface interval and lunch before our second wreck dive of the day on the Betsy Anna. Before that however we just had to dive the pier and we had a fantastic second dive on that seeing all the life under the pier with the lighting from the sun really setting it off nicely.
About Swanage Pier Diving (from Swanage Pier Divesite Directory)
A dive on Swanage Pier will rarely be the same twice. Sometimes you will see nothing at all, yet other times life can be prolific with shoals of pollack, hundreds of spider and edible crabs, anemones with their tentacles wafting in the current and snails and hermit crabs going about there business.
Towards the far end of the pier there is a bench if you need to take a seat and there are numerous girders littering the seafloor. The posts of the pier posts are covered in barnacles and kelp and if the marine creatures are proving elusive, try picking up some of the rubble to see if anything scuttles from view. The pier is a good place to do skills and serves as an excellent base for a dive club who have the use of a rib.
Parking costs £9 per day and divers have to pay £2.50, all of which goes back into the maintenance of the pier. Fills are available on the pier from Divers Down and there is a small shop selling food and drinks at reasonable prices.
Once the pier dive was over it was time for a quick bite of lunch although the wait was long due to the numbers having the same idea and then it was kit up time to board the boat for the short trip to the Betsy Anna for our second wreck dive.
Again upon our arrival we descended down the shot line to about 28m where the Betsy Anna and loads of Conga Eels were waiting for us, it was as if all the Conga's in the area had decided to come and say hello to us. Another great dive was had by all and visibility was a very respectable 8m on the wreck.
Read more about the Betsy Anna at Betsy Anna Wreck Tour
After the dive it was back to the pier to pack up and then back to the hotel for a few well earned beers and dinner before bed.
The second day we had a nice 3 hour lie in compared to the previous day as we had to get up at 6am! Car parked on the pier, breakfast and then boarding the Skua for our highlight of the weekend - the 150m long Aeolian Sky down at 30m.
A longer journey out this time so two cylinders were taken on board for a two dive trip on this one with our second dive being a nice gentle drift from the Black Hawk.
This was our 3rd wreck dive of the weekend and a brilliant wreck, all who dived her really enjoyed the dive and we can't wait to do it again, one dive is not enough for the size of the wreck.
Read more about the Aeolian Sky at Aeolian Sky Wreck Tour
So once out of the water it was another surface interval until our fifth and final dive of the weekend which was a drift from the Black Hawk Bow eastwards at a depth of 15m-18m and we drifted gently along looking out for the life below passing us by.
Once over and all safely on board we motored back to the pier to pack up and get ready for the journey home, but not before our lovely Sunday Lunch at a local pub, if only we could snap our fingers and be back home just like that it would make the weekend perfect but the heavier traffic on the way home was a well worth the weekend we had.
Once we teach you to dive we aim to keep you diving and with all the UK has to offer so join us next time.