After a winter of pool training, the early-season trips of most diving clubs are directed towards getting the new crop of divers into the water and building some basic experience.
Then we get further into the season and the emphasis moves more towards the experienced divers. The new and up-and-coming divers may join the trips, but training is no longer the primary objective. So what are some of our favourite locations, once the training phase is complete
Members of Mole Valley Sub Aqua Club from Leatherhead in Surrey regularly go to Weymouth at this time of year. In 2004, they used both their club RIB and charterboat Dive Time, an Offshore 125 skippered by Paul Pike, to take 20 divers on the trip.
Diving officer Mark Powell explains why Weymouth is a regular on the clubs calendar: Weymouth is very well set up for divers, with a selection of boats, accommodation, dive shops and dive sites. Despite diving there for years, there is always something new to see.
The best dive of the trip in 2004 was the Aeolian Sky, says Mark. The visibility can be bad during May but we had two dives with surprisingly good visibility for the time of year.
Those on Dive Time enjoyed soup with their lunch. The RIB came over to Dive Time to see if there was any soup left. Afterwards the cox zoomed away towards Lulworth Cove without realising it was behind him, then stopped after a quarter of a mile to turn around, looking very sheepish, says Mark.
For a shallower dive, he enjoyed the bow of the Black Hawk: There was excellent fish life, and as this is a nice shallow wreck you can do a long dive even as a second dive without running into decompression. he says.
On the other hand, he isnt at all enthusiastic about Lulworth Banks: Its only of interest if youre looking for dinner, otherwise its a very disappointing drift.
On a bank holiday, Weymouth can get pretty crowded. Most of the charter boats seemed booked up, observes Mark. There were often two or three other boats on each dive site. A kite festival on the beach attracted most of the general tourists to the beach and away from the harbour area.
  • Mole Valley Sub Aqua Club, www.mvsac.org.uk
  • Dive Time, www.divetime.info
  • Old Harbour Dive Centre, www.deepsea.co.uk/shops/ohdc

  • Weymouth 
    Aeolian Sky: 10,715 ton freighter. Sank on 3 November, 1979, 5 miles off St Albans Head, after colliding with the Anna Knuppel. Wreck now lies in 30m with starboard side rising as shallow as 18m. Plenty of fish, especially at the stern. Look out for Land Rover and truck chassis among spilled cargo.
    Black Hawk: 7100 ton Liberty ship. Torpedoed by U772 on 29 December, 1944. Stern was blown off and sank in 47m off Portland. Forward section was taken under tow and beached in Worbarrow Bay on 30 December. It was subsequently salvaged in situ before being dispersed once to clear the site for navigation, then again to make way for the outfall from the Winfrith nuclear power station. General depth is 12m.
    Lulworth Banks: Series of banks and low ledges running parallel to the shore between Lulworth and Weymouth. General depth is 15-20m.

    Swimming through the superstructure of the Aeolian Sky
    Mole Valley get under way
    pouting shoal on the Black Hawk
    Land Rover chassis on the Aeolian Sky
    waiting for a fill