Basking Shark Time, Newquay

Sat 26th May 2012 - Sun 27th May 2012

Trip Report

What a brilliant weekend, we started off by having a quick look at Newquay harbour and the sea on Friday evening, a beautiful blue sea and pretty calm. Looking good for saturday. Everyone met up at Atlantic Divers and as it was steaming hot we had a BBQ in their back garden. Spike volunteered to be chef, which we were all grateful for, but lets just say he won't win masterchef. The bunkhouse accommodation was in 2 cabins, chaps in one and girls in the other but unfortunately Chris had to sleep with the girls as there were more blokes than girls. After a few beers the girls wanting to make Chris feel at home decided that when he was asleep they would dress him up in a frilly nighty so he would fit in better with them. Chris didn't manage much sleep that night as he had one eye open all night.

Surprising the number of people who snore all night !

Up early for a superb breakfast cooked by Chris and Ann, van loaded and down to the harbour. Kit all set up and stored away and off we motored. There was a strong wind blowing so we stayed close to shore and dived a wreck at 15m just outside Newquay, superb viz, you could see the wreck from the boat. The water around the area is so clear and the wildlife around the wreck was amazing. A good warm up dive. A brilliant packed lunch supplied by Atlantic Divers sat in the sun under a blue sky. Then off for dive 2, a drift at about 20m, just by Chris's lobster pots. So first job check the pots to see if they were worth hauling up. One lobster in each pot, wish I could get those results. An excellent dive in clear viz again.

A call was received from a fishing boat to say that there were dolphins in the water just outside Newquay. So we stowed our kit and motored in. Just outside the harbour we were joined by 10 or so bottle nosed dolphins bow riding the boat, coming up alongside and having a look at us on board. I didn't realise that there was such a difference in size between common dolphins and bottle nosed ones. They seemed almost twice the size. We were itching to get in and swim with them so after a good half hour of them swimming around us we jumped in, they got bored and swam off. A superb end to the day.

Second evening of hot sunshine so lets have another BBQ, Mike this time volunteered and definitely won the cook off. Excellent meal. A few beers and glasses of wine and this time an earlier night due to an early start to catch the tide. Chris now had support in his cabin from Leon to keep the girls in order.

Up at 6 to load the van eat breakfast and pack before being on the boat at 8 to motor all the way down to St Ives, 2 hours away. The sea was like a mill pond, this was the day to see basking sharks if they were around. No luck on the way down.

In on the wreck of the St Chamond which was torpedoed in 1918 by a U boat. She sank with 6 steam trains on board which now lie in various positions on and around the wreck.

Cameras at the ready and in we went. 30m down and the viz was still about 15m. We dropped right on the boiler and I managed to find one of the trains before my buddy and I had to abort the dive as her drysuit decided to stop dumping air. So with plenty of air and time in hand we started a slow ascent up the line. Lesley had declined my offer of opening up the valve underwater to allow it to flood and clear it, but if needs must on the way up it was going to get flooded. Luckily for her half way up and it cleared. But we still aborted the dive, best come up safe and sound and we now have a good excuse to go back and dive it again. Anyway everyone else thoroughly enjoyed it hopefully with some good pictures to come. A long motor back in the sunshine and all eyes looking for the basking sharks. It really was a needle in a haystack job. But it wasn't to be. So our last dive a drift on a reef just outside Newquay, plenty of reef life but then we hit sand and there was not a lot on it, just one flatty in the bag.

A few pictures are on the gallery page.

Then for the long drive home at the end of a brilliant weekend. My thanks to all those who came along, I really enjoyed the trip and I hope you did as well. My thanks go to Chris and Ann at Atlantic Divers who run a superb operation. I cannot think of anything you could complain about, so if you get a chance go on a trip with them make it a couple of days and stay at their B&B.

Trip Details

The trip is full but I have an option of booking the 2 days before this one, so keep sending in your interest. This year the trip to Newquay could be a bit special, this is the peak time for basking sharks coming up passed the Cornish Coast.

So the plan is to travel down on the friday for B&B with Atlantic Divers, for those who have been before you will know they have excellent B&B in 2 bunkhouse chalets. Up early saturday for 2 dives on their superb catamaran, usually a wreck and drift dives, lunch is supplied. Back for B&B and no doubt a couple of beers and then the same again on sunday and home.

Now if we get lucky the basking sharks will be coming by, so the diving plans will change and it will be off to snorkel with the giants. Travel back sunday evening.

You will need to be Advanced Open Water with 2 tanks and DSMB.

Last Modified: 29-05-2012 20:04:29
Tank fills and kit hire available
PADI Boat Diver (BOAT)
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