Diving off the Mew Stone and around Breakwater Fort.

Arriving at Mount Batten early (because I take ages to kit up), we ooohed and aaahed as if we hadn''t seen the sea for a year - the sky and sea were blue and Plymouth Sound quite calm-looking. Pretty soon the others arrived, and the first wave [Paul L and Dave M, Clint, Simon and Helen, Chris G boat handler] was ready to go.

We got to the Mew Stone and chucked the shot line in. First in were Clint, Helen and I. We descended into soup-green water. Looking up, instead of a green sun-dappled surface, was a dense blizzard of green-brown particles. The bottom had small rock outcrops and ledges with kelp on top and sand and gravel between. Visibility seemed to be about 1.5m - 2m; quite murky but up close there would be plenty to see. Unfortunately, Helen hadn''t enough weight and had to end her dive early.

Back on the bottom Clint used his lifting bag to send the shot to the surface, we then sent up a DSMB, and set off for a look round. Swimming into the current wasn''t too bad, we weren''t in a hurry - what did take a bit more effort was dragging the DSMB about.

Around the ledges were lots of different sponges, sea squirts, sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers, and fan worms. There were various small fish - mainly wrasse and gobies. With good conditions the southern side of the Mew Stone would be great.    
While diving Dave''s special elephant proof hat had been lost (my hat btw - a nice olive-khaki colour - just looks like it has passed through an elephant).  Back at Mount Batten, the second wave bound for the Mew Stone [Chris G, Kevin, Geoff M, Anne, Nik, Dave M boat handler] were getting ready. When they were out, I lolled around the car park, chatting, reading, arranging kit, and so on while Yasmin went on a second foray into town. She got a lift over on the RIB which for Yas was bit of an adventure!

On the third wave [Chris and Simon, Dave M and Helen and Kevin boat handler] I was to complete the DSMB and compass exercise, and my Sport Diver training. Passing close to RFA tanker Black Rover the huge aviation training ship RFA Argus, moored just inside the Breakwater we arrived at the Fort. In the water Chris and I descended the wall of the large circular turret, and I followed the compass west into the gloom out over a muddy sea-bed pock-marked with worm holes. We headed back east, and I was glad when I saw the Fort once more.

Visibility wasn''t too bad, and there was a lot of interesting junk around, all covered with a short encrusting turf, and here and there simple animals. The insides of a lifting cage lots of orange and yellow potato-oid sponges, and on the wall of the Fort were pink sea fan, and dead men''s fingers; in the silty sand were the feathery flower-like feeding parts of fan worms.

Amongst the stones, girders, pipes, coils of wire and other bits and pieces, there were a few small edible crabs, a velvet swimmer crab, and even a lobster! As for fish - there were gobies (lots), female cuckoo wrasse, a bass, and a conger eel, its head and tail visible at each end of the narrow hollow it occupied. We managed a circuit of the Fort, arriving back where we''d started, it was a great dive!

Thanks again Clint and Chris!