While ropes off was not until 10:15, Paul H and myself made an earl ystart to make sure there were no parking issues in Exmouth. 8:30 found us in the cafe having a hot drink. Paul Leyland joined us for further drinks about 20 minutes later.

This trip had originally been booked on Wave Chieftain III for May 2006. This was binned due to bad weather, and postponed to the Sept 2006. Again Rich decided to bin the trip, and due to a full calendar, the next decent weekend I could get was September 22/23 2007! And so it was to be.

However 2007 has been a disaster for diving as many of us know. About a month ago I heard that Rich had sold the catamaran and now had another Offshore 125. This was Endeavour from Plymouth, previously Dive Time in Weymouth. As I has used this boat in either guise I had no qualms in continuing with the new boat. Overall plan was to do the Chateau Yquem 45m on Saturday, with the Gefion 32m on Sunday followed by second dives of whatever we felt like doing.


We left the cafe to find everyone else starting to load up. I was pleasantly surprised to see some friends amongst those who had taken up spare spaces. Roy, Mary and Su, Graham and Gary. Rich's usual crew member - Kevin - was also aboard. Rich immediately told us that the Sunday diving was binned due to the forecast. Hard to believe as it was currently so calm and pleasant. We were ready early so we left for the site.


The Chateau Yquem is a 280'' long steamship torpedoed by U40 (UB40?) in 1917. She lies in about 48m some 20 miles SE of Exmouth, pretty much in the centre of Lyme Bay. I had already dived the wreck back in May, but that was a very dark dive with maybe 5m vis with a good torch. I was hoping for better this time.

As we neared the site, it was apparent that another 2 boats were around. One was Skin Deep and already had his shot in. The other was a trawler. This has become very common in Lyme Bay. They now trawl very close to the wrecks for whatever fish they can get. That is one issue. They can also create a cloud in the water that can turn off what vis you have in seconds. We shall see.

We used Skin Deep's shot line and it was immediately obvious that this would be a very different dive from my previous visit. The water was very light and a torch was not really needed except to look into holes etc. Not bad for 45m in Lyme Bay. Vis was between 8 and 12m. We immediately saw a few dead crabs caught up in monofillament netting. We continued over the wreck towards the stern. The mid ships is very broken up, this is where she was hit. There are plenty of edible crabs and congers about, but I can't be bothered to make a serous go at getting a crab - too much wreck I want to look over. Paul grabs a medium one though. Into my bag it goes. It is soon joined by a TDI body warmer I find. I think I could put it on if I get cold during the deco stops.

The wander continues and we come across Chris and Paul. I see that Chris is after a lobster, I assist, but Chris lets it go (soft I find out later). As it drops down a huge conger comes out of its hole. It looked for a while as if it was going to swallow the lobster whole. It certainly could have! I've not ever seen such a big head on a fish. Paul and I continue towards the bow. I snag and break my goody bag, so now have to keep hold of it. The bow area is very compete, with much of the wooden decking still in place. There is also a small column of netting, but this is easily avoided. Paul bagged up his SMB at 37 minutes.

Deco was boring and uneventful apart from a cramp attack at 29 metres. I handed the bag to Paul and did a few stretches. It does go and I hope it stays that way. 40 minutes of deco with cramp would not be fun. Luckily I don't get a repeat and We continue the ascent with me holding the bag in both hands. It's nice to know I can still keep control of a 'free ascent with both hands occupied. We stuff the contents of the bag into Paul's once we get to 6m.

Total time 80 minutes with a max depth of 46 metres. Cracking!

We start heading back for home with hot drinks, chocolate (thanks Gary) and lunch. We decide to do a second dive off Straight Point with the opportunity for scallops and perhaps even a plaice. We are on side after 2 hours having travelled back at a leisurely pace. Paul and I have topped up our cylinders on the way, so in we go. The scallops are few and far between. Scallopers have been through, we even find the evidence of one of their rakes. I see 3 plaice, but completely fail to catch any of them. At least we know that they are about, which is good. Once back on the surface it is obvious why we won't be diving on the next day, quite a chop has picked up and there is a fair bit of white on the waves.

Total time 50 minutes, max depth 16m. 6 scallops.

The last few minutes of our return are occupied by eating Su's birthday cake. Happy Birthday Su.