Diary

That's why I love shore diving!

And indeed shallow diving in general around the UK!

It's been a bloody odd year with far too few dives, thanks mainly to a worsening situation with my spine, I think that I will be swapping my 12l cylinders soon for 10l versions as the boots on the longer ones sit right on the metalwork nailed in at the L5/S1 level, though it's not the swimming that's problematic, rather when I get out and have to walk. I can see the barra' getting much more use even on short jaunts in 2024!

So, back to the title. I loved the deeper tech stuff but being honest wreck degradation was mainly due to rusting, divers and fishermen rather than storm action, whereas inshore in shallow water you get huge differences every year due to our winter storms and this year Storm Babet was a real pig.

The North Sea doesn't tend to get huge swells, there is a limited, enclosed area, which means there is much less fetch than present for our Western Coast where wind has the entire Atlantic to work up some serious swell, hence surfers in Cornwall and not British West Hartlepool......or maybe they are worried about being hanged as a latter day simian son of the one that they hung?

Anyway, I was far from Seahouses at the height of babes but close enough to South Gare at Redcar to get some photos, there were also some on a Whattsapp chat that I have nicked, for the full range look at:-

Storm Babet - 2023

The South Gare is a bit of an odd-ball and indeed the subject of an ongoing 'pissing up the wall' case 'tween the Port Authority and Business Authority, on a personal level it 'belongs' to the Port, there's a lighthouse on the end and for Gods sake it's been there long before any business park.

Anyhow, when the storm hit it really hit, with this shot showing 'the day after', the worst of the storm is shown in the dusk photos, but this shows conditions easing a little, please bear in mind that the light-house is 13m tall and at this stage of the tide a further 6m above water, so the top of the lighthouse is 19m above water level!

And this shot showing the day after the day after and the damage caused, all of the concrete walking area has been ripped off/shifted with the huge concrete cubes, which are maybe 4m square being 'walked' away from the breakwater causing huge amounts of structural issues.

 

However, the bigger issue facing divers who use the structure as the basis of the dive is continued access, it's already difficult but is put in jeopardy on a regular basis due to people doing the most stupid things. Take a look at the first image again and yup, that's a guy standing there on the breakwater apron, I guess he was ok but with waves washing along this area you have to wonder about his sense and sanity. Maybe if he had been washed away he would be the Darwin Award winner for 2023?

You can imagine that this amount of movement will have greatly changed the dive, wreckages from vessels lost mere tens of meters away from the end of the breakwater may be further uncovered, or indeed covered and that's the great thing no one knows until they can get in and look. As a bubbler I am hoping that things have been uncovered and there are 'trinkets' but who knows, maybe it will all be covered up and will remain so until Storm Aubrey in 2030 comes along......

Certainly things have been washed ashore that have been covered up fro a few years, as you can see from the attached link, although finding out the exact ship that this came from will be like a needle in a haystack I'm afraid!

 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12664711/Up-TWO-inches-heavy-rain-set-hammer-flood-hit-parts-Britain-today-Met-Office-yellow-warning-comes-force-Storm-Babet-sparked-chaos-UK.html

I am not a regular Daily Fail reader, it was just the first link that came up when I searched the topic on my browser! But with this amount of damage or some would say change what am I hoping for? Well more details on wreckage to the North of Beadnell Point, metal shifted so I have unfettered access to a danforth anchor at the same area, bits and bats moving on ST Mistley so I can get at some brass and more cleaning out of submarine hole to uncover more of G11 at Howick!

Not much to ask is it, oh I almost forgot, some of the cobbles shifted from around the stern area of ST Emily Reaich too!

With my fear that most meaningful scrap collection dives have ceased I have totted up my total for the year and come to quite a respectable figure, most lead is now recycled via fishing weights but the rest goes directly to a scrap yard where it goes back into the recycling system and helps off-set the carbon footprint of my aquatic activities!

I had hoped to have a blast out in my RIB, complete with reworked gearbox, but the same storm that damaged the breakwater also dumped a eight foot deep drift of rocks onto the slipway, hopefully one of the guys that almost lives at the club-house will break out the JCB to move all of the rocks.

On the subject of the rocks in this particular area, getting to the breakwater involves or should I say involved driving past a huge, now closed steelworks. This gives rise to a few things:-

a) You get all sorts of daft compass readings due to large amounts of iron rich lumps on the bottom, for accuracy move up the water column a bit;

b) You get some very heavy rocks, they will be formed with the last drippings of the tapped slag from the old steelworks, these rarely move and cause the compass problems; and

c) You get some very light rocks, with some floating! These are formed from the first batch of tapped slag that has no metal content but is bubbling away so cools rapidly into an almost 'wisps bar' like consistency, these are mobile as hell!

But hey, I am not complaining, rather pointing out some 'facts' that you should bear in mind if diving or using a compass here and highlighting the reason I love UK shore dives, every year it's like being on a bus and 'All Change'!

My next dips will be, I think, in the lake district. I mean to dive a site where they used to have steamers pulled out on the shore, I hope that perhaps there are some old brass props but doubt that very much, my best hope is for old bottles thrown in by people working on these ships in the off-season over the years.

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this year - 1463.1 kg

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