Special report from Guest Reporters, John and Belinda Seldon, on the August Bank Holiday Expedition. Belinda starts the tale….
We arrived at the Manor Hotel in Babbacombe in time for breakfast on a warm Bank Holiday Saturday. As a non-diver, I was able to find the time to visit the village, with its small shopping centre, the model village and 'Bygones, a journey back to Victorian times'. All this, within a ten minute walk of our hotel.
After lunch, I walked down past the cliff railway to Oddicombe beach. With its sandy beach, café and pedaloes it is a nice place to sunbathe and relax for a few hours. You then have a choice, a ride on the cliff railway back to the downs or a walk along the foreshore to Babbacombe beach. In the water at Babbacombe there are divers under training. On the promenade, around the dive shack and in the car park, people in various states of undress, are all talking about one thing
You are then at the point of deciding, are you up to an interesting walk back up to Babbacombe Downs? If you require further details on the walk talk to John or Bob Carver.
At four o'clock I was back at the hotel, awaiting the divers' return. The group headed for the pool to cool down and I was sent to the bar. A pre-dinner drink in the pool was one of the highlights of the day.
Babbacombe has many places to eat, all very full on a Bank Holiday. We found a nice Chinese Restaurant for a leisurely meal before returning to the hotel for a nightcap.
After breakfast on Sunday we set out for Torquay. Dive plan as follows:
1. Divers go diving, I went window-shopping.
2. We all meet for lunch in the sunshine.
3. Divers go for a second dive, I go off to spend money.
Torquay has lots of major stores, designer discount shops and places to buy presents. It's a good idea to set a budget and limit your spending!
After diving we wandered back to base to "chill" before setting off for our evening meal.
On Monday, diving started late, so John and I had time to walk around the bay in Torquay. On a Bank Holiday Monday the local council had been there before the visitors and raked the beach, rubbish had been collected and, in the harbour, a boat was being used to remove rubbish from the water.
Torquay is full of flowers, houses and hotels clinging to the hillside. The town has theatres and a large sports centre at Torre Abbey Sands. It was our first visit to Torquay and I think both John and I would like to return when we have time to see more.
A big thank you to Karen for allowing John and me to join CRABBSAC on a well-organised and enjoyable break.
John takes up the story…
Now that Belinda has told you a bit about Torquay, I will tell you about the diving.
The crew, a mixed bunch of trainee club divers, 1st class divers, wreck divers and photographers. The divers were Mark Mumford, Steve Baker, Karen Gargani, Bob Carver, Louisa Coleman, Alan Rabie and myself.
The boat was a very impressive 12 metre rib with twin 4.5 litre diesel engines. When the skipper said hold on, he meant it. 58 knots with 12 divers and all their kit, and he said we were not flat out, "WOW".
The first dive was on the wreck of the Bretagne. She was a schooner-rigged single-screw steel steamer of 1439 tons. Unfortunately another group of divers, who were on our boat and whose skills I will not go into, had gone down before us and the visibility was only about 1 metre. Steve and Karen found it a little better at the far end of the wreck.
The second dive we did three times over the weekend. This was the Ore Stone, which stands 32m high and has a tunnel running through it below the water line, which is large enough to swim through at high tide. Each time we dived it, it was at low tide so we could only look at it from the boat. Around the Ore Stone the bottom runs off in rocky gullies down to about 20m.
The other site we dived was Tuckers Rock, close to the Ore Stone but submerged with a drop off down to about 25m. Sea life is prolific on both of these dives, seeing Conger, Scorpion Fish, Sponges, Tube Worms, Anemones, all types of Crabs and lots of other things that those more knowledgeable can tell you about.
On a personal note I would like to thank Karen and Alan for the photography lessons, I have much to learn. And thanks to the whole group who all worked together to make a very successful weekend.
John and Belinda Seldon
This page was last updated on : 06 Sep 2011