Sunday, 14 July 2013

SCIMITAR DIVING

Last weekend I was lucky enough to grab an afternoon off work so I managed to sneak in a cheeky dive with Scimitar Diving.

So who are Scimitar Diving?  They’re probably (my opinion) one of the most popular charters on the South Coast.  And in addition to their charter boats they also supply air/Nitrox/Trimix plus boast their own Dive School with SSI, PADI and SDI/TDI (possibly IANTD soon as former Vobster instructor Gemma had just started?), their own Dive Club (LAPD; Loose Association of Portland Divers) and have a well-stocked shop including brands like GoPro, Hollis and Light Monkey.

Scimitar Diving have come a long way in a very short time.  From starting in 2006, I remember diving with them in summer 2007 when their first boat ‘Scimitar’ was based in Weymouth Harbour.  They then moved to Castletown, Portland where they grew from strength to strength before moving to their current location at Portland Marina.  Scimitar Diving now operate a fleet of 3 boats; ‘Scimitar’ and ‘Cutlass’ are  Evolution 38 hardboats and are of very similar specification, equipped with toilets, dive lifts and kit benches.  ‘Sabre’ is a 7.8m Ribcraft which is fitted with a side ladder.  All of the boats carry emergency oxygen and both hard boats also carry 80% oxygen drop tanks.  Although Smudge has an Army background so one may think ‘Scimitar’ was named after an armoured fighting vehicle, the boats are in fact named after three fast Royal Navy patrol boats that used to be based in Portland.

So, back to the diving.  This was not my first trip with Scimitar Diving, having dived off both ‘Scimitar’ and ‘Sabre’ before but as this was arranged last minute; the only available spaces were on ‘Sabre’ which I had never dived from before.  The dive site; The Countess of Erne.  Built in Dublin in 1868 as an iron hulled paddle steamer, she had a short career working as a passenger ferry before being converted into a coal hulk.  The Countess of Erne sank next to the north-east breakwater in September 1935 after breaking her moorings and running against the inside of the harbour wall.  The weather was amazing; glorious sunshine, no wind and the underwater visibility was great.  It may have been inside the harbour but it was a blissful hour under the water.  To top it off when you return you’ve got full access to the showers and changing facilities at the Marina.

Scimitar Diving have a loyal fan base and it’s not hard to see why.  Smudge, Sarah and all of the crew are really friendly and could quite happily chat to anyone for hours about anything.  They have a relaxed attitude but safety is paramount.  I wish them all the best for the future.
                                                                         
The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.

Safe diving!

Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI and SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: tim@rectotec.co.uk l