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Home arrow Dive Reports arrow Luis at Last - Bracklesham 3rd September 2000 - they finally get the weather right
Saturday, 21 September 2019
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Luis at Last - Bracklesham 3rd September 2000 - they finally get the weather right Print

Well the day started off OK! The sun was shining and the sea was flat. We had Spare Rib, McKie and a local rib belonging to friends of Pete Raison who was our Marshall for the day.

The plan was to take two cylinders each out to the site of the Luis. This is just off Shanklin beach on the Isle of Wight so we could make our second dive locally rather than returning to Bracklesham.

A few concerns were raised from the ladies about being zipped in a dry suit on a rib all day, and, after diving the Luis what happens if we need the Looy. Pete said they could all look the other way (oh yeah) and I was wishing I'd kept that copy of Dive Girl that explained various options in such a predicament.

Anyhow, first problem was trying to launch Spare Rib. As the tide was way out we could drive the car onto the beach and then push the trailer into deeper water. Couldn't we...? Eh, not with the brakes locked on. Luckily this took so long to sort out the tide came in sufficiently to float Spare Rib off the trailer!

OK, at last we were on our way. As we approached the Isle of Wight in Spare Rib we had to slow down as the spare cylinders had shifted a bit. Big mistake. Trying to get going again was OK if we wanted to keep at a very slow pace, but neutral or reverse or fast forward weren't going to happen. Something had gone crunch along the throttle cable and we limped back to Bracklesham with the help of a few fine oarsmen.

Not all bad news ... McKie successfully located Luis. This site is the wreck of the British merchant steamship built in 1916. She measured 380ft x 53ft x 24ft and 2484-tons. Her cargo was flour, oats, timber and many tons of the 18lb anti-personnel artillery shells destined for the battlefields of France. On April 12, 1918 she was torpedoed by the German submarine UC-71. The depth is 17m and the wreck is well broken but her two huge boilers and parts of the stern stand some 3-4m off the seabed.

Unable to repair Spare Rib we retrieved her from the water and with her party no longer worried about the Looy, we consumed large quantities of coffee and coke expecting a long wait for McKie to return as they had planned to stay out all day.

Well the Club spirit being what it is, the McKie party decided to return early after their Luis dive to enable the Spare Rib party to take McKie out. So with full bladders we climbed back into our drysuits and headed off to dive the Tank Landing Craft at Hounds Reef. This site is at a depth of 10m and is home to several large lobsters. There were plenty of crabs, pouting and blennies too. Several shells of the exploding kind were also found.

After a 45 minute dive we returned to Bracklesham and a fast sprint up the slipway, abandoning McKie, unzipping drysuits to attend to matters more pressing.

As usual the day ended sitting outside the pub at Dellquay overlooking Chichester harbour, reflecting on the day's events and watching the sun slowly set with a pint of Sussex's very Best!

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