I'd booked to do the Pentrych 22m with Brighton Diver. Originally the plan had been to introduce someone to UK sea diving, but they'd pulled out, so I was on my own. I'd stayed overnight in Bognor and the sea looked quite calm first thing that morning. Driving to Brighton was a nightmare on Bank Holiday Monday. The roads were full of people who seemed to have all the time in the world.
Eventually, I got to Brighton Marina, avoiding the town centre and the demonstrations, and got my kit onboard. As we went out of the harbour, it was obvious the wind was picking up and the direction of the wreck meant we were smacking into it head on. So the skipper took the decision to do the Fortuna instead.
The Fortuna was built in 1913 in Amsterdam. After hitting a mine she sank in October 1916 while sailing from Rotterdam to Cardiff with a cargo of cement.
I was first down the shot and the viz wasn't great. It was 2-3m and there was a lot on plankton in the water. Still, it wasn't that dark down there. You didn't need a torch to read your instruments. I had naturally forgotten to charge mine, though had a my trusty LED backup to fall back on.
There were loads of bib on the wreck, a few wrasse and lots of blennies. The bags of cement are clearly visible in the middle. The bows are quite impressive with big plumose anemones hanging out in the currents.
My maximum depth was 28.9m. I'd got an air top on what was left from the previous weekend, so was more or less diving tyre gas. After 30 mins I left the bottom, did 6 mins compulsory stops on the way up, plus a few more voluntary ones.
Back on the surface and the second dive was canned as it was now blowing a force 5. I wasn't exactly upset. I probably wouldn't have got in for the second dive anyway, and it meant a few quid knocked off the price.
The water had warmed up slightly. It's now a balmy 11C. I'd bought some new 5mm Waterproof gloves which I was quite impressed with.