Isle of Man

It was a gorgeous Thursday as ten club members squeezed themselves into two cars and set out for Liverpool, heading for a ferry bound for the Isle of Man. Despite the sunny weather we were all aware that the forecast for the weekend was not ideal, but determined to enjoy ourselves anyway.

The ferry security arrangements came as a bit of a surprise and interfered with our carefully made supper plans, but it wasn’t long before we boarded the ferry and set sail for Douglas. The journey out of Liverpool was particularly memorable, giving us some impressive views of the Mersey, the riverside architecture, and a very extensive wind farm, all lit by a setting sun.

Once on the Isle we headed south to Port St Mary to find our home for the next few days—a comfortable self catering house run by the same people as the boat, the excellent Isle of Man Diving Charters. We unpacked and got some sleep, ready for diving.

The next morning it was down to the dive centre to meet the skipper, Mike, and his crew, and to be briefed on the diving. As we got our kit together and ready to transfer on to the boat Mike described us as ‘quite efficient’, which should perhaps become the club’s motto! The boat, the Kirree Varrey, could probably technically be called a RHIB, but it is a RHIB in a different league to Hornet! With a spacious wheel house, lift and tea making facilities it soon became clear why they’d laughed when I asked if getting in involved rolling off the tubes!

Much of the diving was scenic, with one wreck (the Clan MacMaster) on the last day. The viz was very good to start with, but suffered a bit after the arrival of Storm Betty. Thanks to the crew’s skill and local knowledge we managed to get in three days of diving, including a seal encounter, despite the storm. Sadly Saturday was blown out as Betty battered the Isle of Man from the south east, the only direction that the skipper couldn’t find shelter from. Fortunately, despite the wind it remained dry during the day and gave us a great opportunity to explore a bit of the Isle and go for a bracing walk along the cliffs.

We also managed the odd outing after diving. One evening we set off to ascend Snaefell Summit (probably should have checked the transfer tables first 🙂 ), but were thwarted by practice for a classic motorcycle race, which seemed to have closed half the roads on the Isle. After some complicated navigation we managed to get within sight of where we were aiming, but could go no further, so had to make do with watching motorbikes hurtling past. Some were more impressed by this than others.

All in all it was a fantastic long weekend, superbly well organised by Alastair, and with a great service from Mike and the team at Isle of Man Diving Charters. For most of us it was our first visit to the Isle of Man and it was great to get to see and dive a new place. Big thanks to Alastair for organising it, and to everyone who went for being great company.

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