Despite the awful weather forecast a brave band of Eastleigh divers trekked down to Torquay for the first May Bank Holiday weekend to discover what the region had to offer. The campsite (Widdicombe Farm) was located within easy distance of Torquay & Paignton harbours for launching the boat and conveniently within walking distance of the obligatory pubs and even had a restaurant & bar onsite.
Saturday was as bad as the forecast had predicted with heavy rain and high Easterly winds but after a lovely “Big Boy” fry-up and shopping in Salcombe some shore diving was undertaken off Thurlestone Sands to find the Louis Shied. In about 6-8m of water the SS Louis Sheid sits broken up after running aground in 1939 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Louis_Sheid and you can see the usual bits of metal and even a boiler. The wreck was interesting but the visibility was pretty bad and the dive certainly provided some exercise with quite a long swim out and back.
On the Sunday the wind had swung round but there was still swell rolling around Torbay so a trip to Babbacombe Beach was in order to discover the shore diving potential there. Everyone was keen to get in the water after braving a very narrow, windy 30% gradient hill down to the site! The entry was fairly easy and the dive involved a nice little pootle around the bay in max 6m of water. Again the vis was poor but there were quite a few crabs, hermit crabs and squat lobster hanging out, a cuttlefish was even spotted (one local diver informed us he had seen 20 cuttlefish in the bay the previous weekend due to breeding season).
On the Monday we managed to launch the RIBs from Torquay. The aim was to find Tucker Rock which is 6m underwater and drops down to about 25m. On the way out we passed the Ore Stone Rock where a seal was spotted hanging out and lots of Razorbills lined up on the cliff. After a failed attempt to find Tucker Rock we dropped back and did a drift around the Ore Stone which started in about 6m and dropped steadily down to about 19m. A variety of wildlife was seen including pretty large hermit crabs, plaice, velvet swimming crabs, edible crabs and various colourful sea plants and anemones.
Even though the weather and visibility was rubbish the trip was good with lots of places to explore and other sites to visit if we arrange a return visit.