Trip Report

Shore diving ~ Jurassic coast


On 7th and 8th September 2019 we shore dived Kimmeridge Bay and Chesil Cove along the Jurassic coast in Dorset. Thanks Anne for researching the sites and organising the weekend.

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Cuttlefish on my first UK sea dive! – by Ed

Kimmeridge bay was my first sea dive in the uk and I was amazed by the amount of colour and life on the bottom, especially the purple sea anemones. 

I was impressed with Kimmeridge bay but the diving on our second day at Chesil beach absolutely blew me away. The visibility was great and there was so much to see on the bottom. I also saw my first ever cuttlefish – an animal I have been interested  in since reading “Other Minds” by Peter Godfrey-Smith.

I have really enjoyed diving with the club and cannot wait to get back into the water. Thank you very much to Anne for arranging a very exciting weekend.

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Seas of anemone and patterns – by Fee

Kimmeridge Bay is a great spot for a gentle shore drive. With maximum 3m depth at neap tide, buoyancy is a bit of a challenge. With seas of purple and white anemone swaying in the swell and so close to the surface other growth with interesting patterns really shine their colours too.

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Amazing underwater scenery – by Elaine

Both Kimmeridge Bay and Chesil Beach were lovely in different ways. 

With Kimmeridge Bay, it was the beauty of colours, lifeform and strange designs on the floor, all under less than 3metres of good visibility of water. Some of the guys in the team had taken photos which highlighted some of the beauty. As I tend to swim slightly ahead of my buddy, in this instance, Anne, who deployed her SMB at the surface, we stuck like glue with a finger hooked around her SMB line, thus enjoying the scenery even more. As always Anne, thanks.

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Chesil Beach – by Robert

I have always wanted to visit Chesil Beach and was excited at getting a chance not only to see the beach but more importantly having the chance to dive there.  Sunday morning was bright sunshine and clear blue sky with thankfully hardly any wind meaning the dive was on. Overcoming the challenges of being kept awake the night before by various hen parties and then several unplanned circuits of Portland Village we finally arrived.  It is a spectacular site with the Isle of Portland looming above on one side and Chesil Beach stretching away into the distance on the other. The dive featured really good visibility with plenty of life, wrasse, pipefish and cuttlefish and also a small wreck. I found the shore diving experience ‘wobbly’ especially on the exit but great fun as although the beach surface seemed unstable the large pebbles meant you did not sink in too deeply and could stay upright (mostly).  Definitely a site to revisit.

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Hot Tub Time Machine – by Elliott

There was much anticipation for me on how this weekend would go; not only was it my first-time away with the club, but also the first-time diving in the UK outside of a quarry. Anne did a great job on booking everything at relatively short notice, and so myself and Jun-Ho (fantastic chauffeur) arrived late Friday evening, tired and ready to rest-up. You can imagine our surprise therefore at being greeted by not one, but two hen parties enjoying themselves in the adjoining flats. I won’t say too much more, aside from that the karaoke was as painful to hear as expected.

Onto the main event – the dives. We had some background knowledge on Kimmeridge bay thanks to various clubbers who had dived there before. It’s really a beautiful area, and driving down into the bay reminds you of the sometimes-overlooked beauty that England has. We dived in two waves, with everyone getting more than enough time to explore the various life that lurks beneath the surface (Fee has some brilliant pics). Funnily enough, despite the maximum 1-2.5m depth, this was a relatively challenging dive in the context of buoyancy. As a fairly new diver, keeping consistently on the bottom with only 1m of coverage was quite an experience, but worth it and some good lessons learned. We returned for a great BBQ that evening and sometime in the hot-tub (yes, Anne only books the best).

Chesil Cove was a very different dive. The visibility was amazing, 10m+ in some areas and depths to around 12m, with a little less coral than Kimmeridge but much more in the way of fish life. We dived in two waves again, this time sharing the site with various other divers who were obviously taking advantage of the great weather. Being only part-way through my Sports Diver and never having witnessed a DSMB in proper use, Ed gave a useful (and successful) demonstration (cheers!).

What a great way to spend a weekend. Beautiful weather, great vis and two hen parties to share your accommodation with.

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Pebbles!!!! – by Elaine

First I’d like to say a big thanks to the team who helped me over the mountain of pebbles to and from the shore! 

I didn’t see much in the way of sea life and bright colours as I did in Kimmeridge Bay, it had beautiful rockery against the sandy floor. It gave me the opportunity to get really close to the bottom at nearly 11metres and looking into nooks and crannies for signs of life with buddy Dylan, which we occasionally found. 

It was my first and most likely the last time I’ll be diving with Dylan before he leaves HSAC for pastures new, and it was absolutely pleasurable.