After a winter of pool training, the early-season trips of most diving clubs are directed towards getting the new crop of divers into the water and building some basic experience.
Then we get further into the season and the emphasis moves more towards the experienced divers. The new and up-and-coming divers may join the trips, but training is no longer the primary objective. So what are some of our favourite locations, once the training phase is complete

West Wales  
Boldmere Divers from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands took the club RIBs and 15 divers to Pembrokeshire for a weekend. We keep returning to the area because there is plenty of good diving to be done for all levels of diver, says Diving Officer Darren Slater. I wasnt DO for last years trip, just a club-member.
He witnessed a good object lesson on tides: Those tasked with finding out where to launch, and the tides, got some hands-on practical experience of what happens if you get it wrong - lack of water!
Getting down to the diving, Darren recommends two old favourites: The best dives were the Dakotian and the Behar. Both are nice wrecks at a depth that allows divers to make the most of their bottom-time.
There are swim-throughs, and when the visibility is good it just makes the dive, though one of the boats decided to die on the way back from the Dakotian and had to be towed back, with much swearing going on.
We stayed in a mixture of static caravans and B&B. One of the good things about the area is that weather doesnt stop the diving.
  • Boldmere Divers, www.boldmeredivers.com
  • West Wales Divers, www.westwalesdivers.co.uk

  • West Wales Dives  
    Dakotian: 6426 ton steamship. Struck an air-dropped mine on 21 November, 1940, sinking in 18m in Dale Roads. The forward part of the wreck was dispersed after the war. The stern has collapsed significantly in recent years. Polish the bales of tin-plate in the aft holds.
    Behar: 6100 ton steamship. Struck an air-dropped mine in Milford Haven on 24 November, 1940 and beached off Great Castle Head. Subsequent attempts to refloat failed and the Behar was salvaged in situ. The remains now lies well broken on a slope from 6-14m, the most intact part being the stern.

    Inspecting the winch near the bow of the Dakotian
    gun-mount on the stern of the Behar
    tin plate among the Dakotians cargo
    and the connecting rod and coupling from the Behars engine