Smarting from a time when he carried a diving jinx, Yo-Han Cha takes the opportunity to beat his wreck diving friends at their own game.
I used to have a jinx. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried to see manta rays, they were either never there or I’d be blown out if they were. I’ve broken that jinx now and you’d think that having suffered so, I’d be a bit more sympathetic when it came to fellow divers with a similar run of bad luck.
Now it might just be down to all those ‘friends’ who were keen to show me their manta photos, but it turns out I’m not that mature. So if you have a diving jinx of some sort, rest assured that I’ll be among the baying mob winding you up about it.
For years, my old club had a terrible run of weather luck at the Farne Islands, repeatedly getting blown out. Apparently my habit of posting seal photos from the previous week on social media was viewed as ‘unhelpful’.
However, the most amusing run of weather woe for me in recent times – and particularly this year – is the M2 jinx that afflicts my friends Adam and Howard. Adam and Howard don’t know each other, they’re in separate dive clubs but their tales of their attempts to dive the M2 are remarkably similar.
Both live up north, so just popping down to Weymouth isn’t an option. It involves them committing to a full-on weekend trip to even make the attempt. Mother Nature has brutally ignored the patience and commitment shown by Adam and Howard, and continues to reserve her most ferocious winds and rain for their M2 trips.
For those of you who don’t know it, the M2 was an aircraft carrier/submarine hybrid (the first and last of its kind), which lies in a rather exposed part of the English Channel, just out of Weymouth.
It is a signature dive not just of the area but the whole UK, simply because there’s not another wreck like it in the world.
After such a catalogue of failure it is said they turned to making sacrifices to the diving gods, but said sacrifices must have been found wanting, because when the weather doesn’t get them, it may be some sort of kit failure, or chronic seasickness, or both!
So why am I so amused by this particular jinx? Well, I had the pleasure of diving the M2 myself after the lockdown eased and I booked a group of four onto the Tango hard boat, out of Weymouth. Well guess what... it turned out that if you have a gloriously sunny day with calm seas and if you don’t get seasick and have equipment that works, diving the M2 is a pretty straightforward affair. It also marked my first dive with someone from my new club, Reading BSAC.
Well, I’ve held back from winding up my friends about this dive, but there it is, languishing shamelessly in my logbook. The funny thing is (brace yourself for insult being added to injury) I’m not even that into wrecks! It’s true – I generally prefer a bit of squidge – but I have to admit the M2 is a bit special.
Adam and Howard, you should know it is a beauty. Sitting upright and covered in life; its conger eels aren’t particularly shy, probably because they’re massive and scared of nothing. The visibility was amazing and a most wonderful dive was had. You guys should most definitely keep on trying to dive it.
This column article was originally published in SCUBA magazine, Issue #109 December 2020. For more membership benefits, visit bsac.com/benefits.
Images in this online version may have been substituted from the original images in SCUBA magazine due to usage rights.
Image credit: Yo-Han Cha