Archive for janine

Falmouth take II (July 2021)

Not bad for a quick midweek dive break, long journey but stunning scenery above and below the waves. Mark Chloe Geoff and myself all staying on the camp site, only 5 minute stroll from the marina.

Breakfast with a view.

Lots of room on the boat, Moonshaddow, Skipper Mark and Crew Ruth, both divers and extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the dive sites. Also nice to to meet up with some familiar faces and get to chat with new faces.

Getting ready.

The first dive was at the Old Wall, a new site for us, this is a series of gullies and boulder walls, more like similar reef systems, dropping down to 25m, 14* and about 8 metre viz. We saw a host of plant and crustacean life including a strange purple sponge.

Purple sponge.

Sea cucumbers, cup corals, pink sea fans, crayfish, Ross bryozoan (potato crisp), yellow sea sponge, conger eel and nudibranch.

Cup coral.

Bryozoan.

Orange sponge fingers.

Conger eel.

Nudibranch.

This was a great site, but as Mark pointed out he didn’t see a wall in that respect. Mark Milburn told him there are parts there the are actual wall and he will put us on it next time, weather permitting.

After a hot chocolate and a change of cylinders we went to the site of the Hera, a wreck that sank in 1914 on Gull Rock, which looks like the hump of a dragon, near Nare Head. She is well broken up, lying on a sandy / shingle sea bed in about 15m, temp 14* viz around 6 to 7m.

Again there is an abundance of life from pollack to a long spine sea scorpion.

Long spine scorpion.

Spider crab, rays, crystal jelly fish and compass jelly fish.

Spotted ray.

Crystal jelly fish.

Purple jelly fish.

Snake lock anemone at home on the wreck along with jewel anemone in bloom under protruding girders. The mast posts point away toward another part of the wreck which looked like a cavern you were able to swim into and the wall was the nesting place for more nudibranch spawn.

Nudibranch spawn.

End of a fabulous day and the promise of better tomorrow. Mark Milburn told us he was expecting a famous Dr on board tomorrow known for marine photography, think I’ll hide my camera away then!

Day 2, bright, warm and sunny, calm sea, just what we requested. The photographer was Alex Mustard OBE, and he was chatty on the way to the site, East Pinnacle on the Bizzies crack.

This site held something for everyone (though not wreck hunters), from fans, sponges, anemone, corals, bryozoan, crayfish, wrasse and lobster.

Biggest thing, Angler fish, very well camouflaged on our ascent.

Angler fish.

To littlest thing, a tiny flabellina free swimming in the kelp.

Flabellina.

Alex had a look and told me the name, but it’s all Latin to me!

Mark Milburn took us to my favourite site from May’s trip, Nare reef. He dropped a couple of lads off to look for reported cannon’s ( none found) and we had a great bimble on the reef in 15 metre, at 12* but the viz was only around 6 metre. However after saying the viz was worse, Geoff and I managed a 70 minute dive. Lots of boulders to explore around and kelp beds to examine. We disturbed a cat shark under the kelp and a huge spider crab. Mark and Chloe spied a crayfish and a leopard spot goby, plus a very striking flat worm.

Cat shark hiding for now!

Crayfish plus goby.

Flat worm.

Back on board and the journey back to the marina is still something to talk about, more like a picture from a travel advert.

East of Falmouth.

St Anthony’s Lighthouse, aka Fraggle Rock.

Mark & Geoff on the lookout for a seal.

Chloe and me having a pose.

Back at the camp site we spent time chatting with Warren and John, who had been on the boat for the first time, they are looking forward to diving with Atlantic Scuba again, so are we, in the morning but for our last day this trip.

Another warm sunny day and we were waiting to fuel up and board Moonshaddow, chatting with another DR in marine biology, Keith Hiscock. He was really entertaining and told some funny tales, not all diving related. (Thomas you would have loved this trip).

Moonshaddow.

Once kitted up we set off for the Bizzies reef again to dive a small pinnacle known as Scaramanger, sea bed down to 29m, temp 14* and viz around 7 to 8 m. Lots of life underwater equal in a range of species, colour and variety to match anything at Chelsea flower show, with added crustaceans.

Orange jewels.

Purple jewels.

Dr Keith told us he was looking for a very rare type of anemone but as he didn’t fine one this species is now going to be entered as endangered. But we spotted orange and yellow sponges, yellow and white plump dead man’s fingers, red sea fingers in bloom and with closed nodules. Nudibranch and a variety of spawn, flat worms and a sea gooseberry and compass jelly fish on our safety stop.

Nudibranch spawn.

Sea gooseberry.

Compass drifting by.

We remained at sea for our safety stop and drifted over a reef called North Stoners, as the sea was so calm and we had Dr Keith on board we decided to dive there instead of a scallop dive for Pete. This is also part of the Bizzies at 23m in 14* with around 6m viz. As the name suggests there were lots of stones to dive in and around and lot’s to see from ray’s to nudibranch, grey sponge to ling, it had it all.

Eyeballing a spotted ray.

Fluffy white nudi.

Grey sponge.

Ling.

Time to go home.

Geoff (us) at the surface.

Here comes Moonshaddow, last time this trip. More to come later.

Thomas, I hope you can help me out with some of these species names soon! Try this one please.

Nudi.

 

See you all soon.

Janine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farne Islands 10th July 2021

Fantastic dive trip for Aquanauts Martin & Chloe, Mark & Thomas and Christine and me, with Glad Tidings VII, skipper Mikey and crew Dan.

Great conditions, flat calm sea, warm but sun not blazing, just perfect.

First dive on the Northern Wamses of the outer Farnes. Lots of seals on the rocks but not quite ready to interact with us divers. Stunning wall/reef dive, viz around 10 metre and a tropical 11 degree, dense beds of white and orange dead man’s finger, sea urchin’s, Ekstrom’s top knot, butterfish, sun stars, ballan wrasse, squat lobsters and a sleeping octopus.

 

Sun star

Ekstrom’s top knot.

 

The list was endless. Chris and I followed the wall around and returned to our starting point and got our eye in with a few Nudibranch ( more research needed to name them)!.

Chris on the search.

Looking for this maybe?

Over an hour later we were still exploring but thought we had better return to the boat, more dives to do later.

Is that our boat?

Surface interval is time to change the cylinders get food and drink in and have a relax or a chat with other divers.

Martin chilling.

There’s an award to be had there!

A pair of critter spotters.

Ah well off we go to our second dive, the wreck of the steam ship Britannia, sunk in 1915 on Callers reef in fog ( I hope Mikey knows where the sharp rocks are)?

The bow lies at around 26/27 metre, depending on the tide but can only be dived at slack water. The water temperature was around 12 degree and viz 10 to 15 metres in parts. Lot’s of broken wreckage colonised with a multitude of colourful weed, colonies of fleshy dead man’s fingers, a host of star fish and sea urchins. The wreck is mostly plates and girders but it was easy to pick out some winch gear.

Winch gear.

Ballan wrasse and butterfish were also spotted on the surrounding wall.

Ballan wrasse.

We made an ascent up the reef wall to discover more wreckage, we were informed by another group of divers that they had seen the boiler, but no photo!

However higher up the reef we got our eye in again to some stunning little critters, enjoy.

Dendronotus Frondosus     ( sounds like a Harry Potter spell)

Most commonly seen species.

A different one.

Another new one for me.

Lot’s of different things to see to keep everyone entertained. Need to do this dive again and find the boiler maybe.

Looking forward to some more dive trips with you Aquanauts’.

Take care all.

Janine

 

 

Falmouth May/June 2021

From Capernwray to Cornwall in what a diving journey!

We were fortunate to be able to arrange this trip at short notice when the Portland trip was cancelled. We were diving with Atlantic Scuba again and we were lucky to be able to book our motorhome on the new camp-site and Geoff was also camping, only a 3 minute stroll for the marina, while Chris and Jona found a B&B near Redruth.

Geoff and Chris were booked on the Friday evening dive and after an arduous 10 hour journey we caught up with Jona on the marina just as Moonshaddow returned.

Jona waiting for the boat to return

We met up with Chris and Geoff in the bar and they told us they had been to part of the reef on the Bizzies, but as the tide was changing the dive ended up on a drift and too quick for photo’s, but they told us it was covered in life, fishes, corals and crustaceans. With a depth ranging from 5 to 20m and the viz reported to be about 8 to 10m even with the plankton bloom We were all looking forward to joining the boat on Saturday.

The following morning rose fair but a bit breezy in the estuary, only 1 tablet this morning then! At the boat we met up with old and new divers and after kitting up Ruth gave the newcomers the boat safety brief and guideline’s on etiquette, then Moonshaddow set off to the Bizzies again and I was hoping that the drift would not be as strong as reported last night.  I had no need for concern as we arrived at the dive site the sea slackened off and Ruth expertly launched the shot line. Mark and Chloe dived together, Chris and Jona and me and Geoff.

Diving at around 18 to 20m we were treated to the usual sights of crab, lobster and crayfish, lots of nudibranch eggs appearing as roses on rocks, but sadly no critters in sight.

Nudibranch eggs.

The reef walls were coated in  dead men fingers, red corals, pink sea fans, jewel anemones and cup corals. What a beautiful garden scape despite the bloom, we still had around 8 to 10m viz.

Jewel anemone and cup corals

At the end of the dive we were treated to Ruth’s lovely hot chocolate as we returned to the marina to change cylinders and swap some divers, and say hello to others we recognised from last year. As we were having a lovely chat we were heading out to the wreck Epsilon, mostly a couple of big boilers and twisted metal girders laying around 20 to 22m.

The sea was quite gloomy on our descent on the shot line but as we neared the sea bed we could make out the boilers, home to some sizeable congers and some very timid tube worm, appearing as flowers in bloom but quickly receding as the torch beam strikes them. Shoals of pollack can be seen patrolling the wreck while some of the girders are now home to some cup corals and light bulb sea squirts.

Light bulb sea squirts.

Back on Moonshaddow we all swapped stories of who saw what while enjoying another mug of hot chocolate. I had to show photo evidence of an  angler fish to the non-believers.

Angler fish, see.

After another nice meal at the bar we sauntered back to the camp site ready for another day. Sunday dawned bright and breezy and beyond the camp site the sea appeared a little lumpy, so 2 tablets to day I think! The sea was a little lumpy on the way to the wreck, the Peterson, but as promised the waves flattened off at the dive site. Again on the shot line the viz was gloomy but settled down on the wreck at 23m and the viz appeared to be around 10m. As we had dived this wreck last year we were aware that it mostly consists of an outline shape of a boat with the cargo of iron ore welded to the sea bed, along with some anchor chains and winch gear.

Anchor chain on the Peterson.

Every nook and cranny is filled with conger, some very old and gnarly, spider crabs, edible crab and crayfish. No octopus this year…….have to go again!

Conger eel.

Back on Moonshaddow we were informed that we had to make a recue mission as the RHIB Stingray had broken down and divers needed picking up.

Stingray being rescued.

The sea was building all this time and we had our second dive in the shelter of Fraggle Rock, a very famous lighthouse. A nice shallow dive, kelp rock walls and wide open sandy bottom area, with the promise of a swim through tunnel, not found by any of us so…..have to go again? The kelp was swaying in the current as we ventured back and forth, thanks heaven for anti-sickness medication. Not much for us to see but we were entertained by watching hermit crabs scurrying around and we had the pleasure of a seal watching us, others on Moonshaddow were delighted with seeing a seal, but us Northerner’s seemed a little underwhelmed.

At the marina we bade farewell to Chris and Jona and Geoff managed to get himself a third dive. He told us the next morning that the dive was at East Narrows and again quite challenging due to the current but he said he managed to explore some of the wall.

Monday was bright and calmer, so down to 1 tablet again. We dived the East Narrows, a reef of calcified seaweed called Merle, at around 5m dropping off down a wall to over 30m. Geoff and I explored the wall watching some big Bull Huss, lobster and cat sharks.

Cat shark (dog fish)

Higher up on the merle is home to lots of smaller life including juvenile cat sharks and reported thornback rays, Geoff reported to have spied one just prior to the ascent, but no photo!…..have to go back again!. But even in the shallows there is always something entertaining and Chloe told us of laughing watching hermit crabs doing battle for the best shell.

The single tablet may have been a mistake as we were staying out at sea and heading east to Nare Rock. It was aswell that the sea was calmer at the site or I may have had to feed the fishes again, and I don’t think I was the only one. This site was a where loads of boulders had collapsed into the sea leaving a home for many critters and creatures.

I saw clusters of squid eggs suspended under a boulder.

Squid eggs

Also a couple of Nudibranch, one I’ve never seen before.

Nudibranch

New one for me

I also spotted something that appeared to be a sleeping sea hare …possibly? But certainly something very tiny resting on a dead man finger.

Strange tiny something.

This turned out to be an awesome dive at around 15m depth with visibility between 10 to 15m. Once back on the boat everyone said that the viz was so good that they could watch the divers underwater and knew where everyone was.

Geoff was leaving us and Tuesday was a chill out day for me Mark and Chloe having had 3 days diving. Mark and I dived on Wednesday as Chloe was having ear trouble. We dived the Bizzies reef again and a site called the baps, named due to the two mounds with a crevice running between them! Again the reefs were covered in an array of sponges, corals, fans, ferns and anemone. Fish life included inquisitive gold sinny, ballan wrasse and cuckoo wrasse also the very timid tom pot blennies and leopard spot gobies. There were some on the dive collecting evidence of crayfish with eggs, we saw loads of crayfish but never checked for eggs, might give it a try next time?

Another crayfish waving goodbye.

What a fantastic way to end our trip. Hope you were able to recognise/remember some of these sites. Looking forward to another trip on the M5 soon?

Janine

 

 

 

 

Aquanauts hit the water again!

After an exceedingly long lay off from diving, all due to the restrictions with Covid-19 we were all keen to get back in the water again.

Following on from our first pool session in May we managed to get back up to Capernwray to hone skills, test kit and buoyancy and simply to dive again.

Having forgotten what the early morning starts feel like we were soon on our way to Capernwray with some strong drink to hand, coffee of course!

As we had a trip to Falmouth booked for the end of May it was important for us to get in the quarry so that we could iron out any problems before we put to sea.

Geoff took Lucie under the watchfull eye of Mark, our DO, for her first of many dives in a quarry, along to the first training platform. She reportedly said to have enjoyed herself. sadly she was unable to make a second dive due to her wrist seal giving way, back after the repaires eh Lucie?

Chris, Thomas and Jona vanished to the plane to have a go at some reel work for Jona. Unfortunately Thomas couldn’t make the Falmouth trip this time but was still keen to get in the water.

Myself and Chloe were planning on visiting the plane and having a go at free decent and reel work. Unfortunately the viz would not allow that as we could only just see our hands at the end of our arms!

By the time Chloe and I were ready to go in Mark was back and joined us on a deeper dive. After bumping into the boat Gypsy Moth we could just about make out the plane wing and followed it to the body, through we went and ascended up the reef wall. There we completed our safety stop, being teased by the big trout and one sturgeon. Sadly too gloomy for photo’s.

Chloe’s new suit.

Geoff & Thomas enjoyed a long surface swim.

For the second dive Geoff took Thomas to visit the Thunderbird 4, Chris took Jona for a giant stride entry and Mark took Chloe to visit Shergar etc.

This way, says Chris.

Is that the way, says Jona.

Good dive mate?

I remianed on the surface and managed a few pic’s of the returning divers.

Thomas and Mark

Roll on next week when some of us are in the sea. More fun to be had later.

Hope you enjoy the pic’s.

Janine

Falmouth October 2020

Hi all, just a quick one this time.

This trip was about 12 month in the planning from the first time I chatted with Mark Milburn, of Atlantic Scuba, at the NEC Dive Show 2019 to actually going.

Mark delivered on everything he promised and more besides, hopefully more to come.

Great location, fabulous dive sites, experienced and knowledgeable Skipper and great hospitality on the boat from his partner Ruth. Hot chocolate on tap just about.

Mark, Geoff and Thomas made one dive team.

Pre dive planning?

While Chris and I maintained the usual girl team.

Easily entertained.

We were diving a variety of sites including wrecks SS Mohegan at the Manacles, the NG Petersen at Falmouth Bay and the sv Hera at Veryan Bay. We also dived pinnacles at the Manacles, a couple of sites at the Bizzies Reef in Gerrans Bay, entertainingly named The Baps and The Crack (easy to see why on the GPS plotter) and the East Narrows Wall at the Carrick Roads area. This area is home to the Maerl beds, calcified red seaweed that is home to an array of lots of different sea creatures.

We were all pleased to have seen different varieties of fish, from the small Leopard-Spotted Goby to large Bull Huss. Very large Edible crab, Crayfish, Lobster and a Queen Scallop, to Cuttlefish, Conger and Octopus. Even watched a Tub Gurnard flying and spotted a Grey Gurnard. We were informed that Thornback Ray’s were also spotted on one dive, more for next time we think.

Leopard-Spotted Goby.

Sleeping Bull Huss.

Octopus.

Tub Gurnard.

A veritable garden of soft and hard corals including the rare Pink Sea Fans to Potato Crisp Bryozoan, minute  individual Jewel Anemones to large clusters of them with their tentacles out, and Star Fish in many forms. Geoff also named on the “Banana Star Fish”, someone help us please.

Banana Star Fish!

Potato Crisp Bryozoan.

We were joined by some other divers on a daily basis and everyone was lovely and chatty. Fabulous trip for a first outing and more dive sites to explore, we hope. Maybe even the actual Fraggle Rock. Those of you under a certain age will not appreciate this!

Down at Fraggle Rock yeah!

Lot’s more chatter, video’s and photo’s available for the asking.

Hope you enjoyed our first look at Falmouth.

Janine

 

Plymouth August 2020 aka the Arabian Slipper weekend!

This trip had been 3 years in the planning, the previous 2 having been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, and I must say that I was loosing hope on this trip too, as I sat watching all weather channels known to man on the internet. Thankfully the only call I received was from Ben, on the Thursday confirming that we were staying at the Mountbatten centre and that the weather was set to improve as the weekend rolled on.

The diving numbers had also depleted as the years rolled on and we were down to 4, me, Chris, Mark and Thomas, however Sarah, Paul and Oliver were coming too for a weekend break so we still had good company for the weekend.

Mark & Thomas

Me & Chris

As we arrived early at In Deep it was great to catch up with Ben and some of the team, James, AJ and Hugo and to meet other new crew members, Seb, Nick and Rob. Ben was happy that we were early and we began to offload our kit onto Panther, once he brought the boat over to the jetty. Simon was the other diver for the day, from In Deep club, he had been on board with us on previous trips so was looking forward to the banter again.

Mountbatten Centre

Once kitted up we waived farewell to Paul, Sarah and Olly and headed out towards Whitsand bay but the sea was still rolling and there had been a land slip making the sea look like oxtail soup, needless to say we turned around and went to the east of the bay to dive Le Poulmic. Not a lot of wreckage left but plenty to see scattered over a large area with lots of gullies to explore. Part of the bow section is still visible, home to Pollack, Bib and a huge lobster. The surrounding reef is scattered with large white starfish and Bloody Henry star fish in purple and orange.

Le Poulmic bow section.

The sea was still rolling so Ben brought Panther inside the Breakwater during surface interval where we were served with hot drinks and allowed time to change cylinders. Thomas didn’t make the second dive due to mal de mare, but me, Chris and Mark had a good explore on Tinkers Shoal, aptly named as there are still treasures to be found for a keen eye. There was a lot of smashed up crockery from various boats and I found a shell casing, reliably informed it was a 20mm shell, but sadly no doubloons. A very pretty reef to swim around, lots of nooks and crannies for fish to dart in and out of and some larger shoals of fish cuckoo wrasse, ballan wrasse goldsinny, bib and pouting as well as the pretty coloured corals, snakelock anemone and sponges to admire.

Snake lock anemone.

At the end of the dive we headed back to the marina and off loaded the cylinders and headed into the centre to prepare for our evening out. However we were informed that there was no hot water on our floor but the management were doing everything they could. Boiling kettles and hair washing in cold water is not what we planned for but we are a hardy bunch and made the best of it. We boarded the ferry into the Barbican and Paul and Sarah told us of their day, which also included finding a chemist for some sea sickness tablets for Thomas. Everywhere was heaving and we ended up sitting in a chippy having our tea but it was very hot and very enjoyable. As we were all tired after the early morning start we were soon tucked up in bed, overlooking the marina, and looking forward to the next days diving.

The following morning was sunny and mild and the sea had calmed considerably and we were met with 2 other divers, James and Matt (RAF lads) joining us for the rest of the weekend and Ben also helped out some fellow divers, whose RHIB was punctures so we had another couple of guys with us, this made 8 on board but we still had room to spare as Panther usually takes 10 divers.

Panther

Our first dive was at Hillsea Point, a range of pinnacles and walls, home to lots of cuttlefish, crayfish, tompot blennies, sea fans, stag horn coral, sea squirts and scattered with jewel anemone, also home to some very large sea urchins.

A large cluster of lightbulb sea squirts.

 

Mark said it reminded him of Fast Castle in Scotland, Thomas thought it was brilliant and feeling much better today, if not a little wet up his arms!  The second dive was at Fairylands, a wall dive with loads of crevices to explore and search. Home to many crayfish and lots of spider crabs. Ben told us that some divers had found Ray nestled in the sand at the base of the wall but nobody reported seeing anything on their return. Thomas zip had given up the ghost but fortunately he had a spare to use so his weekend wasn’t ruined.

Chris’s fave photo, yellow stag horn sponge

Crayfish on Hillsea Point

Tompot blenny

Close up of a sea urchin.

Back at Mountbatten….still no hot water. Gypsy wash it was then! Paul and Sarah had managed to book us into the Mountbatten Hotel for tea so we managed a couple of beers to whet our appetite before tea. This is typically the time when the tales come out and this time it was Sarah’s turn to tell us of a meal at home, when she was a young child. Liver was being served and Sarah didn’t like it, she went to bed hungry that night, but the following day the liver presented itself again but she said it was all curled up at the edges, like an Arabian slipper. Hence the title of out trip and a good laugh all round. Another couple of drinks later (late start on Sunday) before we headed off to bed.

Day 3….still no hot water, but the breakfast’s were good. We headed out to the Scylla, an old favourite of ours but the water was still milky at 2 to 3 metre viz. Down the shot line we traversed to the stern the returned up the starboard side, soon after spying a cluster of red coral my camera failed but it was nice to see all of the encrustations on the wreck, lots of pretty corals and shoals of horse mackerel and pouting.

Red coral on the Scylla

It was clear to see that the wreck has been prey to some severe battering’s over the years and we were beginning to wonder what the James would look like? We had a different buddy pair with us today, a lady (Nat) and her friend from London. We recognised Nat due to her mop of maroon hair. She told us a tale of taking the grandkids to CBeebies land and of a little girl staring at her hair, Nat told us that she did a hair toss and told the little girl she had just finished a Trolls tour. We get to meet some very interesting characters on out trips, Thomas thought Nat was one of marge Simpsons sisters! Wrong colour Thomas.

Dive 2 was on the James Eagan Layne, a very famous liberty ship. Now extremely broken up but Mark and Thomas swum through a couple of holds and spotted the cooking pots and wagon wheels.

A view through some of the wreckage on the JEL

Wagon wheels on the JEL

Chris and I stayed on the port side of the wreck looking for Conger and was not disappointed.

Conger

Mark and Thomas came along side of us and spotted some well hidden under the wreckage, also an angler fish.

Angler fish.

As we were nearing the stern section the visibility was deteriorating and our dive time was running low so Chris and I returned to the surface to enjoy the Panther sound track and a hot cup of tea. No pasties this time so it’s a good job we came prepared with flapjack and brownies for all.

Back at shore we were informed that the boiler man had been, but sadly still no hot water, after a lot of discussion I told the centres staff that she would recognise me as I would be surrounded by my own swarm of flies, not a good look!  Another cold shower and off to the Clovelly for our last meal. Paul, Sarah and Oliver had been out on a harbour cruise and were all looking tanned. We chatted on about previous dive sites and trips and everybody said they had enjoyed the weekend. Off to be early as we had to be up early the next day to catch slack water at Hand Deeps, another set of walls and pinnacles to explore at your leisure and depth. Simon was back with us and another ex regiment Duncan, who dived with me and Chris.

The walls were carpeted with jewel anemones of red, orange, purple, green and yellows. They were all hanging wide open with their fronds out feeding, quite a spectacle to see, but sadly my camera was still not working.

Swathes of Jewel Anemone

Good enough reason to return next year to visit this magical site. Back on board Duncan was asking what me and Chris were talking about, well obviously we have our own Cissy and Ada signals and the more you dive with us the more you’ll understand! During surface interval we chatted some more with Simon and discovered a little about his life in retirement, good one Simon. However he called me over to tell me that the next time we are diving with In Deep he would like a heads up so he can join us again, he also asked if I know what the little squares of biscuit with chocolate and caramel are called, yes said I millionaire shortbread, good said Simon that’s what I like! Already in my log book Simon.

Our final dive was at the Eddystone lighthouse site. We were on the west side and as there was no current we simply bimble about until we run out of dive time. Lots to see, very tranquil and pretty with hard and soft corals, pink sea fans, fish of many size and variety.

Pink sea fans.

Fabulous dive trip. Mark enjoyed diving with Thomas and he has built up his dive portfolio and developed some new skills, looking forward to his next trip, as we all are Thomas. Many thanks to all for your company and to In Deep for their expertise.

Hope you all enjoy.

Janine.

All images courtesy of Janine, Mark and Christine.

 

Farne Islands 9th August 2020

Glad Tidings VIII

Skipper  William Sheil. Crew 2 young local lads, great helpers. too.

Divers

1 solo diver known to William.

Selby Aquanauts

Mark

Chloe

 

Christine

Janine

Geoff

Johnny D

Val

 

Kit buddies

Darren & Gill.

Thoughts! What a lot of boat for not a lot of people.

Dive sites,

1 Harcar, to look for the seals.

Seal

Teasing us, again.

Lots of sponges, urchins and star fish to keep us interested.

Sponges

Sea urchin.

Star fish.

Also a very bright Lump sucker.

Lump sucker.

 

2 Knivestone, wreck hunting.

Loads for the metal fans to explore, some algae (snot) in the water but some huge pieces to explore. Loads of big old lobster to look at…..longingly!

Boiler

Nana and Chloe examining the steam pipes.

Winch gear, we think.

Crank shaft

Looking through part of a boiler.

Lobster.

and where would we be without the lovely Bloody Henry?

 

Shore Dive 4th August 2020

Another little evening dive at Scarborough to check all kit prior to the planned Farne Island trip, booked on Sunday 9th August.

Some suit repairs had been made, due to leaking seams and worn neck seals, and as the tide and weather were favourable again we decided to go after tea on Tuesday.

Mark, Christine and Chloe teamed up and Val and Darren were the other divers.

After some weight adjustments they were finally off, quite entertaining standing on shore cover watching the DSMB’s bobbing along. However sadly no photo’s as I wasn’t diving.

I was also chatting with some fishermen who were drawing a blank that day but I was able to tell them of what we had spied over the previous dives.

As the divers were returning to base I was intrigued to hear of what they spied under water, lots of crabs was the reply which fitted in with the fisherman’s tale of bait being stripped off their fishing hooks.

They each enjoyed a dive of about 4 metre depth with viz reportedly similar to previous dives at the site at 4 metre but still only 12 degrees, needs to be a bit warmer before we consider wet suits I think! All set for the weekend now, all suits pass muster.

Happy diving everyone.

Janine.

 

26th July 2020 Farne Islands.

Do we get bored of going to the Farne Islands?…………never.

Every trip brings something new for everyone, as in this case. William was unable to put us on one of the hard boats, as they were fully booked, so we were on board Ocean Explorer, only 5 this week so plenty of space to fit us on.

Ocean Explorer.

Some of us have been on the RHIB before so we knew what to expect while it was Chole’s first time at the Farnes and she was in for the ride of her life, quite literally as things turned out.

After securing all of the kit we had a quick blast and arrived just to the north of the Hopper. The tide was running a bit but Alan was sure we could enter one of the gullies and not be troubled by current.

Martin, Mark and Chloe kitted up first and with a roll over backwards they soon started their decent, the viz looked great as Chis and I began our preparations and soon we entered the water.  At the bottom of the wall we were greeted by some stunning Ballan Wrasse again and the area appeared to open into a type of cull de sac or cavern, we could see about a strong 8 metres in places.

Ballan Wrasse.

After a good explore we spotted dahlia anemone, jewel anemone and others festooned amongst the dead men fingers, sun stars and sea urchins’.

Dahlia anemone.

Jewel anemone.

Sun star.

As we were coming out of the cavern there was a huge boulder, home to a very large cod and all I could think of was that it would make a couple of nice fillet’s with chips!

Sadly the current picked us up and carried us away on a steady drift but as it wasn’t tailing off and it was taking us a bit deeper we decided to call it off and head home. Back on the surface we could see Alan waiting for us and the other 3 were already onboard. Chloe told us of all of her first experiences, first dive at the Farnes first RHIB, backwards entry and drift. She was in very safe hands though with her Dad and Granddad watching over her.

Martin and Chloe.

 

Alan took us to Wame Hole for our second dive, like a mill pond, and he assured us there would be plenty to see. Another first for all of us, as there is only Ocean Explorer able to enter the sheltered bay at low water.

“Think my ar.e is wet” “Oh not again!”

The sea bed was home to a lot of kelp but that is where the tiny Nudibranch can be found and in abundance.

Tiny Nudibranch

There was a lot of the common yellow and white species but Chris found another type floating in the water but I couldn’t get a picture. Chloe and Martin were seen being entertained by the small hermit crabs, scuttling along and trying to oust their rival to gain the better shell.

Small hermit crab.

The bay was also peppered with small jelly fish, but with very long tentacles but they seemed to drift out of our way

Jelly fish.

Time to go home.

We all had a fabulous time and Alan was ready to give us all a hand to board the boat again and told us that a young seal pup had been hanging around the entrance of the bay while we were under water, shame it didn’t want to come and play, maybe next time. We stored kit away and had time for a cuppa before we were jetted over the water back to the steps. Phew thank heavens there were a couple of strong fella’s around to carry my kit back up!!!! Thank you.

More seals next time we hope.

Janine

Scarborough 22nd July 2020

Nice little evening shore dive, the weather, tide and sea state were just perfect.

Quite a spectator sport too, by the looks of things.

On lookers.

Quite a bit going on as Christine was trying her new BCD, Thomas was trying his new dry suit and it was Chloe’s first go in the sea.

Brave girl, no hood or gloves!

Just a steady fin along the rock wall, lots of shore crab, an edible crab and a lovely flounder, a mackerel was spotted but too quick for a snap….did it exist?

Shore crab.

Edible crab (though too small to take)

Flounder

Amongst the rocks and boulders we saw an array of different coloured grasses and weed and a most peculiar ?plant protruding from the sea bed. Gold star for the first one to find out what is was.

Triffid!

Nice 30 minute dive, 14 degree and around 4 to 5 metre viz.

Some audience participation with the junior section once we were out of the water.

New junior section being coached by Mum

Water baby.

Plenty more cockles and limpets for us to visit next time. 

Bye for now. Janine