Archive for 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

 

19th July 2020 Farne Islands.

When you get asked at work to swap a shift and you find yourself with a Sunday off, what do you do? Dive, dive dive is my motto for this year, so that is just what we did. Only 3 on the trip for the Aquanauts this time. Out on a lovely sunny day again on the hunt for seal this time, we hope.

Off we go.

Guess who?

On Glad Tiding VIII again with Skipper Mikey who took us to the Outer Farnes on a series of rocks known as the Knivestones, we were dropped off on the east of the island to swim through quite a narrow gully that was carpeted with growth of cup corals, dead men fingers and blanketed with kelp, home to lots of tiny nudibranch. We swum through the gully to the west of the island to suddenly come across some broken wreckage leading to some larger pieces, winding and engine gear of the SS Abyssinia, a steam ship that was on it’s way back to Germany, from Chile at the end of the First World War. It was wrecked on the 3rd September 1921. Now lying well scattered over the site between 10 to 18metres. Some of the hull structures are now covered in growth and looks quite picturesque.

Nudibranch (tiny sea slug)

Flowers on the wreck.

More wreckage covered in growth.

As we neared the boilers, at the bottom of the slope, the current suddenly picked up and we ended up having quite a drift for about five minutes. When the current stopped we were at another scenic area  cushioned in swathes of dead men fingers, sea urchins, top shells and some giant barnacles.

Garden scene.

The viz was stunning at a good 10 metres in places though still at a tepid 12 degree. We headed to the safety stop watching a lot of small Lions Mane jelly fish pulsating past us.

Back on board we swapped cylinders and settled down to some chat with another dive group while enjoying the trip around the Islands, bird and seal watching.

Ask Mark about this lighthouse!

Mikey took us to the Big Harcar rocks for our second dive, the lagoon looked very tranquil and the seal were heard calling, almost teasing us to be in the water with them.

Big Harcar.

As we dropped in, the sea looked a little milky but we could see a couple of seal swimming in and around the kelp beds and the boulder field. One young pup took a fancy to my fins and was seen nibbling and patting them. Each time I turned around the pup swum off, only to return again once my back was turned, rather like hide and seek.

Ta dah.

We continued to explore the kelp and boulders and spotted, Nudibranch, purple Bloody Henry star fish, lots of juvenile pollack and codling and the usual dead men fingers.

Smiles all round at the end of the diving day and better news yet, not out at the steps, as it was high tide we alighted at the slipway, yeah!!!!!!!!!!!

Smiley faces.

Not the steps.

Past GT VII and “the blue pig”

Yeah, easy access/ egress.

Home time.

Bye for now, Janine.

 

 

Farne Islands 12th July 2020

Woohoo we are off, our first boat dive of the year and here’s to many more.

Up the Great North road we went to Seahouses, Mark took me and Chris, Liam and Geoff went together and Paul took Thomas. We arrived on the harbourside to an empty car park and as we got chatting with some other divers it became apparent that we were to off load kit at the jetty and park in the upper car park, all due to Covid-19 restrictions.

We were informed that we would be going out with William Sheil, Skipper, on Glad Tidings VIII, the biggest boat in the fleet and only 12 on board in total, leaving us lots of room to spread out and keep away from others safely.

Bamburgh Castle

We waived bye to Paul and the shore with the image of Bamburgh Castle fading in the distance and headed out to the Farnes. The wind was gentle and from behind us leaving the sea relatively flat and the water looked very inviting as we finished kitting up and final preparations made. Our first dive was on the wreck St. Andre, a French steamer that was carrying a cargo of pig iron. It struck the Crumstone rocks and floated off towards Staple Island in October 1908 while going down.

Pre-dive prep chat with Chris and Thomas.

There are still 2 boilers to be seen and a lot of flattened plates and ribs to be explored. As we drop down the shot line one of the boilers appears out of the gloom where a shoal of Coalies were milling around, flashing silver in the beam of the torch. We had a good 8 to 10 metre viz but a cool 12 degrees to cope with. The wreck is peppered with Sea Urchin’s at this time of year and the Ballan Wrasse almost pre select which Urchin they would like a diver to open.

Ballan Wrasse devouring a Sea Urchin

Chris and I stayed on the wreck, we had a quick look around the boiler but it was surrounded by divers so we swum off a way to explore under the plates, on the lookout for crab’s and lobster or anything else that may be lingering about. Quite a lot of Dead Man Fingers all in bloom and plenty of fern and fans’ to admire too.

Fern’s.

Mark and Thomas went towards the wall of the Pinnacles to explore more scenery and Geoff and Liam came past us on route to the second boiler, possibly? Chris and I went back to the first boiler and had a really good look this time, as all the other divers had moved off somewhere.

Exploring one of the boilers.

We examined all of the boiler pipes in the hope of a Blenny or two but all we found were the small urchins and lot’s more inquisitive wrasse.

Small sea Urchin in one of the steam pipes.

Just as Chris and I were on our final minutes of the dive, Chris spotted an empty Guillemot’s egg hidden under one of the plates, lovely speckled shell.

Guillemot’s egg shell.

Time was quickly up and we were heading to the surface where we sat/ floated and waited for our turn to be collected by William.

We holed up near the Pinnacle rocks, where Mark and Thomas had been diving and Thomas told us he had seen an Octopus….where’s the photo Mark?

Pinnacle’s

After a decent break we prepared for our second dive on the Hopper. This is also a formation of rocks on Staple Island that is colonised by seal families’.  Underwater there is a series of 3 gullies where the young seal usually dart in and around the divers’, not for us that day. However as we descended into one of the gullies we were greeted by some lovely scenery, the rock walls looking like vertical gardens of dead men fingers, yellow and white, orange and purple Bloody Henry star fish and lots of velvet swimmer crabs and squat lobsters.

Yellow and white Dead Men Fingers

Orange Bloody Henry.

The bottom of the gully opened up to a boulder littered area where there were lot’s of edible crab and lobster in hiding waiting for their next meal to come along.

Edible crab on the hunt.

A very cautious lobster.

A little further through the gully we spotted lots of Sun Stars and a couple of Butter Fish swimming freely and gliding up the rock face.

Sun Star

Butter Fish

Nearing the end of our dive the area opened up to a basin type feature with a sandy bottom surrounded by boulders and walls. We spotted Mark, Thomas and Geoff here watching juvenile pouting feeding on sand eels…ask Mark to see the video. But now it was time for Chris and I to make our exit, to return another day soon we hope with more of you Aquanauts.

Liam, Mark, Janine, Geoff, Thomas and Chris

Thanks to all for a superb day.

Janine

 

 

 

 

Scarborough 27th June 2020

Great to see so many Aquanauts turn out, for some their first sea dive and others to test kit or even their first dive of the year.

Suzanna has put lots of photo’s on the Face Book chat group but in case you didn’t see yourself topside I’ll tell you the dive groups.

Christine, Janine, Jonna and Thomas

Geoff, Stuart and Cate

Val and Johnny D

and Mark with Liam.

Some of us had been on the Tuesday evening when the tide was high, the sea was calm and the vis was exceeding 5 metres. What can I say, we scheduled a club trip on the strength of the dive on Tuesday but between times the weather had had a little easterly blow, churning the sand up and making the viz quite low, as demonstrated in the photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We all managed about a 35 minute dive and spotted a variety of crabs and winkles. Mark saw a weaver and a flattie but not taken any pictures….does it still count?

Just as the last pair were exiting the water the Red Arrows flew past, in commemoration of Armed Forces Day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fantastic morning, despite the viz, and home in time for lunch. Job done. Hope to see you all again in the water soon.

Janine

 

May 2020 Eyemouth

Alright, so we have another trip postponement but we can still look at some previously unseen footage from past trips to Bonny Scotland. Enticement for some new comers’ we hope and reflection for others’, I know I enjoyed looking through the photo’s again. Please enjoy.

On Silver Sky heading up to Mark’s favourite site, Fastcastle.

Thinking of lunch…squat lobster.

Guess who Mark was diving with?

Social distancing in 2018 only Mark, Val, Geoff and me on the boat, plus Jim, the skipper. Who knew?

Bird Rock, be glad this is not smelly vision.

Fantastic scenery and dive locations, day 1 up to Fastcastle but no Wolf fish sadly. Then back to a wreck on the Hurcars.

Day 2 to Pettico wick to dive the peanut boat, brilliant viz.

Boiler, closer inspection required.

Geoff also wants a closer look.

Val, our wildlife photographer.

We have also visited sites like Burnmouth Caves, Skellies, Tyne Tunnel and Anemone Ridge. Now I’m not showing you this to say “look what we are missing out on”, I hope it’s more “look what we are going to do later”.

 

Take care all and looking forward to meeting you all again soon.

Janine