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.
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.
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.
Sea cucumbers, cup corals, pink sea fans, crayfish, Ross bryozoan (potato crisp), yellow sea sponge, conger eel and 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.
Spider crab, rays, crystal jelly fish and compass 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.
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.
To littlest thing, a tiny flabellina free swimming in the kelp.
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.
Back on board and the journey back to the marina is still something to talk about, more like a picture from a travel advert.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Time to go home.
Thomas, I hope you can help me out with some of these species names soon! Try this one please.
See you all soon.