Dive Report for Thursday 4th
It was a nice early start to Scotland with Irfon driving and picking up Gwyn on the way at Caeathro. We were very lucky with traffic on the way up, on arriving at Finnart we discovered that the large tanker which was over 200 meters long and 40 meters wide that had been previously moored up had left, which did not bode well for good visibility.
After Brett, Nia, David and Wyn arrived we paired up David and Nia, Brett and Wyn and the three amigos Irfon, Gwyn and Me. After we got in the water Gwyn was having a bit of a problem getting down, and after several attempts and many rocks crammed into any available pocket Gwyn then told us he was only carrying 4 Kg of lead which was a bit optimistic, sadly Gwyn bowed out leaving Irfon and Me to get a dive, we got a 31 minutes dive with a max depth of 25.2 Meters and a sweltering 6.4c water temp and 3 Meters visibility.
There was plenty to see with Interesting structures and plenty of life, which consisted of Sea Anemones, Fan Worms, Starfish, Sea Urchins, Goby’s, small Dogfish sorry “Cat Shark” a Butterfish and loads of Squat Lobsters and one Sea Lemon, which Irfon had to point out to me twice, and there were plenty of wine bottles but sadly all empty.
After exiting and changing we debriefed and drinks and snacks which consisted of Irfon’s Eccles cake and Nia’s Flapjacks, with mine being caught by the wind and landing in the gravel honestly Nia!!! This was the start of “Flapjack Gate”. After transferring all the empty tanks to Irfon’s car and some of our kit to Brett’s, Irfon, Gwyn and I headed back to Glasgow to get the empty tanks filled for the Friday dives.
On arriving at the B&B (The Bank House) we met Norina, then Gwin asks her who owned the big house on the way in to Inveraray which Norina replied “you mean Inveraray Castle” good start Gwyn. A good day was had by all and a good evening at the George with good food good company and plenty to drink!!.
Dive Report for Friday 5th April
After a long winding drive with plenty of RIGHT turns we found our dive site Anchor Point. The sea state was good and the buzz was electric , as we all got kitted up ready for our adventure. Irfon and Andrew were first in closely followed by Wyn and Gwyn or was it Gwyn and Wyn!!! Followed by the three amigos (David, Brett and Nia). The vis was a good 5 meters ; we saw large conger eel ,squat lobsters ,8 legged starfish ,sea anemones and plenty of new spices much of which we need to identify. It was a silty bottom with mix of stone and gravel with a large rock reef. Our dive went down to 28 meters (a first for Nia) and lasted 36 min and a water temp of a pleasant 6.8 C.
After the dive we had lunch and lay in the sun it was like a summer's day. And THEN to investigate the mystery of the HALF EATEN FLAPJACK AGAIN!!! All fingers were pointing to a guilty looking Andrew all though he denied it vigorously. As we set up our gear ready for the second dive I found that I only had a 130 bar in my second bottle. I suggested to David to join one of the other buddy pairings and Nia and I would paddle in the shallows. Little did I know.
So came the second dive Irfon and Andrew in the lead followed by Wyn and Gwyn or was it Gwyn and Wyn and of course David , and Laurel and Hardy (Brett and Nia) . The two teams disappeared under the water leaving us behind. We made our dive plan and decided to fin up in the water as the tide had gone out by now and the rock were very slippery. This is where the dive plan went out the window. As Nia was putting my fins on she had a free flow and took her time to sort it out, I tried to help and in the proses managed to lose two fins one of Nia's and one of mine but it was Nia's fault;by now the sky was even more blue. I managed to stop the free flow and started looking for the missing fins. I had one fin on, threw one of Nia's onto the shore, and then managed to quickly find my second fin but Nia's was still missing. I turned around to find Nia drifting out into the Loch. So I then had to rescue my poor wife with only one fin. Caught up with her and towed her back in. Our training in Porth Ysgaden a few weeks earlier proving invaluable ,all though this tow was a much lighter than the one in Porth Ysgaden. Nia sat on the shore while the sky was really blue by now ,if you know what I mean. I searched in vain for the elusive fin to no avail. So there was nothing for it but to abort the dive , we started to de kit. Only to see Wyn ,Gwyn and David arise and asked them to look for the elusive fin. Nia came back down to look for the fin and no sooner she was in the water was this almighty shriek I FOUND IT.
David insisted on us having a dive so,we kitted up again and away we went. We went down to 16 meter and saw plenty with a large conger being a high lite . The dive lasted 22min, with my navigation being spot on for a change. As we were coming out Nia slipped and smacked her knee, but only her pride was dented apart from the rock and the poor crab which was under the rock, which is no more.
Great day ,great weather ,great company , thanks to all.
Brett a Nia .
Saturday Diving Report for Loch Fyne Trip
After another healthy Scottish breakfast from Norina we promptly set off for the campsite at a little before 9am. The weather although slightly overcast, was perfect - Loch Fyne was like glass and the temperature was warmer than back home!!
Arriving at the campsite we saw that the boat was still in dry dock and settled for the alternative of diving from the rib. Willie was held back at Glasgow and his chirpy assistant, who I think was called Johnnie, looked after us (never did understand a word Rab C Nesbit used to say and I think J was his brother!). After an hour getting our kit sorted on the jetty and our bottles filled we set off for the dive of the trip, down the Loch to Stallion Rock.
Our skipper, dressed for a night in front of the telly, set off at a fuel saving pace for Stallion. It was found after a short search of marked conifers from the shore, laying a couple of meters under the surface. Pairings remained the same: Irfon and Andrew in first, quickly followed by Wyn and me with Dave, Nia and Brett holding the rear (not literally of course).
As for the dive, it goes down as one of the best I have ever experienced. If this was the only dive of the trip it would have made the 6.5 hour car journey worthwhile. The life on the wall of Stallion Rock, all the way down to the 38 meter floor was amazing. There seemed to be a flat lobster in every nook and cranny and anemones wall-papering the surface. By this time I had managed to sort my weight out and keep within 50 bar of Laird Wyn ‘wonder lungs’ of Castellmarch.
A great dive was had by all and we made the journey back to the campsite through a haily rain shower that remained to be the only bit of wet stuff we witnessed over the 4 days in Scotland. Incidentally that’s the only rainfall witnessed by Irfon (or should it be Icarus) in 4 visits to Scotland, which must be a record.
We decided against another boat dive in the afternoon and opted for a decent shore dive after lunch and sufficient surface time at the campsite. A few wrecks were witnessed by most at about 15m.
The return to base was swift and the George soon called for Guinness, fine fare and more Guinness. A late and enjoyable night was had by all and some coped better than others with the mix of diving and alcohol....hmm!!
I would like to close by thanking Irfon for chauffeuring and Dave for organising a great value dive trip to Loch Fyne. I thoroughly enjoyed the diving and the company and look forward to a repeat adventure in the future.
Gwyn Jones (the 4kilo wonder)
April 15th 2013, Tudweiliog
Congratulations to all the ocean diver trainees for passing their theory exam. Siwan was over the moon with her result as it improved on her 'old man's' score by one. All we need now for the open water training to begin is for the weather to settle, the viz to improve and for some kit to arrive - not asking a lot really!
Sunday, April 21st 2013. Vivian Quarry.
The Saturday would have been a perfect diving day, but alas yours truly had other arrangements. The forecast for Sunday wasn’t good, F 4-5 southerlies with rain from mid morning onwards. It was therefore with great reluctance that we opted for some Dive Leader training at Vivian. When I woke up on Sunday morning and looked towards the sea, it looked good, but by 9:00 a.m., the wind had picked up and the rain came and stayed. I guess that the Vivian option was right.
Surprisingly there was only another two takers for the quarry, Gwyn, who was organising and being instructed on DL OD3 and of course the other was going to be Andrew. The lesson was going to be the dive leading, with Gwyn playing the role of the caring Dive Leader and Andrew being the nervous, newly qualified Ocean Diver. For added spice, we would halt the lesson towards the end and deploy a DSMB each in mid-water, something that needed a re-visit after a previous limp affair. I’m pleased to report that all three deployments went well and Gwyn and Andrew then resumed with their dive. By the time we surfaced the sun had come out and it was pleasantly warm which made the debrief all the more enjoyable.
It is now onwards and upwards for Gwyn, with a nice lesson on the use of lifting bags. Lets hope that it won’t be for a while anyway as it would mean a re-visit to the quarry!
Wednesday April 25th, Porthysgaden.
The thick fog at Porthysgaden did very little to spur the enthusiasm of a few of the assembled crew, however Adrian was keen to get in, nothing to do with it being his first ever sea dive and all.
Irfon took Adrian for OO1. All it took was a few kg’s of extra ballast and they were away, Adrian was literally like a duck to water, or should that be a fish to sea? We saw plenty of crustaceans and squidgies and had a decent 45 minute swim, with Adrian still having 100 bar left at the end of the dive. Navigation, depth monitoring and dive time however didn’t go to plan as Irfon managed to leave his computer and compass in the boot of his car! David and Nia had a good bimble, Nia was leading and by all accounts was doing a sterling job with the compass, until David spoilt it by deviating from the plan and heading into a cove. But Nia rounded him up and sent him shorewards and to safety.
Brett and Andrew had a 54 minute dive, very impressive indeed. That is until you learn that 50 of those minutes were spent on the outward leg and only 4 were spent on the return. The rest of the ‘dive’ was a surface swim back to shore. Put it this way, I simply didn’t ask!
It was nice to get back into the salty stuff around the Llyn. It was then to the Lion for a de-brief and beverage or two.
Dive Report for 28 April
Well plan A was out the window due to guess what THE WEATHER and plan B was on the cards, which was a shore dive from the Rhuol. There was a couple of phone calls, some just being inquisitive. We were meeting at 9.30am that is Peter James , Gwyn , Brett and Myself we were full of enthusiasm NOT. When we got down to the beach it didn't look very inviting , and after some p### take ; Peter and Gwyn had come all this way and were going in and as for Brett , well he was stalling but I managed to twist his arm..Peter and Gwyn were in first and managed a 1hr 4min dive with Peter in a semi dry he's made of tough stuff. Unlike Me which managed 20min much to Brett's disgust. The vis was 3-4 meters , we saw plenty of small crab,hermit crab and winkles. Some of us got the navigation better than others,and coming back to shore proved to be a bit tricky as well, with the swell. It was panad and yet another Sunday gone by.
WE MUST BE MAD!!!!