Sunday 9th April
Well the run up to the weekend was promising and the sun was out and the phone was ringing with anticipation of the first outing of the season.
The plan was simple, launch at Porth Ysgadan, motor down to penrhyn and have the first wave in there, followed by a pot retrieval by second wave and meet back at Porth Ysgadan for training.
The team was Andrew,David,Melanie,Brett,and Will came along for the ride. Mickey dropped out.
We met at 830 at Porth Ysgadan and launched without incident.
We arrived at penrhyn, with a fairly good slack showing on the many buoys in the area.
David and Melanie were first in.They had a dive of 40 minutes .
They saw various critters,crab,velvate crab,lobster,prawns and leopard goby to name a few, but only one of everything!
So it was now off to Porth Golman to look for the lost pots.
We entered the water and descended down to 6 metres where we came across some pretty large boulders.
It soon became apparent Sion's marking was not up to my standard, and after 5minutes of moving around in the gloom I set a course for deeper water.
Now we didn't see too much but it was never the less a interesting dive. We had a 47 minute dive with a max depth of 15.8 metres and saw A large plaice which took evasive action to escape only to swim straight into Andrew ,rebound off and swim straight pass my mask.Then we came across a octopus minding its own business, we also saw corkwings,ballen,leopards crab and a few prawns.
We then went for lunch.
After which Andrew took Will for his training dives one and two, which were followed by a short shore dive and picked up by the rib inside Porth Ysgadan.
Meanwhile David and Melanie were also having a shore dive around Porth Ysgadan gullies.
After this it was drop Will off so he could go and did I really want a second dive?
After much deliberation I decided to join Andrew for a second dive on the gullies, mainly because there was not enough water to retrieve the boat.
This dive was 38 minutes and a max depth of 8metres.
The retrieval of the rib was difficult to say the least and took 4 attempts, due to the l200 sinking in the sand, the lock on the drawbar refusing to open, and a mad dash to make a Phone call to get a tractor with the fear of having to tell Nia I had drowned her truck.
To cut a very long traumatic hour short, We took the trailer off the truck, put the rib on it, tied a rope to the trailer and pulled the trailer up the beach, at which point the Calvary arrived in the form of a John Deere, Which promptly lifted the draw bar up and lowered it onto the ball hitch.
The lessons for anyone reading this report are;
Make sure that the bilge's are empty of water before you come in.
Don't lock the drawbar hitch, unless you unlock it before you attempt to retrieve the rib.
Don't work with grown up children.
Avoid towing at all cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had a good days diving, with no sunshine to talk off, suits that leaked, cold wind, on other words looks like we started where we left off.
We are due a good one.
Wednesday 12th April 2017, Gimblet Rock.
The weather had been a bit wet and blowy predominantly from the west and north west so Gimblet was the best bet for the mid-week dive. There had been thoughts of taking Sea Wasp out but as it failed to warm up sufficiently, it was thought best not to.
There were six divers up for it, including two of the trainees. Wil was to tackle OO3 with Dewi whilst Andrew and Laura took on OO1 and parts of OO2. That left Jake and Melanie to go in search of the elusive “peipan gachu”.
All three pairs emerged in quick succession. Both trainees had performed well and got the nod from their instructors. Some life had been sighted and identified including an inquisitive seal. Last out were Jake and Melanie having found the outfall and on it was a healthy amount of life including a few lobsters. The outfall itself is to the north west of the marker buoy, so do take this into consideration when planning your bearing! Vis was reported at between 4 and 6m which was much better than anticipated.
Shore cover was supplied by Mike and Irfon and drinks were consumed at the Vic.
Wednesday 19th April, Porth Ysgaden
An impressive turnout for a Wednesday dive considering a 6pm start with a total of 8 divers. The pairings are as follows: Jake with Melanie and Mike then David with Wil then Andrew with the two late arrivals due to work commitments Gwenno and Brett with Nia volunteering for shore cover.
It was Gwenno’s first sea dive so the plan was just to have a bimble in the bay to a max of 6m, the tide had gone out to an awkward level as Gwenno needed more lead so it was a long walk for Brett to get all the lead Nia had. We eventually got Gwenno under and with her two escorts we had a very pleasant dive seeing Catsharks, Spider crabs, Ballan Wrasse, Brown Crab and 2 Octopodes.
We were the last to exit with the majority already gone to the Lion for a well deserved shandy or two.
Sunday 23rd April
With settled weather conditions it would be rude not to go for a dive, a plan was hatched for a late start and early finish, Dewi acting as dedicated Cox for the first dive. The plan was for a morning drift dive off the Porthsgaden reefs, lunch at Porthsgaden, pick up Mike Fahy and onto the Gwynfaen for a slack water dive.
The plan started well with David, Melanie, jake, Andrew and Mike meeting at the allotted time at Porthsgaden only to find insufficient water in the bay to get the boat launched, this quickly followed by Mike Fahy pulling out. A quick plan B launch site was considered, Morfa Nefyn being ruled out following advice from Mike. It was therefore the Porth Colmon option, surprisingly the car park was empty except for some tractors and trailers belonging to the local fishermen.
We quickly launched with the Porth Colmon reefs being selected instead of the Porthsgaden reefs, fortunately the old plotter was in service providing the route.
First to go in was Melanie and Jake, followed by the threesome of David, Andrew and Mike - David opting for a shorter dive due to a below 200 fill. All reporting a decent dive with numerous octopus being spotted, an abundance of brown craps and great viz.
We meandered back to Porth Colmon for lunch and swap cylinders, following a leisurely lunch we made for the Gwynfaen within plenty of time for slack water. Wreck was quickly found and the shot was despatched. With the tide still running there was going to be a 40 minute wait. First in Melanie & Jake, second David & Dewi, followed by Mike & Andrew. Some current experienced by the first two pairs in the early part of the dive, visibility was amazing with a clear vision of the whole wreck whilst coming down the shot line. The wreck was full of life with the usual big congers, and lobsters on steroids and array of fish. David became a human scallop dredger, collecting in excess of 30 scallops bringing them to the surface and re-homing them away from the wreck. Everybody having had a great div we were back in Porth Colmon by 4.30pm. Hopefully the season will have many similar dives in store - we are apparently due a good one!!!
Dive Report for Wednesday 26th April.
I wasn't expecting a great deal of interest as on Tuesday there was a strong, very cold northerly wind. The north coast must have been awfully choppy, as was the south coast a few hundred metres off shore, but inshore it was calm and very clear. So it shows how good my judgment is when ten divers phoned in and signed up. The dive was down for Criccieth but with the northerly set to continue and the shallower water and siltier bed there always easy to stir up, even without Mike, Gimblet Rock seemed like a better bet. Actually only seven divers turned out as Wil had wrist seal problems and Brett must have decided that he didn't want to come out and play with the big kids!! Wil did show up to assist Mike with shore cover but as Mike was last to arrive Wil did it. Andrew was to take Gwenno for her second sea dive and first lessons; Dewi and Melanie were paired up, leaving Jake to lead Irfon and myself. It was a big Spring tide and I must admit to not warning divers of the prospect of some current as we were diving it at mid-tide. We were first in with Jake tasked with refinding the sewage outfall. We headed out, in disappointing viz. of only about 3 metres, over a bed of unusually sparse life. Jake kept doggedly on and as we approached 10 metres depth, and the turn round point, stumbled into the outfall. It was smaller than I recalled, much further out, and apparently more ancient but the halocline proved it to be operational. Large scale life was limited to a single big spider crab. I went on searching for the second outfall - there are two - but couldn't find it. Jake then checked my air and I realized that Irfon, who I hadn't seen since the start of the dive, was not with us. So we headed in only to find our progress increasingly hampered by a strong current, clearly flowing west to east but also seemingly offshore. In fact it turned into a hard swim and when Jake started signalling mumbo jumbo I suggested that we went up. We were well over along the rock and still some distant out, but decided to swim in on the surface, as did Melanie and Dewi a bit later when they surfaced in almost the same place. Jake wondered why I had been navigating to the east, but as I wasn't navigating it can only have been the current. Irfon was already back ashore having lost us before the outfall and, as he kept telling us, having come ashore right where the shore cover was waiting!! I had to depart promptly so had no chance to compare notes but this was my first Gimblet dive without seeing a single scallop, and little else other than small crabs and the occasional gobi, which was very disappointing. Andrew reports that Gwenno did really well in difficult conditions. My conclusion is that we need to give big Spring tides at this site a bit more respect and limit how far we go out. I am also confused about the sewage outfall(s), as the previous ones I found were in shallower water than this one.