Dive Report for Wednesday 1st June.
Yet another Wednesday following days of strong northerlies, with more expected, but on Tuesday evening the sea at Pwllheli was calm and clear, so the venue was once again set for Gimblet Rock. After a slow uptake there were 5 divers, Irfon, Wyn, Andrew, Jake and me, with Mike doing shore cover yet again. Predictably though the sea was choppy but not badly so. The plan was to swim out in a line with each diver at the limit of the viz., which turned out to be a decent 4-5 metres, in yet another attempt to locate the outfall. Irfon was given the task of leading from the centre with me on the right flank to be the pivot when we turned for the return swim, assuming that we were still searching. Once again though high water didn't mean slack water and it was already running strongly from E to W. This made the swim out extra-ordinarily hard work and from Mike's observations we were driven well off course. The swim in was barely any easier and as happened two weeks before we hit the rock, having one or two dodgy encounters with fishing lines. My highlight was following a 15 spine stickleback along the rock face for the final swim in. Otherwise it was a lot of effort, with Wyn commenting "that was relaxing" before happily realizing that we'd all suffered, albeit some perhaps more than others. The outfall has eluded us all season since I chanced on it in April so we know it's still there. Anyone with ideas on how to find it please come forward?? Andrew gave in to tummy rumbles and headed home but the Vic provided much needed sustenance for the rest of us.
Sunday June 5th 2016, Porth Neigwl.
With Sea Wasp in dry dock with fuel issues, it was left to Brett and Mike to save the day by offering the services of Sparrowhawk and Top Cat.
Mike and Wyn (the manager), who launched Sparrowhawk at Castellmarch, would rendezvous with the crew of Brett, Adrian, Andrew, Dewi, David and Irfon on the West side of Porth Neigwl at 09:30. But as Top Cat was ready to go ahead of schedule, Irfon, the organiser suggested that they headed towards Cilan to meet up with Wyn and Mike. For some reason, only known to Irfon, he had totally misunderstood Wyn’s instructions as the west side of Porth Neigwl is in fact the Rhiw side and not the Cilan side. Anyway with a slight change of plan, we decided to dive the cobbly bed of the bay first.
Andrew and Irfon were in first and had an enjoyable 40 min dive on an uninterrupted cobbly bed. There was plenty of life, mostly on the micro scale although a few dogfish, mostly juveniles were also present. Visibility was a good 5m+ and the temperature was 13-14˚C. In a threesome were David, Brett and Wyn; that left the two ‘wetties’ pairings of Dewi and Peter and Mike and Adrian going in last.
Lunch was had at Rheol, the ‘dry’ boys only too glad to get out of their suits as temperatures were in excess of 20˚C. After a leisurely lunch and cylinder change, we headed round the corner to dive Trwyn Talfarach. Slightly less vis this time, although the more substantial critters were abundant, with Irfon and Andrew spotting at least 15 decent sized lobsters. All reported interesting dives, although Mike and Adrian did venture onto the sand to satisfy to be different.
Thanks to Brett and Mike for supplying the flotilla and to Wyn for launching and managing.
Dive Report for Sunday 12th June
An excellent neap tide but it seemed that few wanted it, with many of the usual suspects otherwise engaged. However, there were just enough still standing to warrant a second outing of the season for Sea Wasp, freshly fitted with new sonar and fuel lines by Mike & Brett, with John, Andrew, Brett and Melanie phoning in. The plan for a first dive on the Tripods was Irfon's, the stand-in Dive Manager for Mike, but when he was also called elsewhere I stood in to cox the rib, being too clogged from a recurring cold to dive. Sunday morning was a far cry from the recent weeks of hot, dry weather, with the rain getting progressively heavier and we got well soaked readying the rib before taking advantage of Malcolm's games room to get our dry suits on, there being no wet suits around for once. Brett launched us onto a surprisingly clean and very calm Porth Colmon and we away for our first outing of the year on the north coast. The radio check proved fruitless as the radio was dead, so after establishing that we did have a phone on board we made our way to the Tripods, arriving to find the current still running out at some knots. Brett had established from one of the local fishermen that slack would be at 10am, so we had arrived with time to spare to do a bit of reconnaissance. After failing to find the expected pinnacles at the Tripods waypoint we headed over to a second site called Tripods 4. An extensive, lovely looking reef was displayed in excellent 3D on the new sonar, so with the sea still running fast we settled down for coffee and scones but Brett had come empty handed!! Brett and Andrew were first in with the objective of doing Brett's first ever deco dive to complete his Dive Leader training. Melanie and John soon followed, resurfacing immediately for the missing computer. (It is still early in the season for some.) Both pairs managed just over 30 minutes as the bed off the reef is below 30 metres, all enthused about the excellent topography, but bemoaning the dearth of life although John and Melanie did see 3 octopuses. Andrew said the steep sides of the reef reminded him of the deep walls in Loch Fyne. Brett had trouble equalizing on the descent and surfaced with a bad headache, from which he only just recovered in time for the second dive. The viz. was a disappointing 3 metres, due to algae, which compared poorly with the 8 metres reported to Chris by the Shrewsbury club for the previous day on the south coast. During their dives the rain had stopped but the mist had descended so the GPS was needed to guide us into Porth Oer for an early lunch. Much to Brett's disgust, Nia had taken the day off and so wasn't there to look after him! We had a look at Maen Mellt, which was on the uncomfortable side of turbulent, before settling for an inshore dive off Penrhyn Mawr point for Brett and Andrew and a northerly drift starting at the island for John and Melanie. Two totally different dives but both seemed to be much enjoyed, with lots of life inshore, where it was completely slack, including a couple of crayfish, which went some way to restoring Brett's diminished spirits, while the drifters passed over some interesting beds and also saw a fair amount of life. We were finished diving before 2pm and back in by 2.30 with the boat all tidied up and packed away before 4 with Brett having managed to find and repair a loose connection on the radio. It may be something of a record, certainly of recent years, but the millpond sea which occurred when the mist descended was our third in a row.
Dive Report for Wednesday 15th June.
Yet another Wednesday when the wind was forecast to turn to the north and pick up. So it was back to Gimblet Rock for another episode in the search for the missing sewage outfall. This prospect, and an early meet time, didn't seem to put anyone off as it was the best attended dive evening of the season with nine turning out. Or was it the prospect of the long and eagerly awaited AGM at the Vic to follow? Either way, we met up at 5.30pm, just after high water for the immaculately researched and planned operation, codename "shit-pipe", having pre-warned the fishermen, who mostly retreated to their bunkers, and were soon lined up on the shoreline. General Chris made a rare appearance to record the event for posterity, or was it the posterior for the record? The Field Commander was again Irfon, with head scout Mickey dispatched in advance with his torpedo to recce the terrain ahead. Dewi was the C in C's wingman with Andrew & trainee Mike, out on his first sortie, covering the port flank, while Brett & Nia and Wyn and me were in close formation on the starboard flank. Mike was the first casualty, suffering the trainee's frequent misfortune of being too light and floating away. Undaunted, Andrew left him to his fate and soldiered on. Viz. was a decent 6 miles (sorry metres) or so, allowing us to spread out in a sort of line. Our end was doing fine until I bumped into Nia and realized that Wyn had disappeared. Another casualty, or had he forgotten the purpose of the exercise and stopped to chat with a dragonet? I selflessly retreated to find him but got separated from the main attack, but we bravely carried on turning east when we encountered some pretty nasty clay deposits, but failed to find the others. The current had picked up by then so we assumed that the retreat had been signalled and so we slowly made our way back to the safety of the trenches (sorry shore) where the last of the stragglers were being washed around in the surf. Needless to say, nobody got a sniff of the outfall, even though Irfon and Dewi surfaced and swam over to the buoy, locating only the anchor blocks, while Mickey's herculean efforts went unrewarded. It should have been VC's all round, which in a way it was as most were very cross that the Victoria was out of lager, not for the first time! Dewi was on form so the AGM was over before your could order another round.
Dive Report for Wednesday 29th June.
There was only 2 calls, one being Mike offering to do shore cover. The divers were Andrew & Jake, the weather forecast was for the wind and rain to stop, and the sun to come out in the evening, and for a change they were bang on. The pier is looking more precarious than ever and the vis was not looking too promising. Well the vis was a gloomy 2 metres with a large swell under the pier but disregarding the conditions it was an interesting dive with loads of Spider Crabs, 3 Plaice, Sea Scorpion and a lovely light blue Lobster. We got a max depth of 6 metres and a 50 minute dive.