Wednesday May 1st, Porthysgaden.
With a very pleasant Wednesday evening and a few settled days beforehand Irfon opted for a low tide dive at Porthysgaden despite not quite on slack. Six divers in total with shore cover being provided by Mike. Pairings of Brett / Nia & Irfon / Dewi opted for the traditional dive with slight variation of crossing over the reef and navigating anti clockwise back to the shore, both pairings staying in for about 55 minutes in depths of 10metres with approx 2-3 metres of viz - both pairs reported a good dive with lobsters, octopus and a yet unknown brown fish being spotted. The unconventional pairing of Peter / Andrew decided to go off road and drop in seaward side of Porthysgaden, a 67 minute dive in wet suit needs to be commended although unconfirmed reports received of 2 seals wearing masks bobbing around the in the Porthysgaden area. Perhaps a 67 minutes dive should be better quantified with the last 10 minutes was spent snorkeling whether this was down to lost bearing or lack of air, the jury is considering its verdict !!!!!. Shore cover made a quick escape to the Lion to watch the second half with other following a short time later, two German teams in the final was quite distressing for one member of the party with the threat of a new order & dominance in world club football.
Monday 6th May
David, Brett & Myself arrived at Pendre for about 8.00am to get the boat ready for its first trip of the year with Brett securing the new prop to the auxiliary engine we were good to go. After arriving at the National Trust car park Porthdinllaen and picking up Kirk we then launched the boat without much difficulty. We then headed of towards Nant Gwrtheyrn, the first divers in where David & Kirk who reported having a pleasant leisurely drift. Then Brett & me went in slightly closer to the mosquito location, we also had a leisurely drift at 15 Meters over sand, gravel, mud and some rocky seabed’s where we spotted a Ray, Gurnard, Dragonet, Sea Scorpion and Cat Shark’s some Scallops and lots of edible Crab’s, we surfaced after a 52 Minutes dive. We then headed back to Porthdinllaen for lunch and to pick up Wyn, we dropped of our empty cylinders in Wyn’s Land Rover and then decided to dive the Gwynfaen, on the way we needed to pick Peter James up of his yacht which brought back some unpleasant memories for Kirk, after arriving at the Gwynfaen site the shot was dropped with the new colour coded white 30 meter shot line after waiting a short while for the run to slack off Kirk and Wyn then David and Brett went down the shot and the last two Peter and me, we found the shot right on the wreck and saw many tangled ropes attached to Whelk and Lobster pots which some of the ropes had Squid eggs attached. We saw a few Lobsters and one very large one, loads of Bib’s, Pouting, Ballan Wrasse, some Cuckoo Wrasse, Sea Urchin’s, visibility wasn’t great at 2 meters after we went around the Gwynfaen a few times and the run was starting to get a bit swift Peter put a lifting bag on the shot ready for retrieval when we got to 6 meters I had a 5 minute deco to do, which gave us a 57 minute dive with a max depth of 20.5 meters. Before setting back Kirk attempted to retrieve the shot which got snagged on one of the many ropes on the Gwynfaen after repositioning the boat I took over and showed Kirk how easy it was to lift. After taking Peter back to his yacht we headed back to the beach to retrieve the boat which was to say the least, problematic as the sand was so soft we got bogged down straight away, after transferring all the kit to Brett’s car and with Wyn towing we went no further but thanks to a passer-by with his Land Rover which had a winch we eventually got off the beach and got the boat back to Pendre a good days diving but what a long one!.
Wednesday May 8th, Porthdinllaen.
With the wind still strong from the SW the planned dive site of Criccieth was a no go area, as were just about all the other shore dive sites. But having dived out of a calm Morfa Nefyn the previous BH Monday, a morning recce found the sea there to be still calm and seemingly clear. So that's where we headed to for our first ever shore dive off that beach. Dewi took Adrian for OD lesson no.2, completing all the planned exercises in exemplary fashion, even though the viz. was a very cloudy few feet due to a much worsened plankton bloom. Andrew led Phil on his first sea dive following a 5 year hiatus and, after sorting out the inevitable problems with weighting, they enjoyed an interesting dive, reporting far more life than anyone could expect to find in a sandy bay. Dilwyn and Siwan had driven the short distance from home for their first sea dive with me and after sorting a few snags with their new kit, were soon tentatively edging out into standing depth for their weight checks. Both were hugely underweighted with Dilwyn breaking Carl's long standing record with a massive 24kg., and even Siwan needing about 16kg. Hopefully this will rapidly reduce after a few dives. Fortunately, the dynamic duo of Mike & Irfon had kitted up in waders to perform shore cover and were called upon repeatedly to ferry out the extra weights. As we set out into the gloom of plankton I couldn't help wondering what Dilwyn & Siwan were making of this horrible pea soup, inevitably comparing it with my own first dive, which happened to be in a lagoon on an atoll in the Maldives in infininite viz!! Both did very well until we reached the turn round point at 3 metres where Dilwyn lost his buoyancy and he & I got separated from Siwan, who sensibly decided that the surface offered better prospects. So our dive ended with a long surface swim back. Having survived such a miserable introduction to sea diving the two are now set to face anything. Stories of plaice the size of ever bigger dinner plates were exchanged over a pint or two in the conveniently located Cliffs to end the evening.
Dilwyn & Siwan’s first sea dive.
Wednesday 15th May
The wind was still blowing hard but now from the NW. Neil, however, reported good viz. and excellent life in their pots at Plas Menai. So we kept to the plan and met up at 6pm at the Normal College. Conditions in the Straits were calm enough and seemingly again quite clear, at least on the shoreline. What we actually encountered was the worst plankton bloom I can recall with viz. of no more than a very cloudy couple of feet. Nia had Irfon to look after, while Phil had to put up with Dewi. I was taking Adrian for what should have been parts of his third open water lesson while the bickering pair of Gwyn and Andrew were left to sort themselves out. Most stayed in the 12 to 14 metre band where the sealife is concentrated except for Dewi who went to the depths in search of a bit of clearer water but failing to find any he & Phil were back in in under half an hour. The others persevered with Irfon and Nia taking the prize for longest dive of 45 minutes, by a minute from Andrew and Gwyn. All reported massive lobsters and an assortment of all the usual fish and creatures but nothing exceptional. Adrian handled the conditions very well, finding the turn round tricky, and eventually getting down to about 14 metres. Our dive would also have been about 45 minutes but Adrian learnt the hard way that the air pumped into the suit to maintain neutral buoyancy on the descent needs to be let out gradually on the ascent and thus disappeared, to the surface as it turned out, at about 6 metres. No harm done and a valuable lesson learnt. That's 2 low viz. dives out of 3 for Adrian. Viz. of a few metres is going to feel like paradise from now on! Mike was keeping a close eye on proceedings doing invaluable shore cover. We headed off to the Antelope for a curry and a pint and stories of monster lobsters.
Wednesday May 22nd, Abersoch.
Today would be a split event, with four retired or work-shy souls heading out for an afternoon bimble with the working class joining them for an after work dip at 5:30.
Mike gave his new dive wagon a try out by towing Sea Wasp from Pendre to Castellmarch, I’m glad to report that it passed with plenty of grunt to spare. For the second outing on the trot, Wyn launched Sea Wasp from The Warren and the hardy four of Mike, David, Peter and Andrew headed out towards the islands. David and Andrew reported a good dive with plenty to see. Mike on the other hand was unlucky enough to find himself with Peter, in shallow waters with plenty of kelp. Mike reported that the vis was too good as he tried to evade Peter on numerous occasions but alas Peter managed to find him each time. There was an event with a lifting bag and an anchor that amused Mike for a while… apparently a lifting bag should only have one hole in it – for letting the air into it that is. Peter’s on the other hand has got two, an extra one for letting the air out of it as well – what goes up must come down…. You catch the drift. Anyway Mike had a good laugh and was heard to mutter something about “bloody eBay” in the pub afterwards. Mike’s agony was duly ended after 52 minutes – not bad for his first dive in over seven months.
There was to be a parting of the group at 5:30 with David and Andrew disembarking – David to take Dilwyn for OO2 and Andrew to team up with Ian for a shore dive. Dilwyn and David’s dive went well with a 15 minute swim out and a 15 minute return leg, there was limited life, but a continuously flooding mask meant that Dilwyn’s focus was definitely on mask clearing. However he does seem to have the Bala’s equivalent to the Midas touch as everything he touched seems to turn to lead as he finished the dive with 30kg on his persons – this is officially a club record. Unfortunately for Andrew, Ian was a no-show which left him on shore cover duties.
Mike was going to cox in the evening and it was going to be Adrian’s first boat dive. He would be introduced to the delights of kelp by Peter, poor soul. They were joined by Wyn, Nia, Dewi and Irfon. They headed out to the eastern side of the Eastern Island where everyone reported good dives in vis of about 4m. Adrian enjoyed his first rhib dive immensely and will soon be a regular on Sea Wasp as he only has two more lessons to complete in order to finish his Ocean Diver qualification.
We all re-convened at Pendre to pay our dues and to wash down the rhib, then it was down to the Pen Y Bont for a short committee meeting, a pint or two and some general banter. We were joined by Melanie and later Malcolm but they both missed the DO’s presentation to Dilwyn of a manky old mask to replace his leaking one.
Sunday May 19th
Irfon, Dewi, Peter, David, Gwyn
Weather - best of the year to date. Sunshine and calm seas. Water temp: 10 degrees am, 11 degrees pm.
Early start. Pendre at 7:50am - Dave and Gwyn got Sea Wasp ready.
Dewi arrived for the tow at 8:15am
All met up at Castellmarch at 8:40am
Wyn kindly launching the gang again at 9am from Warren beach.
We passed a pod of dolphins by Ynysoedd Tudwal on the way out to the 1st dive at Carreg y Tir which is located at the north end of Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth).
1st in on first dive was Irfon, Dewi and Gwyn. It turned out to be a great dive. Max depth reached was 14m but plenty of life was to be seen in over 5m viz. We saw dogfish, Lobster, Crabs, Pollock, Wrasse and plenty of anemones. Irfon and Gwyn lost Dewi as he darted up the nook and crannies. Normal diving procedures were adhered to; smb and ascent including stops!!
Irfon and Gwyn got 43 minutes and Dewi (who has gils in place of lungs), slightly longer.
Dave and Peter took to the water as the second pair and had just as an enjoyable dive as the first lot.
Following lunch and the mandatory 2 hour break we headed off to the south side of the south island at St Tudwals. A lovely drift dive was had by all. Depth of 14-18m and viz 5 meters. Dewi managed to bring back some scallops for Wyn.
Great day’s diving in lovely weather....about time too!
Report compiled by Gwyn Jones
Sunday May 26th
Sunday dive adventure went as follows. We all met at Castellmach at 9-930 except
for one,no need to name anyone but we are going to buy Gwyn a alarm clock very soon!!! 6 turned up and the pairings were as follows: Andrew & Gwyn Peter James & Melanie and Dewi & Brett. So at the second attempt Wyn took the rib to be launched and Andrew took his van with the bottles to a little known place so we could pick them up for the second dive. After Dewi found Andrew and myself and picked us up and away we went to the Firefly. We approached the mark and 90 yards from the intended mark something popped up which was put in the GPS for future reference. The shot was dropped and Andrew, Gwyn and Melanie were in first followed by Dewi and myself. Peter watched over us. I arrived at the shot and met Melanie who was debating going up the shot and I thought I might join her, you only had to look at the plane and it churned up the silt. But I stuck it out and we managed a 40 minute dive, couldn't find the shot so used the smb. Plenty of good lobsters, bib poor cod and a cod the vis was half metre in front of me and much less behind me. Then we took Peter to a certain wreck that he knows. We dropped Peter and his buddy off! Apparently the wreck was still there, we will just have to take his word for it!!!!!!! The second dive was off the reef in llanbedrog, this was a real deep dive of 9 metres max depth, the life on it was amazing. We saw peacock worms, sea anemone, spiny starfish, nudibranch, there was scallops, dog fish and for all those ocean divers that will be diving this later on, there will be a 5-6lb lobster to find, pipe fish, 2 spotty goby, spiny scorpion, all in all an excellent dive, enjoyed by all, and some of us even took dinner home.
Wednesday 29th May.
The wind had been blowing strongly from the north for several days but Gimblet Rock appeared to be reasonably clear when checked in the afternoon. Four of the five trainees turned up with Andrew leading Dilwyn out to inspect the sewage outfall!! Irfon took Siwan on a rehabilitation course after the disaster of Morfa Nefyn while, in the absence of another instructor, Nia was given the responsibility of looking after Adrian, although I don't think that Adrian saw it quite that way! I had the task of taking Stephanie for her first sea dive, so there were a few things to sort out, not least the 5mm wetsuit that she intended to dive in, and the tea cosy she had as a hood. Fortunately Andrew had a spare hood to lend her. Weights therefore weren't a problem even after I had dropped a couple of pieces of lead off the belt. I expected a dive of no more than 5 minutes, so with no signal to say she was cold I turned back after 8 minutes and we only ended the dive when the reg. retrieval exercise went awry, with Steph still not feeling chilly. It was still only 12 degrees so I think that Peter now has a rival for Club hard case. Brett managed to find several ways to get out of diving so he kept Mike company on shore. Refreshments were taken at the Vic.