Wednesday May 3rd, Porth Ysgaden.
Strong winds from the north and north east meant that Porth Ysgaden had escaped the brunt of it and was looking like the only diveable patch of water on the peninsula – which meant that we could go ahead with the planned dive on the programme.
There was a good turnout of nine divers and Nia as shore cover made it ten on the evening. With conditions outside the bay a little rough, it would mean that that the four groupings would confine their dives to the inner bay. Melanie and Irfon were the first pairing to enter and found that the vis was ok but not great and that a strong underwater swell made the going tough. They were followed by Andrew who led Wil for parts of OO3. Brett, Jake and Mike were next and on a similar dive plan to the first pair. Last in were Dewi and Gwenno who completed OO2.
Various souls got separated, re-grouped and separated again, there was a bit of a calamity at one point where Irfon and Melanie were on the surface and were joined by Brett who thought that the two of them were his missing buddies. All made it safely back to shore and the consensus was that there was a good abundance of marine life spotted including a ‘volcano mollusc’ by Mike.
Drinks and banter were shared in the Lion, where we were joined by John and Chris was spotted dining in the front bar. Brett managed to polish off the mulled wine, and reluctantly agreed to change Top Cat’s colour scheme from yellow to pink in the search of niche market in specialised angling trips.
Sunday May 7th, Enlli.
The plan was to head for Enlli, but several factors had to fall into place such as having enough divers, having someone to tow and having vis decent enough to warrant the hike over to the island. Bit by bit, things came good, firstly the vis looked decent enough in Porth Ysgaden, Brett called in and agreed to tow and we had seven divers. The numbers warranted a second vessel so Mike agreed to bring Sparrowhawk as well.
Sunday was a glorious day, the sun was out and there was a light breeze from the N-NE. We met for 9:00 at Porth Colmon and were away well before 9:30. The first dive was to be at the point to the south of the lighthouse. Peter coxed Sparrowhawk as Mike and John slipped off the sides. Andrew and Wil required shallower depths so opted for the rock face.
Both pairings reported good vis, in the region of 5-6m and saw plenty of critters. Mike and John maxed out at 30m and enjoyed themselves amongst the rocky outcrops. Wil’s first boat dive went without a hitch and got his depth progression of up to 15m.
The second wave consisted of Peter and Irfon who were expertly led by Brett. They also reported a fantastic dive amongst the gullies and boulders, although they maxed out at 20m and had a dive time of 45 minutes.
Lunch was partaken on Enlli. We sat on the bench at the top of the slip, basking in the sunshine, listening to the 40+ seals groaning on the rocks - it was simply glorious there.
By the afternoon the wind had done what was forecasted – increased and shifted more to the North. We decided that it would be a good idea to source shelter and dive Ffynnon Fair at the foot of Mynydd Mawr. Peter sat out the second dive as he hadn’t warmed up sufficiently after the first. Mike and John had a bimble further East towards Carreg Ddu whilst Irfon and Wil dived near to Porth Felen. Andrew and Brett opted for the same but got swept off into deeper and faster waters at the end – both surfaced with a real buzz.
Retrieval was done without a hitch at Porth Colmon and Sea Wasp was put to bed with just over 3/8ths of a tank of fuel.
Wednesday 10th May
The plan was to dive at the Rheol which meant meeting at the national trust car park for 7pm. Well another impressive turnout for a Wednesday dive with a total of 9 divers with Mike and Vi volunteering for shore cover.
Our Sherpa’s for the evening were Brett in the Mule, Nia in the L200 and Dewi in the new Nissan to transport all the gear down to the Rheol. The pairings are as follows: Irfon with Melanie and David, Dewi with Gwenno , Andrew with Wil and then Brett with Nia.
Wil needed to do his CBL at 6m so Brett had kindly moved his keep pots to 6m the night before, which made the exercise much easier, after we completed the CBL and with vis of 5m we set off back to shore seeing Catsharks, Ballan Wrasse, Brown Crabs and a lot of large Spider crabs which apparently Gwenno was not so happy to see.
After coming across Brett and Nia and getting shallower Wil had one more task to do which was the 25m tow which I used to my advantage and got towed back to shore thanks Wil. After transporting all the kit back to the car park we headed of to Sarn for some well deserved refreshments at the Pen-y-Bont I took the short but ended up at Botwnnog, but eventually got Sarn.
Wednesday May 24th, Porth Ysgaden.
It was originally planned for Porth Iago but it was thought best not to put the trainee off, so we opted for Porth Ysgaden. There were numerous excuses for not diving, ranging from a chest infection, A-level revision , failed M.O.T.’s and Man UTD playing in a Mickey Mouse Cup final. We managed four in the end, plus Irfon for shore cover.
Andrew paired up with Laura for a refresher dive after her visit down under and Dewi was led by Melanie on a well-planned criss-cross of the bay. All dives went well with both pairings logging dives in the 45 minute region and bottoming out at a smidge under 8m. Vis was reported at 4m and the fish life was abundant with shoals of Pollack darting in and out of the bay.
All five of us regrouped at the Lion for refreshments and a de-brief.
Dive Report for Sunday 28th May 2017
Another Bank Holiday weekend and the midweek forecast was looking brilliant but as the weekend approached the forecast and the actual weather headed off in different directions. Poor Brett made a number of plans for different days and dive sites, with a Castellmarch launch as the last resort. With Brett's pickup off the road for MOT work launching could be an issue. No, I reassured him, rumour hath it that Dewi is taking the caravan to Sarn Bach and so is a sure fire bet to need to get away, and anyway Peter rarely misses a BH dive. So Plan C was hatched at 8.25pm on Saturday evening to launch at Porth Colman on Sunday morning to dive Penrhyn Mawr and/or Maen Mellt, followed by a brisk drift on what was a big Spring tide. Saturday's southerly was supposedly turning to the north but dropping off until late on Sunday afternoon, perhaps! So, I settled down to watch the Scarlets, expecting to be inundated with calls, but only Melanie was interested. I was amazed, as was Brett, who promptly enacted Plan D which was for a 10.30am meet at the Rheol for a trip out in Sea Cat, made possible only because Adrian had already signed up.
We met as planned, but there was a slight hiatus as Carol had forgotten to load my drysuit, and then compounded her mistake by taking a wrong turning on her rescue mission. Fortunately, Brett's immaculate planning had taken such likelihoods into account so as we headed out on a flat calm sea the tide was still running. He headed over to Cadlan where the current was minimal, offering a choice of a prime scallop bed or a cobble reef, selecting the latter for Melanie and me!! Viz. was unexpectedly good at about 6 metres, and there was enough life to keep us interested for 45 minutes as we drifted east and then back to close to where we started. This dive, with a maximum depth of 15 metres, would have been ideal for the trainees. We had a leisurely lunch on a by now millpond sea while Brett and Adrian were in. The current had now changed and was trying to take them off the reef on to sand so they spent their dive fighting it in order to stay on the reef, and gave up the ghost after about 35minutes. Adrian was testing the new seals on his new drysuit, but was underweighted and so had a tough time and came up soaking again and non too happy. We managed to narrow the problem down to the neck seal, which he and Brett had trimmed down on a choppy sea, non too evenly!! It needs a bit of perseverance but it seems like there may be another convert to a wetsuit. We headed back into the Rheol to pick up Nia's undersuit as Adrian was stripped down to a wet vest and shorts and was well chilled. It was then back to the reef below the outfall. We went in as a threesome for a drift into the bay, which seems all wrong on a falling tide. The viz. was even better here at about 8 metres, so we could spread ourselves out and cover a wide chunk of the reef. The life was remarkable with numerous crabs and lobsters, and many wrasse, especially pairs of cuckoo wrasse, the males looking as brilliant as I can recall. Brett found a juvenile cray, which made his and our day, and I found a large cod which took refuge under a boulder and also came across a massive bullhuss which had it's tail and rear end visible. It took quite a bit of tail twisting to get it to move, but it refused to come out. There were tompots and leopard spotted gobis in numbers and the final hightlight for Brett was a strange fish which he later confirmed to be a Connemara clingfish. We headed up the reef into the kelp to do our deco, but this dive, which lasted for 50 minutes, was again at a maximum depth of 16 metres and so would also have been perfect for trainees.
Many thanks to Brett for a wonderful day's diving.
Wednesday 31st May
First dive at the Menai Straits this season, so the plan was to meet at Coleg Normal for 19:15 to catch slack water for 20:05. We started with 7 divers but due to “Carol fault” we ended up with 6 and David became the shore cover as he forgot his mask.
The pairings were as follows: Jake with Melanie, Dewi with Wil and Andrew with Gwenno. The first 6m was a bit gloomy with poor vis but the deeper you got the vis improved to 4m but dark, torches were defiantly needed. I had my first chance to use my new UV torch and it worked well with the Light-bulb sea squirt, they lived up to their name.
Gwenno needed to get to 12 – 15 Meters for her Ocean Diver Open Water Lesson 003 so we managed to get to 14.6m and all was well. On our ascending Gwenno had a little bounce issue with the dreaded dry suet dump valve, so I diploid my other new toy a (A P valves buddy line) which I had previously attached to Gwenno’s BC, which worked very well giving Gwenno time to do the roly poly and correct her buoyancy, I might of invariantly started a new underwater pastime buddy flying instead of kite flying.
We made it back to shore fairly close to the entry point not bad considering. And then it was back to the Antelope for some food and refreshments.