Saw Neil, Lee, Mick G., myself & guest Colin head off to Bardsey. That is after we had moved about half the vehicles in Malcolm’s yard so that we could get to the boat! The organizer Mickey D. turned out to wave us off from Porth Colman.
Saturday had been really windy but, true to Metcheck, Sunday dawned sunny & calm, although as we found out there was a bit of a resultant swell. The trip out was against the tide so the boat had to work a bit. Neil wanted a sheltered site for Colin’s first dive with the club, so after a bit of a search the bay to the NE of the slipway was chosen, and it turned out to be a cracking little site. So good in fact that it was dived again in the afternoon by the rest of us. It was free of current on both occasions ( which was a relief to Mick ), with reasonable viz., despite a notable algae bloom, and was surprisingly well stocked with crabs and the other things, and had as good a selection of sponges as will be seen outside the Menai Straits.
For their first dive the intrepid 3some went round the corner to Pen Cristin point, where there appeared to be localized slack water, although it was running a bit back towards the Sound. Interestingly, we descended through the algae and found clear water below about 20 m. with as much as 6m. viz. Mick found the current first and was swept away about 2mins. into the dive. We put up an SMB and carried on, in one of those currents typical to the site, where you’re either totally in it or out of it, with very little warning of the change. About 15 mins. into the dive we found Mick sitting on the bottom having sorted himself out and put his SMB. For some reason he chose not to practice the no ref. exercise!! Lee did heroics to swim back to Mick against the current dragging the SMB. So on we jolly well went.
Trouble is, in that type of variable current, it is very difficult to control the SMB lines, which go from being inclined and taut, to vertical and slack, in a very short time. So needless to say we had lines tangled around each other, and around us. As we ascended through the kelp towards 6m the current swept Mick away again. By the time we were all back in the boat we had almost reached the Sound, having covered the km+ length of the east coast, beneath the mountain in a little over half an hour. The lesson learnt was not to dive as a 3some in sites where variable currents can be expected. But it was fun, for some of us, even manageing to take in some of the sights on the way.
On the trip back across the Sound, we were accompanied by a lone razorbill, which made repeated passes across our bows for almost the entire crossing. By now the swell was even more impressive, and of course the tide was again running against us, so there were a few anxious moments as the fuel gauge apprached zero. Ernest, the lobster fisherman, again proved to be good company during our lunchtime R & R on the island, and has asked if we could free a line of pots which are stuck on the wreck of the Alesia in the bay. So, all in all our first trip to Bardsey for about 11 months was a good day out.
(David W Jones)
The start of David’s Wednesday shore dives. An excellent turnout. All the trainees attended; Wyn, Peter, Irfon and Dewi along with instructors Malcolm and David. Lea, Carol, Mike D, and Robin, Neil and Hayley came along. Hugh (suit off for repair) did shore cover, and even Bert came along until weather conditions blew him off. (14 members)
A lot of life was seen including an octopus (except by Mike who said that he hadn’t got eyes in his back side). There was almost too much life for a first dive by trainees. Wyn will be seeing Malcolm afterwards about a leaking wrist seal! Training went well with most of the elements completed.
The dive marshall arrived on time with the RIB and wasn’t seen again until sometime later when he flew over us in his microlite. Luckily there were six of us: Neil, Mike, Hugh, Robin, David and Tim (organiser). With one bottle each we we made for Trwyn Carreg y Tir which is on the East side of Hell’s Mouth. The trip over was a little bumpy but it was worth it. We dived on slack, vis was around 10 metres, we got no current and there was a lot of marine life. Carpets of small starfish, a lot of large randy spider crabs and anemonies. All proving that you don’t have to go deep to get a good dive.
We returned to Pwllheli to change cylinders and then went out opposite Llanbedrog to see if illegal scallop dredging had done any damage. It was a bit of a boring dive after the first half hour but the bit of sea bed we inspected had not been touched.
Bad weather and water visibility again caused cancellation of a sea dive. However some training. Robin Jones made some more progress towards his Sports Diver Qualification. Neil (D.O.) who organised the event was Robin’s buddy for the Assisted Ascent and the control buoyant lift.
The sea dive called off because of the wind and poor visibility the afternoon found us reveling in the Vivian Quarry facilities. Lee, Mick and Robin were up for it and Malcolm, Hugh and David were going to give it too them. Lee and Mick were up for one of the Dive Leader practicals DO6 (without the weight dropping) and Robin was wanting to finish off his Sports Diver training from about 9 years ago! Lee is still having problems bringing all his kit; he remembered his suit but forgot his weight belt. Obviously had sheep on his mind. Anyway the practicals went well and off we went to Pete’s Eats, where one or two of our number caught up on the calories.