7 divers, Hugh, Neil, Robin, Peter, Dewi, Irfon & David, made for a full boat, so Neil ferried 4 of them to Abersoch along with the second cylinders. The BBC were promising sun and calm. We did get the latter. An early start was made to get HW slack on a 9.5m. Spring. So well did it go that we actually reached the dive site early! Just as well, as it turned out that slack water preceded HW by about an hour.
So the first 2 pairs had mostly current free dives. Not so though for the final threesome. The plan of dropping in N of the island and assessing the conditions was promptly adapted as they were swept rapidly round the seaward side. But they ducked down the other side and found the entry to the cross gully, and so were able to spend the entire dive in slack water in the shelter of the island & reef. Much more life than 2 weeks earlier, lobsters, squat lobsters, ed. & spider crabs, pipefish, nudibranches and inquisitive wrasse were some of the sea life reported.
After lunch with the masses on Abersoch beach we tried out the East side of Porth Ceiriad, which turned out to be almost slack at mid-tide, and just as full of life as Hell’s Mouth, with many more pipefish seen by some and the first Pollack of the season. Viz. was about 3 metres and so we didn’t have too bad a day at all, although it did stay chilly without a glimpse of the promised sun!!
An excellent turnout for the dive. Six pairs as can be seen from the photograph, plus groupies. It was the DO and Robin who have the shortest dive but their navigation could not be faulted. Irfon and Dewi used the head banging navigation method. For uninitiated this means you carry on in a straight line until your head bangs on something. The technique works well if there is something fairly close to bang into, e.g. sides of Vivian quarry or the base of Criccieth Castle, not so good if there is a distant shore. There was. After two visits to the surface for realtime navigational updating, Dewi and Irfon finally joined the shore party.
Peter and Wyn were the last to return. Wyn uses the weight watchers technique to work out how much lead weight he needs for his next dive, i.e. he tries to lose a couple of pounds each week. This meant that the shore party was treated to what we would describe as the Green fin dance until Peter added enough Criccieth rock to get him under again.
Only three divers wanted to go for the day so it was cancelled. Great waste of a 7.7m tide. It is reported that there is 7m visibility around Hell’s Mouth where it was intended to go.
Dewi, Irfon, Peter, Wyn & David made the trek over only to find the straits resembling a pea soup. But having traveled so far they weren’t going away without getting wet. Dewi & Peter set off to practice their navigation and apart from a little peep in mid-Strait(from 12 m!!) they did find their way there & back, although neither was sure where there was. Truth be told they didn’t even find the cable.
It was Wyn’s first dive in the Straits so, given the viz., which was generally reported at a metre or so by most, he was placed on the cable with Irfon & David on either side. This plan proved fortuitous given the dimness of Wyn’s mighty big ND torch. There wasn’t a lot there, many young ed. & redeye crabs, a couple of butterfish, with the usual variety of Dahlia Anemones, and a reasonable covering of sponge. The first evening shore dive of the season was duly celebrated in a very comfortable Felinheli pub.
The Club has just been told that it has been successful in getting a Community Chest Grant of £750 towards training kit for those of a smaller disposition. It may be a few weeks before the money arrives and we can go out and get suitable kit. However many congratulations to David Jones for putting forward and organising our application.
The first boat dive of the season. Just enough members to get the boat out. Dewi, David, Hugh, Robin and for the second dive Wyn. Launching from Pwllheli on an Easter Sunday? No problem. Nobody in sight except from the harbour master asking what Mike Duke had done with our licence application. The new licence it appears is the size of a car number plate; goodness knows where we are going to put it.
Our first dive was on the South East Corner of the St Tudwals East. Visibility 2-3 metres, not a lot of marine life. Crabs, squat lobsters. A gentle drift one way and then the other.
Wyn joined us from the Abersoch beach for the second dive which was on Half Tide Rocks. Hugh, Wyn and Robin dived together and had a very eventful dive with some very inquisitive seals. They did the usual fin tugging and games of hide and seek. Those very sharp teeth visible as a seal opened its mouth wide made one feel a little vulnerable, but the whole encounter was quite an experience. David and Dewi got a very similar dive.
We had a little problem with taking on water and not being able to get rid of it. Robin was able to reconnect the bilge pump and things quickly got back to normal.