As usual the weather wasn’t up to much so we opted for the safer bet of a shore dive at Trefor. Only six divers, which was no surprise really considering the forecast. Dewi, Bryan, Robin, Carl, Llyr and Irfon were the hardened crew and surface cover was supplied by Mike, and I do believe that it was much, much nicer underwater.
Plenty of fish life with reasonably good viz at about 5m encountered us underneath the Pier and all reported good dives of between 50 and 60 minutes. Upon de-kitting the heavens opened and we were given a good soaking so only four ventured up to Llithfaen for a post dive de-brief.
Report due from Dewi.
For the first time this season, or at least for as long as I can remember, the Wednesday evening weather forecast was just about perfect. So with Mickey already intending to have his boat in the water at Porth Ysgadarn we launched the Club rib there at 4pm which was the first time on a Wednesday this season. Peter and Irfon, with Mickey for temporary company, went off for a reasonably fast drift on the second reef to the right on a fast falling Spring tide. As usual they were dropped right above a relatively shallow (25 metre deep) reef but managed to find their way onto flat shingle, with just a few brittle stars at about 28 metres. With an SMB already deployed they had little choice but to go with the flow, which fortunately did eventually take them back to a reef and gradually into shallower water, which extended their dive to over 40 minutes. They were clearly deep enough to be sufficiently narked to find themselves drifting amongst sharks, or one of the local equivalents, starry spurhounds or similar. Anyway, they returned intact to find that Mickey had also enjoyed his dive.
The night shift were picked up in Porth Ysgadarn at 6pm, so after waiting for a while in case Llyr turned up we set out again to the reefs with both ribs. Wyn & Simon went off towards Porth Dinllaen with Mickey & Irfon, while Dewi & Anja and David & Brian headed straight out to the first reef with Peter handling the boat. The four of us dropped in at 18metres, only to find the bottom at about 24, but at least it was a reef. So it seems that Brian has inadvertently started his Sports Diver training. Although it was getting towards low water there was still a bit of current so it was mostly a gentle drift. The reefs were stunning, covered in various delicate coral type structures of all colours. Lots of Ross Coral, crustaceans and assorted fish, but we clearly weren’t deep enough to find the sharks. There was a very impressive bull huss though, which it seems Brian & David saw at the beginning of their dive and Wyn & Simon saw at the end of theirs.
The sea stayed calm and the weather fine, so it was a near perfect evening, marred only by Mickey’s new method of recovering his rib, which involves the trailor overtaking the towing vehicle, and a recently killed cormorant which appeared to have been struck by a boat or propellor. We then established that eight people don’t put the rib away any quicker than the usual three, and that the ideal number for fitting the trailor lock is also three, as long as one of them is Anja!! The barmaid at the Pen y Bont was just about able to cope with the extra buisiness we provided.
ps Many thanks are due to Mickey for all his recent work on the boat, including obtaining and fitting a sand tyre and a new winch and strap.
David ( the substitute organiser who had substituted Carl who had substituted Lois and was to be contacted via Hugh’s home number, confused? So was I) had only one name down for the Sunday dive.
Rumour had it that Dukey and Wright were on a mission to free some lobster pots in Aberdaron Bay and after some negotiation by the organiser it was decided to launch the club rib from Aberdaron with five hopeful divers onboard.
The boat launching provided some entertainment for the few onlookers (soft sand, trailer sinks, boat slides off trailer, winch hook snaps, much pushing and shoving – boat launched).
Sea conditions ruled out diving for the lobster pots which were not located in any event so it was off to observe the conditions at Carreg Ddu. Diving Carreg Ddu at high water springs with a force 3 – 4 north westerly was optimistic to say the least and after a brief demonstration in white water rafting a hasty retreat was made to Ynys Gwylanod where conditions were better but still not suitable for diving.
The manager was now contemplating heading towards Porth Neigwl but as Mike Duke breaks out in a rash when the south coast is mentioned we headed for some shelter to the east of Aberdaron and eventually a dive site was located by Carreg Cybi.
Mike and John were first in for a 34 minute dive, followed by David, Hugh and Wyn who had a 53 minute dive at 15m which ended in a gentle drift towards Ebolion. With 2 divers feeling cold and 3 going home anyway, we headed back towards Aberdaron where the recovery was executed with no hitches and the new Chinese wheel barrow wheel proving to be very successful.
It was then back to Pendre to wash the boat and have a cuppa with Malcolm.
Many thanks to Mike for repairing the jockey wheel and fitting a sand wheel. When fitting the sand wheel a small alteration needed to be made to one of the lifting handles but otherwise it fitted perfectly. It should make launching and recovering the boat in shallow water much easier now.
10:15am at Trefor. Sounds like a death sentence doesn’t it. Well it wasn’t. It was Ocean diver training for Anna. This time no Tania and no David like last week. This time it was OO2. Mask clearing, recovering regulator, removing suit hose, inversion recovery and a bit of hovering. By the time the practical was over I think Anna had cracked it. There was a time when it looked as so Anna had suddenly forgotten how to breath out through her nose (rather important for mask clearing as the reader would no doubt agree) but finally with guts and the determination (and the sword of justice. Oh no wrong quote) not to be beaten by a couple of nostrils with a life of their own; Anna took control of her inner mask. Another successful visit to Trefor.
7:30pm. Tudor Lodge. Anja, Carl, Craig and Mickey are trainees on the BSAC Boat Handling Course run by Hugh and David. The two theory evenings have now been complete. The first practical session is set for Wednesday 30th July. The group has been practicing their knots.
How many smutty one-liners must one put up with before a dive? Well, we were treated to Hugh’s entire life collection as we posed for a photograph of the rescusi Annes being handed over pre-dive.
Four pairings then made their way in quick succession, all heading out towards the shi…. sewage outfall pipe. No one managed to find it though as the viz wasn’t spectacular, to be honest the dive wasn’t that spectacular either with only a limited variety of species found. Robin and Wyn were the first out, albeit with a long walk back to base after drifting towards West End. Carl and Brian, and David and Carol came out almost together whilst Irfon and Dewi were last after spending an hour in – what had they been doing? Shore cover was provided by Lois (as she lost a few kilos on Sunday (oops!)) and Wyn’s sister Gwen and her mongrel Cai. The strong winds and rain thankfully didn’t materialise but strong currents were experienced which made navigation a challenge, well that’s Robin’s excuse anyway!
Naturally, we couldn’t pass the Vic on the way home, so we popped in for a beverage or two.
The day began with us all meeting at the top of Aberdaron by the chapel. We were all quite surprised and glad of the weather conditions for a change blue skies and best of all no wind. Irfon drew up a plan of attack and split us in to our buddy pairs the plan being the dive leaders would be doing Caswenan and the sports/ocean divers will be doing 2 drift dives. We all started getting the boats ready; the club rib / Sparrowhawk and my rib Osprey. Once we got to Bardsey Craig, Anja and Lois kitted up for the first dive. After a good 40 mins we surfaced with good reports of fish life and crab life, also good viz. We then headed for lunch on Bardsey.
After a good lunch break with humour aplenty we all headed back to the club rib. Before we headed to Caswenan we did a quick test drive with the club rib with a full 9 divers and 4 sets of kit. Glad to say she performed very well. So the first job was to shot the dive site which took no more than 20 mins. Then we started offloading our buddy pairs; the first being of course Mickey and Dewi. Then Hugh and Wyn, after only what seemed a short time Mickey and Dewi surfaced then Hugh and Wyn then that allowed Irfon and David to start their dive. After all divers were all finished and accounted for, all reported excellent viz and good life and reports of a fin tugging fish which seemed to follow our group an awful lot. This I believe is the first time for some of our members to dive Caswenan so well done to them all.
We then headed for the south side of Bardsey for our drift dive which we all enjoyed very much, with lots of life seen. We all then headed back to shore all feeling that we have had an excellent day but then came the recovery.
While myself Anja and Hugh held the boats there seemed to be a Mr. iron man contest on the beach where four men were having to manhandle three trailers up the beach quite professionally but extremely exhausting so well done to them all. The second part of the recovery was to tow the boats out and off the beach. Well the club rib had her jockey wheel ripped off. Mickey kept getting stuck in the soft sand, but luckily the recovery of Osprey was trouble free.
Both Anna & Tania have fallen well behind the other OD trainees, as both have had problems making Wednesday evenings. So we met up at Trefor pier on Thursday afternoon to try and get their training back on track. Hugh took Anna for Lesson OO1, while David went with Tania to finish OO1 and start OO2. Carol, Mickey and David’s sister Mags provided more than adequate shore cover. Mickey had dropped off to sell some hoodies on his way to pick up Malcolm from hospital. Conditions in the bay were OK with about 2m viz., so it was possible to do the exercises at standing depth and at 2 metres, but when we swam under the pier it was awful, as bad as I’ve experienced there, with a big swell, a mass of dead seaweed and about 1m viz. Both pairs quickly headed out into the open and back to the shelter of the bay. Nevertheless, both Anna & Tania did very well after long layoffs and should be ready to step into the Quarry after another shore dive or two. Tania did especially well, mentioning that she felt a bit wet after we were out of the water. In fact, she was wetter than I have ever seen anyone in a dry suit, with the suit full to her waist!!
The dive programme was for the boat or the Straits, but given the usual wet & windy Wednesday forecast it wasn’t a contest. Interest was surprisingly good with a near perfect mix of Dive Leaders and Ocean Divers but when Dewi, Carl & Wyn all failed to show – surely not due to the weather – the mix became skewed in favour of the less experienced! Not to worry, our unlikely savior was Anja, who somewhat reluctantly agreed to lead, putting that Sports Diver navigation training into use. The conditions looked good and so, in the company of the same local and Rhosneigr divers as 2 weeks ago, we prepared for slack just after 8pm. Irfon & Brian and Anja & Lois set out along the cable while David, Carol & Llyr opted to venture under the bridge and beyond. Viz. was better at 3-4 metres but still with considerable amounts of algae. Those on the cable met up with a pair of carousing lobsters while Llyr came face to face with his first conger. The rain held off before, during and after the dive for those first out but poured down for the laggards, so the Antelope provided a good place to dry out.
Report to follow.
Again conflicting forecasts meant a certain element of should we or shouldn’t we venture Sea Wasp for her first Wednesday outing of the season, we played safe and headed for Trefor. But on arrival at the rivals, flat, clear seas greeted us – maybe we should of chanced it after all. But hey ho in we went.
Llyr went with Hugh as he had some elements of training left to finish, whilst David had a night off training for once and took Simon for a bimble. The three dive leaders were given the task of introducing the three newly qualified ocean divers to the delights of the Pier. Their navigation, fish identification and dive leading skills would be under scrutiny and I’m pleased to say all three pairings of Wyn and Brian, Dewi and Lois, and Irfon and Jon returned after a successful dive. Mike Duke was twined with a diver much akin to himself, he didn’t stop whining and stirring up silt for the whole time that he was underwater!
After an appropriate surface interval, we popped over the mountain to Llithfaen and to the Vic for a well deserved beer.