Wave Shape
Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Sunday 29 June. Porthdinllaen

Metcheck was again forecasting light winds, while the inshore forecast was for force 4-5, gusting 6, all from the SW. So we decided to avoid the very early start needed to fit in two dives with the tide and went for a single dive on the Isolated Danger Buoy in Port Dinllaen bay at midday.

It was raining hard, blowing a minor gale and misty out to sea when we met in the NT carpark, but there was no deterring the 5 hardy souls who turned out. “This is what separates the men from the boys”, Mickey declared, which didn’t overly impress Carol. Wyn missed this as he had gone to negotiate launching fees with the Council man guarding the slip, using his best local boy Welsh. Unfortunately, the man turned out to be Polish or Italian, and as we were his only victims for the morning Wyn failed miserably. Meanwhile, Carl was bemoaning his luck in always getting the short straw, but on reflection we decided that he wasn’t doing too bad as Anja had got the Segontium! However, by the time we had launched and checked out conditions at the Buoy the wind had dropped, the sky had cleared, the sun had even made an appearance and slack had arrived.

Mickey had an ulterior motive in wanting to locate and mark a lost string of 3 lobster pots, so he set off with Carl & Wyn, but surfaced alone, surprise, surprise, after 30 minutes reporting a faulty computer, no pots and excellent viz. of 10 metres or so. So David and Carol were able to get in early, to find that the viz. was indeed pretty good, especially as Mickey had just come up. The site was much as we remembered it, extensive mussel beds, with hordes of very big obese starfish feeding on the mussels, and the odd untended lobster pot. One we emptied was crammed with 4 or 5 big wrasse, 7 or 8 edible crabs and a couple of spider crabs, and although bouyed it could not have been raised for weeks, judging by the condition of some of the inhabitants. There was also a long string of abandoned whelk pots, many of which contained trapped edible crabs. On the plus side there were a lot of crabs outside the pots and we even found a conger. Carl and Wyn did find the missing string of pots, which Mickey buoyed. The one pot that was intact was again full of crabs, lobsters and fish. So not a bad dive, but with the afternoon staying fine we were left wondering why we hadn’t brought second cylinders along!


Wednesday 25th June. Menai Bridge

Yet another windy Wednesday which precluded anywhere but the quarry or the Straits, so we did both! Well, that is Rhian, Llyr and I did in order to make up for Rhian losing her mask the previous week. The idea was to complete their Ocean Diver training by finishing the outstanding parts of lesson OO4, CBL etc. and carrying on to also do the Dive Leading exercises of OO5. It mostly went very well, after Rhian learnt that it is not a good idea to over-deflate the casualty’s BC while approaching the surface. Llyr might actually have survived the second lift. The dive leading was fine but the remaining parts of the exercises had to be postponed after Rhian found that mask removal is not a lot of fun when you can’t stop water entering your nose, and thus provided a demonstration of the need for CBLs. So both are almost there with just a few bits and pieces to complete, and for Rhian a full course of the mask clearing exercises starting in standing depth.

Irfon checked out the Straits late afternoon, to save a lot of wasted journeys, and decided that it was worth a go, and so it proved. Ten members turned out, including a good mix of the experienced, Hugh, Dewi, Irfon and Carl, or was it Anja, and a group of the new Ocean Divers, Jon, Llyr, Lois and Rhian, who persuaded herself, against all her inclinations, that she should get back in at the first opportunity, which was unfortunately here and now. It has to be said that it wasn’t all that inviting with a strong, chilly wind blowing against the tide and decidedly gloomy looking water. Actually it was fine, much warmer water than the quarry with reasonable viz. of 2-3 meters as it was not stirred up, just darkened by a moderate algae bloom. There were lots of crabs and anenomes, albeit not as wide a range of colours as usual, but very few fish. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and all managed about 45 minutes. The Antelope provided an excellent watering hole, where Jon met up with an old school friend, which is just as well as he had to stay on waiting for the AA to come and tow him home.


Back so soon to the quarry. It was a little matter of severe gale force 9 so the sea was out. Gemma was the organiser but doesn’t do quarries. Wyn was marshalling and had found out that Dewi just had one more open water dive to do for his Dive Leader qualification, so that was that. He immediately offered his body as a casualty and we were in business. The high winds turned the Vivian car park into a sand blaster. Yet again ones legs were exposed to the vagaries of the weather.

The dive consisted of a controlled buoyant lift and then 50metres of towing. Dewi was up to it. Initially there was a problem in getting enough air into Wyn’s stab to lift the both of them off the bottom, the cause was a total of 5Kg weight. But after that was sorted Wyn was lifted, towed and given the required number of rescue breaths as per the book.

Then we did the DSMB mid-water deployment. Would we be seeing Mr Limpy on the surface again? The overly high expectations of others or stress can affect performance so we tried not to look. Up it went like a demented leberwurst on LSD, with the reel struggling to keep up. Had he done it? Yes he had. For when we got to the surface there it lay full and firm; an inflation to be proud of.

Wednesday 18th June Vivian Quarry

The forecast predicted strong winds and heavy rain and for once it was so right. The only diveable piece of water in the county was Vivian, so for the second Wednesday on the trot and for the nth time already this season our kit was going to get a good clean. A healthy mix of trainees, newly qualified and some old stagers were greeted by severe winds and a deluge at the car park at Llanberis, although two (Lois and Robin) did cry off because they didn’t want to get wet!?!?

Dewi was given the chance to shine by showing off his mask clearing and AAS with Irfon and Hugh, although his DSMB was found to be the “limpiest” (flaccid: lacking in strength or firmness or resilience) upon reaching the surface at the end of the dive. David took Llyr and Rhian for OO5, but unfortunately on the first tow, David ‘ahem’ misplaced Rhians prescription mask, so that put an end to the training. Llyr and David carried on with the dive whilst Rhian made her way back to the car park after discussing how bad the weather was with a lamppost. Anja and Carl were left to their own devices, Anja did seem unhappy though, she’s so used to a threesome which might be the reason for a shorter dive time than usual. Although it was good to see Carl practicing safe diving as he emerged with a ‘rubber’ on his head! The final triad was made up of Peter, Jon and Brian, just gaining more depth experience. Brian must of thought that his luck was in when he found a mask, ‘just lying there’, Rhian was obviously pleased.

It was an evening where we would have happily stayed at the 6 meter stop to look at the rain hammering down on the surface, but the pub, warmth and a dry atmosphere beckoned.


Sunday 15th June 2008 Segontium


I thought long and hard about this report and have decided to describe the dive in words per minutes of diving – I did 15 minutes diving@ a £1 per minute, so here we go :-

Planning – preparation – weather watch – contingency – uncertainty – pressure – expectation – uncomfortable – eagerness – willingness – hopeful – darkness – loneliness – Therapy *%$#£*&.

What really happened – Well a magnificent 7 decided they wanted to dive and the Segontium was scheduled – Strong Northerly winds meant a Contingency plan was hatched in preparation and a final decision was to be made early Sunday morning. Sunday morning came and some uncertainty about the weather conditions required some tinkering with the departure port from Trefor to Morfa Nefyn. Quick phone calls were made to all which woke Gemma oops!!!. Peter’s rose tinted double glazing reported a milky pond in the bay of Caernarfon. We all met at Morfa Nefyn were the milky pond was more akin to Hurricane Katrina – some debate was had and democracy took over and we went for it.

Mike and Peter departed in the Dukey hovercraft with the remainder struggling against the huge!!! waves and battled our way to the location – Irfon was skillfully tacking to ensure everybody arrived without vomiting. We finally arrived to find Mike & Peter enjoying a picnic, we shot the wreck and then decided it wasn’t close enough – the shot was dragged closer and a northerly bearing was decided upon from shot to wreck. Hugh and Ben went in first with Irfon & Dewi following 5 minutes later. A plankton bloom to approx 15 meters and then darkness – clearly Mike had forgotten to put 50p in the meter. At 27 meters Irfon and Dewi saw their first signs of life namely Hugh & Ben in a cloud of silt – Hugh had tried to move the shot closer to the wreck without success. Both Hugh and Ben aborted the dive and returned to the service.

Irfon & Dewi became seperated in the cloud of silt and training kicked in despite the lure of trying to dive alone with both also aborting the dive. Mike decided to move the shot onto the wreck whilst Dewi was still doing his safety stop on the shot line – Dewi couldn’t understand why he was travelling upwards until he looked up and saw the Sparrow Hawk. Once again Anja was to have a threesome with Mike & Peter – Only to find Mike having a premature entry closely followed by Peter & Anja – all three or is that 2 plus 1 found the wreck / bumped into it with the dead mans fingers pocking Mike in the eye. Peter and Anja saw some life in the reported 1 metre viz. With all divers accounted for the journey home was somewhat smoother.


Wednesday 11th June Vivian Quarry>

Yet another poor weather forecast and indifferent tides, so the only option was the quarry, which was ideal for the Ocean Diverr trainees. It would also have been fine for Dewi had I remembered that he still has a couple of DL exercises to do. As it happened, the weather was nowhere near as bad, wind or rain wise, as generally forecast, although Metcheck did redeem themselves by getting it spot on. We met at 7pm in gloom and rain, but thankfully with little sign of the awful midges that plagued us last time, even though Hugh & Anja came armed with assorted creams and sprays. Hugh took Lois & Brian to complete their OD training with the CBL exercise.

Peter had responsibility for Llyr’s first deep water dive, while Jon did the CBL exercise with David with Simon volunteering as the body. Meanwhile, Anja, Carl & Simon again went off to the deepest darkest recesses of the quarry to practice whatever it is they get up to there! There was a queue to get onto the platform with Peter quickest off the mark. Jon learnt that it ain’t a lot of fun being overweighted, and how important it is to note your buddies BCD controls during the buddy check and also to have your own controls easily accessible, all of which vindicated his decision to do the OD training as a refresher. His CBL was a little too leisurely and the transition to the tow was too prolonged, so it was agreed to practice the skill again. Lois & Brian also repeated the exercise, to Hugh’s eventual satisfaction, so congratulations to them on completing their OD training. The final exercise for all three was weightbelt removal in Lake Padarn which is always a chore. Jon’s wasn’t too bad as it was only him. However, for Hugh & co. it was almost dark, the rest having departed to the pub, and had John not been vigilant they could easily have got locked in for the night.

We were starting to wonder at the pub whether we should call out Neil’s rescue team when they eventually turned up after 10.30pm. Llyr apparently took to the quarry like a —- to —–, God help us, showing no adverse effects from his layoff. And as usual Anja and the boys had smiles on their faces, in the pub anyway!!

Sunday 8th June. Bardsey Island

It was my first time as the dive organiser and it promised to be a good one with forecasts of sunshine, calm seas, deep dives and ice creams, well you know what they say about “well laid plans”. The Sunday morning started with 3 ribs going out: the club rib being towed by Peter, Neil’s and Mike’s which was picked up by myself. We managed to get it stuck between the gates at Mike’s house. Have you never seen a rib go over a wall on one wheel? Mike’s face was a picture! At 08.30 am we arrived at Aberdaron ready for a briefing with charts, forecasts, forms, whistles, compasses all in hand, and before I knew it they had all gone to launch. We rushed down to the beach, launched Mike’s boat, then I raced back to park the Landrover and hiked back to the beach. There is no “Lynx effect” sweating in the drysuit like a little piglet, I can assure you whatever the ads say!

At the blink of a tompot’s eye Mike and Neil were away engines buzzing and disappointingly before I even got a chance to demonstrate in the briefing just how serious I was taking my job as a first time dive organiser and how well I had prepared for it. I climbed onto the club boat which seemed to be cox-less before Wyn and Peter were handed the joint duties. Off we went towards Bardsey Island.

Neil had to abandon his 2 divers onto the club boat as his props pitch was not correct and needed to be adjusted at the Island. Well, away we go again into the thick sea mist that was giving around 20 metres of viz looking for the others all heading for Bardsey. An hour of sailing around, fixing props, watching the seals and waiting for the others to meet up we realised that the Bardsey area was too dangerous to drop divers in due to poor boat visibility cover, so off we all went like Wacky Races towards Seagull Island. One circumnavigated trip around the 2 Islands later we decided that the dive site was again too dangerous due to the speed of the currents, away east we went to find some drop in points.

David joined Mike and John on the Sparrow Hawk over as they dived, Neil covered Robin and Irfon as they dived and Hugh and myself covered Peter and Wyn. All the dives were all reported as interesting but not exiting with viz poor at around 2-3 metres, the usual suspects were found like spotted dog fish, a couple of nice cuckoo wrasse, sea urchins, a few small lobsters and crabs, with the later area of our dive coming to an interesting boulder area covered with dead man’s fingers. Wyn and Peter were the “chosen few” to see the elusive “John Dory”, there were looks of envy in Hugh’s face… We had lunch aboard the ribs before John was taxied back to shore.

The second dive had a bit better visibility with similar life but a more concentrated layer of Moon (common) jelly fish in the first 8 metres of water.


Wednesday 4th June Criccieth Jetty.

The Metcheck forecast was perfect, dry, cloudy with very light westerlies. We thought of taking the boat out but it was a 9.5 metre Spring, so diving at mid-tide, as would have been the case, would have been, in the famous words of one Niall Johnson of Loch Maddy, North Uist, “just a wee bit foolhardy”, and not exactly the right sort of first drift for the trainees, as Irfon may still testify. Or as Robin might have been heard to mumble “we’re d——“. So we kept to the programme and went to Criccieth, the lifeboat station, leaving Simon to do a little more research on the location of his elusive reef, before we arrange a search party for later in the season.

Wednesday morning arrived with a strong south-westerly and whitecaps in the bay. May still be OK, given the protection of the castle rock. Craig checked it out after lunch but as it was then low tide it was inconclusive. But the wind had dropped and metcheck were still predicting a 2mph west wind. So I went over a bit early, to find a choppy sea blown in by a good force 3-4 from due south. But it still looked clear enough to be worth a try. I teamed up with Gemma, ever hopeful of getting that first SD lesson out of the way, and Robin took Lois. We lasted 6 minutes, and most of that was an attempt to get the wallflowers on the jetty to kit up, while Robin and Lois managed 11 minutes. It must have seemed like a long time if you were watching as Rhian, doing shore cover, recorded us at 25 and 30 minutes respectively!

Despite our descriptions of variable viz. of up to a metre, with a mixture of algae, weed and sand making it impossible to focus on anything more than 6 inches away, Irfon & Brian and Dewi & Wyn were not to be denied. Both headed inshore in search of the mussel bed they had found on one of the previous occasions they had got lost here, in the hope of slightly better viz. Irfon & Brian lasted 32 minutes, which included a brief and unsuccessful foray out beyond the jetty, reporting a good dive with lots of life, even if they missed the mussel bed. Dewi & Wyn, both of whom had very good ulterior motives for having to dive, something to do with exam revision and a greenhouse, lasted 25 minutes and did manage to find the mussel bed on a NE bearing. Those navigation lessons may at last be bearing fruit!! Meanwhile, the sorry bunch of Carl, Anja, Mickey, Ben, Simon & Craig had missed all the fun huddling behind Lois’ van. Everyone shot off to the Lion as soon as the last divers were out of the water, i.e. except Craig, who must have had to go home for his tea, chicken sandwiches perhaps!!

Sunday 1st June Aberdaron

The day began with us all meeting at Aberdaron car park aka the road outside Aberdaron School. With a good turn out we started transferring our gear to the Ribs. Sea Wasp and Sparrow hawk.

Mikey Duke, John Wright and Gemma on Sparrow hawk, hovered around the bay looking for the Pricilla. Whilst Ben, Robin, Hugh, David, Irfon & Anja headed of towards the Seagull Islands. We all met up off the island and decided on the best place to be dropped of. Mickey and John went in first of sparrow hawk for a drift dive. Followed by Irfon and David on the hunt for Carol’s weight belt that was lost there last year. Then Hugh and Anja followed shortly after leaving Ben and Robin in charge of Sea Wasp with Gemma at the helm of Sparrow hawk.

After a while Mickey and John surfaced, after getting both divers safely on board Gem made her way over to Sea Wasp to get kitted up with Robin. We collected Irfon and very disappointed David for not finding Carol’s weight belt, but both reporting a good dive having seen a huge lobster. Gemma and Robin were dropped off the northerly point of the island in the lee of the tide, which had now slackened off considerably. As they went in up came Anja and Hugh, reporting on lot of life. After thirty five minutes or so, up came Robin and Gem, reporting that she was desperate for the loo and had seen loads of life including crabs, lobsters, fish and bombs!. Gemma was slightly over weighted but managed to cope after shifting some weight around. Back to the beach for lunch, to change bottles and change divers.

Anja, Gem and Robin had finished for the day to be replaced by Lois and Brian on their first boat dive. After a panic that Lois had forgotten her gloves and hood Anja came to the rescue with hers. With everyone aboard we headed of to the other side of Aberdaron headland towards Trwyn Talfach.

First to go in where Mickey and John of Sparrow hawk, followed by Brian and Hugh, and finally Dave Lois and Irfon. All reported a good dive and many scallops to be seen. Some where lucky enough for a third experiment dive, to see the effects of depth on a peace of sponge – Now that’s keen for you !!.


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