Dave Jones had managed to turn away most candidates for a Sunday dive on the previous Wednesday night at the pub by announcing that it would be at Llyn Gwynant and that we would be diving on brown blancmange. By Saturday evening even Irfon, the organiser was beginning to turn. With just Dave Hursey phoning in, a mutiny was staged and we opted to have a dive at the North Wales Sub Aqua Centre. A quick phone call to Wyn, swelled the numbers up to four.
Upon arriving at the venue it became apparent what Dave Jones’ plan was as he accidentally ‘ahem’ forgot some of his kit. When I say some, it would be quicker to list what he had brought with him. His intentions were to wave the three of us goodbye, after announcing his misfortune, for a dive on the blancmange, but it seems that he forgot about the venue. At least he had Mickey Duke for company, and it wasn’t raining, just for a change.
The plan was to dive the 40m pit to the east of the concrete platform. We would follow the spoil slope down to 35m, then work our way round to the vicinity of the 22m tunnel and then head back along the 10m ledge. All went fine up to the coming back along the 10m ledge bit, there wasn’t one! With Dave H getting low on air, it was decided to return mid water at 6m, which turned out to be a good buoyancy practice! We returned to the platform with Dave having bottomed his dive at 35m and 50bar left in his cylinder – text book stuff indeed!
This area was very interesting, with it’s many wrecks and vertical walls, and definitely warrants another visit before opting for the blancmange!
Saturday was lovely, blue skies, warm, flat calm seas……How could it all go bad overnight? Sunday eventually dawned at about 10am, dull and damp but not bad enough to stop 4 hardy souls, Peter, Wyn, Dewi and David H, venturing forth onto the foaming brine.
We launched at Pwllheli with the intention of checking out one or more of the 3 charted wreck sites in Tremadoc Bay. Exiting the marina with a strong current behind us did not bode well on a big spring tide with slack not expected until 4pm. With Wyn lashed to the helm and being pointed in the right direction (he’d forgotten his glasses) we set off for the first mark to the south of Butlins. Executing a precision zig zag, up down, side to side and round and round search pattern we found a not too promising target just distinguishable from the wave noise on the sonar.
The shot was expertly deployed by Dewi and David H. Not expecting much more than maybe a glimpse of a bit of plate or two, Peter and Wyn went in first. Descending the shot line into the gloom we were almost impaled on a 5 foot propeller blade. The wreck was a single engine aeroplane more, or less intact, lying upside down on a bed of sand. It was difficult to see all the interesting engineering bits due to all the annoying lobsters, congers (biggest Wyn has ever seen with or without glasses) and fish crowded in and around the wreck. Despite being mid tide on a big spring there was no current at all on the wreck allowing a leisurely dive to take it all in. We surfaced to find Dewi and David H battling the elements, they looked a bit sceptical on hearing our account.
Dewi, a suspicious sort by nature, thought we had just hung onto the shot for 40 minutes to make it look worth diving. Dewi and David H went in and had a similar dive with an even bigger conger (perhaps they need glasses as well). The sea by this time had got even bigger, oblgingly refilling coffee cups as the waves broke over the boat. An executive decision was made to quit while ahead leaving the other two marks for another day.
A number of members took Instructor courses and exams during September with totally successful results I’m very pleased to report.
Ifron and Peter attended the Openwater Instructor course and sat and passed the Theory exam (TIE), qualifying as Theory Instructors. They now need to take the Practical exam (PIE) to qualify as Openwater Instructors.
Robin took and passed both the TIE and the PIE and has therefore qualified as an Openwater Instructor.
David J. took and passed the Advanced Instructor Exam to qualify as an Advanced Instructor.
Dewi and Lee were unable to take the courses/exams on this occasion but will hopefully do so next year.
So all we need now are some trainees, for which plans will now be made, but if any members feel like completing their present training just give Irfon a ring.
Saturday had been fine & calm. Monday turned out to be a beautiful windless sunny day. Inbetween Sunday blew a hooly from the north, which is about par for the course for this season, even though most of the forecasts had been moderate. So six of us (Lee, Peter, Dave H, John, Mickey & myself) headed out from Castellmarch in two ribs to dive the wreck of a small trawler which Mickey & Peter had located a few weeks ago. Small is the operative word. It lies upright just below 20 meters on a muddy/sandy bed.
So after spending 15 minutes watching the huge shoals of small pollack which hover above the wreck, and tormenting the one clawed lobster guarding the stern, we drifted off on the rising tide in a slight current to the east. Not a lot of life other than the occasional sand star, hermit crab or dragonet, and a couple of lovely open plumose anenomes, but then we came across two rareties sitting on the seabed, a juvenile red gurnard and a pogge, otherwise known as a hooknose or armed bullhead. This is a small fish a bit like a marine armadillo. The book says ” a common fish not often seen by divers ……. because diving in deep muddy areas is not popular with divers”, which sort of says it all. Viz. was an arguable 3-4 metres, until it got disturbed, when it was zero until the silt drifted clear. Lee & Peter failed to find the wreck, possibly because Mickey had relocated the shot off the wreck, so they should have seen a lot of pogges but they didn’t for some reason.
In the afternoon Mickey & John departed and Wyn joined us for a second go at the wreck. By now the wind had got stronger and there was a big angry sea out at the site. I sat it out, as you can have too much of a good little wreck, so Wyn joined Dave H. They had been advised to use a distance line to locate the wreck if the shot was off it but instead they promptly lost contact with each other. They each put up a DSMB and spent the next 10 minutes drifting along side by side about 4-5 meters apart each unaware of the close presence of the other. Surprisingly, neither reported the expected sighting of a pogge or two, but it did go down as their shortest ever dive.
Lee and Peter’s perseverance was rewarded, as they had cunningly taken a bearing of the expected direction from the shot to the wreck, and after a lesson from Lee on how the Red Indians used to track buffalo in the wet season, they stumbled into the bow, and then spent the rest of their dive recording the wrecks minutest details. We were back at Castellmarch nice and early but were then persuaded to stay on for Helen’s scones and afternoon tea, which pretty much made up for any shortcomings in the day’s diving, except that is for Peter who complained that there was only jam and no cream on the scones. Even so he still had more than anyone else, as usual.