Wave Shape
Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Wednesday 27th July 2011. Gimblet Rock.

We made up for it on the 27th, with a first outing of the season at Gimblet Rock, on what was the first really fine, warm Wed. evening of the season thus far. Mickey and Millie provided shore cover for Irfon & Brett, Stephen & Nia, myself & Emma, Carl R & Iorwerth, and the trio of Tony R. Wyn & Andrew. Entry was through lines of fishermen, some of whom appeared on the Rock itself to make for an interesting dive along the reef for Carl & Andrew. Everyone else headed straight out but no one made it to the outfall. Nia made progress with her mask clearing while Emma did the assisted ascent. Surprisingly. for a neap tide, just after high water, the current picked up noticeably but, for once, everyone’s navigation was spot on, all coming in on SMB’s to inform the fishermen of their position. Not a lot of life and the scallop bed appeared to be much reduced, as was to be expected after the numerous reports of large collections by divers, one as recent as that afternoon. Refreshments were taken at the Vic., which was doing a roaring trade. DJ.

Wednesday 20th July 2011 Cancelled.

The 20th was planned for the Straits or the boat, but with poor weather we reverted to the quarry but had to call it off when it turned out that there were no instructors available for the 6 trainees or new Ocean Divers who signed on. Just one of those weeks with several instructors away on holiday. DJ.

Wednesday 13th July 2011 Porth Ysgaden

A bit of a mixed bag starting off with eight divers on the Club RIB on the 13th, with Mickey coxing. It was Iorwerth, Pete & Brett’s first boat dive accompanied, closely I should imagine, by Irfon, Stephen & Dewi respecively, while the regular partnership of Carl R & Andrew made up the numbers. The divers were picked up in Porth Ysgadarn at 6pm for a gentle drift on the shallower inshore reefs. Reports varied, but I think they all enjoyed themselves. Brett, who had not experienced the quarry, found it just a bit intimidating, and ” not at all like his previous shore dives”. Meanwhile, the lucky trio of myself, Nia & Steven got to do the bay for exercise OO2, i.e. everything at 2 metres. That done we swam off into the bay in the best viz. I’ve had there for some time, with lots of fish to keep us company. Most came back to Pendre so the boat had a surplus of washers and helpers, all of whom got over their exertions at the Pen y Bont. DJ.

Sunday 10th July 2011. Segontium,Kimya and ?

A lovely morning, with a rendezvous at Trefor at a civilized 9 am – and even this allowed plenty of time in order to get onto the “Segontium” for the projected time of slack water at about midday. This was to allow provision to cope with the little problems that life can throw at you – such as for instance realising that the water is only a couple of inches deep for yards out to sea, and having to manhandle the trailer into the water.

Today’s crew were Carl Borum, Kirk Daniel, David Jones, Irfon Jones, Peter James (Dive Manager for the day) and Stephen Thompson (dive “organiser”) on Sea Wasp, plus Mike Duke and John Wright on Mike’s Sparrowhawk. Mike kindly took Irfon and a couple of our second dive cylinders off our hands for the trip out.

An uneventful trip out on flat blue stuff, enlivened by Carl’s EXQUISITELY polite conversation with Holyhead Coastguard to let them know our plans. And then onto the mark. Or should I say “marks” One wreck symbol on the chart, and a waypoint nearby confidently labelled “Segontium”. Hmmmm. So, stooge around a bit with everybody looking at the sounder – and Irfon starting to think the “Segontium Jinx” may still be in force. Especially when we found ANOTHER chunk of something in a different place to either of the existing locations. So, shot away onto that, and hope (pray?).

As there was still a bit of tide running, we sunbathed (in dive suits!) and Irfon went fishing, catching a couple of – well, he says they were mackerel – personally I didn’t think mackerel came that small.

Once the tide slacked off, Peter and David got kitted up and went in – promising that if the shot wasn’t in the wreck, they would heroically locate it with a carefully planned and superbly executed circular search (the afternoons events were to cast some doubt as to whether this would have ever happened!) and move the shot.

Kirk and I planned to be in next – kit on, run through buddy check including testing my octopus – which freeflowed. Bash it on my hand and then my leg (in best “equipment maintenance course” style) – won’t stop. Turn air off and back on – still won’t stop. Air off, partially dismantle second stage (Kirk by now was starting to realise what a lobster feels like in the cooking pot). Realise that a lever has come adrift from its pivot – attempt to dismantle further – and break the b****y thing. “Drat” I said. So, change of plan – Carl will kit up and dive with Kirk (or “Red Kirk” as he is now known). Before they could get in the water, Peter and David surfaced – to announce that the shot was just off the bows of the wreck, and the conditions were lovely.

So – drop off Carl and Kirk (I swear he HISSED when he hit the water) and pick up Peter and David. It seems that our two waypoints mark the bow and stern of the wreck!

Peter kindly lent me his second stage, so I could then dive with Irfon once Mike and John had surfaced from their dive. By the time we got in the water, another RIB of divers had arrived – they seemed to have their own idea as to where the Segontium is, as they put a shot in a couple of hundred metres away from ours. But they didn’t have much confidence in it, because they all used our shotline!

Down the shotline with Irfon, and the wreck looms nicely out of the murk. A swim down the port side on the bottom – lobsters, ling, dragonets on the seabed, and the ship covered in plumose anemones. To the stern, have a look at the rudder, then up and onto the deck. Have a look at the wheelhouse, then forward over the deck – loads of pouting all over, some nice sized Pollack, and a conger in a muddy hole in one of the holds – as Peter said, looking like a rabbit in its burrow. To the bows, then ascend up the shot. All in all, a very nice dive – and the general consensus is that these are some of the best conditions on this site for some time.

Across to Anglesey – just to the North of Llandwyn Island, where one of our number had reportedly seen a superb trace of a shipwreck on a side-scan sonar on a previous visit. In the light of subsequent events, I don’t feel that I can name this person – this rock of our group, salt of the earth, practical even tempered extremely rigorous – person. We stooged around a bit looking carefully at the sounder trace – and after a while started to get excited about 10 cm variations in the depth, probably caused by the boat going up and down. The shot went in on a “target”, and David and Peter descended with a plan for a circular line search to find the wreck they were sure was in the vicinity. Kirk and Carl followed soon after some 30 metres away, with a “plan” to go down to the bottom and swim around a bit.

Both pairs surfaced at nearly the same time – but separated by about half a mile! Fortunately Carl and Kirk had deployed a DSMB when they started to drift, so we were able to follow them. The debrief revealed that this site boasts one of the flattest sandiest seabeds that anyone has ever seen.

Armed with this information, Irfon and I modified our plans a bit. Nearby is the site of the wreck of the oil tanker “Kimya”. But this is a bit of an unusual oil tanker – the oil in question was sunflower oil! Navigation to the general area of the wreck was helped by a ten foot tall buoy with “KIMYA” helpfully written on the side.

We descended the chain attached to this buoy, and then swam on a compass bearing towards the shore, with the intention of locating some of the remaining sections of the Kimya. Initially this turned out to be a parade of weird looking crustaceans.

But then – one of those very rare, nay almost unheard of moments. A moment of pure awe and splendour. After what could have been considered by some to be slightly disappointing dives from the other members of the team, it all came good. The crowning achievement to what had really already been a great day all round. This is what we saw emerging from the fog of the inshore water –

Stephen Thompson

Wednesday 6th July. Menai Straits.

The calm flat seas of the weekend had reverted to normal Wednesday evening wind and rain so plans to get the boat out were again shelved and the Straits were our only available dive site, not that I heard any complaints. There were 6 definites and 3 maybes on Tuesday evening, which developed into 6 divers, but not the original 6, and 4 spectators doing shore cover, and one no show, who was recovering from a broken tooth which had an argument with a pork scratching at the DPM. Dive groups were Irfon, Pete & Iorwerth, and DaveJ, Brett and Andrew, that is until there was an eruption at the end of the long line of vehicles parked on double yellow lines. No, the parking warden hadn’t turned up, it was Brett finding out that his drysuit was still at home. Turned out it was all Nia’s fault!! So Iorwerth switched to take Brett’s place and off we went.

It was a biggish Spring tide so we weren’t anticipating more than half an hour or so. Irfon and Pete were first in, deciding to play safe and stick to the cable. Our little group followed just as Stephen arrived on the scene, too late to catch the slack water. We headed off under the bridge in about a metre viz. but soon found that it was still running. So we turned slightly into the current and eventually found the middle of the channel at 18m+, which indicated that we had actually headed off towards Bangor, which was confirmed when we made the shore. Unbeknown to the divers though The SBS had sent their latest recruit along for a bit of training. This subversive character, let’s call him John Wayne, waited until the divers had departed before sliding unnoticed into the water, and stealthily tracking his unfortunate victims. Well, you could say he got lucky, as having forgotten his standard navy seal issue compass he too had been obliged to follow the cable. Fortunately, he remembered that it was only a training exercise and thus resisted the impulse to pounce on his quarry, instead trailing them for most of the dive. Sad really, isn’t it!! Irfon claimed to have known he was there all the time from the amount it was stirred up on their return journey. Some might claim that it was simply good trade craft. Ha!!

We did just over the half hour while Irfon & Pete managed an impressive 43 minutes. We moved on to the Antelope for debriefs and, for many, a curry, and to be regaled with tales of daring and derring do from the would be frogman.

David J.

Sunday, 3 July 2011 – Bardsey Island.

With the organiser not having had so much as a whiff of a sea breeze never mind been out on a dive this year, it was crucial to pick a good day. And boy, did we get it! No one had seen the seas around Bardsey quite like this: flat as a pancake, smooth as a baby’s bum and perfect for a good day’s diving despite the early start.

Having grovelled sufficiently and promised eternal gratitude to Peter, the towing from Pendre was sorted and an efficient launch of Sea Wasp and Sparrowhawk went ahead from Castellmarch courtesy of Wyn & Co with their super tractors.

It was going to be a proper “boy’s day out” with 2 waves of divers. The first dive was scheduled to be around the west side of lighthouse point where it appeared calm with one or two seals hanging out. The threesome, aka Peter, Steven and myself, the organiser, went in first having an excellent 18 m dive over boulders and varied terrain encountering lobsters, edible crabs, a big crayfish and various types of wrasse. Mickey and John weren’t quite so lucky, but then again, their dive was further out at 40 m where they were at the mercy of the tide running like a freight train.

The second wave of divers consisted of the two Daves, who kitted up only for one of them to remember that indeed there was a second layer of the wetsuit which might come in handy and should therefore be put on as well. Lee, the marshall, and Andrew also had very enjoyable dives demonstrating to anyone willing to watch that a safe ascent to the surface can be made with a rather limp and lifeless SMB although your street cred might be harmed in the process!

Thanks to the organiser’s efficiency, i.e. towel out at midnight, we managed to beat some sea kayakers to our favourite lunch spot on Bardsey. Most of us just relaxed and ate their sarnies, some tried to seduce the seals with their snorkelling technique (providing first class entertainment to the rest of us) and one member of the group, perspirating ever so slightly, declared that he might have come overdressed. Come to think of it, his undersuit did say “ARCTIC” on the back of it!

We decided to dive the Ilesha after lunch and clearly Mickey wanted to ensure that our shot deployment skills are up to scratch by insisting on a repeat. The first wave of divers went in having some quality time with the congers and lobsters on the wreck before the tide decided to give us a good “hiding”. Lee, Andrew, Dave H and Dave J all had an excellent second dive, albeit not on the Ilesha.

We returned safely back to Abersoch and were promptly towed back to Castellmarch just in the nick of time for one member not to have to find out how bad weeing into your drysuit really is! All in all, a quality day’s diving but, as we all know, quality comes at a price. Would this be a good time to inform you that you have all underpaid by £4? So cough up or else…!!! Anja.

Friday 1st July 2011 Llanddulas re-visited

With a great forecast and a few days at home, I sent out a missive inviting all to join me on the Llanddulas. Most of course had work commitments so the assembled crew turned out to be a pensioners day out with carers.

David J and I collected the boat and met Micky and John at Pwllheli slip. Top tip for organisers, don’t forget the key!!! Luckily, my emergency key got us away and off to find the Llanddulas. The sea was flat calm so locating and shotting the wreck was accomplished with minimum effort.

Despite being mid tide the current was very slow. Micky and I dropped in for the first dive. Vis was pretty good initially until Micky had completed his first lap. The steel structure sticking up out of the deck was cleaned of pesky sea life and revealed to be two vertical pipes braced together at the top and a shackle eye mounted on top. Mast stay?? Below this there is a lot of large steel lumps partly dug out but not identified. There are more big round bits toward the stern. Lots more to uncover and identify. David J and John went in next. John went off the wreck to look for debris and better vis but found neither. All agreed it is a splendid dive for wreckers and squidgy spotters alike and one we should do much more often!

David J and John could only make the morning dive so we dropped them off at Pwllheli and replaced them with Stephen, worth two of anyone. Micky’s fear of the Challenger being plundered following it’s exposure in ‘Diver’ led us to go and get everything first! Vis on the Challenger was not great especially when the shovel came out. There was however the usual abundance of prawns, fish, lobster etc and something unidentified under the hull which grabbed my hand as I was rummaging around for the prop! All in all a splendid day out.


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