Only one definate and a couple of maybes was the interest on the Tuesday evening, but with such decent weather for a change, the dive was going to go ahead regardless.
It was almost a repeat of a similar outing in early August, with Brett and Andrew and Nia and Irfon taking the plunge. We had a decent 3-4m viz and plenty of life to observe, being a good neap, the current was hardly felt. It was then to the Antelope for the customary curry and a pint offer – well worth the drive over alone.
As the weather was forecasted to deteriorate on Sunday the decision was made to dive on Saturday out of Aberdaron and try Geraint’s offer of a launch. Nia the organizer was unable to dive because of work commitments and with Mike sleeping late four of us met at Aberdaron for a 9am launch.
Aberdaron has never been launch friendly but all went well apart from negotiating the step from the slip onto the sand. This resulted in the trailer scrapping a few millimeters of concrete off the slip.
We made our way to Bardsey over a calm sea. Irfon and Gwyn opted to dive off Pen Cristin. It was 1 hour after low water on a neap and they were expected to gently drift northwards which they did in a south westerly direction. Malcolm taught me to dive)
They ended the dive some time latter on the Ilesha a drift and wreck dive in one. I tempted Andrew to dive the west side of the island over an area I called crayfish alley. We surfaced some 50 minutes latter having seen most of the usual inhabitants but no crayfish.
Lunch was on the island as usual and we chatted to Collin’s father about the dreaded MCZ and this summer’s weather.
For the second dive Irfon and Gwyn were dropped in on the south side of the island and experienced a fast and exhilarating drift again in a south westerly direction. The boat cover was slightly confused with two DSMB deployed with one doing a underwater impression of a Ferrari and the other of a Sinclair C5. The Ferrari and C5 were recovered safely and Andrew and myself decided to dive the same site. Unfortunately at just over 4 meters I experienced a severe o ring malfunction and surfaced like an Alka-seltzer tablet. Having lost most of my air I decided to abort the dive, Andrew must have been frustrated as he was seen headbutting the hull before boarding.
Geraint met us at Aberdaron and did an even better impression of a Ferrari as he accelerated up the beach and not slowing or looking back until tractor and boat were on the slip.
A good day was had by all with the weather playing it’s part for a change.
Lost: One diving MOJO….
A bad few days at work (if you don’t believe me, ask Ellie) meant that by Wednesday lunchtime I was really struggling to get motivated for the evening dive at Gimblet. I’d even provisionally arranged to do shore cover with Mike and the hound.
On arriving at six o’clock at Gimblet, three of the four Wednesday stalwarts were already kitting up, a few seconds later Gwyn screeched in – James Bond style, already in his semi dry, ready for action. Brett, Nia, and Andrew, initially who were casually kitting up found that they were lagging behind and notched up a gear. I paired them up, but they couldn’t decide what to do or where to go, go left for the reef or try for the outfall, or as Mike wanted, go straight to the pub.
With all the dithering, I decided that they needed to try for the outfall. The next question was who was going to lead, of course everyone volunteered an excuse not to, so it was left to yours truly to step in, kit up and guide them to Mecca.
We left the shoreline in a Red Arrows ‘V’ formation, myself as ‘Red One’ and Nia and Brett to port and Gwyn And Andrew to Starboard. For some reason I couldn’t stop humming an old Steve Miller Band song, well it went something like this……
Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feelin’ that somethin’ ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wonderin’ how I’ll get down the stairs
Clowns to the left of me,
Joker’s to the right,
Here I am Stuck in the middle with you
Yes I’m, Stuck in the middle with you.
Anyways, about twenty minutes later we came onto the familiar concrete matting, and lo and behold, the “structure’ came into view. It was busy with life, crabs of all descriptions, lobsters, friendly blennies, bibs, gobies, dragonets, pipe fish, a grey gurnard, a couple of sticklebacks, a few wrasses and many more who I’m working on identifying as you read. After about ten minutes of rummaging about, we about turned and headed back to shore, collecting the odd anchor En Route.
Later with one diving MOJO definitely re-found, we headed to the Vic to join Mike as he reminisced in the past where blowing props off the stern of ships and underwater brass hunting was encouraged. Nice to get back to the Vic, although I do believe that it is under new management.
On arriving at Criccieth we realised this was going to be a very shallow dive indeed as the reef wasn’t fully submerged. With 6 members attending Irfon, Andrew, David, Mick, Brett & Nia the pairings were Andrew & Irfon, David, Brett & Nia with Mick opting on shore cover. Irfon & myself set off to the east across the sand for a change on entry it was a bit murky to say the least with me having to use my small backup torch as with my main torch I couldn’t see Irfon’s torch light at all it was like trying to drive a car in thick fog on high beam. There was loads of flat fish with a large number of them being souls, there were a few weaver fish and baby gurnards, Irfon found the young cuttlefish which apparently like the warmth of a halogen bulb and Irfon also found sea potato also known as a hart sea urchin on the return we also had a brief encounter with a sea trout having had 52 minute dive. David, Brett & Nia had similar visibility and saw flat fish, baby gurnards and a lobster. Brett & Nia lost David at one point but they surfaced and regrouped then David & Nia lost Brett but Nia did well she didn’t get lost!!! Well done! and they managed a 27 minute dive.
Afterwards we all went to the Lion for a debrief and Pint.
Well after much deliberation was there or wasn’t there any diving this weekend; as David and Myself couldn’t do Saturday which was the best day forecast ed…NO ONE phoned in ,so still not sure if there was going to be any diving. Come Sunday 11.30 the call came yes we are on Mike had Sparrowhawk all kitted out and ready to GO. So the buddy pairs were Mike and Brett and David and Myself; we met at Porth Ysgaden at 1.30pm all rearing to go especially Mike!!!!We headed off to Maen Mellt on a fairly quiet sea. Mike and Brett were in first with a time limit of 45min we had to be back in Porth Ysgaden for 4.30 to catch the tide for the recovery!!David and I were kept occupied by the coast guard on the radio (two kayaks got in a bit of bother).We saw an SMB but on closer inspection it was a lift bag!!! and attached was a fishing rod and reel Mickey’s bit of metal for the day!!!!!!!!!!!!Well time was up and on that Brett popped up shortly followed by Mike. Both were elated; vis was a good 5meters and lots to see, so all was good for the newly paired buddies!!!!!It was David and My turn so in we went the weather was picking up by now. I took My time to descent but did eventually get to the bottom and what a lovely dive so much to see from conger eel to lobster and an amazing array of fish Pollock, Wrasse, Leopard spotted goby but to mention a few. We roughly had a 30min dive. A bit of a hick up putting the SMB up but David came to the rescue!!!and all was well until I had to get back in the boat; a sack of spuds David’s comment!!!!
Well we got back 1min late but boat recovery went without a hitch; Carol and the dogs came along to make sure we got in safe. A good day was had by all and to top it all Man U won 2-1 against Lpool so Mike was well happy!!!!!!!After a good old chinwag we all headed off home.