Another three weeks have elapsed since our last Wednesday evening dive, this is getting on for being the worst first half of the season in my ten years with the club anyway.
There were four takers on the Tuesday evening, namely Andrew, Wyn, Irfon and Catrin who was venturing into open water for the first time. Eventhough the wind had been persistantly in the north – north west, the viz in the bay looked suprisingly good. Wyn had new seals to try out and Irfon a few puncture repairs to test in their respective suits – so they opted for a simple straight out and straight back approach, any leaks and they could shorten the dive quite easily. Andrew was to introduce Catrin to the delights of diving in the sea. All went well, a few buoyancy issues, but nothing Catrin couldn’t handle – onwards and upwards now for the completion of OO1.
The gents retired to the Lion for a debrief and a catchup.
Well the lurgies had been beaten, and the fab five turned out to have a dive off the Priscilla, no the Slate Wreck, no plan A Ynys Gwyllan.
The pairings were Andrew, David and myself ,the dry suit bunch, and the hard cases in their Semi’s.
And with four years of experience under our belts Andrew and I did a couple of blond moments kitting up, namely not doing my suit up and Andrew not putting his pods in, thankfully both these were picked up in the buddy check much to the amusement of all those on board
So the threesome went in and muggins was chosen as dive leader. The dive went well with a good 6-7mtre vis.The critters on display were lobster, crab, Pollock, wrasse, a pretty large conger, urchins,but for me it was the masses of dead mans fingers which lit the sea bed up when you drifted over them, really well worth the visit.
We managed a 45 minute dive, water was 12 degrees ,and we came out where we went in, more luck than Navigation I assure you!
Then Peter and Dewi went in and had a good dive of 50 minutes, and came out to dark sky and cold north westerly, now it was my turn to smile as Dewi started shivering uncontrollably. Needless to say Pete was none the worse!
Our second dive was off Garrag Du.The vis was not as good here and the life was pretty sparse, but the wrasse which were there were a good size, and saw a male cuckoo wrasse at around 20 metres. I believe a conger was also seen by Pete and Dewi.
By the time Peter and Dewi came upon the North West side of the rock the sea had lifted and poor Peter and Dewi had to swim to the boat away from the rocks, so this warmed them up, and we picked them up and off we went back to Aberdaron to be met by Terry.
The boat is ready to go, with a full tank of fuel.
The weather turned out better than forecasted with very scant rainfall during the day, although Dewi assured us that it was pouring down in Dolgellau. Initially there were eight takers, however Brett and Nia fell by the wayside because of work commitments. That left the six, namely Dewi, David, Andrew, Peter, Wyn and Irfon. Upon Peter’s arrival, he informed us that Melanie was in hot pursuit and only five minutes away. This turned out to be a blessing as to Irfon’s disbelief the curse of the DO’s post had stuck. He had forgotten his kit in a similar fashion to the outgoing DO and realised that he was sans fins. Hey ho, we needed someone for shore cover any roads.
As the pairings headed seawards, Irfon was joined by Mike, he had just come from the Crown to check his emails and stayed for a while before going to the Vic to send a few emails (Mike – there are cafes with Wi-Fi too!).
Navigation on the night was abysmal with the exception of Dewi who came out in the exact same spot as he went in, Melanie, his buddy came a distant second. It was looking like tie for last place but the shore cover spotted Wyn bobbing up offshore and altering his and Peter’s course. This left David and Andrew in last place with David placing the sole blame on Andrew’s shoulders. The viz was reported as being good but the sea life was rather disappointing. Dive times ranged from 20 minutes to the now customary hour expected by Peter. It was then off to join Mike at the Vic for a debrief. Oh, I nearly forgot, don’t be too impressed with Dewi’s navigation as his return leg had been a surface swim as he had underestimated his weighting!
The forecast wasn’t great but there were 7 takers for a late evening foray into the Menai Straits. Nia was trying again to solve her equalizing problem, and so was given Peter as a buddy!! Irfon went with Andrew while Brett and I teamed up. The seventh didn’t make an appearance. As it was an excellent neap tide we went in a bit early, anticipating a gentle drift, which the first in, Irfon and Andrew, found to be a bit more than expected, in fact running for the majority of their dive. The viz. was OK at about 3 metres and at 20 metres they found some big lobsters, one living in a discarded lobster pot. For Brett and me the current had abated somewhat but was still running when we turned round. We were shallower at about 15 metres so missed out on the lobsters, seeing instead masses of juvenile crabs, gobis and butterfish. Nia had some difficulty getting through the 6 metre equalizing barrier but, once the ears had popped, was then fine and managed a long dive, impressively leading Peter back to the entry point. A fine dive for most which should have been followed by the usual Antelope curry but as the place was very quiet the kitchen had closed early with only those who had ordered in advance getting served!!!
I must file this report whilst it is still fresh in my memory!!
With strong westerly winds forecasted the decision was made to opt for St Tudwals as opposed toBardsey. Sea Wasp was launched with six divers onboard and made way to St Tudwals over a relatively calm sea.The area by the cave on the east Island was calm so Irfon and John Wright went in followed by Brett and Andrew. All reported decent dives with numerous seal encounters. Peter and myself were last in and explored the cave whilst being shadowed throughout the dive by a very inquisitive seal. We surfaced after a 51min dive to find that the boat cover had also been paid a visit by a seal (evidence on You Tube)
We anchored for lunch in the calm of Bae Capal before heading for the shallow reef off Trwyn Llanbedrog .All six divers reported decent vis with very little current and plenty of life on the reef.With the westerly wind strengthening we made our way back to the beach to the waiting tractor and took SeaWasp back to bed at Pendre.
Sunday’s weather forecast appeared to preclude any chance of diving so Dewi brought it forward a day. There were four up for the day with Adrian, the dive organizer, joining for the afternoon. The plan was to dive the reefs off Porth Ysgaden so we launched there shortly after 9am, the only near disaster in preparation being when Dewi almost moved the boat before the wheel lock was off the trailer, but fortunately his sixth sense kicked in. The wind that greeted us was a somewhat stronger than expected south-westerly, which was ripping into the bay and, as the tide was falling, creating a big sea beyond. Consequently, we intended to drop in just around the corner on the reef out from Bae y Cysgod, but the GPS took us out to the PD cracker reef so, as we were there, that is where Andrew and Peter dropped in for a mid tide drift. It couldn’t be soon enough for Andrew who was gradually turning a paler shade of green as he kitted up, with encouragement from Peter describing his bacon & egg breakfast not really helping. They landed straight on the main reef but as soon as they put up a buoy they were reluctantly off to have a look at all the smaller ones. The viz. was unexpectedly good at about 5-6 metres, no doubt helped by the small neap tide, and they reported lots of life. Dewi and I tried to replicate their dive but were clearly dropped in at the wrong spot and thus landed on sand, thus missing the main reef, but we soon found ourselves drifting over some pretty nice scenery, albeit not particularly brimming with life. Lunch was taken early back in the bay, and thus there was time for Andrew & Peter’s second dive on slack before Adrian was due. Again, the idea was for them to drop in just around the corner so they kitted up in the bay. However, when we motored out we found that the sea state was much improved with the turn of the tide so they elected to go back out to the main PD Cracker reef, which we again dropped them right on. They stayed on it throughout and had another cracking dive. After picking up Adrian we did the same, based on Peter’s advice (correct as it turned out) that we should be able to hide from the current in the gullies of the main reef, which on this occasion they managed to drop us on. Adrian led, and guided us past crayfish, (don’t pass it on) lobsters, octopus, wrasse, even a male cuckoo, and pollack for an excellent dive, before we eventually got swept off towards the end. Ian Hughes was on the beach when we got in, having recently had his ear operation and waiting for the all clear. He then had to stand back as recovering the boat proved to be a bit of an effort as the tide was rising rapidly over a flat bed necessitating two long lengths of rope to haul the trailer in. This served to highlight the need for a bit of knot work practice for some of us!! Andrew was mightily impressed by two fishermen who at lunchtime had gone to a lot of effort to launch a boat and then did all their fishing in the bay, all in areas reachable from the shore!! Thanks to Dewi for having the wit to move the dive day as Sunday dawned wet and windy just as forecast.
David (for Adrian)