Sadly only three divers were able to attend due to illness and other commitments. So David Jake and Myself went for a dive after getting under the water, I began to wish I had other commitments too, as the visibility was a gloomy ½ to 1 meter and losing David in the first five minutes didn’t help .After this Jake and myself had a great dive with lots of life granted we had to be very close up, with crabs, butterfish, lobsters, wrass, octopus and of course one or two starfish. It was a very short slack water and we were only off the entry point by about 20 meters on asking Jake his thoughts on the dive time he said he thought it was about 20 minutes when it was actually 41 minutes and a max depth of 18 meters. It was then time to visit the Antelope for a curry and a pint which is sadly no more.
A nice sunny morning meant it was a good day in order to get the boats out on the water and get 2 dives in. We met up in Castellmarch where Sparrowhawk met us then launched after 9. With 6 divers between two boats: David, Andrew, Wynn, Dewi, Mike and John. The plan was to dive off Cilan headland but the exact location was to be determined at arrival but Mike preferred to head towards Aberdaron. Once we arrived at the headland we decided the best place to go was Trwyn Carrag Y Tir, where there was a slight current heading out of the bay. But realised that Seawaps echosounder didn’t work and couldn’t get the depth reading. David, Jake, Andrew, Mike and John were the first to get in the water. We were dropped off at the pinnacle where we then drifted slowly through the gullies with a swell slowing us down and allowing us to observe the life on the ledges which ranged from Dahlia Anemones to large spider crabs. A nice 4m viz and good lighting allowed for great colour from the growing algae. Mike managed to last a short 10minute dive after losing john.
Dewi and Wynn then had their dive where halfway through the buddy check and a ‘few’ meters from the designated drop off location Wynn decided to enter the water. Meaning Dewi and Wynn had a considerable swim. They took the same route as everyone and enjoyed the sloping topography and life observed on the dive.
Following the return of all the divers we then headed to lunch at Porth Curiad, which was typically busy as it was a sunny day. During lunch we discussed where the next suitable dive was. The challenger had been discussed a few times but ‘timbo’ was the final decision. Then headed off to Carrag Y Trai. The tide was coming in and the rocks visible. Seals were resting on the rocks where you could definitely smell them. Mike & John and David, Jake & David were the first to enter the water. Entering on the South Side of the rocks and tried to located the Timbo. David and Jake only managing to see a part of it whereas Andrew, Mike and John saw the boiler, which made mikes day after the previous dive. The current was abit stronger than first thought so it ended being a drift dive where David, Jake and Andrew ended up drifting in a North Easterly direction towards Criccieth heading over Sandy gravel beds and coming across 3 beams where one of them were ribbed but unsure whether it was metal or timber. John & Mike ended up drifting in an easterly direction towards the Buoy.
When it came to Dewi and Wynns dive the tide had risen and the rocks were nearly completely submerged. Following the buddy check Wynn remained on the boat until reaching the drop off location. They managed remain around the rocks and after a while put up a DSMB and looked like Wynn was heading home. There were many disobedient boats who don’t know their flags and came in between the two boats.
After retrieving Dwei and Wynn from the water we headed back to the Warren, where Seawasp didn’t want to go back onto the trailer. Getting Seawasp down the drive was the last challenge of the day where after a few attempts Dewi managed to successfully get her back into her location at Pendre. Overall was a successful start to the season with the sun shining and two beautiful dives.
It didn’t look good on Tuesday evening but with the wind forecast to go round to the north on Wednesday we kept it open until Wed. lunchtime before deciding to try for Gimblet Rock. There were 6 divers and Mike to do shore cover. Andrew was taking trainee Mike for his second open water dive. Jake was looking after Peter, leaving Irfon and myself the hard work of locating the outfall. High tide was at 7pm so we met up at 6pm, expecting to be met by slack water. I led, in better viz. of 4-5 metres than was expected, but it soon became clear that the tide was already running out i.e. east to west, so after reaching 9 metres, which is well beyond the known HW depth of the outfall, and discovering a large patch of mud which was home to remarkable tunnel dwelling lobsters, we turned round and made our way back in. There was an awful lot of loose weed from the previous day’s blow, which was a pain but also worth exploring as it was being used as camouflage by pipefish and sticklebacks. There were a few scallops, far less than used to be the case, and a myriad of other life forms so there was always something in view. I overcompensated for the current and hit the Rock, becoming entangled in a hopefully redundant fishing line, before straggling in. We managed 45 minutes while Jake kept poor Peter out in his wetsuit for over an hour. Mike had a successful lesson but lost a pod. Why do they still keep coming out? All in all well worth the effort. I presume that most headed for the Vic but I had other commitments and had to leave them to it.
The wind was from the NW so Andrew was thinking about launching from Castellmarch but when Brett offered Top Cat he was soon persuaded that this was the better option for a Bank Holiday weekend that was likely to see more than a few craft out and about in Abersoch Bay. The Rheol is also much closer to the intended dive sites which were at Bardsey, and the Club rib was without any sonar. Numbers were limited to 6, later raised to 7 by Brett, as Mike’s RIB is temporarily our of action. As precisely the requisite 7 divers signed on we were set but with a brisk wind forecast for later in the day, and Brett having checked out Bardsey and found it suffering an evident algae bloom, the diving was moved to the Gull Islands. An early start was needed to catch the tide so we met in the Plas yn Rhiw NT car park at 8.30 am, so that only the 4WD vehicles were taken down. Amazingly Brett was able to launch Top Cat at low water (on a neap tide) and we were soon heading out on a millpond sea. Melanie and me were first in on a very interesting looking outcrop east on the channel inshore of the islands, promptly followed by Andrew & Mike, and the wet suit boys, Peter and Dewi. This was possible because Brett had come down overnight with yet another of Nia’s colds, and was resigned to cox. The tide was still running out but gently enough to allow us down the shot which was right on top of the rock at only 8 metres. We managed to follow gullies down to the bed at about 12 metres and did a circumnavigation of the reef before allowing the current to drift us off over a very interesting bed to a deep channel at about 22 metres. There were huge shoals of Pollack, some of which were huge, with us throughout the dive, although Melanie insisted that they were the same bunch following us around. With the viz. probably only about 4 to 5 metres, due to a lot of stringy algae, the fish were actually very close to us. Brett had predicted that we would find no lobster and he was right but there a few big brown crabs. Mike and Andrew had a totally different dive having drifted off early on and thus got taken through the channel, while the last pair did something closer to our dive. Having overshot the first pair of divers Brett made up for it with tea and coffee and a rather good lemon drizzle cake, following which his recovery skills improved noticeably. This was the sort of luxury we could easily get used to. He then treated us to a leisurely tour of the islands before we headed back for lunch at the Rheol where we picked up second cylinders for a dive on the boulder reef just down the coast. This was another very good dive, which actually did have a few lobsters, with a gentle drift late on. Peter managed to create enough of a cloud of murk, in attempting to raise an abandoned pot, to lose Dewi. Unsurprisingly, he headed inshore to look for his buddy in the kelp!! Dewi stayed out longer than most and was decidedly chilled when he got back on board. We were back in the Rheol by mid-afternoon and with no boat to put away were on our way a lot earlier than normal. Many thanks to Brett for an excellent day.