As got to be the norm last season the weather forecast for this Wednesday was sufficiently ambiguous to delay a decision until Wednesday lunchtime. So, with the north coast showing little sign of clearing up, the diving reverted to the default choice of Gimblet Rock, but as we had yet to get in this season that didn’t really matter. There were 7 interested, which as Mike pointed out was nearly half the Club, with Melanie taking Laura to test her new gear, Brett going with Jake leaving Andrew to lead Wil and me. Mike and Nia shared shore cover. Noticing the odd numbers Andrew, having first checked out how choppy the conditions were, thought about joining the shore cover, “to keep his gear dry for his Friday trip to Delph for his instructor exam prep”. But when it was pointed out how wimpy this might look in the Report he decided to sign back in!! (Wonder if he’ll edit this bit out?). Before getting to the actual diving I must note how important this first shore dive is to sort out any issues, such as order of kitting up, eg weightbelt before scuba gear, and how to deal with free flows, or not as in my case. Falling over in a fit of delirium certainly doesn’t help! Brett & Jake were second in but headed out alone as the threesome were delayed while Mike arranged extra weights for Wil. Yet another useful lesson as the weights were in the car not with the shore cover. They managed over 40 minutes, even with Jake in a semi dry, and reported lots of different fish life and sufficient scallops to collect a few for Chris. By way of comparison Andrew chose to lead us through areas which were largely devoid of anything of interest, but he did counter the current to bring us back in to the right bit of beach. I saw one dragonet, two king scallops and a bunch of tiny queenies. (To be honest there was actually lots of life but it was all big spiny starfish and different small crabs and assorted shellfish and other tiny squidgy stuff.) With the air in my 10 litre depleted from the free flows we managed only 35minutes, with Laura and Melanie also doing just over half an hour. I presume that Laura’s gear was a success but I forgot to get the detail of their dive. However, the viz. was a reasonable 3-4 metres so no one was complaining, although it was still a chilly 8 degrees. Another lesson, if you ever try out dry gloves get Nia to sort out the seals. You wouldn’t want to have your hand in the one I did which immediately filled with water which seemed to stay at 8 degrees. They’re also a real pain to dry out. The next dive can only get better!!
Divers: Jake & Andrew
Shore cover: Brett & Nia
After an evening of discussion of whether to take the boat out or not due to the expected forecast a decision was made to dive Porth Ysgaden as it would be the most sheltered site (in addition there had been reports of 2 to 7m visibility).
With the weather looking poor on Sunday there was little interest in diving however, Jake, Andrew, Brett and Nia turned up to Porth Ysgaden. Brett preferred to stay dry and thought 3 would be a crowd and Jake and Andrew decided to continue with the dive in what looked like near-tropical conditions with a bright blue sea, blue skies and a gentle breeze.
Andrew quickly designated Jake as the Dive leader to ensure that he wouldn’t be nominated first for a change. Entering the water revealed the great conditions with roughly 5m visibility increasing up to 8m towards the outer bay, conditions which were perfect for Andrew to try his new camera out prior to the Azores trip. There was plenty of life everywhere and were fortunate to spot a couple of bass which are always great to see. We then headed back in to brag about how good the conditions were considering the recent forecasts…. however the above conditions weren’t reality.
What actually happened was Jake and Andrew entered the 8C water and realised that the visibility was a murky 1m at best. As they headed out the bay the visibility got worse and only saw a few lobsters, a wrasse and an edible crab. After a 34min dive, Brett continued to be happy about his last minute decision not to dive and remained warm and dry in the van. Thank you to Nia for the coffee and cake following the dive to warm up.