Sunday 4th of July 2021
It’s an awful long time since I did one of these, so may be a bit rusty! With the Club rib still laid up Dewi arranged with Brett to dive off Sea/Top Cat, can never remember which it is. There was a full complement of 5 divers, which happily is the number who phoned in. The usual suspects were Andrew and Jake, with Mike coming out of the woodwork for his first dive since last August. Given his age, experience and general decrepitude, dodgy elbow, knee and back just recently, he was excused the need for a refresher shore dive, and actually managed a proper buddy check!
We met at the NT car park above the Rheol at 9am. The wind was south westerly so Brett opted to stay inshore on the ridge for the first dive. Mike, Andrew and Jake were first in, reporting reasonable viz., no current and a lot of life and amazingly no one got separated. Brett and myself found a nice gentle current which took us south at just the right speed, but eventually off the ridge so we didn’t see quite the variety of life of the others. Lunch and a change of cylinders back at the Rheol before a second dive again on the ridge as by now the wind had picked up. There was what is hopefully the last of the plankton bloom making the viz. somewhat murky, but it didn’t detract from a good day’s diving. Many thanks to Brett for the use of his boat and to Nia for the cakes which did wonders for Mike’s appetite.
Inshallah, the next boat dives will be off the Club rib
Wednesday 7th of July 2021
Thankfully, the weather eventually cleared up for our evenings dive and with 6 divers, not a bad turnout. The pairings were as follows: Andrew with Jake, David with Lee and Dewi with Keiron. The Porth Ysgaden side was a bit milky, so Jake and I had a look at Bae Cychod which was like gin but nobody else fancied the long walk except for Andrew and Jake.
So, we did the dreaded walk, and it was well worth it with 6 to 8 meter of vis no swell and an abundance of life and vertical Pipefish. We had a dive time of 49 min and a max depth of 8 meter.
Apparently, it was not as good in Porth Ysgaden bay with poor vis and a big swell. All I can say is “I told you so”
Wednesday 14th of July 2021
The dive was meant to be at 18:00 in the Menai Straits but I decided to change the venue to the Rheol and meet up for 20:00 instead. Only 3 divers phoning in to find out where and when we would be diving on Wednesday.
The pairings were as follows: Andrew with Brett and Dewi with Melanie, Brett and I took a SE compass bearing to look for Brett’s 2 missing keep pots. On the way out we were treated to a close encounter with some obliging Bass, after quite some time later we continued our search. Not long later we found the 2 missing keep pots that Brett had dropped off the boat with the line and buoy neatly stowed in the secured keep pots “oops”.
We ended up having a dive time of 60 min and a max depth of 4.3 meter with a good vis of 8 meter plus, oh yes Dewi and Melanie also had a good dive and we all made it back to the entry point
Sunday 18th of July 2021
Nothing quite like jumping into the deep end, having not Managed a club boat dive for nearly 2 years it took some time for me to work it out and not without help from Andrew and Mike.
With perfect weather predicted a plan was hatched to dive the Gwynfaen on slack followed by drift dive along the Porthysgaden reefs.
Where to launch came under consideration a quick call to Ian Williams (Morfa Nefyn) established that a tractor launch at Morfa Nefyn was going to cost £60, so that was ruled out, he also stated that the visiblity was rubbish on the North Side.
A quick call to Andrew was made for a Viz check to be conducted especially given that the weather had been settled for some days.
Concerned with the ever popularity of Porth Ysgaden and Porth Colmon and a quick discussion with Mike who decided to visit the launch site at 9am Saturday morning. The reports back were not encouraging, the launch site was full of overnight campers and Dutton divers.
Andrew had visited at 11am and he reported that the Viz was excellent but the situation at Porth Ysgaden was now gridlocked.
With Slack due on the Gwynfaen for 11am I decided in consultation to aim for an early start and at least get the boat in the water and park up the trailer before the mad rush started. We arrived at 8.10am only to find the site was full of van / camper van with absolutely nowhere to park. A quick discussion and bit of a jiggle with John Wrights car we decided we could squeeze the trailer and pickup at the edge of the car park with causing obstruction to others.
Boat successfully launched a total of 5 diver (John, Mike, Jake, Andrew and Dewi) headed off towards the Gwynfaen on flat calm seas 2 hours before slack. Having arrived at the site we had near enough an 1hr 30min wait before divers went in. It appeared that a shot was already in situ, however we needed the practice so decided to shot it ourselves using the buoy that Mike was asked to bring as the club’s buoy had been kept safely.
Mike and John were first in and it’s fair to say they probably lost about half a stone whilst kitting up in the sweltering heat. In they went for a 40 min dive. Having surfaced stating that they had had a great dive, Viz was a bit cloudy and the shot was on the wreck.
Jake, Andrew and Dewi were next in by which time the tide had started to move a little, followed the shot down only to find the counter weight at the end. Deciding to drop down to the bottom with no wreck to be seen. Headed off on a bearing but the wreck was not found. Tide was now moving so we decided to go for a gentle drift with Jake capturing footage of a Shark!!!
A huge steel wire was found and followed in the hope it would lead us back to the Gwynfaen but ended on a coiled heap, Andrew thinking it was part of the submarine detecting equipment in place years ago.
A quick trek back to Porth Ysgaden for lunch and swap cylinders for those who are not on twin sets. the Bay was brimming with people, paddle boarder and the dreaded Jet skiers. The once quiet secluded bay is no more, it is now a play ground.
Out we went for our second dive on to PD Cracker reef. With an in coming tide Mike and John were dropped some 100 meters before the reef. The managed a 40Min dive getting to 26m, loads of gullies but they had deployed the SMB to early therefore weren’t able to take advantage of the shelter amongst the gullies.
Jake, Andrew and Dewi decided to do the exact same dive but delayed the deployment of the SMB and were able to get some good shelter amongst the reek / gullies getting to an eventual depth of 23m. Not a huge amount of Life but an interesting dive.
A short trip back to Porth Ysgaden with Mike at the Helm and with full tide the beach had emptied and he was able to drive the boat around the corner to await recovery.
Good to get back under water on a meaningful dive and I think John bets summed the day up and I quote “That’s the best day out I’ve had for 2 years”.
GPS was playing up a bit and following return to Pendre Andrew found that the horn had become detached from its mounting and was probably knocking about causing the problem. it has now been secured with some cable ties, however if the problem persists it will need further investigation.
Sunday 25th of July 2021
Another gorgeous weekend morning but with a slight northerly breeze, I’d decided to have an early start so we could be guaranteed to get a parking spot, as last week we found there were far more visitors down than we had expected.
As everyone agreed, Dewi, Brett, Jake and myself met at Pendre to pick up the boat for 7am and for John and Mike to be at Porth Colmon for 7:30am, to my surprise everyone was early. And it paid off as there was plenty of parking spaces. After kiting up the boat and reluctantly putting on our dry suits except for Dewi who was with his semi dry.
We launched the boat and headed off to Penrhyn Mawr for the first dive, Shaun had asked us to see if we could free his stuck pot, as it was in the area. Brett spotted the boy of the stuck pot, that Shaun had marked. It was at a depth of 20 meters, so we volunteered John and Mike, we dropped them on the boy at 8:32. They surfaced at 9:12 and reported that the pot was now free, John and Mike had a good dive with a time of 40 minute and a max depth of 20 meters and had very little current, and they did some foraging.
Me with Brett and Dewi with Jake, had opted to dive in the vicinity of the chimney which is at about 8 meters sadly we didn’t find it, but Brett and I found a second swim through in the shape of a triangle with a near vertical exit. The topography at Penrhyn Mawr is breath-taking with pilers, overhangs, huge boulders, swim throughs and plenty of life and all in under 15 meters of depth. Brett and I were first up with a dive time of 48 minutes and a max depth of 14 meters with a good vis of 6 meters. Dewi and Jake surfaced a few minutes after we got in the boat reporting a good dive and spotted an orange thing, with a dive time of 55 minutes and a max depth of 14 meters.
It was time to head back to Porth Colmon for a spot of lunch and for the non-twinseters a change of cylinders hehe. After lunch we decided to dive Irfon’s Reef at this point the wind had picked up a bit and so had the current, the boat felt heavier than the mornings trip and as the wind was turning the stern to the waves, we started taking on water to the point gloves were lost over the stern. So, to get rid of the excess water we speeded up with the elephant trunks down and eventually cleared the excess water.
We drop off the two guinea pigs, John and Mike on the reef at 12:12pm. Brett decided to check the bilge pump only to find it was blocked with odds and sods but managed to clear it and the pump was working again. Due to the conditions, we decided to dive in three waves with Me and Brett going second and leaving Dewi and Jake for the third and final dive of the day. Dewi dropped Brett and Me in at 12:43, after getting rid of the excess water again and about a 100 meters up current. We managed to touch down on the reef at a depth of 15 meters so to avoid the main current we stayed in the gules and in the lee of the boulders with the current whizzing over head we were able to hold our ground. There was not as much life as the first dive but some good sized Ballan Wrasse, Pollock and one large Bull Huss wedged in a hole. After running out of reef it was time to deploy the DSMB with me holding on to the reef with one hand and Brett’s BC with the other the DSMB was away and with such speed we nearly ran out of line. We zoomed over the small reefs with me and Brett laughing so much I nearly lost my reg, moments later I turned to Brett to find he had grabbed an Octopus off one of the reef to show me, as he released it swam right across me “brilliant”. We surfaced after 37 minutes with a max depth of 20 meters with big grins on our faces and about a mile from where we started, after getting in the boat Brett realised, he had lost his knife probably on the reef. Dewi and Jake where last in and also had a fast drift, sadly missing the reef but Dewi did manage to do some foraging to keep the missus happy, with a dive time of 37 mins and a max depth of 27 meters.
With all divers safely aboard, we headed back to Porth Colmon. Coming in the boat felt very heavy in the water so Brett and Myself decided to take our kit off the boat and take it to the top, by the way twin 12s are bloody heavy. The wind and waves were coming directly into the bay so it had swamped the boat as I could see Jake struggling with the winch, I took over and made it look effortlessly easy by sneakily changing the winch gearing ratio hehe. After the bung was removed water flowed out continuously and after opening the hatch to find the boat was full to the brim (to be investigated on Monday).
All in all, a good day with an early start and an early finish. Thanks to everyone for a great day and especially to Dewi for the towing, launching and recovery.