Early Season Diving on the Farnes

April 2015

by Nicola Faulks

After weather watching all week, the Seasearch dives are definitely on! Good news, but the weather was a 3-4 North Easterly, so there would be limited places to hide from the swell. Although these were seasearch dives, we did have 4 Tyneside 114 members on board. Richard Moss our newest qualified seasearch Observer diver, Simon (Observer diver too), Dave Lindsay (who I am working on to come and do the course) and myself. The dives were undertaken from Glad Tidings VII with Michael as the skipper.

The first dive was on Gun Rocks, where we actually landed on a cannon. I signalled to Richard that the linear structure on the seabed with a hole in the end was a cannon, but he just looked confused. I pointed at it the pretended to shoot him, again he looked confused. Hmmm, I wondered, just how do I signal to him that this is a cannon?? It was interesting to see how much kelp has grown back on this site since it was cleared to do the archaeology back in 2013. In fact unless you knew that there were cannon on the site, you could probably miss them all. The visibility was about 3-4 metres, which wasn’t too bad. As we swan around to the north, dead man’s fingers were present on the small walls and boulders. Between these squat lobsters, lobsters and prawns were present. Elsewhere there were lots of small nudibranchs, particularly the frilly one which eats dead man’s fingers Tritonia humbergii.

The second dive was undertaken on the area to the south of inner Farne. Previously we have found this quite an interesting dive, once you have swam south out of the kelp and on to the hydroid covered seabed. Well, this time we did head south, but never seemed able to gain much depth. The kelp park was all encompassing. We saw lots of nudibranches, which I kept pointing out to Richard. It was at this point I think he realised that a flash is very useful! He did however find the Farne Island’s largest ever Tritonia humbergii, which of course we all took photos of, the bonus being that slugs just don’t move very fast.

Back on the top side, the sun came out. The sea was a little bit choppy but was a fine end to a good early season dive day and 11 happy Seasearchers.