Farne Islands

15th May 2010

by Richard Booth

Big Spring tides made for a slightly tricky low water launch from Seahouses harbour with the end of the concrete slipway left high and dry out of the water! Despite the challenge of negotiating a launch across the mud we soon had the club RIB Seawitch afloat in what little water remained in the harbour. Along with Dave Taylors RIB we headed somewhat gingerly out of the harbour before opening the throttles to speed out to the waiting Farnes.

First dive was on the wreck of the SS Chris Christenson, undoubtedly one of the best ‘metal sites’ that the Farnes has to offer. The shot was duly dropped straight onto the main area of wreckage, landing close to a large winch and the remains of the steam engine.

This wreck site catches the full force of the tide and can only really be dived on slack water. The U/W viz looked promising at the surface but on descending down into the gloom it soon became very clear that there was a lot of sediment/plankton in the water greatly reducing the light levels at depth and restricting the visibility to between 4-6 metres. Nevertheless, we all still had a great dive on this site. Richard and Hubert were the last to enter the water and whilst ascending back up the slope from the boiler area were somewhat surprised to encounter a flurry of other visiting divers who had clearly taken the opportunity to use our shot line to dive the wreck.

Once the main group were safely back on board, we headed over to the Blue Caps so that Dave and Mike could have a dive out of the tide, which by this time was starting to flood quite strongly.

For a second dive we headed over to the cannon site with the intention of completing a video recce to aid planning for the Clubs forthcoming survey of this site. The tide by now was really now stating to run. Andy, Fiona, Nic and Simon nevertheless braved the current to recce the site and returned with the video camera and its precious footage.

For the final dive, Richard, Hubert, Dave and Mike headed around to a more sheltered side of Staple Island and enjoyed a dive on the wreck of the St Andrea.

Again, underwater visibility was not at its best due to the heavy plankton bloom in the water. This wreck nevertheless provided still provides a good rummage dive with plenty of wrasse to interest those more interested in fish life than rusting metal. Once everyone was safely recovered it was back to Seahouses to recover the boats, with the promise of a waiting pint on the way back home.