Loch Fyne

12th-13th June 2010

by Richard Booth

After the clubs earlier successful trip to Loch Long in April of this year it was time to venture a little further North to explore the rich green waters of Loch Fyne.

This time however the logistics of the trip were a little more complicated in that we decided to dive some of the Loch ‘s dive sites using the two club RIB’s.

Accommodation was booked in 3 luxury caravans on the Argyle caravan park which is situated a couple of miles out of Inveraray. This location also has a number of attractions to visiting divers as the site has a slipway into the loch as well as a compressor on site.

On Friday afternoon 13 divers headed off up to Scotland complete with the two club RIB’s in tow.

Some of the party, who had set off earlier in the day, had time to explore a dive site at the head of the Loch, which is noted for the number of firework anemones that have colonised this particular area. The hunt proved successful and photographs were obtained of these dramatic but beautiful anemones.

Following everyone’s safe arrival, the RIB;s were stored in the campsites designated boat park, and it was off to bed after a few relaxing but very welcoming beers.

Next morning saw blue skies and light winds, ideal conditions for launching the two club boats from the slip.

The first wave of divers was assembled and after loading their kit we headed off to the first dive site, Kenmore Point. This particular site can also be dived from the shore although access by this means is apparently restricted at weekends. Diving from a boat however presents no such access problems and the site provides a steep slope on which there are a series of small submarine cliffs and rocky outcrops, which have been colonised by sealoch anemones, and peacock worms.

Other finds included an intact side plate, a teapot lid, as well as a dumped car that is now buried in the seabed with only its roof emerging above the silt.

For the second dive of the day we headed slightly further down the loch to the Furnace quarry site. This site is apparently noted for the number of lesser spotted dogfish that appear to be attracted to this area. Unfortunately, this site is also very popular with anglers. We found the dogfish, many of which appeared to have been hooked only for the line to have become snagged on one of the many jagged rocks that seem to abound in this area with the poor fish being left to a cruel fate.

We managed however to rescue a number of these small sharks, but everywhere there appeared to be abandoned snagged line, testifying to the areas popularity to local anglers. For some of the party however, this dive proved quite upsetting after witnessing the amount of abandoned fishing line and its cruel consequences for the local dogfish population.

On arrival back at the slipway we were met with the challenge of recovering the boats from the water as the concrete slipway was situated some distance from the water as a result of the low water spring tide. Attaching a lengthy rope from the trailer to the tow hitch and then pulling the boats out of the water via the gravel slipway soon resolved this situation.

 

That evening we enjoyed a BBQ organised by Nicola and Simon who braved the midges to cook the food. The remainder of us took shelter in the caravans to watch England’s world cup game against America. Enough said.

Next morning it was an early start and we were faced with the reverse challenge of launching the boats by hand into the water as the slipway was again high and dry. With the boats safely launched and the dive gear safely loaded we again headed down the loch to our final dive site, Stallion Rock, a reef pinnacle that rises up from 32 metres of water and breaks the surface on a falling tide.

This site undoubtedly provided the best dive of the trip with a dramatic steep wall encrusted in life with a number of overhangs and shallow caves along the base of the submarine cliff.

The seabed from here continues to slope down into the depths across a muddy bottom largely devoid of life. Whilst kitting up to dive, one of the groups was also joined by a bold otter that swam out from the nearby shore and onwards out into the open waters of the loch no doubt searching for fish, a wonderful wildlife encounter and a fitting end to a great trip to Loch Fyne. Many thanks to Simon and Nicola for organising this excellent club weekend.