St Abbs, Seagull Rock

30th January 2011

Despite the calm winds since Thursday we arrived at St Abbs harbour to note that there was a still a noticeable surge running into the shore. After a quick recce of the entry/exit point off the far harbour wall, we opted for the better shelter offered by the lee of Seagull rock.

Whilst kitting up another party of divers arrived having apparently earlier abandoned plans to dive Green End Gully at Eyemouth because of the surge crashing in on the rocks there.

Conditions however out to Seagull Rock appeared much more sheltered although with some surge evident over the shallow rocks.

Access to the water from the harbour side car park is over a pebbly beach before entering a series of shallow gullies. It was then a case of finning out around and over the rocks until reaching deeper water. It is worth however taking a compass bearing and upon reaching Seagull Rock making a careful note of the topography so that you can identify a good point from which to commence the return journey along a reciprocal bearing back to the exit point at the end of the dive.

Seagull rock itself provides quite a shallow dive initially; however, moving around the reef you encounter areas of sandy bottom that reflect the light back up greatly enhancing the visibility. There are also a number of rocks and cuts into the reef that are thickly covered in kelp. Some of the steeper walls that catch the current are also covered in deadmans fingers.

Despite the cool temperature of the water, 5 degrees centigrade; we came across some fishy marine life including topknots, scorpion fish and even a shy ling fish. We also found a number of smallish dahlia anemones clinging to the sides of the rocks. Moving around this rock you eventually come across a dark gully that has a bell shaped bottom and walls that seem to enclose you.

Moving further down this gully you eventually reach a small cave that penetrates into the depths of the rock. Because of the darkness caused by the shadow of the steep walls, you really need a good torch to thoroughly explore this area.

It was in this gully that Tiago had his fright when he suddenly saw a diver shaped apparition flopping gently around in the surge in the gulley. Colour only returned to his face when his torch helped identify that he was actually looking at a large grey canvass bag, not a deceased diver!

Exiting from the water proved quite tricky, not least because it can be quite hard to identify the original exit point when looking towards the shore and all you can see is a mass of unfamiliar rocks. Eventually however we located the old sewer pipe and used this as a guide back to the exit point.