June and August Shore Dives

Written by Andy Moss

A snorkel and Three Local Shore dives, Browns Bay, Cullercoats.

After months of lock down and not having dived since February in a very cold Capernwray and during one of the month’s three storms,  following a change in the lock down guidance which permitted diving subject to precautions, I decided it was time to resume diving.  For me Browns Bay provided convenient location it being within a mile of my house and not much more for many club members.

My first attempt was on Thursday 25 June and I arranged to meet Nic, Richard and Chris in Windsor Terrace and to go for an early evening dive.  Working studiously at home, mid afternoon I noted it was a bit gusty outside and decided a quick bike ride to check out amongst other things the entry / exit point at Browns Bay was in order.  Having seen it I formed the view it might just about be diveable but any problem could easily escalate.  Moreover such were the conditions I did not think it was going to be a good dive which after some 4 months out of the water I wanted it to be. 

I circulated this to the group and instead of diving it was agreed to meet as planned but instead of diving to go for a snorkel and thereafter return to my garden for a beer, also a socially distanced acceptable activity.   Snorkelling proved to be the right decision as the swell had grown by the time it came to go into the water and the visibility was not good.  Snorkelling operations safely completed it was time to return to my garden for a socially distanced beer kindly provided by Chris.

Snorkelling at Brown’s Bay

Diving was still in my mind and I was conscious that July would soon be upon us.  The following day Friday 26th proved to be much quieter and a bike ride revealed the sea had calmed significantly.  Thinking of a long standing / senior club member’s phrase I asked if anyone fancied a dawn raid the following morning to meet the high tide?   Ever keen Richard indicated he would and we met early the next day (27th June 2020) in Windsor Terrace.  Having kitted up more or less remembering what we were supposed to be doing, Richard and I set off on the walk down to the entry point and following a buddy check entered the water.  It proved to be a very nice dive, the visibility was good, the sea calm and the seaweed had not grown too extensively making it easy to see marine life on the seabed and more importantly the wreckage of the Butetown which lies some 150 metres offshore at a bearing of 120 degrees.  We were in the water a little over an hour and it whetted the enthusiasm for more. 

After the dive we were talking to some other divers known to us including another Chris who had attended a BSAC O2 course 114 had run earlier in the year.  He gave both Richard and I a can of Brewdog’s ‘Barnard Castle Eye Test’, brewed in honour of a notorious trip to Durham and to Barnard Castle a month or so before.

Sideways eye test!

A couple of weeks after, whilst certain members of the club were diving on Spellbinder, subject of another article, Chris asked if I fancied another dive at Browns Bay and this led to my second dive of the year at Browns Bay.

Into August and with boat diving again taking place most weekends I felt whilst light evenings remained with us it would be good to have another early evening dive.  Tides fell right on 5th August and following a message on the WhatsApp group and a Facebook post, Richard and Nick said they would like to come.   Meeting in Windsor Terrace again, with about the best parking places for divers, it was time to go diving again, out to the wreck and this time for 69 minutes at a maximum depth of 10 metres.  Whilst the visibility was not as good as the previous couple of occasions there having been some heavy rain and a bit of a swell in the previous couple of days, it was good to get in the water.  It also provided an opportunity to sign off a dive leader open water lesson and an experience dive making it a worthwhile and pleasant evening.