St Abbs – Afternoon Dip

By Nic Faulks

Saturday 9th June 2018

Reef life – Anemone Gullies

The dive had been advertised for a week, but only four interested from Tyneside 114. A little bit surprising, the weather forecast was good, but hey ho, not everyone is as addicted to diving as me…. Oh hang on, our fifth group member was Darren, definitely more addicted to diving! Anyway, we all met for an afternoon ropes off 1pm, meeting an hour early, which meant for a lovely leisurely start to loading up. However, Derek, skipper of Oceanic turned up with a group of fishermen, so we had to wait for the fish guts to be washed off before we loaded up!

Although the sea seemed calm, the first thing we noticed on exiting the harbour was the quite large long lazy swell. We headed up to Anemone gullies to see if the swell was less and the tide was minimal. Still quite a bit of swell, but with the sun out, it all looked lovely.

Wrasse with a chunk missing

In we went, visibility about 5 metres, a little milky from the swell throwing up muck in the water, but very acceptable! Loads of dead men’s fingers on every wall, sun stars, lobsters and crabs. Even saw quite a large cod, which must have survived the morning’s fishing campaign. Then we watched a large wrasse getting all territorial, but with a big chunk out of its side (probably his side). We pootled on, looking for critters and found a Nathan and a Tony fish, followed shortly by an Andy and a Darren fish. Towards the end of the dive my buddy

Tony hovering above the boat battery.

spotted a lump sucker, all pretty in his orange and pink livery protecting his eggs.

Back on the surface we dipped into Pettico Wick Bay, out of the swell for tea and cake – oh how civilised. Then discussed the next dive. The first dive was done almost on slack but with a light north south water flow, so the opted to do Anemone Gullies again, but with an opposite flow of water.  So after an our surface interval we all jumped in again.

This time with my camera flashes working, we found the large walls of the main anemone gully, covered with life. Dead mans fingers, plumose anemones, spider crabs, loads of hydroids and with them, lots of nudibranchs. Again, we found a lovely lump-sucker, all splendid in his colours. We met the other human fish in the gully too, which is where we found Tony Fish hovering over an old boat battery. It really is a lovely dive, even with a bit of swell!

Back on the surface we motored back into harbour to pack the cars and head home. Tony and Nathan remembered that they couldn’t come for a drink at the Stannington Arms half way down the A1 when Susan reminded Tony they were due out for dinner! Oops. So, after Darren dropped me and Andy off in the pub car park and sped off in his beast of a truck, it was left for Andy and I to have a beer for the rest of the gang! Then we decided to have the food too…. 😊

Oceanic, our chariot!