St Abbs Easter weekend.

Report and Images by Richard Booth.

A hardy team of Tyneside members assembled at Coldingham Caravan Park with the aim of diving out of St Abbs over the Easter weekend.

The weather forecast however was not brilliant and the following morning we assembled at St Abbs harbour to load our kit aboard the MV Shorediver.

Whilst we waited, another club were unloading their kit from the boat, having apparently decided to cut short their weekend, because of the southerly swell.

In the end, some of the Tyneside party decided to also abandon the trip and head home. Others however, were determined to give it a go and continued to load their kit aboard.

Paul Crowe, the skipper, opted for the West Hurkers as offering the best dive site given the sea conditions. His experience showed, and the site proved to offer some protection from the prevailing swell. Indeed the under water visibility proved to be much better than expected.

Anemones on L wall

We slowly and methodically explored the gullies and rocks that are to be found scattered over this site. The gentle current ensured that the anemones were out in all their glory, feeding on the passing plankton. Tiago even found a wolf fish.

Diver in gully

For the second dive and with the swell dropping, we opted to try the Black Carrs. Unfortunately the earlier swell had done its worst and the site lived up to its name, as we experienced ‘black out’ conditions, requiring a good torch to even see a few inches. The difference between the two dives could not have been more marked, given the relatively short distance between the two sites.

Next morning Paul decided to again venture past the St Abbs Head in an effort to find better dive conditions.

First site selected was Anemone Gully and conditions proved to be similar to those experienced the day before on the nearby West Hurkers, with reasonable visibility and masses of colourful soft corals and anemones.

Anemones on R

For the final dive of the weekend we headed out to the Ebb Carrs, which on the North side offered some shelter from the southerly swell.

Working our way around the reef we soon came across wreckage from the SS Alfred Earlsden. Exploring the SE corner of the reef we at last came across the old iron propeller from this wreck.

Propeller

Despite the challenging sea conditions we had nevertheless had three good dives, thanks to Paul Crowe’s local knowledge of the St Abbs site.