St Abbs

9th September 2012

by Richard Booth

With the club RIB complete with its new Suzuki engine away up in Scotland along with some of the more regular diving members exploring the waters of Uist, Ray was left with the dubious honour of rallying the remaining troops for a hard boat dive out of St Abbs.

Fortunately he was aided in this task by the fortuitous combination of good weather, flat sea’s and neap tides. This left only the problem of finding space on one of the charter boats. After a few telephone calls around various charter boat skippers, places were secured aboard the MV Stingray.

In the end 5 divers headed up the A1 to Scotland on a bright sunny Sunday morning.

Arriving at St Abbs harbour we were rewarded for our efforts by a flat sea and clear water in the harbour. Things were definitely looking up.

First dive was back to the ever-popular anemone Gully’s. Dropping in close under the cliffs the underwater visibility initially looked a little disappointing but swimming out from the shore and away from the shadow of the surrounding cliff’s, the increased light levels dramatically lifted the visibility showing off this site in its full glory.

Indeed we all enjoyed exploring up and down this series of gully’s finding various types of crustaceans and even a pair of wolf fish cohabiting under a rock.

Back on the surface we relished a hot drink and chocolate biscuits as Graeme fired up the engines and we headed back to St Abbs harbour for a leisurely lunch ashore.

For the second dive of the day we re-assembled on the harbour wall at the duly agreed time and then disaster struck! Kevin’s neck seal ruptured spectacularly as he was pulling it over his head. The extent of the tear put it well beyond even the most desperate of gaffer repair attempts so reluctantly he resigned himself to take over marshalling duties for the last dive of the day. Naturally the remainder of the party re-assured him that the final dive was inevitably going to be a poor one, whilst keeping our fingers firmly crossed and hidden behind our backs! [Ed. Yes, I recall the reports of sharks and stingrays from dive 2!]

With the tide now very much on the ebb we headed out to dive the Black Carrs. Graham the skipper dropped the party close to one of the passageway that runs through the rocks by Wuddy Rocks, and we then navigated across to Black Carr reef before heading out along the seaward running gully’s. Underwater visibility proved excellent and the journey through the shallow passageway very scenic. On the other side Richard and Andy came across a large but shy dogfish, which quickly bolted for the shelter of more shallow water.

On reaching the Black Carr rock we explored its dramatic submarine cliffs before heading out East looking for a particular rocky ridge that runs out from the main rocky reef. Soon we came across the remains of the old sounder/radar set before venturing on and reaching the site of the old anchor.

From here we continued on around the reef point before beginning our gradual ascent back towards shallower water whilst being carried gently northwards by the flowing tide. Eventually we ended the dive exploring a series of spectacular pinnacles covered in a rich layer of soft corals. Friendly Ballan wrasse repeatedly buzzed us whilst hunting Pollack patrolled the water above us. It made for a splendid end to another superb day of diving.

Thanks to Ray Palmer for organising the diving that day.