Divers preparing on the boat

Swelly seas at St Abbs

Friday dawned with strong south eastly winds and growing swell, so there was a bit of a worry as to what the diving on Saturday would be like. Well the wind dropped over night and so too did the swell, but not totally, it was still about 1m smashing up on to the rocks at St Abbs Head. We all arrived in St Abbs for our 1pm ropes off, with lots of time to spare. It was very busy and parking places were only by chance. We took our kit down to the pier end and as Paul came in, disgorged his morning divers, and the eight of us loaded the boat and hopped on board.

Wolf fish – a face only its mother could love!

Black Carrs was the first dive. Being dropped off just down wind of it, to drift up with the current, find the anchor and turn left…. Sounds good. We jumped in and off we went. Unfortunately, Paul M’s wrist seal split so he and Andy had to surface after 18 minutes. Such as shame as Paul’s kit functioned fine last week! Dave and I drifted down to 17.5 metres, the depth that wolf fish start, and we found one within 5 minutes of looking, yay!

Nine people on the boat, three called Paul! Only one had a leaking dry-suit.

We then drifted on, over gullies, avoiding brittle star beds, until we found a lovely wall to follow. Then a large anchor. Great I thought, now head left, back along the wall edge. The scenery was lovely, ad we were drifting with the current which was nice. At about 50 minutes, Dave signalled that he was getting cold, so a few minutes later, I deployed the DSMB and up we came, drifting with the current all the time. Ouch!! We’d ended up inside the rocks, in a big swell at Back Carrs, the last thing we needed was to get washed into the rocks. So we closed our loops, breathed in lungs full of fresh air and finned for England to get back out away from the rocks and swell so the boat could pick us up. By heck we deserved the cake and tea we got once back on board! Everyone else came up in different locations, but none as precarious as ours. Should have found the anchor and carried on to the right! ?

Tony (background), Andy and Dave (foreground).

The second dive was on Ebb Carrs, a fin of rock wich extends out into the sea from just south of St Abbs. It has a series of gullies on it and lots of wreckage. The swell could be felt down to about 16 metres, so deeper than this and the diving was relaxing, above this and it was a bit swirly. When you are above kelp, waving in the swell, it can be quite retch inducing. So, as we swam along the rock, looking for a way through to the other side, eventually had to just go for it, despite the disorienting kelp. Once on the other side, we had a lovely dive, less swell and lots of interesting gullies, some with wreckage, and shoals of fish. Andy then took the lead, Dave and I following, as we drifted over rock outcrops, bits of wreckage, sandy patches and holes with ling, and crabs in. We surfaced and boarded the boat, for more cake and tea (no numb face this time!) and headed back to port. A lovely day had by all. Paul Markwick enjoyed his fishing and took home some lovely looking mackerel. We packed up our cars and departed, Andy and Dave meeting me in Berwick for a fish and chip supper. A nice end to a lovely day. 

Paul catching some mackerel for his tea.