Tye’s Tunnel & Cathedral Rock, St Abbs

5th August 2007

In bright sunshine and with clear water lapping against the side of the St Abbs harbour walls, the club RIB Seawitch was launched in the full expectation of a good days diving.

Once aboard the first wave headed up the dramatic coastline past the St Abbs lighthouse to the first dive planned dive site, Tye’s tunnel.

Access to the tunnel is via a narrow gully which is just big enough to manoeuvre a RIB around in. Dropping into the water, Richard, Steve, Fiona and Sybille quickly located the entrance to the tunnel and proceeded to explore inside the cavern entrance. The tunnel penetrates about 20 metres back into the rock before opening up into a cavern with an exit hole situated higher up the wall that opens out to the other side of the narrow headline that juts out from the cliff. On this occasion with a receding tide it was not possible to look out of this opening let alone scramble up the cavern wall to exit from the tunnel. Instead the divers descended back down the short tunnel and back out into the gully to be greeted by a number of Pollack drifting in the area of the cavern entrance. This dive does not require lines, as most of the time the entrance is in view and the bottom of the tunnel is not particularly silty. That said this dive should never be attempted if there is any possibility of swell running; divers have been caught in this situation report being violently thrown around the cavern with potentially disastrous consequences.

Outside the tunnel the seabed consists of a series of large rocks and boulders. Careful searching in the recesses of this rocky seascape revealed several lobsters as well as an assortment of crabs and an occasional wrasse fish.

Once back aboard the RIB the boat headed back to St Abbs to drop off Sybille to take over child minding duties from her husband Andy.

With Andy aboard the RIB headed back around the St Abbs headline to Petticowick bay. The two Andy’s (Andy Hunt and Andy Moss) then rolled of into the water to look for a dive site known locally as the letterbox. This dive site consists of a narrow opening that penetrates through a large rock. Eventually both divers safely surfaced to confirm that they had located the site. Indeed Andy Hunt had even managed to take some video footage of the swim through the rock on his compact digital camera. For the final dive Richard and Steve were dropped off close to Cathedral rock, perhaps this area most noted dive site. Indeed for Steve it was to be the first time that he had ever dived this site, having been inspired by seeing this dive site featured on a recent episode of the BBC Coast series!

The dramatic twin arches one situated above the other, were quickly located and having explored this area thoroughly the pair headed out further to another dive site with the rather rude name of Don’s Bum. This site consists of a series of rocky gullies covered in marine life. Most visiting divers however who make the effort to dive Cathedral Rock (normally from the shore) rarely venture out that little further to this particular site. Perhaps as a result the marine life appears to be little richer thanks to less diver activity. Visibility also appeared to be a little better than in the area of Cathedral Rock, possibly due to the sandy bottom that reflected the afternoon sun off the bottom. Either way it made for something of a spectacular end to a great days diving.