A Magical Sturgeon Encounter, Capernwray Quarry

25th February 2012

by Richard Booth

Driving over the Pennines and down the M6, distant blue skies heralded the prospect of blue skies and a good day’s diving.

Entering the 6°c water, it was soon evident that we were going to be greeted by excellent u/w visibility, more tropical in appearance than you would expect in a northern quarry!

For the first dive we adjusted to the shock of the cold water and made our descent down the slope to the airplane wreck, taking time to explore its interior, before heading out across the quarry bottom to the small wreck of HMS Podsnap, a former WWII coastal minesweeper. After exploring around this wreck we made a return journey back along the quarry’s edge to the slipway. So far so good!

After lunch we braved a second dive in the chilly water.

This time we headed north dropping over the submarine cliff edge down to the flat weedy covered bottom.  Descending through the clear water we passed shoals of small perch when suddenly out of the haze, two primitive shark like silhouettes emerged out of the gloom swimming purposefully towards us, we had encountered two of Capernwray’s legendary sturgeon fish!

One of the fish seemed to move around the bottom in a circular pattern. Quickly assessing the situation Richard headed down to carefully intercept this particular fish whilst Kevin started to manoeuvre himself into the perfect ‘pose position’. Would teamwork and luck result in a good picture?  Holding his breath Richard waited as the Sturgeon steadily advanced towards him, growing larger by the second in the viewfinder. The shutter was pressed and the flashgun briefly lit up the sturgeon, and then it was gone, fading quietly away into the distant water.  Looking at the image on the screen it was soon clear that a combination of patience, teamwork and luck had paid off.

Swimming back to the exit slipway, Kevin found an old laptop computer bringing a whole new meaning to the concept of a dive computer!

An interesting days diving in the cold but clear waters of Capernwray.

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