Each year Simon organises a Tyneside 114 trip to the Sound of Mull. Always a firm favourite with our club members, it generally books up at least six months in advance. Guests are welcomed too; this year we had visitors from Poseidon and one from South Bay Scuba.
After a long drive up to Lochaline Dive Centre we all moved in to our little bunk rooms, had a few beers, and then an early night.
Saturday arrived, the weather was for once flat calm, but in true Scottish style it was overcast. We all loaded our kit on to Sound Diver, before setting off. The first dive was on the Shuna. We all dropped in knowing that it isn’t quite as upstanding as it used to be; quite a lot has collapsed in the last few years. It was dark with a fair bit of silt in the water too, which made for quite a dark and spooky dive. You could also hear the anti-dolphin/seal pinger going off on the adjacent fish farm which was a little bit annoying.
Back on board we had a discussion about tides and which dive we wanted to do next. Most people expressed an interest in doing the Hispania, but slack was not until about 4pm. So we could have an afternoon in Tobermory or a quick dip on the delights of Calf Island Wall. About 8 of us dived on Calf Island Wall, which for me did not disappoint: it was covered with pretty corals and nudibranchs. It is one of those dives that you can pick your depth on, just drift along and hang out.
After a bit of time on land we then headed back out to the Hispania. Finding that two rhibs had actually moored to the shot line, it was quite difficult to work out if there was slack or not. It was quite obvious that the rhibs were not going to move either. So after they put their guys in when the current was still raging, we waited and our top Skipper, Lorne, on Sound Diver, put us in on slack, but we still had to scramble under the rhibs to get to the shot; not an easy thing to do. Despite that, we all had a good dive on the Hispania. As always it is covered with life, plumose anemones everywhere and generally a good number of conger eels too.
Back on shore, Calum and Faith at Lochaline Dive Centre, produced the most amazing BBQ ever, with so much food to eat. Not so many midgies either which made for a nice evening.
On the Sunday we dived the Thesis followed by a pootle around Ardtornish Bay, so that some divers could collect a few scallops. The Thesis was like the Shuna yesterday, quite dark with a fair amount of silt in the water. But as it does come up to 12 metres and you can drift along the shore after coming off the wreck, where it becomes a good dive for photography, and not building up too much decompression. In among the kelp we found lots of lovely nudibranchs!
Ardtornish bay was a different dive to the usual wreck dives, a bit of a drift in an enclosed bay (to avoid the wind). Lots of sea-pens and other critters on the seafloor, as well as scallops. Quite a nice relaxed final dive on a weekend in the Sound of Mull.
All out and finished by 3pm, heading south in the rain for the long drive home.