Farnes Islands

3rd May 2008

Conditions for the bank holiday weekend were not brilliant with brisk South Easterly winds predicted for most of the weekend. This proved to be the case for the Saturday when Seawitch was launched at Seahouses. The weather conditions inevitably greatly limited the possible dive sites that could be safely dived. This situation was compounded by big spring tides.

Like the previous weekend diving was limited to the north side of the Farnes; the first dive taking place back at the North Warmses. Underwater visibility however was not as good as on the previous Saturday due perhaps to sediment being lifted by the strong spring tide. Highlight of this dive was being ‘buzzed’ by an inquisitive seal on several occasions. The limited visibility however made it virtually impossible to take any decent photos of this encounter.

For the second dive we ventured around to the more exposed side of Staple Island. Sea conditions were very lumpy with a sizable swell smashing up the island cliff face. Dive conditions were looking marginal. We decided to go for it, but to kit up in a more sheltered area before venturing back to drop the divers off into the swell that was roaring across the wreck site of the St Andrea.

Once in the water, we quickly descended down away from the rough surface. On the bottom, there was little sign of the turbulent conditions on the surface. Underwater visibility proved to be a lot better than that experienced on the previous dive on the North Warmses, possibly because this site is much more sheltered from the flooding spring tide.

The St Andrea, a French owned steam ship was wrecked on the 28th October 1908 whilst on passage from France to Grangemouth with a cargo of pig iron.

The wreck lies some 20 to 30 metres off the cliff face, although debris from the wreck can be found on the seabed close to the base of the cliff face.

Today, most of the wreck lies flattened on the seabed with only the boilers standing proud. Nevertheless this site still provided an interesting dive, although we saw very few of the wrasse for which this site is noted. All in all another day of reasonable diving.

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