24th May 2015
by Nicola Faulks
The late May bank holiday weekend 24th May 2015, perfect time for a dive? Simon and I had run the rhib engine back in April, so we knew it would start. We had also pumped up the tubes and checked the electrics. So we had faith that the boat’s bits would work. As we arrived at Seahouses we saw our crew waiting, Jacky, Tony and Sue. It didn’t take long to load the boat and launch it as it was high tide; however there did seem to be a bit of a swell outside the harbour….. 20 minutes later, all aboard and the coast guard radioed we headed out. Not so bad, just a bit bumpy on a North Easterly swell.
The first dive was on the St Andre, always a good bet for being sheltered from a North Easterly running swell. It seems that we weren’t the only ones with that idea, Dave T and the hard boats also dived the same site that day; we didn’t see them underwater though. I dived with Tony and Jackie, a nice leisurely dive along the wall and then out onto the wreck, finding the boiler and the plates. The boiler was covered with nudibranchs, so with my new camera and macro lens I had to take a number of photos!
From the shallower boiler, we headed back up to the prop shaft then back on to the wall again. Lots of life on the wall, I almost felt that there is more life this year than last, possibly as a result of a less stormy winter? Anyway we surfaced and there was Si and Sue to help pick us up.
Sue and Si dived next, doing a training dive, going down a shot and doing some mask removal drills. Sue performed admirably, despite her tank slipping out of the cam-band on the way down! After their dive, we had coffee and sandwiches then, as the weather was getting a little less windy, headed over to Inner Farne.
The problem that we had was that the GPS and side scanner did not seem to be working…. (later, Si solved the issue, they were wired into an un-named switch, not the one marked “GPS” – who knew!!??) Anyway, this meant that the dive was a bit of a guess, so we three jumped in and found ourselves in a kelp forest. We swam south and out in to an area of mixed ground, cobles, boulders, kelp-park and some sandy areas in about 12 metres of water. Loads of little critters around, including nudibranchs (as always!), hermit crabs, prawns and other things. At one point we collected about 20 urchins and built a pyramid (don’t tell the seasearchers). An interesting dive, but probably one that we won’t do again.
Sue and Simon then went down, doing some more skills including lining out and returning to the shot. They came up happy, (or was it relief?), though I am not sure how much of the scenery they were able to appreciate while doing skills!
All aboard by 3.30pm and back into the harbour. My new camera had performed well, so I was happy. Everyone else appeared to have had a good day too. We filled the fuel tanks and towed the boat back to bed at Belford; knowing that we would be returning the following morning to repeat the process all over again.