23rd April 2006
By Richard Booth
This week Tyneside 114 show diving doesn’t all have to be Hard Boats and Fast RHIB’s. There is always a place for a quality shore dive like Greenend Gully!
Eight members of Tyneside 114 braved the chilly waters off Eyemouth last weekend and were rewarded with an enjoyable days diving in exceptionally clear waters.
Greenend gully is situated on the south side of the harbour area of Eyemouth close to the golf club.
It can be reached by a small rough track that starts close to the new harbour building, Guns Green basin, in which the AquaStar dive shop is situated.
The main benefits of this dive site are that it offers easy and safe access to the water in a range of weather conditions. The easiest access to the water is gained via a concrete path which covers the old sewer pipe. (The sewer pipe extends for a considerable distance offshore). Underwater the gully descends in a series of steps until it levels out on a sandy bottom at around 15 metres. The rocky nature of the area can result in amazingly clear water, particularly after periods of relatively settled weather and calm seas.
Car parking however, is relatively limited, with a short but fairly steep walk down to the waters edge.
Last Sunday we were rewarded with bright blue skies and relatively calm seas.
The first dive took place just after high water with a brisk onshore wind blowing which fortunately was not strong to cause more than a gentle swell. The sheer volume of divers did result however in some of the bottom sediment being stirred up, but the u/w visibility still remained a respectable 10 metres plus.
Advancing down the rocky slope debris from the construction of the sewer pipe can still be seen tucked away amongst some of the rocks, giving the illusion of scattered wreckage from some long lost ship wreck. The gully bottoms out at around 15 metres and the effects of the ebbing tide started to be felt, with kelp streaming out into the current. These tidal currents however bring a source of nutrients which ensures a rich profusion of life upon the more exposed rock surfaces with a thick carpet of white and orange deadmans fingers, and a profuse forest of kelp in the shallower water.
Returning back up the gully a lone seal paused to inspect us before darting upwards away in the shallows. For one member of the group, Andy Moss, this dive was to be his first UK dive of 2006. Whilst Greenend Gully lacks the excitement and glamour of diving with whale sharks in Galapagos, Andy’s last dive experience of 2005, he did concede that it offered a reasonably pleasant re-introduction back into UK diving, so much so, that he even opted for a second dive!
Between dives, we were able relax and bask in the bright sunshine as the onshore breeze subsided making for ideal sunbathing conditions.
An hour or so later, it was time to re-don equipment and head back to the waters edge. The falling tide made for something of a tight squeeze through the rock gap at the end of the concrete path for the more ‘rotund’ divers in the group. Earlier one had been able to float over this gap, but now exposed by the tide one squeeze through it in order to access the retreating sea. Once through this gap however easy access into the water can still be made providing the sea is calm.
With fewer divers in the water and no more swell, the u/w visibility had improved further to around 14 metres from this morning’s earlier dive. Once again the team descended down the u/w gully carefully searching in the nooks and crannies for marine life, coming across a variety of creatures including small lobsters, a various specimens of gobies.
On the bottom of the gully Peter even found a very large specimen of the scorpionfish family, which stoutly refused to move despite a barrage of camera flashes. Time passed quickly and all too soon it was time to ascend back up the gully, exit the water and prepare oneself for the brisk hike back up the track to the car park. The combination of fine weather, excellent u/w visibility and good company had made for another great days diving.
Despite the relative small area covered by this site, Greenend Gully still manages to constantly throw up surprises, with no two dives ever being the same. With such easy access this site remains one of the finest shore dive sites on North East coast suitable for a wide range of diver experiences. Greenend Gully continues to offer a unique combination of safe and relatively sheltered diving with interesting marine life. We will be back.