Loch Fyne Winter Warmer (March 2016)
By Nic Faulks
Since the January winter warmer was cancelled due to high winds, lashing rain and hail, we were all hoping that this weekend would actually see some sun…
We all arrived at the cottage on the Friday night to find the heating on and wifi, which was a nice change to last time. We all settled down for a post journey beer and a natter wondering what the following morning would bring.
Saturday dawned cloudy but calm. We loaded up Fyne Pioneer, became re-acquainted with Andy and Fiona Hunt who had driven all the way up from the Isle of Wight to join us. We all loaded the rhib and Simon Exley handed the helm to the Frenchman – Hubert Desgrange, whereupon one of the engine gear boxes promptly packed up! So using only one engine we slowly plodded on.
First dive was Gortian point, which was as usual quite dark, but lots of life to sea with the torch on. We all surfaced feeling a bit chilly and so headed back to the cottage for bacon sandwiches. The second dive was a drift-ish dive on Glas Elean which is covered with life, nudibranchs, dead man’s fingers, plumose anemones, loads of stuff. A really rewarding dive site. One of my favourites here.
We also went to see the common dolphin on the port can. He swam our bow wave for a while then disappeared back to the depths.
We returned back to the cottage, washed changed then sat down for supper. Lasagne, salad, vegetables, fresh bread, followed by a choice of puddings, no one went hungry!
Sunday dawned sunny and blue, cool but with no wind, a beautiful spring morning with snow on the mountains looking beautiful up the loch.
First dive was Glas Elean, though this time in a different direction. As before it was full of life, a kind of pick your depth drift dive, with loads of reefs and rock walls to look at. Found loads of nudibranchs which made me happy and Hubert amused.
During the surface interval, Katerina and Dave tried their hand at Canadian canoeing, the boat which we had towed with us just in case the one remaining engine gave up. They were entertaining to watch! Took our minds off the fact that we weren’t going back to the cottage for bacon sandwiches between dives. L
The final dive really was a drift dive, over flame shell beds though there seemed to be more scallops than flame shells. Andy decided to exit the rhib into the canoe…
Richard Moss lead me and Hubert on this dive. It was Richard’s first ever drift dive, so was brilliant to see his face when he realised that he could only go in one direction!
We all returned to the cottage by 4pm safe and sound, ready to pack and do the long drive home. All in all a great weekend, and one hopefully to be repeated in 2017. Unfortunately the organiser Simon Smith ended up in hospital, so was unable to come, but we did tell him what a brilliant weekend it was and thanked him for organising it!