Not so Glad Tidings!

25th July 2020: Well this was supposed to be a lovely trip to the Farnes, with 12 club divers, diving from a hard boat. Everyone was excited about covid compliant group diving as the GT boats are quite spacious. Unfortunately, we turned up to find that there was a group of 7 on the boat already, meaning that we would be 19 on a boat, that generally takes 18…. Not very covid compliant. Options were few and far between, so five of my party departed the boat, and environment in which social distancing with that number of people most certainly was not possible. Very upsetting and very annoying, I thought when I had booked the trip, that I had been quite clear, but alas, no.

Si Fish filling along the reef, which is covered with dead man’s fingers

Four of the departing group did a shore dive at Beadnell and one went home. The rest of us dived off GT. First dive was the Northern Hares, dropping on to the top of the wall at about 12 metres and into the kelp. The visibility in the kelp was variable, 2 – 4 metres. Then we dropped off down the wall, to 18 metres, where the visibility was 5-7 metres. We found angler fish, octopus and lots of shrimps and crabs. Off the wall and down to about 22 metres, you find more hydroid turf, covered with life, more angler fish, scorpion fish and nudibranchs. Back on to the wall we found crevices full of squat lobsters, all shining blue in the torch light. We didn’t find the shot again but surfaced under the DSMB about 10 metres from it.

Reef life with starfish, dead man’s fingers, hydroids, bryzoans and much more.

The second dive was on the Knife Stone, as it was sheltered from the ebbing tide. This knob of rock has a number of wrecks on it, not all have been identified. With a bit of current swirling around, this was a nice dive, with lots of gullies filled with dead man’s fingers, the odd sea hare, wrasse and lots of large horse anemones, it was quite pretty. Then we found the main area of wreckage, and the rest of the divers. Three huge boilers, engine block and lots of other bits. Some swam up and over to the next area of wreckage, we headed along the reef, just enjoying the slight drift, looking at the wildlife. Back on board, no tea or coffee…. Covid compliant… we headed back into port. Sadly, no dolphins this time. Packing the kit up and chatting to each other in the wind with our facemasks on.  Those that were able to stay and dive had had a nice day, just a huge shame it wasn’t the group of 12 as had been envisaged.

Allison finning past one of the boilers on the Knifestone.

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