Grey seal on the Farnes

Relaxed day on the Farnes

The weather forecast wasn’t good, but the mighty Serenity was going diving anyway. We basically had the ocean to ourselves, as everyone else had cancelled. But with westerly winds forecast, shelter was to be had on the east side of outer Farne Islands in an area called the Hopper. Although the wind was strong, off the land, the sea was quite flat on the way out….

Grey seal in one of the gullies on the Hopper Rocks

On the first dive, the tide was just on the end of the ebb, so we were dropped in on the southern end of this long rock reef, following it left shoulder to the rock. Just pootling along, looking at the wildlife and having our fins nibbled by grey seals. It was a very relaxing dive, with lots to see, especially for me, with my camera.

Soft corals cover the wall that makes up the Hopper Rocks.

All four of us back up on the surface, we had an hour surface interval. Unfortunately one of the group had ripped his dump valve out of his wing, so the next dive was to be as a three, Me, Tiago and Paul. The tide had now turned, so we were dropped in at the north end of the Hopper, and drifted shoulder right to the rock, towards the south. Just after jumping in I spotted a species of nudibranch which I have been searching for for about the last 10 years. It is tiny, but has blue spots, making it quite unique. Since there was a bit of current running, it was quite difficult to get a photograph, see below for the result:

Aegires punctilucens – ten years of searching!

All three of us enjoyed this dive, just drifting along, looking at critters and wondering where the seals were. At about 50 minutes dive time, we sent up the DSMB and drifted away from the rocks, at which point the seals turned up to nibble our fins and to have a good swim around us. Always such a lovely experience, us in their world.

Back on the boat we headed back in. As soon as we left the lee of the Farne Islands the full strength of the wind hit us. The waves were up too. Kit had to be double tied down, and we kept our dry suits zipped up. It was quite an exciting ride back!

Sheltering from the storm – should have left his mask on!