By Nic Faulks (23-26 August 2019)
This was “our” second club trip to the Sound of Mull. Well, I say “our” but both trips were actually organised by Dave Taylor who is the chief of Durham Divers. He couldn’t fill the trip with his club members, so kindly allowed us all to come along again too. Dave organises a good trip, and it is so nice not to be the organiser, so it was hard to say no. 😉
We all arrived on the Friday night, after a nice relaxed drive up. Staying in the Lochaline Dive Centre, run by Calum and Faith, we knew that there would be friendly faces and great food to look forward to. After a quick dinner, drink or pub visit, we all headed to bed.
An early start on Saturday hailed the start of three days diving in the sound. A bank holiday in England, but not in Scotland. Our boat was Peregrine (Locahaline Boat Charters) skippered by Bodie. We all loaded on our kit, had a quick dive brief and then headed off for the first dive which was the SS Thesis. Often known for being a little bit dark, it was probably the lightest that I have dived this wreck. The metal work is covered with life, especially dead mans fingers. The deepest that you get is about 33 metres, though it gets a bit dilapidated the deeper you go….
Following the Thesis dive, we headed south east and on to the Breda. This wreck is known for being sheltered, but often for its poor visibility. Today however proved to be the best visibility that I have ever seen on this wreck. We found glass bottles and ceramic jars on the sea bed. Then swimming almost the length of the wreck inside it, we found vehicles, cases of ammunition?? Sacks of concrete and many other items. It really proved to be a fascinating dive.
On returning to the surface most of us decided that two nice dives was enough, however not all were satisfied. A couple of divers then went in for another more shallow scenic dive.
After returning to shore, we headed up to the Dive Centre to indulge in one of Faith’s fantastic meals. She really does treat us well!
Sunday dawned the most beautiful and calm day – so to the Tapti we must go! We headed up the sound of Mull, and due to the tides, stopped and did the first dive on Calve Wall, just outside of Tobermoray. Usually this dive is covered with life, but this time it just seemed so dull. Lost of encrusting critters, but so few corals and hydroids. So sad, everyone commented. maybe a storm has hit it and it is taking a few years to recover.
We then headed on up to the Tapti. This wreck lies in relatively shallow water – 9-25 metres, close to the Island of Soa, south of Coll. The seabed is golden sand, so in good visibility the wreck is quite a beautiful contrast, covered with marine life.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather, however there was quite a lot of algae in the water, so it was a bit green. This didn’t really detract from the dive though. It was very good. We entered close to the stern, swimming the length of the wreck, down to the bow, to take lots of photos, then back up to the shallower stern. On the way we saw so much marine life, fish, lobsters, anemones and nudibranches. Quite a spectacular dive really. Everyone was smiling when we re boarded the boat for the long (4 hour) drive back to base!
Back at base, tired and happy, we all ate far to much lovely food cooked by Faith, then headed down to the working men’s club for a quick pint, before a much needed long sleep!
The final day dawned a bit grey and wet, but hey, after yesterday, none of us were going to complain. We headed to the Shuna for the first dive. Often quite silty, this wreck was probably at the cleanest state that I have ever dived it! We saw more of it than ever before, even photographing divers swimming through the deck superstructure. Si and I managed to dive in to and along most of the wreckage inside, me at the marine life and Si at the engineering. Even the large rudder could be seen for once!
The final dive was a shallow dive in the bay just south of Lochaline. Most people gathered scallops, and enjoyed a gentle float around. These dives always have so much life on them to look at. Every stone is a home for something. it is these “muck” dives that I really enjoy.
All in all a great few days was had. Everyone started the long drive home happy. Dave had also donated all of the left over sandwiches to the group, so we drove home with water, crisps and ham sandwiches, what could be better?