St Abbs August Bank Holiday Diving – Highs and Lows

25th – 26th August 2013

by Richard Booth

On the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend five club members made the journey up to Seahouses only to be met with thick fog drifting in from the sea. We patiently waited and the fog started to lift, however after speaking to a party of Derby divers who had attempted to head out to the Farnes but turned back after encountering big swell on the way out, we reluctantly decided to abandon the days dive and return home to the inevitable family chores that would be awaiting our return.

With another days diving planned for the bank holiday Monday, it was with some trepidation that we followed the evening weather forecast. Would we lose another days diving to fog and rough seas?

The following morning we headed up the A1 towards St Abbs. Dropping down the steep road to the harbour it was evident that whilst there was some mist and swell; out in the bay, conditions were looking more favorable for diving to take place.

Once kit was safely loaded down onto Tiger Lily we headed up the coast with the intention of diving Anemone Gully, a site which promised a measure of protection from the residual swell that was still around.

Dropping into the water we quickly headed down into the shelter of the gullies that make up this site. The current however had still not picked up, so it was still quite easy to move around the site. The down side of this lack of current however was that the majority of plumose anemones were ‘closed up’ resulting in the walls being covered by a mass of ‘rubber like blobs’ instead of beautiful flowering anemones feeding in the current.

Still the underwater visibility proved to be better than expected, given the recent bad swell, and when the sun broke through the mist, the gullies were suddenly lit up in all their glory. (portrait pic  of gulley with green water through crack) Other highlights included encounters with a couple of wolffish, one of which was out of its lair. Needless to say it bolted off at high speed before a picture could be obtained.

Once everyone was safely recovered Tiger Lilly headed back to St Abbs harbour.

Here we sought refreshments from the Ebb Carrs café whilst enjoying the sunshine, which had burnt off all remnants of the earlier mist.

Sheena also gave a demonstration of her sea gull training skills!

For the second dive we again headed back up the coast past the lighthouse but this time to dive the West Hurkars.

After drifting through the scenic narrow gully we followed the wall around to the right encountering numerous wrasse and shoals of fish, before arriving at the entrance of the cave.

Here the two Richards encountered a large seal, which quickly bolted away into the distance. Inside the cave they encountered an injured fish minus its tail, presumably a victim of the seal we had earlier encountered.

Outside of the cave the flood spring tide provided an exciting drift dive past pinnacles and rocks covered in soft corals.

So despite the lows of the Seahouses cancelled dive, we ended the bank holiday on a high at St Abbs.

Many thanks to Paul Crowe for an excellent days diving.


St Abbs dive team:

Richard Moore

Richard Booth

Tiago Moreira

Steve Russell

Dave Hyde

Peter Freedman

Liz McKernan

Sheena and Ray Parmer




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