April 4th-5th 2015
written by Richard Booth
photography by Richard Booth, Tiago Moreira and Nicola Faulks
The forecast earlier in the week was poor, with strong winds and rough seas predicted. Nicola however promised to do her mysterious weather dance, and as the week progressed and as anxious eyes scoured magicseaweed.com, the first glimmer of hope began to be raised that we might just get back into the water over the weekend.
With the caravan ‘booked’ most of the team assembled on Thursday evening to be joined by the stragglers on Friday morning. Whilst there was an evident swell, Paul Crowe, the Shore Diver skipper was confident that he could get us in somewhere along the coast.
On leaving St Abb’s harbour the boat rocked crazily in the swell until we had safely slipped past around the point when things at last quietened down a little.
The initial plan was to dive the West Hurkers, but with a noticeable surge around the rocks that marked the entrance point to the swim through, we wisely opted to be dropped a little further out and to swim down through the current to the gullies that crisscross the seabed in this area.
Drifting down with the current we soon sought shelter in the gullies. The strong tidal current also ensured that the plumose anemones were out in force adding colour to the gully walls.
Underwater visibility was not the best, but the dive still proved to be an enjoyable re-introduction to North Sea diving, with plenty of lobsters in evidence, plus a few wolf fish sightings making a welcome bonus.
For the second dive we headed around into Pettico Wick Bay where Paul dropped the group onto the area where the remains of the SS Ostende can be found.
After a quick explore around the upended boiler we headed off in search of more gullies and marine covered walls. Although the sea was much calmer in the bay, there was still a very evident residual surge, which made for a slightly uncomfortable dive particularly in some of the narrower gullies.
That evening we celebrated our success at completing two dives with an excellent meal in the New Inn at Coldingham.
Next morning heading down the steep hill into the harbour, it was evident that the sea had calmed down considerably over night.
For the first dive of the day we again elected to explore the gullies around the Skellies. This time however there was very little current in evidence allowing for a more leisurely exploration of the gully system. The underwater visibility had also improved overnight.
The calmer sea allowed us to dive the Black Carr’s for the final dive of the weekend. Whilst the underwater visibility had suffered from the earlier big swell, it was still sufficiently good for some of the group to swim down the reef and locate the old lost admiralty anchor.
Again some of the party managed to locate more wolf fish. Tiago on the other hand located a prawn guarding the old anchor!
All in all it made a satisfying end to an excellent weekends diving. Thanks to Brian Dinsley for organising the weekend and Paul Crowe of the MV Shore Diver.