Everyone was fed up… Covid-19 Lockdown until July, Red Sea trip to Egypt cancelled, appalling weather, rain and blowouts, when Jamie suddenly thought of a rescue plan. We hadn’t intended to go to Eyemouth this year as we had been for the previous four years running, but he found that Wavedancer 11 was free for mid-week diving in the same week we would have been in Egypt. Before you could say Nitrox Analyser, he had formed a team to set off for Scotland diving from 21st to 25th September in the St Abbs Marine Conservation Area.
Travelling up on Sunday a team of 8 comprised of Jamie, Sue, Mike W, James S, Steve R, Pete F, Hugh and Graham(guest) set off in buddy car pairs to The Home Arms in Eyemouth. We had been lucky, Central Scotland and Northumberland/Durham had been placed in more severe Covid restrictions, but here in the Scottish Borders, there were none. The Contented Sole was our venue for our evening meal.
On Monday morning, we had time to get our kit onboard WaveDancer, and then we were off on time across a flat sea with Skipper Gary in charge, and Dougie the best deckhand/diver helper imaginable. On the way out to our first dive, we saw a massive pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. Huge males about 2.5 metres long and mothers with babies.
Our first dive was at Petticowick was in 6m viz, but we saw Lobsters and Crabs, Fish of course, and some of us even saw an Octopus. There was a bit of ship wreckage but as the water was colder at 12-13*C the Deadman’s fingers and other anemones were not out. Delightful dive at about 15m depth.
After some early lunch, we did our second dive at West Harkar. Viz again 6m as we went through the cave and drifted South-East-ish along the cliff edge. Crabs, Lobsters, Wrasse and Pollock were the main sightings. The depth here between 10m and 15m and it was scenic.
Then back to port but we were able to lock some of our dive kit on board overnight. All showered and clean we went for a walkabout but convened for our evening meal at Oblo’s Restaurant.
The tide and developing weather systems deemed this to be the best day for diving the Glanmire wreck. Always a good dive and with even better viz today at 8m. The wreck lies at about 30m deep.
The shot was on the boiler so easily located. The 1140 ton steamship is about 120 years old but still has a structure to recognise after it sunk in 1912 from hitting Black Carr rocks in thick fog.
The most exciting areas are the boilers and engine gear, then moving aft to the propeller. Swimming back again, some returned to and ascended the shot line while some used a DSMB. Nearly everyone used Nitrox32 for this dive.
There were shoals of Fish, Crabs, Lobsters and Deadman’s fingers. Underwater iron was the main attraction.
Then during a decent surface interval, Mike W got his drone out and took some lovely aerial photos. He’s getting quite the expert with it now.
The second dive was at Skerry Hole, about 15m and a scenic drift. A circuit around the hole and then out heading North. Some nice ledges and gullies and lots of Lobsters, shoals of Pollock and lots of Anemones. Some were lucky enough to see a Wolffish. There were loads of Sunstars, Starfish and Brittlestars.
After a further break and because we had an early start there was time for a third dive. After a gas fill, we headed out to Burnham Cave with 7m viz and depths around 16m. Lots of small life this time with Squat Lobsters, Blennies and Butterfish. Nice to get this third dive in because the weather was closing in and there was some doubt as to whether we could dive tomorrow.
Back to The Home Arms and reconvened to the Ship Inn for our evening meal. Sometimes we lodge here upstairs as Skipper Gary also owns this.
We assembled at Wavedancer in the morning, but I’m afraid, too bad news. Storms were developing in Scotland, and strong northerly winds meant that all diving in St Abbs area was cancelled. Even more bad news was that these winds would continue for the rest of our week. So it was decided to go home.
After vacating our rooms and paying our bills, we all headed home but at least with five dives under our dive belts and of course lots of memories.