All personal photos are copyrighted. Unauthorized use of them is prohibited. Please contact simonmorley@outlook.com for any further information.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

300

Yep, you may have seen this announcement already but it's still incredible any way you look at it. Scientists discovered more than 300 species in the Philippines that are likely new to science, including dozens of new insects and spiders, deep-sea armored corals, ornate sea pens, bizarre new sea urchins and sea stars, a shrimp-eating swell shark, and over 50 colorful new sea slugs. 

Link here: Science Daily

50 more Nudis to discover (amongst other things). It still amazes me that we spend more time on the exploring the stars than our own ocean. Theres still so much to see down there......

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Dive Ahoy!

It proved to be a corker of a day. Starting of with some light showers, but sun smiled on us and wind died off. 
Before the mad rush
 Now it may just be me, but if i hadn't dived since last November and my kit had not been serviced since then as well, I would not be throwing myself off a boat into the sea. But thats exactly what a group of divers from Leeds did. What fun they had. Weighting problems, knackered LPI's, rapid ascents, we saw it all. Minutes of entertainment for everyone. Well for us watching them at least!

Are divers getting lazier these days or do they think they are immune to things going sh*t shaped? Answers on a post card. Half of them didn't bother getting back on for a second dive anyway so nothing lost there. It pays to keep your skills fresh and your equipment serviced.....

First splash was on the Horn, with viz averaging  4-5m and 10 C in the water. We made a couple of circuits before mooching over to Cathedral. Marine life and swim throughs abounded with the hard corals, sponges, anemones, Wrasse, lobsters and all the other usual suspects.  As well as a nice big octopus, hiding under a shelf that refused to be pictured. Shame but I still managed to get a bit of it in shot. Not easy mind you!

Octopus hide and seek
 Second jump was at Skellies during flood, so a bit of a push on, but once we got down in the gullies we had time have a good bimble around. As usual, Grandfather lobster was in his usual place. This thing is so big theres no way it would get out of his hole. This thing makes small children and ponies look miniature by comparison.

Grandfather lobster, minus his walking stick

The wolfies were keeping out of sight today so no sightings, but still plenty of sunstars, dahlia anemones, edible crabs and normal sized lobsters to keep us entertained.

Elaine barging into the shot!



Viz has been consistantly average since the start of the year and today was no different. It did pick up ever so slightly by lunchtime but still didn't get beyond 8-9m. It will get better eventually (he said optmistically!). At least there's still no shortage of finding lost kit on the dive sites. Todays find was brand new SMB reel. Gave it away to Paul O on Pathfinder if anyone wants to claim it!
Selkie charging to the pick up
Onwards and upwards for better viz and the odd wolfie or six. A visit back to Lochaline is in the works next month as well as a welcome return to Scapa to renew old aquaintances with the skippers and dive centres. They still owe me a bottle of whiskey.........

Monday, 20 June 2011

Good news everyone

Latest PADI Undersea Journal has word of the two new distinctive specialities that are on their way. The first being the Invasive Lionfish Tracker, but more importantly we have the Self Reliant Diver distinctive speciality. This is for those of you who are interested in learning the dive techniques and equipment requirements for becoming a more self reliant or independent diver. This is especailly useful for those divers who have buddies that disappear into the wild blue yonder within 5 seconds of getting into the water. Sound familiar?

West Coast Wonders

Fog shrouded and mystical. As well as raining.




Well knowing in advance that St. Abbs would be swarming with muppets this weekend, we pre-empted them and headed out West. And as well we did. Speaking the lads down at the harbour, it turns out the idea of going West was a good call as the level of muppetry on the boats was at an all time high this weekend. With my trust camera and buddy we dived in at one of our old stomping (splashing) grounds from yester-year at Loch Long and had some of the best diving in a long time
A happy little dog fish


A nice couple of 80 minute dives in 10 degrees with the loch bed swarming with critters proved how excellent diving in the sea lochs can be. Anemone Gardens was in full bloom with wonderful purple, blue, white and orange Plumose Anemones covering the entire area. Gobies, blennies, squat lobsters, scorpionfish and dog fish all vying for our attention. Everywhere you looked, there was something moving and we could easily have spent all day down there. Especially tring to get in a shot of the tube worms.
Velvet swimming crab in mid-nosh

Hamish was also in fine fettle providing exemplary surface support and fresh tea and bacon butties as soon as we hit the surface. Vis was not the best on the day, varying between 2-5 metres in places, but the scenery and marine life more than made up for it.
Elaine goes in for the shoot

An exceptionally good day had by all and all things being well, including the weather, we'll be back to hunting wolfies at St Abbs on Saturday...........

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Awesome!

Well despite the NE wind blowing in at 9 knots and the full on rock and roll conditions at the surface, we managed to get in and had one of the best dives of the year so far. I don't actually know what made it for me, whether it was the abundance of marine life, the girls dancing round and singing at full volume after the Angler fish siting, or Elaine going totally commando under her dry suit after getting all moist after the first dive! 

Her stripping antics in the car park made grown men weep and the young men call the police............
Calm in the harbour, like a washing machine outside
Skellies being the first port of call this morning and second splash on Black Carr with a consitent 10 degrees in the water all day. Almost straight away came across a very nice Angler fish, sitting happy as you like in one of the sandy gullies before it decided to go for a little swim with us.

Elaine gives chase

A happy Angler fish

We also had the added bonus of being buzzed by Guillemots during most of the dive. A bit disconcerting, especially at 22 metres! They move so fast, it's incredible. I'd post a decent picture is I had one but they move quicker than a whippet with a bum full of dynamite!

A Guillemot arse zipping by at 22 metres!





Nudibranchs were also out in force again this weekend, including this whopper which clocked in at just over 8 inches. They breed them big in Scotland!

Nudibranch - on steroids. Look carefully at bottom left to see a regular sized Nudibranch!



Monsterous edible crabs and lobsters also made regular appearances along with what appeared to be a record number of Scorpion fish. They must be breeding like rabbits down there! It goes without saying though that Mabs was on superb performance, spotting anything that moved, and lots of things that didn't (keep practising the hand signal for Wolfish dear!).
Mabs; Spotting like an absolute champion today








Extra special mention to the ignorant buggers who sat around on the boat in the harbour for 25 minutes drinking tea, before they decided to actually dekit and let us on for our second dive. World class muppets. On the plus side though, a couple of them were a particulary excellent shade of green due to the sea state so it all balances out. These Midlands inland lake divers.........


Friday, 3 June 2011

Too busy

Well been an eventful week so very little time to be in, on or under the water! I did spend a fair bit of time with the new models of Sony NEX 4/3 and Alpha DSLR cameras that are due to be launched within the next couple of months. Very nice pieces of kit they are as well but can't say anything due to being very hush-hush, but very impressive indeed. Big ups to Sony for letting me play with the new toys ahead of release. Keep an eye in the shops for these ones, especially the NEX.

With any luck we'll be jumping in at St Abbs again tomorrow. Wosrt case scenario will be a jaunt over to one of the St Catherine sites and try and find some dogfish, cuckoo and thornback rays. We shall what Mr Weather wants to do about things in the morning.