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Monday, 22 August 2011

Far and distant shores

Well I say far and distant shores, in this case it was a two tanker up to Brander Point, which is about 35-40 minutes boat ride North. We had blazing sunshine and pond like conditions today, even Paul was wearing a shirt that could almost be considered tasteful, or at least didn't make your eyeballs vomit!
Another stunning addition to Paul's wardrobe for this Summer

Jumping in on the South side of the Brander rock formation, we were straight into gullies that run parallel to the main finger of rock and just kept on following it out. I wouldn't say that the dive is busting with marine life, but the rock formations and the scenery do make it a worth while visit and you can get very lucky with seeing some interesting visitiors such as octupus and cuttlefish. 

We weren't quit so lucky today but lobsters and scorpionfish were definitely out in force. We bimbled down to around 20-ish metres and swapped over to the North side of the outcrop to follow it back up to around 8 metres, having a look in the cracks and under the rocks and watching the prawns dancing here, there and everywhere.
"I'm a prawn again, Christian!" (It's punchline for a very old joke....)
It's also nice to see that the water temperature is (very slowly) climbing, sitting on 14 degrees. It's almost wetsuit diving! Heading out NE to get some depth for our pick up, a mug of tea and some of Tescos finest white chocolate cookies.
Elaine, horribly disfigured on the safety stop. Or maybe her tentacles just needed trimming....
Discussions for the second dive centered around several sites, but in the end we left the onus on Billy to choose where to go, which was Anemone Gullies (or Skellies as it's also referred to). Well we would have chosed Black Carr (never a bad dive on Black Carr), but we aquiesced and motored down to the gullies. Never trust Billy to pick a dive site! :-p. It wasn't a bad dive by no stretch of the imagination, but you're always guaranteed to find something new on Black Carr, not to mention the woolfies.
Time to go already? But it's only been 83 minutes....
Viz was around 8-9 metres and the tide on the ebb so we pootled up and down the gullies for a bit which was tricky seeing as they were covered in bloody lobsters! Everywhere you looked they were there. It's like Alfred Hitchcock remade his film "The Birds" but called it "The Lobsters". Loads of them just sitting on ledges, watching you, just waiting to turn your back.......
Never turn your back on them. And never show fear. They sense fear......
Wrasse and pollock were also moocing around the gullies as we came out and started working our way shallow towards West Hurker. Elaine did manage a nice find of a conger (credit where credit is due) which is a bit of a rarity at St Abbs, so it was nice to see one, even if it did send me a little bit into deco taking pictures of it. 
The damned conger that nearly caused me having an accident in my drysuit
Deco is a terrible thing. Mostly because its normally when you most need to go for a pee!! Hence my dearest dive buddy abandoning me after clearing her safety stop so she can go to the toilet first (remember to press the big black button!), leaving me to cross my legs and count down the minutes. There's a lot to be said for pee valves. Or maybe adult nappies are the way forward. 
Couple of prawns way-laying a spider crab
Another good days diving had by all, although I did have to pity Peter. He was dropping divers in at Skellies as we were kitting up. No sooner had he dropped them off and they had descended before they were all popping back up to the surface like corks in ones and twos. Poor old Peter had to go around picking them up again. I've yet to find out the full story from him but I'm sure it will be a corker the way he tells them!

Never trust the shadey looking character in the middle.....