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Saturday, 7 April 2012

What a swell time!

And not only did we have swell but some really serious surge as well! More on that later....The harbour was the quietest I've ever seen it for an Easter weekend which was a real shame. I think some people were put off by the suggested conditions on the forecast and by word of mouth. 

Yes the conditions weren't the best ever but we've dived a lot worse at St. Abbs. The wind had been all over the place the last 24 hours and it was just proving to be a vindictive little swine!
Captain Gibson cuts through the rough past Seagull Rock
Reports were bouncing back over VHF of viz around 2 metres, so after a quick chat with Peter we elected to jump on the Horn and hope for the best. And the best was 2 metre viz and some serious surge going on down below. Even at 22 metres the buffeting was pretty strong.
Elaine, just over 3 metres away with all her lights on. Look really hard......
 Just like the good old days of quarry diving we reverted back to our touch diving methods. Basically the only way to navigate the site is by touch. We normally find some wolfies or a lumpsucker on the Horn but we knew today wasn't going to be our day.
A sensible edible crab seeks shelter on the horn
But there was still plenty to see with squat lobsters, pink prawns, edible crabs, dead mans fingers, pincushion starfish, anemones and the usual culprits.
Star light, star bright, first starfish I see tonight......
We knocked it on the head after a 57 minute run time as once you've been around the Horn and over the top there's nowhere else to shallow up to except mid-water. We'd seen everything we wanted to though, so we couldn't complain really.
The perfect couple. Unfortunately they weren't available so here's Elaine and Hamish instead! (boom-boom!)

We did manage to get a brief bit of sunshine during the surface interval but it didn't last long and the swell was gradually geting worse as time went on. With the only realistic option to dive Black Carr we jumped in just North East of the main wall and instantly hit with massive surge all the way down to 24 metres. 
Pinky the prawn
We pushed on through past the wall and up and over the backside only to be seperated by the surge being funnelled through the second swim through. I got pushed straight into the wall which blew out the modelling light on my rig. Fortunately it took all the impact and nothing else had been damaged.

The surge took Elaine around the otherside and off to the East but given that we're both experienced qualified solo divers, I wasn't worried for her. She can be sensible when she needs to be ( she's going to hit me on Monday for that! ).

I aimed for the back of Big Black Carr and on into Wuddy Rocks where I knew it would be sheltered and I could try and get some quality camera time.
Dahlia anemone in detail
I got my hands on a +8 macro diopter earlier in the week to stack with my existing +16 macro diopter so I was keen to try it out but given the conditions, it was proving easier said than done. So generally the macro shots were just an opportunity to see how the stacked diopters perfoemed and to try a few different settings.
Up close and personal with a Sea Urchin
Overall I'm please with the performance and the results, we just need half decent conditions so I can get some half decent shots!
Lovely little baby hermit crab
So the day wasn't a complete bust, well apart from my modelling light, but we had a few laughs and some good dives out of it. 

And one last important safety notice, wherever you dive, listen to the skipper and what they are telling you. They are experienced and know what they are talking about. The group before us totally ignored Peters advice, demanded to get dropped in somewhere different and then came up after 15 minutes complaining how shit the dive was. 

Peter had a few choice words to say about them afterwards, but lets just call them muppets and leave it at that. 

99% of the time, the Captain knows best.....unless he's Italian and in command of a cruise ship.

Safe diving!