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Monday, 28 May 2012

Misty Mountain Hop

Finally! It's only taken us till the end of May to get the conditions we should have had two months ago, but beggars cant be choosers. Sun was blazing with a cool Easterly coming off the water but the Abbs head was shrouded in mist all day until the end of our last dive.
The mist rolling in and rolling out
We opted to dive round the back on the Skellies as the mist wasn't quite so thick there and quite a few of the boats had already left the dive site so we had the place to ourselves pretty much. Viz was touching 10 metres with plenty of light coming in at the surface with a water temperature at 9 degrees. Lovely. As soon as we glided into the first gully we were greeted by wolfish all over the place. We had to fight them off with a stick just to complete the dive!
My name is legion, for we are many.....
And on top of the multitide of woolfies, corals, anemones, pollock, decorator crabs, we had the amzing aquatic display of flocks of guillemots diving with us. We stopped around 23 metres just to sit and take pictures (ok, try and take picturse as they move so fast) and shoot some video. They look more at home underwater than they do flying through the air.
One of the few shots actually centred and in focus
They really are inquisitive and it's amazing how long they are able to remain underwater for and some have been recorded down at depths of 180 metres apparently. Astounding. Check out the footage below.

The current was running West but with careful tracking through the gullies we headed East to get to the plateau at 12 metres just before it turns into the Craigs site. Always guaranteed to get to get wolfies and nudibranchs and today was no different.
A pair of nudis get it on for the camera
The place was crawling with them, not to mention an explosion of sunstars and devonshire cup corals and pink prawns.
Pink prawn on a platter of dahlia anemone surrounded by a garnish of brittle stars. Enjoy
With having so much quality play time, it was hard to leave it behind but I had to call the dive ealry at 75 minutes as this time it was myself that had the mouse bladder. In my defense I did drink a couple of litres of water prior to the dive to keep hydrated but it came back with a vengeance at the end of the dive. I've never got de-kitted so fast before.
Elaine on the Skellies before my bladder emergency
 With the agony and ecstasy of the pit stop out of the way, we settled in to enjoy some rays and watched the mist roll in to cover up Seagull Rock. Despite the blazing sun, it just wasn't burning off which would limit us for options on the second dive. 

The group on board voted for the Peanut Boat which if you've never dived it is a boiler, couple of deck plates in 8 metres of water and sod all else. We jumped in on West Hurker on the way past for a more interesting and enjoyable dive.
The wrasse more interested in watching me
The urchins were spawning big time in the water so it was a bit cloudy, but with wrasse, nudis and crabs scattered about we had more than enough to focus our lenses on.
Lovely little decorator crab
We had a gentle current pushing us East on the start of the flood so we went the flow and made the most of the excellent light from the surface. on the way past a particular outcrop I managed to spot a Yarrell's blenny sitting quite happily out in the open without a care in the world and it was more than happy to pose for some shots.
"Do I look bothered?"
You could practically hear Elaine squeal with delight though her regs when I showed it to her. It's the little things...... 

We crossed from Hurker, past Skellies and ended up on the Craigs to nail some final shots before calling it at 79 minutes and no it wasn't my bladder this time, thank you very much for asking. 
Juvenile scorpionfish amongst the brittle stars
Heading for the Craigs
And best of all, when we got to the surface the mist had finally burned off and it was blue skies all the way to the horizon. Smashing.