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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Underwater Love

Finally!! With the weather being utter pants the last three weeks, it was so good to jump back in at St Abbs. Everyone else must agree because come 9am all the boats from St Abbs and Eyemouth converged on Black Carr for a free for all!
Boats all over Black Carr like stink on a monkey
On the plus side, when they all came back in , we went out so there was only two of us on the whole dive site. Awesome. Viz was still sitting around 4 metres and the water temperature had crept up to 8 degrees. You can tell Summer is nearly with us.....

We caught the tide just on the ebb so swam out the back of the Carr and headed East to get a little depth and pick up the wall and anchor. None of the usual lump suckers hanging around and a lot of the wolfies were not in their usual holes but we did get a surprise visitor. 

We had just passed the second pinnacle and I was so focused trying to encourage a wolfie to show its face, I didn't realise that 3 metres off to my left Elaine had found a nice sized octopus sitting amongst the Dead Mens Fingers. And what a photogenic cracker it was too. It didn't get agitated and was more than happy to sit and pose for photos and swim around for us.
Octupus giving us the fingers. Or tentacles
I got a little video footage as well but I apologise in advance as my rig was set up for stills and I just quickly flicked to video mode as I didn't want to mess with settings in case she decided to disappear. And as usual the white-outs are from Elaines strobes.

video

And here's some more shots of her in all her glory.


I must admit that we did predict wolfies, octopus and angler fish for the dive so two out of three ain't bad. We bimbled on in and out of the swim throughs and picked up some nice scenic shots with plenty of nudibranchs and prawns scattered over the corals.
Lovely nudis sprinkled generously all over the Carr
Not to mention the pink prawns
After we hit the front of the third pinnacle, we were closing in on our deco time and air reserves so we knocked it on the head at 60 minutes. And I can tell you that it's an absolute joy to be coming back in from a dive on a boat that feels as though it's gliding on ice compared to the bloody roller coasters we've been hanging on to for grim death the past 4 months! Four point harnesses should be mandatory on boats in crap weather.......

Like a mill pond inside and outside the harbour
Bacon butties and a flurry of teas took care of the hunger pangs and we made a second jump on the Skellies, again perfectly timed so that everyone had pretty much left the water and it was just us and the lovely scenery. 

The Dahlia anemones where out in a riot of colours and I haven't seen the Skellies looking this nice for a good long time. I mean they always look good but I think they made an extra special effort for us today.
Lovely, lovely colours
And they were pretty prolific as well. Normally you'd get the odd one dotted here there and everywhere but there was nice big groups of them opened up and ready for photos.
More beautiful colours
The vis was gracious enough to improve to 5 metres but still pretty pants for this time of year and to be honest this year is the worst I've seen it for the last 10 years. The weather and conditions haven't been this bad for so long a period, we can only hope things will start to improve over the next 3-4 weeks. The weather has definately been playing silly buggers the last 4 months.
And this cheeky tyke popped out behind me when I wasn't looking
The Skellies weren't particularly bustling with marine life this dive, the odd hermit, edible crab, lobster, couple of wolfies, shoal of pollock, but even if you don't see a lot of marine life it's still a stonking dive just for the scenery alone. 

I know it seems like we only dive Black Carr and the Skellies lately but we go where we know we're going to get the best conditions. No point jumping on a site where the viz and conditions are going to be crap. When the weather gets going, the other dive sites will open up.
Elaine, looking smug, because she found an octopus
We cut the dive at 70 minutes after the universal signal was given for needing a pee (Elaine with the mouse bladder *ahem*) and headed for a pick up. And right on cue, as the forecast predicted, the wind was getting up to speed and I lost my tea off the back of the boat it was that windy.

Lesson for the day; when the winds starts running at 24 knots, you hang on to your bloody cup of tea!