From our planned week long trip in Shetland we had only 4 dives but had spent 5 days at it. We were desperate to try and recover some diving. So to our rescue came Paul Crowe at Rock House in St Abbs divestabbs.com offering us 2 dives Thursday pm, 2 dives Friday am and accommodation for the night. Very convenient as a halfway stop on our journey from Aberdeen to Huddersfield. So the logistics worked out perfectly.
And so did the diving. Fine weather and OK visibility. 4 excellent dives. Cleaver Rock, Black Carr, Wuddy Rocks swim through and Anenome Gullies.
One of our long awaited trips is on the cusp. Are we going to Shetland ? Will the weather gods smile on us ? What will Bob decide. Will there be any lockdown changes ?????
We all travelled up to Aberdeen, in glorious sunshine, for the Saturday night ferry to Lerwick. Full of hope but knowing there was a storm coming our way !
A very calm crossing and quick disembarkation meant that we loaded the Clasina and were on our way very quickly for the first dive. Fraochpan (trawler on white sand) at 30m. Only small but upright and very recognisable as a boat with life colonising the relatively recent wreck. Flatfish all around on the seabed. 2 Octopus on the wreck and 1 a little way off. A great start.
Then, the start of the conversation about the storm due Wednesday and when to make the crossing to Orkney. Never mind, focus on the diving. Two more dives today. Lunokhods (Klondyker) in 40m. Everyone found the shotted bow section but only one team managed to follow the wreckage trail to the shallows. OOOPS. Visibility not great (my excuse!).
Off to Giants Legs. Two arches and a cave in 20m max. Everyone successfully navigated this and had a great dive. Lots of life all around. Scared the seal out of the cave.
Decision time. Can we face a rough crossing for 14 hours – NOOOOOOO. Decision made easy then. Steam for Orkney in the evening and arrive in the early hours.
Awoke docked at Eday. Slow start to dive the Char (Oceana). Broken wreck in 16m with a few swim throughs. Good visibility and lots of life. Things are looking up.
Spoke too soon, The boat has engine problems. Need to get to Kirkwall and an engineer ASAP. No diving for the rest of the day. Go for a wander. Highland Park shop is open but not a lot else.
The situation is terminal. Boat is properly broken. Some serious engine dismantling and parts needed. No more diving for us. Can’t get the next ferry until Wednesday night so 2 days ‘at leisure’. Means different things for different folks !
Not the result we had hoped for.
Please see the next instalment – short notice St Abbs – on the way home.
Well. What to say. It’s off. Then it might be on, with restrictions. Then who wants / is able to go ?!?!?
Anyway. Six of enjoyed a fantastic weekend.
The weather was phenomenal. Wall to wall sunshine Saturday and Sunday after a grisly drive up. Alternating between downpours and sunshine.
Socially distanced in accommodation sharing the bunkhouse, the Cottage and camping and the dive boat with a maximum of 8 on board. It all felt very strange. Obviously no helping each other kit up except for the drysuit zip.
Fortunately, once in the water all that could be forgotten. Wuddy Rocks to Black Carr. 12m viz, lots of crawling life and Wolfish, Angler fish, Nudibranchs. Jill and others claim seal action under water. West Hurca. 15m viz. Fantastic colours and shoals, Sand eels schooling to protect themselves from the prowling Pollack. Tye’s Tunnel. 15m viz. Bit swelly going in but good nevertheless. Then out towards West Hurca route. Lots of Wrasse of all varieties. Weasel Loch. 12m viz. Lots in the crevices including Tompots and leopard spotted Gobies. Adam found an Octopus. They’re always there. Can you find them ?
St Abbs at its best. Including Cullen Skink at the cafe (well take out).
Many thanks to Paul and Rachel at Rock House for a fabulous weekend. http://divestabbs.com/
Good recommendation on the chinese takeaway. Chu Hoi. https://chu-hoi.business.site/
Forecast for 3m swell?!?!? Should we take our dive gear ? Good job we listened to Paul and not Richard !!!!
Despite the awful weather earlier in the week the weather was improving. So we drove up in sunshine full of hope. The never ending debate going on. Where should we get our Friday night fish and chips. Giacopazzi’s won, what a great choice http://www.giacopazzis.co.uk/
A very chill evening so taking all the wearable gear into the bunkhouse for maximum benefit in the frosty morning. A nice leisurely start to the day (courtesy of the tides). Paul was promising nothing except the ability to put us in and get us out.
So the first dive was from West Hurca drifting toward St Abbs. A really nice drift, visibility about 2m and not much life except the crawling kind but good to cover anemone gullies. Just over 30 minutes was enough for us all at 8 degrees.
Lunch interval, so a rapid traverse to the café for Cullen Skink (the best in Scotland).
After lunch the intrepid 5 (losing Richard) took to Black Carrs. It really was black, like a night dive, forcing focus on the torch beam but better vis of about 4m. The highlight being the anenomes out and feeding and their glorious colours – pink, white, mixed, reds.
Diane had done most of the dinner preparation so a quick round of spud bashing and we were ready for the New Inn (walk for the hardy). Then a return to a sumptuous Christmas dinner followed by who can remember what.
Lazy Sunday with breakfast in the café. Not quite the plan but it worked out well. So fully fuelled a few of us went for a walk round Gibside with the obligatory coffee (near Newcastle https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside). Well worth a visit.