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‘A Tale of Two Trips’ – with apologies to Charles Dickens

It would seem impossible for two dive trips to be both very similar but astonishingly different. Yet the trips to Plymouth in June and St Abbs in July were exactly that.

Both trips were subjected to extreme weather which included wind, heavy rain – VERY heavy rain – but warmth and sunshine as well. Both trips exemplified the determination of Huddersfield BSAC 18 divers to get in the water come what may and subject themselves to the rigours that the sea and climate could throw at them. Mind, not all could cope with the stresses placed upon their bodies and they fell by the wayside only to resurrect themselves again and leap heroically once more into the salty depths or go home.

Plymouth

Our brave divers first sallied forth – actually south, with dire warnings of high winds and higher waves ringing in their ears, mostly through the latest smartphone technology, and headed to Plymouth.  Some had already seen the writing in the waves and stayed at home to cut the grass and earn Brownie points with the missus.

Those who made the trip – optimistically in shorts & Raybans- were met with glum looks by the Dougie, skipper  of the  Oucast, and the staff at Aquanauts who suggested short term patience would be rewarded by future submarine excitements as the winds and waves would subside.

Alternative plans were formulated which involved drinking lot, sleeping a lot and shopping. However, here we are an imaginative set of divers who would not be deterred from the thrill of an underwater experience – yes – you’ve guessed it – they went to the aquarium. Such a myriad of marine life was on view that it was possible that the actual diving, were it to take place, could have been quite an anticlimax. Some took their desire to dive even further and, armed with the latest swimming creations from Primark, headed to the heated pool on the Bovisand Caravan Park, scaring off all the other revellers – kids mostly – with impressive stride entries and forward rolls.

The much loved ritual of the dive trip BBQ had to be postponed and a shuttle of taxis took the still optimistic group to the Eddystone pub perched on the headland above the campsite. Indeed , views of the famous lighthouse were possible in the breaks in the cloud cover which, miraculously  merged into glorious evening sunshine.

Despite the welcome return of the sun the wind showed no signs of abating and a further postponement of diving was inevitable.  The group broke ranks and shopped, sought culture, or went back to bed to catch up on richly deserved rest. Those who had missed the delights of ‘virtual diving’  at the aquarium – actually, just Syd – could not resist the lure of giant Congers and fearsome sharks all safely behind 150mm of plexiglass.

Normal dive trip routines thankfully returned with the lighting of the Heppie’s BBQ,  one thousand year old, well travelled furnace . The mood was as buoyant , as bellies were full, with news that diving was a definite for the final day. Hurrah….  All retired to dream of the wondrous sights that would be experienced the following day or to nurse their indigestion. (Slippery elm is recommended)

So, on board at last, kitted up at last and heading out to the open sea and the prospect of a thrilling dive on the Elk. Down we plunged  and Damian, our stressed dive sheriff, (note the new title for the previously named dive manager, or , for the really old ones, dive marshall) and his deputy Matt, gracefully missed the wreck and became intimately acquainted with the minute detail of the sandy sea bottom. The others managed to become physically familiar with the wreck but still did not see it. Yes, the viz. was pants.  Returning, overwhelmingly disappointed with the dive our spirits were raised by the Captain saying that we were the only people out diving that day on the south coast and possibly in the whole of the UK. Our chests puffed out with pride and much back slapping ensued, which only goes to show how idiotic divers can be.

Finally the Captain dropped the five remaining hardy divers into a area  of the Sound where the Santander ferry usually manoeuvred  before docking.  Diving was delayed due to the imminent arrival of the ferry until the Captain checked the timetable and realised that he was an hour adrift. With explicit instruction to release their DSMBs early for subsequent location and possible signalling requirements  , the foolhardy five leapt in. The remaining wimps stowed their kit and enjoyed the sun and the views.

Suddenly, almost from nowhere, the ferry emerged and started to bear down on us. Three divers returned and safely re-boarded. But where were Syd & Will?  Minutes ticked by and no bubbles , and certainly no DSMBs could be seen. Concern mounted. Should the ferry be stopped until the divers were located?  Would we have to leave Syd & Will to their fate? (Fortunately a vote was not taken).

Finally the orange blobby appeared and Syd & Will secured on board again, we sped the scene as the ferry majestically rotated on the very spot our divers had surfaced minutes before.  And the reward for this life-threatening escapade  – a lot of silt-filled and dead scallops.  Chastened and wiser (well, some of us anyway) from our experiences we hastened home and were back in the arms of our loved ones in record time – well, Damian was driving.

St Abbs

Barely had we time to rinse and dry out our kit before we set forth again. North this time for the newly established mid-week/ weekend St Abbs trip. The signs were mixed as some travelled in shorts and T-shirts, and others in winter woollies.

Dianne’s Plymouth chilli was equalled by Richard’s culinary creation and enjoyed by the early arrivals. An early start tempered the usual first night revelries and most retired in good time to be fresh for the morning.  The early birds smugly informed the late arrivals that their kit was already assembled and stowed on board the boat, but …so sorry… the boat was now moored out of reach!  Such minor irritations however are of no consequence to our professional, technically masterful divers and a prompt start was still achieved.

The weather signs were difficult to decipher, but as we progressed north toward the Isle of May and our appointment with Primrose – not a character from Fifi and flowertots, but a wrecked trawler –it seemed  that the sea was going to be kind to us. We should have known better.

Warnings of gales from the south were heard and as soon as we had finished our second dive, ‘The Island’, we turned for home into the teeth of the gale.  Each coped differently with the conditions, some unaffected,  some queasy, some seeking the pivot point from where you should feel stationary – hah!  And your glass-bellied writer flat on his back, eyes closed, teeth clenched and  devoid of colour. We somehow survived and gratefully returned to the calm of the harbour. Unfortunately our first victim of the trip, Damian, inexplicably suffered perforated eardrums on his first dive.  He has not determined how it happened, and a visit to A & E next day set him on the, probably long, road to recovery. It is a statement to his ebullient self that he did not let it get him down.

Yet again the weather put paid to the dive BBQ and we trudged along muddy paths to the New Inn arriving just in time for our booking as the St Abbs bus had failed to arrive due to flooding. Typically, we were undaunted by our recent maritime tribulations and enjoyed good food and good company.  However, our second victim, Jules succumbed overnight and dizziness rendered her unfit to dive.

The full impact of the previous evening’s storm became apparent the next morning as the whole of Coldingham Bay had turned as brown as chocolate (sort of Dairy Milk colour) and even St Abbs Bay was a muddy colour. However, the sea was spent and swell diminished and our depleted band headed north again to the ‘River Garry’. We were surprised and not just a bit elated that the viz was not the expected chocolate soup, but a reasonable 4-5m.  Continued  calming of the sea allowed a further veg. dive off Brander Point and a calm return to harbour.

The weather was still not up to  BBQ standard so the energetic amongst us,  Matt, Syd & Ray – note, the older members of the group – walked to Eyemouth and feasted on fish & chips, mushy peas and ice cream – well, let’s be honest, diving is just a time filler between meals!

The appearance of Chris, Ros, Andy and Frederique seemed to trigger the desire for a party with much quaffing of beer and wine.  Frederique was monopolised by Syd, despite well meaning warnings in both English and French from the assembled group, and she retaliated with an immortal ‘Le piss-off’ to Richard, which will live in the collective memory for many a year.

We rose on Saturday to discover  a third victim, Richard,  had succumbed overnight to a stomach bug. Knowing looks and raised eyebrows suggested a degree of incredulity in the diagnosis given the consumption of the previous evening. Fortunately, the normal  late Saturday start permitted a degree of bodily recovery, also for Ray who had complained of being cold the previous evening, but for whom a good night’s sleep had helped recovery but had not made for any quieter night for his room mates.

Saturday dawned bright and cheerful we waved a sad farewell to Frankie who took the perforated Damian back with him. Jules, still unable to walk in a straight line, went back with Dave, intending to visit country houses and stately homes on the way. While, back in St Abbs the sun shone and sea slept, and with numbers bolstered by new arrivals we headed to a leisurely amble around Black Carrs. Everyone appreciated  the  benign conditions, especially the ‘Stugeronites’ who had a rare pill-free day.

The call of the Glanmire could not be resisted despite the usual misgivings about darkness and poor viz. But, hallelujah, the viz was excellent and the light good. In fact, there seemed more divers in the water than silt or plankton. Ascending a shot line liberally decorated with decompressing divers proved interesting.

Eventually the weather permitted the long-awaited BBQ cooked by Chris on Paul’s new shiny multi-burner, gas-fired monstrosity. Chris became well smoked and stirrings of cannibalism had to be suppressed. But  poor Richard had to be satisfied with a couple of muesli bars and a potato as his delicate stomach would not allow any of the usual fare that everyone else enjoyed.

However, before we could even begin our BBQ preparations, more excitement came our way. Paul and Rachel, in an eye popping skimpy hot pants  – no only Rachel was in the hot pants, emerged for a night out. At that very moment sirens wailed and Paul performed a creditable 10 second dash to the lifeboat station. Cars came rocketing down the slope and the life guard rib descended hurriedly into the harbour. Off it powered toward Eyemouth hotly pursued by the main lifeboat out of Eyemouth itself. We thought it must a major incident to bring both lifeboats out, but no, it was just some fool who had got stuck on a cliff and, to compound his idiocy, managed to climb back up again! We were all impressed with the speed and efficiency of the response except  for Rachel who was well miffed that her night out had been so delayed. I think she made up for it later!

On Sunday, the elements continued their benign state other than  the odd shower, so off to  the Skerries we steamed. Viz was so good and the marine life so abundant that your humble writer rated it as one of the best St Abbs dives he had experienced!  However, despite the presence of one of the greatest octopus finders of all time – Steve- no such tentacled cephalopod could be found. The challenge was on, and only one more dive to go!

Off to Wuddy Rocks we went, through the gullies and out into Black Carrs we finned and …yes… Steve pointed excitedly – it was an octopus …… but dead, and being feasted on by a starfish.

Could this be as close as your desperate writer was going to get to the submarine Holy Grail?  But…. only a few minutes later Steve pointed excitedly into a rocky hole…… and there it was!…. well, it’s eye anyway…. and it was definitely alive!   After a 2 year wait there it was , at last. Much shaking of hands and silly grins were evident – if you can have a silly grin with a reg. in your mouth.

Of course , no-one else spotted the elusive beast,  but then they were not diving with the octopus master!

So, dear reader, I know you will agree that only as divers can we have experiences so similar yet so different. It is our lot to cope with both the superb and the bloody awful. But then that’s what makes us who and what we are ……. Idiots.

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Channel Islands – 10th -16th September 2011

There have been some very famous British maritime explorers, Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, Earnest Shackleton and Richard Ward……………….who?
OK, Richard Ward may not be quite as well known as some but in the ranks of Huddersfield BSAC 18 he is known for single handedly organising famous expeditions to the Orkneys, the Shetland Isles, Oban and, most recently, the Channel Islands.
Commander Ward, as I shall now refer to him, has all the hallmarks of the great explorers. Great organisational skills, a steely determination, uncanny man management skills, a capacity to respond rapidly and positively to changing circumstances (mostly climatic) and a profound belief in the principles and process of democracy.
The long awaited exploration of the channel Islands became a story of both profound and very ordinary experiences to those intrepid followers of Commander Ward  – Steve and Diane, Kate, Gaz, Damien, Frankie, Scott and Lynne, Will, Ray and Matt – your humble author.

It was a trip of firsts. The first affected by the tail end of a hurricane (Katya) which frustrated the attempts of Commander Ward and his boat Captain Darren, to achieve the longed for goal of land fall on the channel Islands. The first time Frankie had been seasick but certainly not the first time Matt had been. The first trip, for Scott, to the James Egan Layne in all its rusty abundance (but no John Dory). The first trip where two, almost legless dogs (Daschunds or sausage dogs to you) called Sinbad and Popeye, held court on the upper decks entertaining us all with their vertically challenged antics. The first trip in a steel hulled ex. auxiliary fleet tender which was well appointed, well organised, well spacious (mostly), well equipped, well skippered (apart from shot placement ) and various others wells I can’t think of.

It was a trip of dangers. Descending to the Scylla, our intrepid explorers were confronted by the guillotining action of a huge metal plate at the bottom of one shot line or a huge barrel drumming its deadly tattoo on the hull at the bottom of the other. Only their great skill and buoyancy control saved the team from that great watery dive site in the sky (or is that a contradiction in terms?)
It was a trip of spookiness with a ‘hangman’s head’ on the Scylla – you’ll have to ask Diane about that as I haven’t a clue. The deep Clyde like gloom on the Armed trawler (no it was not a boat with arms) and the weird current on the Scylla that tried to suck you into the bowels of the ship. Perhaps it was the ghosts of those poor, unfortunate divers that had so recently perished inside!

It was a trip of love. A trip where Steve formed a deep and abiding devotion to Sinbad, or was it Popeye, with the devotion being returned in full measure. Or was he just sitting in the right place? A trip where the obsessive/compulsive ‘love gift’ purchasers were frustrated by closed shops whenever we were able to make land. They resorted to sending IOU’s on postcards to their loved ones…………how romantic.

It was a trip of unmentionables mostly blocking the shower waste pipes. This was variously blamed on foaming shower gel/shampoo, disposable contact lenses but was really just a load of………………no, I can’t say it. Of course it was all the fault of previous passengers/divers most of whom were foreign……….probably French or Belgian and probably women. (thankfully no photograph available)

It was a trip of democracy in action with Commander Ward giving his devoted followers the opportunity to vote on whether to push for the Channel Islands for one day, or not. It was a ‘hung’ vote, three in favour of a push to the island, three in favour of the security of the south coast and three wanting chips with their tea (actually it was for an attempt on the Scillies). Commander Ward had the casting vote. This is where his steely determination came to the fore, as he was driven to fulfil his promise of getting all his disciples to the Channel Island by hook or by crook. So we settled in for a 10 hour steam there and a 10 hour steam back where much sleeping, reading and listening to music went on. It was quietly mentioned that there is a lot to be said for benevolent autocracy.

It was a trip of accommodation inequalities with Commander Ward and his cabal of youthful (well relatively youthful) followers, commandeering the largest cabin and the rest of the group squeezing into the remaining couple of square metres. To be fair, however, we were constantly reminded that we (Matt, Ray, Gaz and Will that is) had the best cabin
for rough seas as it lay at an exact rotational pivot point such that, whichever way the boat rolled we would be completely motionless………………..yeah, right.
It was a trip of discovery with Steve finding an almost full set of kit over the week – probably on ebay soon. Matt finding a handy double clip which, in a moment of uncharacteristic generosity, benevolently gave it to Gaz. He later realized that he could have done with said double clip for his Practical Instructor Exam (doh). Ray decided it was time to buy a new bottle for his auto inflate blobby a determinedly chucked his current one into the briny.

As in all feats of exploration and derring do, there were times of social conflict, personal irritation, tedium and tiredness. But, there were also many times of humour and even hilarity, wonderment, excitement, close camaraderie, a sharing of experiences and enthusiasms (often underwater), of help and encouragement and an overall sense of achievement and personal satisfaction. We all came away happy and desperate to, yet again, follow our beloved Commander Ward to the far flung reaches of the United Kingdom and toward the setting western sun.

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Llyn 2011

The much vaunted but oft cancelled trip finally happened. The weather on the drive there was disconcerting. Hailstone in June ? Fortunately there was a warm welcome and some excellent beer (Purple Dragon) waiting in the pub in Criccieth when we finally arrived.

However, waking on Saturday to a bright blue sky and a few whitecaps out in the bay was a revelation. Only slight problem was the early start (7.00 am) to avoid being grounded on the river at low tide. New Shearwater is a fantastic boat. Much more luxury and space than we have ever seen in the UK. Full internal seating area, walk though onto bow area, flying bridge deck seating, storage and kitting area for 12 divers !

Glorious trip out to Bardsey Island spotting for wildlife on the way; some dolphins out in the distance, lots of sea birds, including shearwaters. As a consequence of the previous rough weather the surge was still strong on the south west tip so we opted for the more sheltered option to the SE of the island. Jumping in close to the cliffs we headed down to 20m for a bit of exploration. Vis was about 5m with lots of life and colour – lobsters, crabs, blennies, gobies, pollack, wrasse and nudibrachs.

With the early start everyone was ready for a feed, so off to the islands off Aberdaron for a quiet mooring. The puffins, gannets and a lonely seal entertained us as we lounged in the sunshine. Eventually we had to emerge from out stupor to consider the 2nd dive. We agreed on the drift between the two islands. Jumping in at intervals, stopping to admire anything wasn’t really an option ! The kelp and the wildlife fairly whizzed past.

After everyone had had their bit of excitement we made our way towards Pwllheli. At the ‘dolphin spot’ we were rewarded with the sight of these always exciting characters at play. Don’t know where the day had gone (a little too relaxed I think) but we didn’t get into the marina until 5.00. So then the dash for fills and showers ! The remains of the Wakestock festival day and start of the evening events slowed us down only a little.

If you have ever dived this part of the world then a visit to Tynrhos is essential. In a ramshackle outbuilding lies a wonder of Engineering, the compressor system, and you get the chance to talk to Chris. As an added bonus the drive up there gives outstanding views over Abersoch and the bay. On that day, with a clear blue sky reflecting on the water, there couldn’t be any better place to be in the world.

Well, pub again for an excellent meal, beer and talk of exploits old and new. Then another early, but slightly more civilised 8.00 am, start. Can you believe it, sunshine again ! Although we didn’t get much time in them everyone said the B&Bs in Criccieth were really good.

Headed out to Bardsey on fast burn ! Not quite flat calm but pretty good. Does it get any better than this: blue water, fast boat, comfortable accommodation and sunshine. Looking for the early slack. SW tip this time but coming back along the shore to avoid any current. Classic Bardsey terrain with sculpted rocks and boulders – lots of places for the life to scurry into. Great colours and lots to see. Everyone came back with the stories of what we each just missed seeing !
The back to the Aberdaron bay islands and the bird watching for a well deserved break. Since this was our last day we didn’t lounge about too long and headed off to the cliffs around Hells Mouth for a very gentle drift. Lovely location for small critter spotting, just at the edge of the sand as the rocks start up.
Well worth the wait to this dive weekend. Many thanks to Alan, our skipper, and Roy, the first mate.

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Shetland 2010

Report by Ray Dawson
Pictures by Julia Clark

Sunday
After a luxurious cruise from Aberdeen to Lerwick, well for 8 of us (the others slummed it in the bar), we arrived with the dive boat nowhere in sight. Fortunately Bob was more organised than Kate. He was parked around the corner whilst Kate went through her entire phone directory looking for him. Our rescuer arrived with a borrowed white van to liberate our gear from the livestock container. When we arrived at the Boat we met Mary, when Wardy asked if she was our cook for the week she replied she was a deck hand. Wardy asked her who would be cooking and she replied ‘You are self catering!’ After a few times saying ‘your joking’, Mary believed us and scuttled off to Tesco’s and returned laden with carrier bags in a taxi. 2 hours later we were in the water diving on the Pionersk, a huge rusting lump of metal at 20m. After an excellent lunch of soup and bread, courtesy of Mary, we set off to Noss.
Bob took the boat into the biggest gully to demonstrate what we needed to do as divers below. Three gullies and a cave. Kate could hardly contain herself. Down into the water and we could all see each other with viz of 20+metres. Lots to see, congers, fantastic lobster, scorpion fish and the colours were amazing. Back up to the surface to be greeted by a wall of smelly gannets. A great days diving!
A walk along the coast in Lerwick and we saw a large group of seals playing in the water. Then a visit to a local pub, the Captain Flint, for pre dinner drinks. Dinner was a great spag bol and apple pie. After dinner we did Kate’s postponed quiz and Jules was the close run winner.

Monday
Up for breakfast at 7:15 and in the water for 8:30. A little earlier than expected for some. Out of the darkness emerged the perfect wreck – upright and deteriorating gracefully. The shot was in position on the bow. From 6m above you got a panoramic view of the entire wreck, bow to stern and boiler between. A few people spotted the gun off to the side. At 38m just enough time to do the full length and back to the shot. Lots of life to see, notably angler fish, hermit crabs and Pollock. On the shot line we had the interesting jacuzzi of bubbles as 12 divers ascended at the same time and completed their deco stops.
We then headed north towards Unst (the most northerly of the Isles). There were much needed bacon and egg butties en route.

The second dive was the Jane. Descending through a huge shoal of coal fish that joined us in the dive, we came upon a truly photogenic monster propeller. The slowly rusting wreck was perfectly framed in the golden sand. Dogfish, wrasse, congers and little scorpion fish littered the broken structure of the wreck. Eventually everyone succumbed to the pull of the current and went with the flow in search of scallops, along the way finding more dogfish and a huge orange spotted plaice. Jules our resident cinematographer has video footage of an encounter with a john dory.
After diving we had a walk up to the tangoed bus stop, a bus shelter with a difference. Orange accoutrements including, curtains, chairs, cushions, soft toys and flowering marigolds. Given our exertions a short adjournment was called for on the return journey and Springer’s Bar (The most northerly pub in the UK) was in our direct line of travel. This was an opportunity to sample the locally brewed Valhalla ales. Mary excelled herself with a lovely Thai Chicken curry followed by an enormous Eton mess for afters. Still feeling energetic there was a further foray to the bar before retiring.

Tuesday
Anticipating a force 5 we were pleasantly surprised with merely a breeze and light rain. The first lucky 6 kitted up for the early morning dip. Descending down the shot, the water was clear, the elliptical shape of the E49 (UK WW1 sub), was an enticing silhouette in the white sand. Moving towards the conning tower the parting plates revealed the detail beneath. 20m away lay the remains of the bow, torn apart from the body by the force of a mine blast. The extremes of the wreck were shrouded in the gloom beyond the limit of the viz. Ascending up the shot line we reflected on the life we had seen below – the unusual blue tusk, the hiding ling, the small flat fish hiding in the sand and the numerous hermit crabs scuttling away. Whilst the first group dangled at 6m, the second group charged past, eager with anticipation. The second ‘ray’ of the dive was spotted hiding in the sand as the last group of divers ascended.
Making use of the surface interval, we mounted an expedition to the Unst Boat Haven and Heritage centre, where Damian gave us a knitting demonstration whilst appropriately dressed in a local granny’s costume. Kate, devastated that we wouldn’t dive the most northerly tip of the island demanded that we at least see Muckle Flugga. A short trip up the military road gave us a perfect view of Burra Firth and Britain’s most northerly lighthouse. Given the time we had taken we hurried back to the boat for a lovely lunch of soup and scallops.
The second diving opportunity was very limited due to the inclement weather so the decision was made to repeat the morning’s wreck. Even greater detail and wildlife was spotted on this second opportunity.
Restricted to staying in Balta Sound another visit to Springer’s was called for, where the majority of the group enjoyed a whale of a haddock and chips.

Wednesday
Up again expecting a 9am dip which somehow ended up as 8:30 again. Tonis Chandris was a broken wreck lying upslope. Kate, hallucinating again, thought she had been transported to ancient Greece and visualised the Parthenon amongst the vertical struts of the rusting wreckage. There was ‘a little swell’ so a number of divers took cover in the shelter of the overhanging plates. The kelp was tall and swaying leaving a number of the party feeling slightly unwell but the way back to the shot was easy. Just follow the drive shaft standing proud of the sea bed. The lucky few saw the octopus streaking away from Damian.
Wardy having taken the name of ‘curly tails’ and ‘fluffy tails’ in vain, cursed the Rayburn. So a cold lunch of sandwiches and accompaniments which had to be sought from the only shop for miles.
Braving the weather to go further south we headed to the white Lady of Queron and dived in some gullies with some lumps of metal remaining from the Bohus. Jill having tried to slash her wrists only succeeded in damaging her suit. This provided the evening entertainment (fixing the suit and convincing Jill that she would be able to go to the ball (Dive)!)
We enjoyed a hearty stew in the remote location of the Out Skerries. 26 families and the Mad Hammer Man (one of Bob’s tall tales).

Thursday
Only 15 minutes to diving AGAIN. The ship whose name cannot be mentioned had a few long hollow cylindrical metal pieces lying in the sand. This was a vertical wall with crayfish found at 30m in the crevices. Lots of other crustaceans and dogfish hiding in the kelp.
We enjoyed a well deserved lunch of sausage, beans and fried potatoes, whilst steaming towards the Giants legs. Three passageways though a headland. Kate, our resident caver, and Jill were told the cave was very nice. This was a dive for the gardeners with lovely jewel and dahlia anemones, dead mens fingers and nudibrachs. The seals even came to play with some lucky divers.
We docked back in Lerwick with enough time for Damian and Gary to visit every shop to buy their appropriate love gifts. Meatballs, mash, peas and Mary’s tasty speciality of swede, sweet potato and carrot mash. The select few chose the cultural activity after dinner and enjoyed a slice of Island heritage with some fiddle playing in the local pub.

Friday
Apparently there was a glorious sunrise but only Mary was up to see it. We did however awaken to blue skies. After waiting for the channel to clear we made the shot hop to the Glenisla. Descending down the shot it looked very gloomy. Then the wreck appeared, sat upright on the bottom, waiting for us. Despite being down for nearly 100 years the detailed features were still clearly visible – engines, boilers, winches.
The adventurous had just enough time to cover bow to stern – the deco time quickly racking up at 40m. A cracking dive!
Then we had a choice for the afternoon dive. Being generous souls it was agreed we would give Kate and Jill the opportunity of seeing the cave at the Giant’s Legs. This necessitated a large amount of detailed instruction and guides to ensure they could find it ! Even more to see the second time around and the seal came out to play again.
Now the sad part. The diving was complete and it was time to pack up and head home. We must be more efficient than we look because we had everything in the container in lots of time for the ferry so had an opportunity to explore a little more of Lerwick. The cultural amongst us ventured to the excellent new museum where we just happened to enjoy coffee and cake as well. Diving is such a high energy sport !
Being more organised this time we managed to book the restaurant on the ferry. The fact it was full on the way to Shetland was a clue it must be OK. We were not prepared for how OK. It was excellent.

Saturday
Rising bright and early with the docking at Aberdeen we collected cars and kit and started the homeward journey full of great memories and promises to return.

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