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St Abbs October 2016

7th/8th October 2016 – Kevin Walton

After a week of many trials and tribulations the time had come to throw my kit together, chuck a few clothes and a toothbrush into a bag and set off on the road to Scotland. After Matt picked me up we collected Richard X and squeezed three sets of kit and three divers into the car and hit the M62.

Arriving at the familiar Rock House, all the weekend divers piled into the new refurbished kitchen and caught up on the years diving. Diane, Steve, Jill, Kate, me, Matt, Richard X, Richard W, Kevin H, Nick, Syd, Huw and Frankie crammed into the small kitchen area. The topic soon came around to the weather and easterly winds predicted for the morning. Would we dive or would we be blown out, a question only the morning would reveal.

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Shore Diver crashing through the waves

After few more bottles of beer and wine bed called and Saturday morning soon came about. Peering out to sea it was clear from the white horse that the sea was a bit “lumpy”. However, it was fine and the wind slight. Skipper Paul cast his experienced eye out to sea and announced “we’re on!!”.

Kit and cylinders were loaded onto the boat and all kitted up in the shelter of the harbour. The boat left the shelter of the harbour walls and out into the choppy sea. The boat listed and rolled and powered out to a hopefully sheltered Petticowick Bay. First dive and we’re in. Vis not great, but plenty life could be found. Small flat fish, cuttlefish, dead mans fingers and the usual sea fare were numerous. Back onto the boat heading for the shelter of the harbour and the world famous Cullen Skink.

Oh no!! Word arrives of a dive boat in trouble, seemingly the steering has failed leaving divers in the sea. Other dive boats pick up the divers but the stricken dive boat needs lifeboat help.

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Donate to the St Abbs lifeboat!!

Back on the boat for a second dive and the sea hadn’t flattened. Another bumpy ride out to Skells this time. Slightly more exposed the swell had the boat bouncing around. However, falling over ourselves to position over the lift we jumped in one after another and narrowly missing a box jellyfish we all sank onto the sea bed. Once again the life was abundant with soft coral, kelp and anemones. Lobster, crabs and ling could be found lurking amongst the rocks. The gentle current pushed you along the gullies and rock formations across the zillion brittlestars and occasional sunburst starfish at around 20 metres.

sunburst-starfish

Sunburst Starfish

Then the fun begins on surfacing. The swell was, well, a bit rough. Eventually the boat came around and with the lift listing and rolling getting back onto the boat was “fun and games”. With a few green faces we headed back to shore for showers and drinks and prepared for the evening trip to the pub.

We all headed across the coastal path to the New Inn in Coldingham for a fabulous meal and one, two, three and perhaps more drinks!! A few of us decided to carry on to the Anchor for Jager Bombs and beer, because we could!! Back to the bunkhouse for a couple of nightcaps and then to bed for the next day’s diving.

beautiful-day-at-st-abbs

Beautiful day looking across St Abbs

Sunday morning revealed a bright clear day with calmer seas. Decided on Black Carrs for the third dive of the weekend. Dropping to 20 metres swimming through fabulous gullies covered in dead mans fingers, anemones and sponges of all descriptions we came across an Anglerfish hunkered down on the sea bed. Seemingly not phased by two slightly odd looking divers shining torches over its head, it remained on the seabed curiously peering back.

Finally for the last dive we re-visited Skellies and found our way through a maze of gullies and walls covered in sea life, encountering wolfies, ling and cod along the way. A couple reported seeing octopus, however you can’t always believe all you hear!! Sadly that was it, the fourth dive over and back to the harbour for de-kit, wash down and inevitability of the long drive home.

awesome-gullies

Awesome Gullies

However, we got a full weekend diving and beautiful sunshine and great company. Thanks to Diane for organising the trip and hope to see you all again next time.

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St Abbs – August 2017

Another glorious weekend. A little windy on the Friday so we didn’t get to do the long trip but excellent visibility and fine weather. Water temp 13/14 C.

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Thomas Tunnock Independent St Abbs Lifeboat

Thomas Tunnock
Independent St Abbs Lifeboat

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A smaller group. 10 of us snugly fitted into the bunkhouse but with the fine weather outside most of the time anyway.

Kicking off with the Glanmire (a splinter group to The Craig south), The Craig north, Black Carrs, Conger reef (Weasel lock towards Eyemouth), Glanmire (again !!!), Tye’s tunnel (splinter group towards The Craig but deeper).

Glanmire had excellent vis. A little dark since there were a few clouds but was easily 7-8m.

The Craig is an area we don’t dive much but at 20m there are some fantastic gullies to explore full of life (Wolfies, Conger).

Conger reef (start at Weasel lock) has an unprepossessing start (kelp) but as you move along there is lots to see in the wall (lot’s of Leopard Spotted Gobies and juvenile fish, Conger later on).

Fish and Chips at Scoutscroft takeaway excellent. Food at the New Inn is good again. BBQ with steak on the menu – really going upmarket ! Can always recommend cafe on the harbour at St Abbs – Cullen Skink, Mackerel Pate, Crab anything and of course the cakes.

 

 

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St Abbs July 2016

A fabulous weekend. Flat seas, sunshine and good company. Oh, and we did a bit of diving as well !!

Staying with Paul and Rachel at Rock House is always a pleasant experience and this was no exception.

We had some in the group new to sea diving and this was the perfect setting and conditions for them to experience british diving.

A good dive then

A good dive then

Spot the fish

Spot the fish

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Didn't rain on our parade

Didn’t rain on our parade

Tides out then

Tides out then

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St Abbs October 2015

A glorious weekend. Perfect skies and seas. What more can you wish from UK diving.

Waiting for a trip report.

 

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St Abbs – October 2014

DSCF0487 DSCF0472 DSCF0431 DSCF0416 DSCF0415With the remainder of Hurricane Gonzalo battering Britain there were a few concerns about the potential for diving. We need not have worried. The southerly wind was sheltered by the high cliffs at our favourite dive location !

So we have enjoyed 3 glorious days. The sun has shone, the sky has been full of stars at night and we have enjoyed 3 days of diving. Trues the viz has not been the best but 4-5m is OK in the UK and there has been plenty of life to observe. Several Octopus sightings and lots of young critters. The variety of dive sites as ever making each one different. The glorious colours of the dead mens fingers and anenomes, the writhing masses of brittlestars, the chasms to explore, the rocks to peer round and under, the walls to investigate and above water the great scenery.

Thanks to Paul for his excellent skippering and Rachel for her welcome, as always, at Rock House.  www.divestabbs.info

 

 

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St Abbs 23rd-27th July 2014 (long weekend)

With the country basking in glorious sunshine and high 20s temperatures we headed off for St Abbs in late afternoon. Imagine our concern as we neared the border and found patchy mist at the coast.

Thursday was our trek north starting with Bass Rock. That white capped haven for gannets in the Firth of Forth. The cliffs are spectacular from sea level and the noise awe inspiring. Jumping in and going down the rock wall that seems to stretch away forever, teeming with life as we drifted gently past selecting our depth and hiding against the rock whenever something interesting was spotted. as we went further round we emerged into the lee and could explore at our leisure as we slowly ascended the more stepped face. Fantastic nudibranchs. Second dive, the River Garry, a flattened wreck just off the power station. Lots of nooks and crannies to explore amongst the rusting iron. As the day progressed we started to ‘see the light’ and so the customary BBQ was enacted.

Friday. Let’s go south. Although in reality we could have been going round in circles given the sea fret. There was enough visibility to recover divers but not to see the shore clearly. Our first appointment was with the Shadwan. On the way there porpoises briefly joined us. A broken wreck with lots of opportunities to explore. In the afternoon we dived at the ridges of East Neuk, off Burnmouth. There was some old wreckage – boilers, block and scattered plate but it rapidly became lost in the silt as divers stirred up the sandy bottom. The current took us, and the silt along the hollow between the ridges. Several of us ‘swapped’ ridges for slightly clearer viz. Again the clearing skies gave the opportunity for another BBQ. Well done Richard for the lamb koftis. A few of the party had to leave us for pressing engagements ant the weekend, so there was a small swap over.

Saturday dawned, a glorious day, and with it the opportunity to dive the Glanmire. Imagine our skipper’s consternation when another boat was there ahead of us with a  gallon container as his shot line buoy. There followed the inevitable jockeying for position and banter. They went in first, a little early for the slack. When our turn came there was a little current running but easily manageable. Octopus !!! Out on the plates for all to see.

A quick change and then to the cafe for the best Culen Skink. Whilst enjoying that the Eyemouth Herring Queen, with her entourage, arrived and then alighted her water craft during our surface interval.

Afternoon Black Carrs, Wolfie spotting. Time for change in the evening, so off to Coldingham and the New Inn Beer Garden. Seemed a good idea until the rain started to rain. We hid under umbrellas and some sought sanctuary inside. We decided on fish and chips but then it started to bucket down. Somewhat damp, we scampered to the bus stop.

Starting with the Skellies, a glorious dive through the fantastic variety of terrain that St Abbs can offer and ending at Anemone Gullies. Then our last dive at Wuddy Rocks and the swim through into the sheltered shallow bay with lots to explore.

Through the long weekend  we spotted Angler fish, Scorpion fish, Leopard Spotted Gobies, Tompots, Coger, Seal, Lobster of all sizes including crusty, Crabs of all varieties, Pollock, Cod, shoals of Coal fish, Dogfish, Flatfish, Butterfish, Starfish, Sunstars, Brittlestars, lots of varieties and colours of Anemones and Dead Mens Fingers. Visibility, excluding diver input was a fantastic 10-12m. A great 4 days diving. Can’t wait to return.

Many thanks to our fantastic skipper Paul and the lovely Rachel for looking after us at Rock House Diving.

There's a lot of gannets

There’s a lot of gannets

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Wolfies rule

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Old crusty. I'm not going any further into this cave for the photo !

Old crusty. I’m not going any further into this cave for the photo !

Hanging out

Hanging out

Shrimps need to watch out for their bigger brothers

Shrimps need to watch out for their bigger brothers

Lemon ?

Lemon ?

Anyone for cauliflower ?

Anyone for cauliflower ?

Who's hiding in there ?

Who’s hiding in there ?

Pollocks

Pollocks

Spot me if you can

Spot me if you can

Scorpion fish

Scorpion fish

You're in my patch

You’re in my patch

Who  ? Me ?

Who ? Me ?

Coal fish

Coal fish

Too tired to swim ?

Too tired to swim ?

Skellies

Skellies

Eyemouth Herring Queen setting off from St Abbs

Eyemouth Herring Queen setting off from St Abbs

Boats outside St Abbs harbour waiting for Herring Queen

Boats outside St Abbs harbour waiting for Herring Queen

Eyemouth Herring Queen parade in St Abbs

Eyemouth Herring Queen parade in St Abbs

Octopus !!

Octopus !!

What's this for then ?

What’s this for then ?

Just going for a stroll

Just going for a stroll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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St Abbs

Friday

Driving up on Friday filled with optimism. The sky was bright, we were going diving !

A select group of skivers managed to get up to St Abbs for a late afternoon dip on Friday and then enjoyed Fish & Chips in Eyemouth.

Saturday – over exposure saturday (only from Jill)

We awoke Saturday to sunshine and a flat calm sea. Had we been transported to some mythical land?

There was some initial hope of the Glanmire but because of the slow group before we arrived on station to find the tide already running.

So we travelled onto Back Carrs – Great visibility meant an excellent view of the wonderful anemonies all around. Plethora of lobsters throughout the whole weekend and Gary found an Octopus!  Wolfies were also spotted but swirling currents made for tired legs.

Back to shore for lunch and then out to Weasel Loch. There were Leopard spotted gobies,  Jumbo prawns and lots of Shellfish. Also spotted Butterfish & Topnot blennies. Diane saw a conger!

Excellent weather made a BBQ a must, excellent catering from Gaz with excellent supervision from Steve. We were treated to an excellent fruit salad courtesy of Julia. A hardy contingent braved the chill evening air as the temperature sadly dropped.

Sunday – Dizzy Sunday for Julia & Matt

Managed to get out of the harbour with some skilful driving by Paul due to very low tide, but it was a VERY long ladder for little people!

W. Hurca swim through –  Another Octopus found by Jill, or following her and Steve.

Inlet for exploring. The tide was going forward for 2 and back for one. Spotted; Pogge.

Wuddy Rocks – Caves to explore, which Kate enjoyed. Spotted;  Mackerel shoals. Faltfish. Anglerfish.

An excellent weekend, with surprisingly nice weather on Saturday. Great visibility and lots to see.

Emma & Ray Dawson

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