Report for Wednesday 3rd July.
After Tuesday's gales I came very close to hitting it on the head, as more wind was forecast for Wednesday. But a plan was made for Trefor Pier and, as there was a reasonable amount of interest, a decision was deferred to Wednesday lunchtime, which proved to be just as well because, as occasionally happens, Wednesday proved to be a day of light winds and even some sunshine. So Trefor it was at 6pm for high water at 6.45pm, where we were met by a clear, flat calm sea, although a bit swelly under the pier. There were 7 divers and Mike who had come to set up Dilwyn in his spanking new weight integrated BC and to do shore cover. There were also a group of lads doing what Ian informed us was "coasteering" who, we soon learnt from a somewhat irate Ken Fitzpatrick, were doing an exercise with the new Porth Dinllaen lifeboat. Ken's ire had been raised by the prospect of having a bunch of ill disciplined divers (i.e. sans SMB's) in the water when the lifeboat came in to re-fuel at the end of the pier. He was partly placated when we explained that SMB's don't work under the jetty and by us offering to stay on the surface along the pier, but mainly when he realized that he knew several of us, as in "Be' dach chi'n wneud efo hein?" to Dilwyn. His deflation was completed when Mike started tickling him from behind!! So we finned out along the pier and around the lifeboat to the jetty, Brett & Plil leading, followed by Nia and Ian with Dilwyn, Andrew and myself bringing up the rear. Andrew was to do the AS ascents from 6 metres with Dilwyn, both of which went well, but we decided to leave the tentatively planned CBL and tow for another day. There was 3-4 metres viz. and a reasonable amount of life, although nothing like in it's heyday when there was a lot more fishing off the pier. Nia and Ian won the longest dive award, at almost an hour, as well as the shit stirrers of the day award as I can testify as we followed them back in. We adjourned to the Vic (in Llithfaen) to be regaled by Mike's account of all that went wrong on Sunday's diving, which should make interesting reading if he can ever be persuaded to put it in the form of a report.
Wednesday July 10th, Cricieth, West Shore.
With nine in attendance it was decided, being mid tide to opt for a change from the breakwater and to try out the western side of the West Beach at Cricieth. Those of us who arrived early were looking for any excuse to do shore cover and bask in the evening sun as the pile of half submerged boulders didn’t look too inviting.
About three quarters of an hour later, the tide had progressed further up the slope and made the prospect of a cooling-off dip quite appealing. So it was decided on the pairings and each came up with a similar dive plan i.e. straight out and straight back. Dewi paired with Brett, Gwyn with Andrew, Irfon with Ian and a final threesome of Wyn, Nia and Peter (with his new yellow box of magic on his back).
Every one reported an enjoyable dive, good viz and plenty of life including a pair of duelling lobsters on the sandy bottom. We all agreed that this would be an ideal training site, so it will be visited again, soon. It was then off to the Feathers at Llanystumdwy for a late pint in the beer garden.
Dive Report for Wednesday 17th July
We were obliged to make the most of the good weather by getting the boat out. The plan for the afternoon was to recover Dilwyn's weight belt and perhaps one or two of Brett's lost pots, or perhaps a massive anchor rumoured to be off Cilan point. So six dedicated searchers, namely, Brett, Nia, Adrian, Andrew, Gwyn and me, who had dragged themselves away from whatever work they occasionally do, met up at Castellmarch at 2pm There would have been seven but Mike was otherwise engaged with a mattress. Don't ask!! The first setback was when we found that all the waypoints had disappeared off the GPS but undeterred we headed out to the islands, dropped the shot and manoevered it to Brett's satisfaction, so that Andrew and Adrian landed within a few metres of the weight belt. Job done and on to Cilan, where it was still running too strongly for Brett's pots, so Brett & Nia, followed by Gwyn and Andrew went off to hopefully drift past the anchor but the viz. was surprisingly poor and nothing was found. Having run out of time we headed back to Quarry beach at Llanbedrog headland to drop off the majority of the divers and pick up the night shift of Dewi, Wyn, Ian, Phil and Dilwyn, with Ian and Phil doing their first boat dives and Dilwyn just his second. Oh, and Mike, who had been located high up on the headland, possibly looking for the errant mattress, was the last to turn up. By which time Andrew had changed his cylinder and, although given the option to drop out, he decided, perhaps against his better judgment, to stay on. Mike had brought along the co-ordinates for Carreg Fawr, the isolated reef off the headland, which was the planned evening dive. Wyn was first in with Dilwyn and the errant weight belt, followed by Dewi and Phil, the latter without a hood, and finally the trio of Andrew, Ian and Mike. All reported excellent dives, but amazingly for such a small reef, in good viz., which Mike measured as 7-8 metres, and with little current, they didn't bump into each other. Lots of life, and a lot of juveniles, but also, for some reason, a lot of dead crabs and scallops. And no, we didn't manage to drop the weight belt again but it was a close run thing!! By the time we had put the boat to bed it was almost dark and the Pen y Bont had closed, but fortunately the Ty Newydd was open, so Dilwyn was able to visit yet another of the haunts of his youth. I must say though that a lager shandy has never tasted better.
Sunday 7th July
A fine Sunday morning with 5 divers onboard Peter, Dewi, Mike, John and me launching from Porth Colmon and heading off to Bardsey. We decided to dive in the vicinity of the bottle wreck with Mike and John first down and with good visibility you could see them separating, after their dive John reported dropping his goody bag with a bottle in it so asked us to keep a look out for it.
The second wave was Peter, Dewi and me, we got into a rather swift drift southwards with Dewi holding the SMB and Peter and myself either side of him were we came to a large boulder Dewi tried to go round but the SMB had other plans and was going over the top as Dewi was struggling with the bolder Peter was laughing so much he didn’t see his own fast approaching boulder ouch!
Shortly after wards we slowly stopped drifting but this was not to last as the only reason we stopped was because the flow decided to change directions and sent us North but at a more reasonable rate were we all saw a very large lobster but Peter saw an even bigger one.
We then had lunch on Bardsey and decided to dive at Pen Y Cil Cave in the afternoon with John having problems with clearing he decided to Coxs which left Mike and Peter to pair up which left Dewi with me. Mike and Peter went first, their plan was to go in on the main cave entrance and come out of the small one and Dewi and me to enter the main entrance and carry on going.
The start of the dive was a bit apprehensive going into the dark but I kept on repeating Mike’s advise “Look left and go into the light” which worked very well, I was totally amazed at what I saw upon entering and the only way I could describe it is that the cave was like a cathedral it was worth the effort and a fantastic experience as it and all the gully's were so full of life an ideal dive and very enjoyable.
The meeting place was Hydra Fawr, then a swift drive down to the coast to see the challenge.
I was getting a headache just looking at it and used this as my bailout,but Peter came to my
rescue,so no getting out of it this time! So the five warriors got there kit on and away we went,I think its fair to say it was a little warm. As we all slid in the water to cool off we were been carefully watched over by Carol doing shore cover and seals doing sea cover. We went out on 275-300 on the compass in a five some David on the port side followed by Nia me Andrew and Peter on the starboard side. We came to a wall of kelp,at which point I took Nia to port and David went to starboard towards Andrew and Peter. The boss,Nia then signalled to join the others so we turned round and pursued them but didn't see them again so we just tinkered around the Cyprian for a while, a lovely dive I might add. The size off the debris field was huge and was well worth the trip although there was not much life to be seen, cuckoo wrasse, pollock and a crab. Not much point looking for the bell as that was lifted in 1968 . There were some pieces of plates but very little. As we felt the tide picking up we decided to head for shore but that wasn't straight foreword as the steel was playing hell with the compass. We got to the shallows and used the rocks as leverage against the tide which was flowing by now. We got to shore and clambered up the hill and dumped my kit, then met David who helped me carry Nia's kit up. Eventually Andrew and Peter surfaced and clambered ashore. Andrew looked exhausted and it was suggested he needs to do more swimming in the pool! It turns out that Andrew and Peter had missed the wreck and had gone off in search of the anchor which had been released in 15 fathoms but the crew failed to put the windlass break on and the anchor and chain were lost, so they dropped the starboard anchor and applied the break in time and the chain snapped and the rest is history. Without the explorers of this world like Peter, Andrew and David we would never find anything would we. So sorry Nia and myself were so boring and just dived the plan! Apparently there were some large crabs at depth.
Dive Report for Sunday 21st July
As it was a biggish Spring tide Dewi elected to keep it simple by launching at Porth Colman and diving one of the inshore reefs, followed by a (hopefully) slack water dive at Maen Mellt in the afternoon. However, Mike and John had an alternative plan to dive a new (to us) area of the Tripods in order to release a string of lobster pots. So while Dewi drove them over there in Mike's rib I dropped Irfon & Wyn, followed by Peter and Andrew in the vicinity of Irfon's reef, which is out of Porth Colman and a bit to the left. They duly headed off in the direction of Maen Mellt and shortly thereafter Mike and co. turned up having aborted the dive on the Tripods because it was running just a wee bit too strongly. Mike's season just doesn't get any better. This early return allowed Dewi & I to kit up for Mike to drop us, again somewhere in the approximate vicinity of Irfon's reef. When we came up over 40 minutes later, after a dive for the afficianadoes of the smaller, squidgier types of sea life, we were very much alone. The two ribs were just visible way off to the south towards Maen Mellt whereas we had caught an eddy and had drifted back north to somewhere just inshore of our start point. Fortunately, Mike had decided to drop Wyn, who was only doing a single dive, back at Porth Colman and spotted us on his way back there. Lunch was taken on the beach at Porth Oer, where, ironically, there were more flies than even Porth Colmon can usually muster, mostly around me for some reason!! The beach was very busy but Dewi braved the queues to buy an ice cream for anyone who wanted one, but Nia was nowhere to be found, working away in the bowels of the cafe. John and Mike then took off for a spot of collecting while we headed over to see what the conditions were at The Melt. It was still ebbing strongly but there was clearly enough shelter to the south of the island and behind the reef so Irfon joined Peter and Andrew. They reported an excellent dive, until being swept off to the south, and Dewi and I couldn't disagree, as we covered much the same ground until yet another eddy drove us back to our start point by the island. The lesson from the day was clearly not to assume that one wave of divers will necessarily follow the route of a previous wave, as inshore tidal flows are strange things.
Dive Report for Wednesday 24th July
As the dive at Criccieth west beach two weeks ago had caused rave reviews, and the tide timings were similar, although on a massive Spring tide, we opted for a dose of the same. Andrew and Irfon took Dilwyn for the CBL, which should be his penultimate OD qualifying dive, with Brett & Nia, Dewi & Adrian, Wyn & Phil and me & Carol making up the numbers. The conditions appeared to be excellent but the viz. turned out to be a bit cloudy and the fish life was allegedly much inferior to the previous visit! Always the way isn't it. Carol was thwarted from ending her diving sabbatical when her neck seal disintegrated so I tagged on to Wyn & Phil through some very silty seaweed. Peter would have loved it. The highlight of the dive was a juvenile thornback ray but there were more corkwing wrasse than I have seen anywhere and quite a few lobsters so the dives were all reported to be interesting enough. Wyn did manage to lead us back to shore, albeit several groynes east of our entry point and he never thought to blame it on the rising big spring tide!! Chris Green had commented, and I totally agree, that this site makes for an excellent night dive, of which there are several planned for later in the season. It was a balmy evening so drinks were taken outside at the Feathers, with the rain holding off until we were driving home.