Sunday 2nd July
Friday afternoon I had a call asking what the vis was like on the south side, pretty good the answer was. I agreed to call back 5:30 on Saturday to help organise best plan of attack.
On Saturday it was agreed to dive South side and launch from Castellmach, then to go over to Ynys Gwylan Bach. At 7:30 the plan took a sight change due to only 4 divers interested.
So at 9am we all met at Plas Yn Rhiw and set off on Top Cat at 9:30.
Slack at Ynys Gwylan was expected to be around 11 am, so the plan was for a drift or a dive closer to the Island. When we arrived there was still tide, so I suggested a leisurely tour of the island looking at the puffins and all the other birds. We came back to the area I had proposed to David and the tide had slackened enough for Mickey and David to kit up and away they went. They entered on 11 metres around 50 yards west of the island and came up after 38 minutes having reached 28.8 metres, having had a good dive through gulley's. Me and Andrew entered slightly more west again and started in 15 meters and got to 22 metres. and had a 48 minute dive.
This was without doubt the best site I have ever dived, It was awesome.To start off with the topography was very good, it was covered in various weeds of all colours ,but no kelp! Then there were the Pollock,ballen wrasse, cuckoo wrasse, corkwings,tom pots,squatties, a Candy Striped Flatworm. Then there were the Edible crabs, which were around 4-5lb in weight, awsome, Then Andrew called me over to show me some prawns, well we all know what that means, so what was attracting these dozen or so prawns. On closer inspection of this big back hole, turns out it wasn't a black dark hole after all it was the biggest conger I have ever seen, I would say its girth was easily between 2 and 3 foot. Well we have all heard of free Willie, well this was big Willie. Andrew tried to get a selfie,I half expected to see him end up as lunch! We saw another conger at the end of the dive but that was tiny, only about 8-10 lb, didn't even raise the eyebrows. I will be doing this again and I hope to encounter big Willie again sometime soon.
We then had lunch in Penrhyn, and watched the young peregrines taking some training flights. We headed down into Hells Mouth for a spot of pot retrieval. Both teams attempted and failed, but went on to have a dive of 41 and 51 minutes. We saw many Pollock,wrasse,coal fish, Andrew notched a lobster and we also had a seal for company for a while. And to top the day off I showed the team my blue lobster, which was then returned V notched of coarse.
Great days diving.
Wednesday July 5th, Porth Ysgaden.
Permission was initially obtained from the farmer at Hirdre Fawr to dive the Cyprian off traeth Rhosgor. However after that afternoon’s milking, the herd of 350 odd cows were placed in the field where we would be parking our cars. It was thought best therefore to change the plan somewhat and dive instead at Porth Ysgaden.
The sea looked very inviting as there were few waves and the water was gin-clear. We eventually decided to head out of the bay and cross over to the seaward side of the rock and to dive as a pair and a three in a group of five. Nia and Mike Duke would supply shore cover.
Irfon led the way with Brett and Melanie whilst Andrew and Mike Fahy brought up the rear. The vis was amazing, probably in the region of 10-12m which made navigating a pleasure and spotting various fish and crustaceans a doddle. Sea temperature was 15°C, we recorded depths of around 10m and 45 minutes in duration. Unfortunately Mike lost a torch and a knife, so be on the lookout.
Drinks and banter were shared at the Lion for a change.
Sunday 9th July
Wednesday July 12th
The plan was to go out on Top Cat and dive Brett's Ridge, which meant meeting at the national trust car park and then transport all the gear down to the Rheol. We had a full boat with 6 divers but
Brett decided to cox instead. Mike, Adrian and Jake, first in then it was myself and Laura on her first boat dive and with a 15L tank. The vis wasn’t as good as it had been only 5 to 6 m, well we have been spoilt this summer. We got down to 16M and a dive time of 50 min Laura did very well. It was then time to pop up to Brett and Nia’s for tea and scones.
Dive Report for Sunday 16th July.
As is getting to be the norm there was limited interest with the total signing up being 5, although with the variability of the various weather forecasts it was perhaps to be expected. Mike didn't like the plan, which was to go out from Castellmarch but probably have to stay inshore, so we were down to 4. Brett had again offered us the use of Top Cat so when Sunday morning turned out to be misty and breezy I changed the plan. Jake and Melanie were the other divers. With a big swell and a strongish northerly wind lasting until mid-afternoon all dives were in the shelter of Rhiw mountain. Jake and I did an unsuccessful search during low water slack for a lobster pot of Brett's missing off the point but as the tide had started running by the time we came out Brett and Melanie did a drift from inside Hell's mouth past Trwyn Talfach. Both were much impressed with the life around the point. Our second dives were further into the bay but somewhere none of us had been before. We started on a shallowish reef, which was thankfully clear of kelp, before drifting over an interesting bed of gravel, cobbles and boulders. Viz. was a surprisingly good 5 to 6 metres and there was plenty of life, so better than anticipated. We ended the day eating Laura's (that's Brett & Nia's Laura and not a non too subtle hint to the Club's Laura) excellent cakes while drifting off the point watching a small pod of dolphins including a mother and calf. So a good day all in all. Meanwhile Mike had implemented his alternative plan and roped in Andrew to have a search in Porth Ysgaden, during mid-afternoon high water, for Mike Fahy's lost torch and dive knife. Andrew found the torch straight away but they had no luck with the knife. It is reported that the viz. was unbelievably good, although this season you can actually believe it!!
Dive Report for Wednesday 26th July.
Right on cue, with the school holidays upon us, the weather goes down the tube. There was absolutely no chance of a sea dive, given the weather and the time of the tide, but Andrew suggested, as 3 of the trainees had e-mailed their interest, that an outing in the North Wales Inshore Diving Centre (NWIDC), named such so as to keep the dreaded words "Dorothea Quarry" out of the reports (oops!!), might be just what was needed as they all needed to do either CBLs and/or deeper dives. As it happened 3 instructors, namely Andrew, Peter and myself, were available and with Mike offering his services to do shore cover we had the perfect turnout. We met up in the Talysarn carpark in order to transfer gear into the minimum number of vehicles, which was just as well as the road in is in pretty grim shape, i.e. about the same as normal. Peter took Wil for his deeper dive to 20 metres and, due no doubt to the excellent viz., managed to show him the tunnel, and the miner's huts at the end of the promontory. Anyway, Wil was beaming about the dive and, judging by some of his later comments, was still somewhat narked from the experience. Laura and Gwenno perfomed CBL's from 6 metres on each other after first doing mini lifts, but Andrew decided to delay the associated tows until the end of the dive. The plan had been for the 4 of us to stay together but after following Gwenno, who had clearly been taking finning lessons from Mike, for a while and realizing just how silty the bed is, Laura and I headed off across the causeway to the far side, meeting the wall at about 19 metres before heading back. The expected thermocline was very evident at about 9 metres, but whereas it felt like it went down to about 5 degrees, the actual drop in temperature was from 18 to 10 degrees so Laura, who had opted to dive with out an undersuit, may still need it in the winter. Gwenno and Andrew also made the far side of the causeway at about 13 metres but had to turn back as Gwenno knows how to get through her air. The heavens opened as we got changed, and the drive out felt more like a trip in the Malaysian jungle than anywhere in this country. After sorting out the gear Peter treated us to an outing to Yr Afr, but the local one and not the one in Bryncir which we were expecting. It was something of an experience as he chose the quieter of the 2 bars. It seemed a bit as if no one had drunk there since last Christnas, but there was a round table made for 7 so we had an enjoyable drink.
Wednesday 19th July – Porth Ysgaden
Good vis, pleasant weather and enough divers meant that the intended dive at Porth Ysgaden would go ahead. David, Wil, Melanie, Andrew and Laura were the divers and Irfon supplied the shore cover.
A dive planning meeting was held afterwards at the Lion.