Sunday, September 1st, South Side Tombola.
It was almost cruel of us to turn up at Wyn's doorstep at 8:15 am on a Sunday morning in the full knowledge that he had to go to Manchester within a couple of hours for a vacation on the Balsamic Islands or somewhere similar with Helen. We all know that he would of liked to come out and play with us on this cloudy, cold, windy day.
With the full possy of David, Peter, Julie, Dewi, Andrew, Mike, organiser Brett and Manager Irfon assembled, we launched from the Warren and opted to dive in Hell's Mouth. Julie and Irfon had opted for their drysuits whilst the others had stayed faithful to their semidrys, it would be interesting to see who had made the wisest choice! En route we decided to try out Bear Gryll's contreversial slide, but he must of known that we were coming and had taken it down.
Dewi and Mike opted to dived to the north of Trwyn Carreg Y Tir, whilst Julie and Andrew and Brett and Irfon explored to the south of it. The final wave of David and Peter went in search of an errant lobster pot of Bretts, but alas found nothing. All reported very different dives, some saw many fish, others very little, but what was pleasing was the good viz of about 8m or so.
In order to get out of the wind, lunch was taken at Porth Ceiriad. Some who were adorned in semidrys opted to mimic cave dwellers for the duration. We decided then to return to the area of the islands and each pairing opted for different sites. Julie, Andrew, Brett and Irfon dived to the east of chez Grylls, whilst Peter, David, Mike and Dewi went to play with the seals at Carreg y Trai.
Well, and as to how many semidrys that will make an appearance next week, I would say that of Peter's will be the only one ;-)
Wednesday September 4th 2013, Cricieth fish fest.
Calm seas and good weather over the last few days meant that a re visit to the newly found reef at Cricieth was on. There were only eight takers, namely Brett and Adrian, Dewi and Andrew, Nia and Irfon and finally David paired with Carol who was undertaking her first dive of the season.
As we were kitting up on the shoreline, we were greeted by a flurry of whitebait trying their best to commit harakiri by swimming onto the beach. David tried in vain to throw them back into the sea but their numbers were just too overwhelming. After Nia and myself entered, we soon found out the reason for this ritual. There was a school of feeding mackerel whizzing arround us - it was quite mesmarising and will be an experience that will stay with me for a long time. We headed south, it was the logical thing to do and came upon scores of lobsters, some in their lairs and others venturing out for a night on the town.
Many wrasses, blennies and gobies were encountered on the way. After 30 minutes we came onto the sand and agreed that we would spend a further five minutes heading south. As it turned out, this was an excellent decision as the variety of sealife we came upon was fantastic. Firstly Nia spotted a plaice, then a ray of some sorts, possibly a small eyed ray. Then two juvenile gurnards made an appearance, one red and one grey. Then it was the turn of an octopus to show his camouflage skills, firstly by blending into the seabed and secondly by burying himself upto his eyeballs in the sand.
After five minutes we promptly turned round, we could have easyily stayed, but plan the dive and dive the plan..... We came upon many lobsters on the return leg, seeing some for the second time. Nearer to shore we spotted a Dublin Bay prawn and some creature which I've yet to identify. Our final spotting was a common eel rummaging amongst the seaweed along the shoreline. It was now dark, Brett came to greet us and to shine a path up the steps and back up to the car. We recorded a 66 minute dive and could have easily stayed another half hour or so, next time I'll bring the twinset!
It was then over to the Lion for a pint and to have a game of fishy top trumps.
Sunday 8th September. 2013. Moel Trefan Quarry.
You’re not going to believe this but due to an adverse weather report not many phoned in! So, late Saturday night it was decided to do some adventurous diving! Peter and Mike were the only locals and were joined by Kirk and Julie all the way from Shrewsbury.
Meeting at Penygroes Police Station (the new one) at 10:30hrs. The journey there, some showers then sun. Passing Trevor there was a lovely view of a very diveable sea.
We set off with Sherpa James leading the mission, onto the track (the odd shower) but generally very pleasant, including the view of the very diveable sea. Climbing higher than Dorothea and having passed through a little mist? Low cloud? We descended into a sheltered picturesque, rugged slate valley.
Peter’s briefing: “There’s an old lady missing, they’ve looked everywhere including my place, she could be in here.” (She wasn’t).
We dived the larger pool entering at the side of the kelp!!!! Found a maximum depth of 13.5m. (me). Vis acceptable, looking for a drop off - not to be. Peter recovered a deck chair which he took home, I think.
Peter, Kirk and Mike decided to do the smaller pool. The sensible one did shore cover. Peter was in first and last out, (semi dry suit). A 10m deep scrap yard. Kirk was out shortly before Mike and had dressed and was about to assist Mike when a scream of: Aaarrrrghhhhh was heard throughout the peaceful valley, followed by a large splash ie. Pooodooosh, funny no expletives (they could have been drowned out by Julie’s laughter).
A good morning for most which ended back at Pete’s tumble dryer.
P.S. Kirk can I have my cap and towel back please, sorry for charging you £30 over for your membership and laughing. Honest.
Dive Report for Wednesday 11th September.
A miserable weather forecast so only a few diehards and one shore diving novice were interested. We kept to the plan and met up under the suspension bridge at 6.30pm. It was drizzly but thankfully mild for the few still in wetsuits. The novice, Mike and his camera, had insisted on being teamed up with the other arty type Andrew leaving Phil and Irfon to join me. The water looked just a bit on the cloudy side and with it being a fairly big tide we were in just after 7pm to make the most of what little slack there might be. It wasn't really a night dive but it wasn't far off. The viz.turned out to be an OK 2-3 metres but surprisingly there was little activity on the north side with the anenomes closed up and few crustaceans about with only poor cod skitting around. Something like normal service was resumed on the south coast where the anenomes were all open and the crabs were abundant. We turned round after 20 minutes just before reaching the south side kelp line but the turned current picked up out of nowhere as we headed back having stumbled on the cable. It had been a very short slack as it had still been running as we headed out. Must admit that Mike got some excellent pictures, the one of a camouflaged dragonet is brilliant. Incidently it was the first he has ever seen!! Andrew also pointed out a butterfish, which he thinks he might have seen before. We'll have to show him a dogfish next week. Most then recovered with a curry, although one of the arty types (guess which one?) still had the energy to rile the barmaid.
Dive Report for Saturday 14th September
With the weather forecast for Sunday being a tad blowy Wyn moved the diving forward a day and, with strongish north/north westerly breezes expected, arranged a tractor to launch the Club rib at Aberdaron. There was only minimal interest so Wyn, Melanie and myself met Mike in the NT carpark for a 9.30 launch. The actual weather was warm with blue skies and light breezes throughout the day. The launch went like clockwork and we had Mike and Melanie in at a slackish looking Carreg Ddu before 10.30. Seems though that it wasn't as slack as we thought as Mike got blown off as soon as he put up an SMB. Melanie managed to stay in the lee of the rock on the east side, but both reported poor viz. Wyn and I still decided to do the same dive and were rewarded with slack throughout most of the dive and better viz. of 4-5 metres and thus an excellent dive. Magnificent topography and boulders and masses of life. It was back in to Aberdaron for lunch for Mike to buy a pie and join the NT. Wyn dropped out of the afternoon dive as his drysuit had leaked badly and he was wet from neck to toe and so offered to cox. I fancied a nice little drift but was out voted so it was off to Porth Ysgo for Mike to collect scallops and Melanie to look at sqidgy things. We had a plan but no doubt you've heard the one about the little terrior who always seems to get lost or go off in the opposite direction whenever it's let off the lead!! So for Melanie and me there was a lot of kelp and a cobbly bed, all into a current, and a gentle drift back to where we had started from. Be warned! I did, however, learn that the spongy looking orange things that were so abundant were called orange sponges. Oh to be a marine biologist. The recovery was ahead of schedule and effortless so we had the boat tucked away by 4.30 after a pretty good (half) day's diving. Sunday's weather did, for once, turn out to be as forecast so many thanks to Wyn for his initiative on both counts.
Dive Report for Saturday 29th September
The organisation of the dives this week was down to two time lords. Dave was chief time keeper and Gwyn his first hand!!
Dave was on a different time zone on Saturday evening, loosing and hour and prompting Andrew to send out an SOS stating that Gwyn was awol and for all calls to be directed through him. Lucky enough there was little lost as there was limited interest in the dive on Sunday although forecast for the conditions were looking quite favourable.
Time problems continued on Sunday morning. Gwyn was 10 minutes late and Wyn and David wait for no sleep deprived diver. The chase was on and I caught up with Butch and Sundance in Rhoshirwaun. We met up at Aberdaron in the NT car park. The tractor launch took us in at the far end of the car park as Gwynedd council have seemingly forgotten to take up the boards for the winter. The launch proved to be efficient and David, Irfon, John, Wyn, Mike (ex Man U fan) and Gwyn made up the morning crew.
The first dive was set for Ffynnon Fair (Mary’s Well) as Mike and John remembered diving there in a bell suit sometime after the First World War. And what a good choice that was by the ‘ole timers. Mike and John wizzed in first quickly followed by Irfon and Gwyn. Great dive site, teeming with life and the good viz allowed from great exploration. Wrasse, Pollock and Crayfish amongst the life encountered. David and Wyn went in as the third party, Wyn popping to the surface slightly earlier than planned!!
A return to Aberdaron for lunch as Mike and John had a game of bowls to attend to and Wyn wanted to check if his wind turbine was still turning. In came Brett in their place and the east side of Ynys Gwylan Fawr (Large Seagull Island) was chosen for the afternoon dive. Dave had a bit of a mishap as he went to the aid of Brett at Aberdaron (pee zips are very useful when closed after the deed is done!) so decided to sit it out on the boat as Irfon led Gwyn and Brett on a great drift off the islands. The highlight was the dead man’s fingers, the large mussel beds and yellow sponges that peppered the sea bed.
A return to Aberdaron at 2:45pm led to us leaving Pendre in good time. Maybe we would have been home earlier had my reversing been better. A good day’s diving had by all and my thanks to the gang for the good company.