Its early September and despite the risk from bad weather and further impacts from the coronavirus a dozen members from iDive set off for 6 days diving. St Abbs for two days and then the Farne Islands for four. We were lucky, the weather held, in fact apart from a bit of increased wind on the Sunday we had fantastic weather and were able to do two dives a day for the 6 days. We enjoyed some great visibility with some days up to 15 metres of clear water.
Dives varied from rock walls, to wrecks, from kelp forests to large seal colonies whose antics kept all amused. The dives were as varied as the divers. We ranged from Ocean Divers to Advanced Diver Instructor and all points in between. Many took the opportunity to add key dives to the qualifications required to achieve the next level, some achieved qualifications for their dives, whilst others just took the opportunity to enjoy a number of days diving.
Day one we dove on a reef at about 16m and also the wreck known as Peanut. Visibility was just 6 metres but a good starting dive. The second dive was on the wreck of the Glanmire at about 30 metres where we were spoilt with visibility of around 15 metres. Day two of St Abbs saw us diving a wreck at 21 metres. Then whilst on route to the second site we were treated to an amazing sight of a large pod (possibly 50-60) dolphins which Jim (the skipper) caught up and we watched them making progress along the coast. Jim also claimed to have seen a whale but no one else saw it sadly. Dive two was a cliff dive with huge numbers of lobsters, crabs, shrimps and Dead Mans Fingers.
Moving to Seahouses our first days diving was on Longstone and Blue Cap. This was followed on day two by a dive on Knifestone Rock which was like an adventure as after swimming through forests of kelp we encountered the huge remains of the wreck of the Abyssinia. Seals abounded as did many other sea creatures and sea vegetation. The second dive of day two was on the Big and Little Hacca where once again we were treated to seals and some cod. Day three took us back to Knifestone where once again we were amazed at the abundance of sea life. The second dive was on the wreck of the Chris Christianson which lies at around 30 metres. Finally, day four probably produced the most spectacular dive of the week with a trip to the Hopper the first dive then a return to Knifestone and the Abyssinia where the seals were in a very playful mood and the abundance of all manner of sea life meant the 45 minutes under water was full of things to see and watch.
The trip was equally very social. In Eyemouth we stayed at lodgings operated by marine Quest We were well looked after with a fine breakfast each morning that set us up for the day. Jim, our skipper, was both knowledgeable and helpful. The teas, coffees and hot chocolate, as well as cake was a welcome luxury between the dives. Moving to Seahouses most stayed at the Hides, which although the rooms are small did give an excellent base and a great place to return to for post dive tea and then meals and a small drink in the evening.
Michael and William from Farnes island Diving (also known as Billy Shiels) also looked after us. We shared the boat on the first two days with other groups but the Monday and Tuesday we were the only ones on board. Sadly no snacks between dives due to Covid so we self-catered for the most part.
Buddy pairs changed daily giving everyone the chance to dive with someone new each day. That is except for the three twinset divers who opted to stay together claiming some form of moral superiority over mere single cylinder divers. Either way divers reappeared on deck after their dives with grins from ear to ear and tales of sightings of all manner of sea life.
Whilst in Eyemouth we ate out each evening but the availability of a kitchen at Seahouse’s meant that several closet chefs leapt at the chance to show off their culinary skills. We ate well on prawn curry, chilli con carne (for most) and pizza. The last night was a banquet of freshly caught mackerel, courtesy of Alan Beaumont and Dave Grimson followed by Sirloin Steak.
This was an amazing 6 days of diving brilliantly organised and orchestrated by the Club Diving Officer, Alan Beaumont.
Written by David Hopps