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Snap Happy
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So there I was, St Abbs was a mere 160 miles from home, a straight run up the A1; up, a couple of dives and back in a day!  Easy right?  Just over a couple of hours - could almost do it in my sleep.

Ah, ignorance is sometimes bliss! but little did I know that just past Newcastle the A1, superquick, dual carriage way becomes A1 slow single carriageway with even slower lorries and road works and 30mph limits in places - boy was this a long drive!  The diving had better be worth it.

So, got there nice and late but still with time to acquaint myself with this mecca of UK dive sites (at least the top-side bits) before PaulC rocked up - this was, after all, my first trip there and in fact, my fist UK coastal dive.  The tide was very low but was already coming in.

So where's the entry/exit ramp / ladder, after all I was used to Stoney et al where such things are in abundance. Ah, its over that bit of wall there.....Jeez! I've gotta climb down there!  AND back up? What even with the water surging like that?  Well if that was the worst of it then the rest would be easy.  Back to the car park to meet SteveW and his girlfriend.

30 minutes later PaulC arrives and we quickly get kitted up.  Then we get unkitted, me to rejig the weights, some of which are easing nicely into my kidneys and then Paul to retrieve his car keys from his undersuit pocket in order to get his compass from the boot of his car - or at least I retrieve them from his undersuit breast pocket via his dry suit zip, looking like the oddest pair of gropers you're likely to see in a car park - during the day at any rate!

So rekitted we made our way to the entry point sliding gracefully down the rocks and gliding gently into the lovely warm, welcoming water lapping seductivley against the harbour wall - kinda.  That was the difficult bit over.  The rest was absolutely fantastic.

Cathedral rock first with Paul leading the way and although the viz was 5m (apparently poor but better than I had experienced anywhere else in the UK ie.Stoney, Caps) I could see all the various plant and fish and soft coral and crusties that I had read about and seen numerous piccies of - a group of velvet swimming crabs, shoals of pollack the odd wrasse and a monster octopus - really it was B-I-G, well for an octopus anyway. Then a really excellent bit, the mini drift through the arch - Cooool!  Back up and then the swim-through above the arch.  A slow swim up through the kelp (how much fun is that?) really more of a 'grubbing' than a swim to find a wee scorpionfish - niiiice.

Then, after the safety stop, back to the exit - the tide had obviously come a litle higher since our entry but boy, was this difficult!

Second dive was Big Green Car for a visit to the Ampitheatre and on a hunt for the wolf fish. SteveW and his girfriend had already seen this little honey on their first dive - twice in fact and very friendly it seemed to be, fantastic, this was another reason to come this far in a day.  So the hunt commenced.  And went on all the way around to the ampitheatre which I wasn't able to appreciate in all its glory as the viz didn't allow it - never mind, there were friendly wolf fish to be seen - apparently.  We did get to see mucho lobsters and more crabs and octopus (that is, singular) having circumnavigated the rock with nary a sight of this wolf fish - it must have seen us and bolted!  So back towards the exit point though more kelp (it realy is excellent fun isn't it!) to settle at 8m to practise deploying my new DSMB with spanking new pocket reel :tip1 - pocket reels are much easier to get at if clipped to your jacket.  Paul filled the sausage and up it went.  Well it would have done but first we realised we needed to work out how the reel worked - done and off went the SMB.  Wind him up to 6m, stop and surface.

Tip2 the gully where the harbour wall meets the rocks may look like a good exit point - believe me it isn't!  So after being thrashed against the rocks I make a strategic retreat and try again a few feet away - altogether easier - if it hadn't been for the weights, tanks, fins, blob and reel of course, but a little impromptu help from an amused onlooker sorted that out.

Dekitt, pack-up, say our goodbyes to Steve and girlfriend, de-bunk to the bar at Scoutscroft for dive-logging and pint and then that delightful journey home.

So all-in-all two really enjoyable dives, pity about the relatively poor viz and elusive wolf fish but all the more reason to go back again - soon, in fact very soon!  

Also importantly a really enjoyable day with other YD'ers - I'm really pleased I found this site.

Cheers Paul!

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