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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some of you may recall a few unusual posts from me last week where I appeared to be excited about a shore dive i had heard about. Yes, you did hear right, a shore dive. These are things that I have long held dear to me as something to be avoided, or good reminders why boats were invited.

This dive sounded a bit different however, and the "new" me is determined to like shore diving as, well, basically, they are free :D

This dive was in the Helford estuary and was to visit the Eelgrass beds that are found in one small bit of it. These beds are very special in ecological terms and the big attraction to me at the moment is that apparently the sea hares arrive, grow BIG and mate there. I was eager to wtiness this for myself, the only sea hare I had managed to see before now was a beautiful, but small, specimen a couple of years ago whilst diving the Manacles.

I had been warned that visibility was likely to be poor if it had rained, and it had - it had bucketed down for the first half of the week. However a few dry days gave me hope so we decided to potter down to the site this evening, for a dive just before high tide, to try and get the best of the clean flood tide. Of course, just as we got in the car to leave it started to rain. It was only light rain however, and it was still warmish, with a flat grey sky as it had been all day so we continued on.

The logisitics of the dive involve a trip down a single track dead, end lane, some kit dunping and car removal to a park at the top of a tree-covered hill. Then march the kit down a well trodden and maintained, but steep, footpath to the shingly beach. Boy, was it worth it though. The beach was empty and secluded, and the water flat calm. we took a break and watched the boats on their moorings before deciding it looked slack already and kitting up.

Walking into the water the poor viz did not materialise and I think we must have had a nice 5m which is plently when the deepest you are planning to get is about 7m! It was light and bright and very relaxing. I took a bearing and we swam directly out to get to the eelgrass beds. After about 20m a few patches appeared and a few meters later the beds started in earnest. It was quite weird as the tall blades of eelgrass had their lower halves swathed in thick blankets of dead plankton, making it look as if the seabed was wearing a fur coat. Every other stem seemed to have a resident snakelocks anemone perched precariously about halfway up and looking as though they were clinging on for dear life.

Amongst the plankton we found crabs, and two different types of pipefish. Fry swum through the eelgrass and small wrasse darted about. It wasn't until I was about to turn the dive on half an hour when farntic flashing from caroline's torch caught my attention - the big prize had been found. I turned around and there were three, huge, stunning sea hares. Two were locked in an intimate embrace whilst the third loitered around the edges - ovoiusly waiting a turn!

We watched them and I tried to get some pictures, difficult though it was as the plankton rolled around in a very light movement with the waves above - we were still only at 6.4m, after all! There was much laughing and shrieking in joy through the regs watching these guys who, judging them against my hand, were about 7" long, each. After a while we "high fived" underwater and mooched out way back in.

We surfaced about 10m from where we entered, which I was quite pleased with, given it was done with a £3 compass from Trago Mills :D There was still no-one on the beach, the rain had stopped and the sea was still calm. Bloomin' perfect.

The Loner up close


All three of 'em

Bubbles...

Location, Location, Location
 

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Exiled in Scotland...
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Sounds like a nice day out Lou. When we lived in Scotland/Edinburgh we ha d alot of 'free' diving. We used to dive out of local sites afer work in the summer and on a weekend. Infact this paying a skipper to take you out was something quite new to me.

Dave C
 

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Jonah
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Must. Move. To. South West.

Janos
Yes. The ideal location to see giant waterslugs shagging.


Nice report Lou, sounds like a good day out. And free, which is always good. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Shagging is the wrong word - it was more Barry White style love-making, I'm sure.
 

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YDs Most Southerly Monkey
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Interesting - we have an almost identical beastie here, they sometimes wash up in their thousands after storms; these fellers produce an intense purple dye/ink if handled or upset in anyway.

Eel grass (or sea grass as it's called here) is always worth a looksie and it really gives a good impression as to how important these areas are ecologically too.

It's a great think to live in a place like that; if a dive is to all intents and purposes free, it doesn't need to be gee-whiz to make it quite enjoyable and by the same token, if it's a dud but you paid only for the air, well that's no big deal either, plus you are under no pressure as you know it will still be there next time.

I'm guessing you have few regrets about your move then?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now to find a sea horse Lou :)
LOL! Yes, I was keeping my eyes open. It is very easy to imagine they are there, but I think the deceased plankton needs to clear off before there is much chance of finding one. We both surfaced and said "we will be back" though, so the hunt is on.

No regrets so far, Richard!
 

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Mark Milburn
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Glad you enjoyed it Lou, there have been reports of sea horses there before. I keep meaning to go and have a long slow bimble to see if I can find one. I must admit I was surprised at the vis, but again you never know down here.
 

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YDs Most Southerly Monkey
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LOL! Yes, I was keeping my eyes open. It is very easy to imagine they are there, but I think the deceased plankton needs to clear off before there is much chance of finding one. We both surfaced and said "we will be back" though, so the hunt is on.

No regrets so far, Richard!
I'd have thought not.

Pity you can't make it down here, I can find you big-bellied seahorses (the biggest in the world - upto 350mm long) and leafy seadragons, 5-10 mins drive away.

I'd still like to dive Cornwall though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have dived in Port Phillip Bay, and just outside the headlands there. Wonderful diving, especially the seadragons. The dive in which I spotted a seadragon about 20m from shore and in 4m ranks as one of my top 5 moments in diving. Stunning creatures.

I will definitely go back to southern Aus to dive again - you cankeep the GBR - give me the temperate waters any day!

Mark - if it stays dry this week, then fancy something one evening early next week - depending on tide times? Well up for going back. We did 45mins and came in as Caroline felt a bit cold from our bimble being too slow :D I would be happy spending twice that mincing about - especially with the seahorse temptation...
 

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From the photo's looks like it was Durgan?

Did the shop in Mawgan sell Ice cream?

One of my best every dives was a shore dive in max 8m....
Shore dive... bloody good, easy to arrange/change and cheap!
 

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Mark Milburn
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Mark - if it stays dry this week, then fancy something one evening early next week - depending on tide times? Well up for going back. We did 45mins and came in as Caroline felt a bit cold from our bimble being too slow :D I would be happy spending twice that mincing about - especially with the seahorse temptation...
Can do, I'm free Mondays or Thursdays, running Tues/Weds. Hopefully Friday on Shauns boat. I can show you some easy north coats dives too some time, Port Gaverne is really easy, did a cracking night dive there last November, full moon, didn't need a torch except for the small things, only managed to find 4.6m but loads of flat fish, scoprion fish and baby cuttlefish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Can do, I'm free Mondays or Thursdays, running Tues/Weds. Hopefully Friday on Shauns boat. I can show you some easy north coats dives too some time, Port Gaverne is really easy, did a cracking night dive there last November, full moon, didn't need a torch except for the small things, only managed to find 4.6m but loads of flat fish, scoprion fish and baby cuttlefish.
Date for Monday if the weather holds then! Talk to you about it at the weekend. Port Gaverne sounds lovely too!

Paul - it was Durgan - well, just before, Grebe Beach. Didn't stop for ice-cream but picked up a curry in Truro on the way home :D
 

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Mark Milburn
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Date for Monday if the weather holds then! Talk to you about it at the weekend. Port Gaverne sounds lovely too!

Paul - it was Durgan - well, just before, Grebe Beach. Didn't stop for ice-cream but picked up a curry in Truro on the way home :D
I'm in Plymouth this weekend, I'll be back Sunday PM or you can call my mobile.

There is another place to dive but we don't mention it's name on the net, don't want the emmetts finding out about it.
 
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