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Hi all,

There are lots of Farne trip reports on here, but I thought I would report ours this weekend anyway, mainly as we did some dives I haven`t done before, and have some great things to say about Graeme Harrison and his RHIB Moby.

The traffic report just about said it all before leaving Leeds for the 3 hour journey up to Beadnell. Junction 60 (Durham) was shut due to a big accident and there was an 8 mile queue. A quick glance at the map made the desision that the A19 was the road for us. Well, I am now a full A19 convert, clear roads all the way and by 9.45 Lou and I had found the farm we were staying on and had cracked open a bottle of champagne - Lou had just been offered a postdoctoral fellowship at Leeds Uni, so definitely something to celebrate!!

Annstead farm, our home for the weekend is just under half way between Seahouses and Beadnell. They have numerous cottages, a bunk barn and 3 perminantly erected tents. As we booked this trip quite late we went for the latter. £10 per person a night certainly wasn`t cheap, but the beds were comfortable, all tents having 2x1 bed areas, 1x3 bed bit and 1 fold down bed in the middle. The 3 bed area will partition into a 2 and a 1. Not a lot of privicy though!! Loos and showers (20p for 8 minutes) were all close and very clean.

Graeme Harrison, the owner / skipper of Moby (8m yellow RHIB i`m sure everyone has seen out at the Farnes) came by at about 2230 to say hello and to arrange a meeting time for the morning. Everything was set for 0830 on Beadnell carpark. After a few beers we retired for the night.

The next morning the weather looked a bit grey, but not too bad. The sea was a little rough, but nothing major (contary to other skippers opinion!!). We loaded out kit onto the boat while it was still on the car park, and tractor launched it. As the twin 125HP engines roared us towards the Farnes it became clear this boat was not only clean and well maintained, but very stable and seaworthy.

First dive was governed by the swell rolling in from the North east. We dived Blue caps, which is a nice enough site, nothing spectacular, but we did have some inexperienced dry suit divers with us, so we had to do something appropriate for them. Most of the group (except me!) saw seals, the tide was running a bit, so not the most comfortable dive ever. 2nd dive was a bit of a drift and very pleasent. Big and little Harcar are just east of Piper Gut, so there is a small amount of tide running. Very pretty with max depth of 12m - again, so seals for me - although I am told there was one playing with the SMB when I was inflating it!! Full gas shutdown drill mid water while drifting - HAVE IT!!!

That evening, after filling cylinders at Soverign Divers (N Sunderland Ind Est) it was fish and chips followed by the pub. A 15 minute walk into Beadnell found us in the Craster Arms. This pub is quite busy during food time, but quietens off later on. A strange co-incidence then occured. I was busy supping my pint when someone comes to our table and asks if we are Leeds Uni, furthermore if Paul Beal is there. He then introduces himself -Steve Walker! Really good to meet Steve after several conversations on here and as I have nearly dived with him but had to duck. Seems luck wasn`t on their side as they didn`t get in the water until 1600!

The next morning, it was down the Beadnell for 0830 again, bacon butties all round and kit loaded onto the RHIB. We headed out, but first, Graeme went to find the Somali for a group of divers who were kitting up tied to a lobster pot, not the wreck! I think it was this boat that had a bend onboard later on. We dived St Andre, I have done this a couple of times before, really nice dive, 24m, saw all the wreckage including the boiler. Guess what, still didn`t see a seal!!

Second dive, Loch Leven on the north end of the island with the red and white lighthouse on it. This was supposed to be a shallow wreckage dive, unfortunatly the North Sea swell had really picked up and it was more like a washing machine dive. Nice wall, would have been better if we could have enjoyed it more.

All in all not a bad weekend, no seals for me, and a bit unlucky with the weather, Graeme is a top skipper and a very nice boat, highly recommended. Great to meet Steve W too. Camp site nice, wouldn`t be too comfortable on a wet weekend I don`t think though

Any questions etc, reply or email me!

Paul
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Aye, diving is a small world innit? Good to finally meet you too Paul seeing as our last Farnes bid was scuppered

If it's any consolation, nae seals for me &  Ben either, unless you count the ones seen from the boat.
However, Gav & Fi who had a little more prior knowledge about the first wreck the "Chris Christensen" DID have a seal encounter. So anyone else who goes to the Farnes and does this wreck, swim north-west and you'll come up the wall of Longstone (I believe) where a seal encounter is a bit more likely.
Sunday our boat took us to the Somali then some nameless gully. Have to say I wasn't impressed by the Somali, I thought the CC was more interesting, but that could have been down to the poor viz. Ben got a quick lesson in "Spot the Beastie" and I managed to spot for him his first lobster.
Spot of excitement on our boat when one lad (non-YD-er) ascended solo and none too slowly, felt a tingle and went on the O2, dived the next day with no ill-effects (AFAIK).

Chee-az
Steve
 

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Hi Guys

If you really want to swim with the seals, the best places are in Brada, which is the little bay at low water, on the southeast corner of Longstone. Also the north side of Knivestone at low water. They also congregate on the east side of Crumstone, South Goldstone (or Oxscar), which is above water at low tide and the north corner of Megstone at low tide.

Cheers Ron
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Yeah, I pretty much concur with Stevie.

I really enjoyed the C Christiansen - nice bimble about - deco up the slope and then being buzzed by a couple of smallish female seals and one dirty great big mother-figure of a bull.

Fi - who is often a delicate flower - explained to me on the surface that the sight of the huge beastie  - and I quote - "I nearly shat meself."

The Somali - diver soup and frankly a bit shit. Lots of plates and not a patch on the Clyde wrecks. We still ended up doing 10 mins of deco but that was more planning than desire.

The final Gully in the after noon was great fun and me and Fi had a lobster fest with at least three big boys spotted including two lads having a bit of a set to.

Nice set of divers on the boat - but I couldn't understand why we staying in port on Saturday morning. Skippers choice tho'

The boat we had was a little on the basic side and I'll admit a certainly jealous looking at some of the other fine craft ferrying divers out.

If going again - and I will - I'd do the Chris - anything else that was recommeded and lots of shallow playing with the seals.
 

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I have to say I don`t really rate the Somali particularly highly. Even more so if it is full of divers, you can pretty much guarentee that mr "rotovator fins" will have been through every bit you head for. I think most people who dive it regularly head to the bow to "rummage" in the silt. There are still quite a few things being turned up there. Flat profile dive at 30m though, I have to say if I am having to fart around at 12, 9, 6 and 3 metres for 20mins after a dive I like it to be worth it!

Paul
 

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Hi Guys

Next time you go, ask the skipper to take you further south to the ACCLIVITY and BUKA, plus a few more wrecks but a little deeper. The ACCLIVITY is almost the same depth as the SOMALI, but she is intact. At least you can see a wreck and not just a pile of rubble  


Cheers Ron
 

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<font color='#736AFF'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Gavin Yates @ July 07 2003,21:37)]Fi - who is often a delicate flower - explained to me on the surface that the sight of the huge beastie  - and I quote - "I nearly shat meself."
  Mmm, yes I think it was something along those lines....


Anyway, I would agree:
1. I enjoyed the Christiansen dive the most
2. I would go back again
3. Our skipper was a nice chap (he made a good call on the last dive re: not putting divers in too early when the tide was still running), although his boat was a bit on the "basic" side - would probably go for one of the other boats next time.
4. Top scran available at the Craster Arms (huge portion of yummy crayfish tails - apologies to Steve W, Ben and other veggies!)
5. A couple of those lobbies were huge! I have one or two piccies and will post them later.

Sadly the seals were too fast for me and my camera, but I shall look forward to a return visit and try to see the seals again before too long.

Fi - The "delicate flower"
 

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I forgot to mention a very very sweet moment on this trip when I wrote my original report.

The last dive of the weekend was a bit of a washing machine job, all got out and we went to drop off a local diver who had got separated from his buddy and his RIB was anchored a few hundred metres away (the less said about that the better). While doing this we got into a lot of rolling swell. Someone mentioned the beach boys -Hawaii 5-0.

Within seconds Graeme had fired up his stereo and Beach Boys was playing. He then let ME drive the Rib through Piper Gut and then out towards Beadnell. Cruising along at 30knts, flat sea, sun shining with the beach boys playing and the rest of the crew singing and dancing behind me was probably the best moment of the weekend. This was then topped of with a Porpoise spotted by Graemes young son Tom- who had just spent the last 10 minutes staring disapprovingly at the 10 adults acting like such idiots singing and dancing to music he had probably never heard of!!

Life is great!!

Paul
 
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