YD Scuba Diving Forums banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Just not enough dive time.
Joined
·
9,135 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Imported post

A full weekends diving, something I've never done before and was somewhat nervous that the old body wouldnt stand for it.

Where to start, well for us Southerners just north of London, Friday morning and onto the M1/A1(M). 5 hrs later we pulled into Beadnell having stopped off at Wallsend to have a look at the Project I've been working on for the last 2 yrs. Its a boat that we are building thats going offshore Nigeria. Technically its a boat, in reality its an oil producing facility (FPSO for those interested) and its big, damn big, as Adam said 'that would make a damn fine dive'.
Anyway the trip report, accomodation looked fine, six to a bunk house, immediately reduced to 4 as the girls didnt want to share with us, to be honest I didnt want to share with Steve either, his reputation preceded him  
. But they wouldnt let Adam and I join them so 4 blokes in no 12 it was.
In the end it was quite pleasant sharing with Steve and Anders.
John introduced me to the Swedish guys, whose names I immediately forgot, as they did mine so that was OK by me.
They all seemed friendly and big healthy chaps, none of them smoked and they are all confirmed fish-prodders, so it was staring well.
Off to the first dive via Sovereign for a fill, now whose idea was it to put a funeral directors next to a dive shop and the hearse had the number plate RIB NNNN, Adam fell about laughing at the irony of it. Quick back track and onto the pier to wait for the boat. So I've driven 320 miles in 5 hrs and now I've got 15mins to get my stuff onto a boat for a dive, hmmm!
The rest of the crew were down for a wreck dive, we were going to avoid that and do a wall dive. 40 mins of slack were available for the 'wreckers', we were going into a lee around the other side of the wreck area so we had as much time as we wanted. Good call on our part as the slack never materialised and the others had a somewhat torrid time, we had a great time. Pollack/wrasse/ dead mens fingers etc normal sort of stuff but Adam was wide eyed and enjoying himself. We found ourselves almost last up on the boat having been last in and beaming. Certainly a good time was had by us, but the others didnt fare so well.
Saturday saw us up early and in the water to catch the slack again. Unfortunately we rushed our departure and forgot our hoods and gloves, forgetfullnes was going to be a common thread for us all weekend. What the hell, the seals beckoned and  in we went for a play. Super time, the seals obliged and we loved it, they get very close to your face and even closer to your fins and I'm pretty sure I felt one bash/nibble my primary hose at one point. One can only watch in awe as these masters of their world make us look so clumsy and slow.
Great time, more fish etc. Also saw an enormous pair of claws sticking out of a crevice that belonged to a lobby, Mark (Chase) would have been in love, we left it alone.
to enjoy as much of the rest of its life as possible.

I'll leave the rest of the dives to the others except to add that on saturday night one of the Swedish guys (Anders) presented a slide show of immense beauty and technical skill of some of the places he had visited and photographed with some very impressive camera gear that was on display during the dives at the Farnes. Re-mortgagae time I think.

Bumped into Peter K and it was great to see him at long last, he dragged Budgy along to and it was good to put faces to names, even if they are as ugly as Peter's mug.  Had a good discusion with the pair of them in the pub and thought they were coming back for the slide show but they didnt, so sorry guys for not saying goodbye in a civilised manner.

Sundays first dive was to revisit the seals at a nice 9 o clock start, John lent me his camers (Cheers John) but the seals wanted to play with some others. Still I saw a damn great big fish vertical between two rocks that was about 2 mtrs long. The others think it was a Conger, it was vertical but didnt look very 'eely', if the snap comes out we'll see what it was, but I wasnt going to get that close, it looked HUGE to me and might not have been friendly.

Sundays second dive really was the low point for me in a great weekend, didnt really want it to end so was already a bit cheesed off before we even started the dive. The boat was a bit small for twelve so we started going in by two waves from Saturday afternoon onwards, Adam & I often being last in as I would probably run out of air first in the whole group. The trip out was a bit rough as the swell had got up and by the time we were due in it was getting difficult for the skipper as he was at risk of being driven onto the rocks. I dropped in only to realise I hadnt put my dry suit feed into place, by the time I'd re-connected it we'd been pushed onto the rocks and then found it difficult to find the drop-off, eventually we did drop to 25m and our dive began, but by then the seals had all but left the area to go play with the Swedes (again - damn them  
). Still we dropped onto a big octopus, Adam spotted it - bless, which was quite amazing given that only moments before he'd heard his dad cursing and swearing (for ages on the surface) about not wanting to do 40 mins at 2.5mtrs. When we later surfaced I bashed my shins on the ladder, see I told you I prefered ribs, and the bruises look very colourfull today. A small price to pay for a really good weekend, great diving, great company and great weather, what more could you ask for. Oh I know how about a journey home that doesnt take 8 (yes eight) bloody hours!!!!!  


Cheers John for arranging it, inviting me and the boy and cheers to the rest for making it so enjoyable.

Matt
Ps
Saturday - forgot hoods and gloves
Sunday   - forgot computers
Sunday departure - Adam left a pair of strides in the cupboard, my fault obviously.

pps - the body stood up to it well, but its aches and pains today, but that might have been the journey home, could have done Egypt quicker, but I doubt if I would have enjoyed it anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,914 Posts
Imported post

I'd like to state officially for the record that Matt and Adam too can no longer be regarded as soft-southern-shandy-drinking-big-girls blouses, 45 minutes sans hoods and gloves in the north sea - respect is due


Personally, I had a great weekend, even though the first dive Friday afternoon (after a very stressful day and still feeling  a tad hungover) was a bit iffy, found myself buddyless and narced to f*** at 30 metres in a circa 1-1.5 knot current (some slack water skipper!), "Where's the sodding wreck!" one of our scandawegian chums had pulled the shot off the wreck, made a vain attempt to find it then said "sod it" and  made use of the experience to practice deco stops "in the green", surfaced miles from the boat but close to Lou and Caroline who's at least managed to touch the wreck for a moment

Rest of the weekend was much more to plan, and no narcosis. Few seal encounters, especially cool one on the last dive on sunday, awwwwwww...they're soooo cute


Was good to finally meet John G and good to hook up again with Lou, Caroline & Matt. Also good to finally meet the infamous Peter K and to meet Budgie too. all in all a cracking weekend, even if Caroline and Matt cared more about stuffing their faces than guarding the car parking space while some of us sweated over filling tanks


Chee-az
Steve
 

·
Just not enough dive time.
Joined
·
9,135 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]even if Caroline and Matt cared more about stuffing their faces than guarding the car parking space while some of us sweated over filling tanks
And cracking good fills they were too - thanks Steve best ones we had all weekend  


It was all Adam's fault he's always hungry.
 

·
That's Dude with an E
Joined
·
12,959 Posts
Imported post

[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Sep. 22 2003,16:03)]soft-southern-shandy-drinking-big-girls blouses,
You're guna aff to hav a slap next time l see you, for using descriptions like that Stevie.

Matt did you understand the local lingo?
 

·
Creature of the night
Joined
·
14,183 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#000080'>I'd lost Johns number so couldn't arrange to meet up, I was diving off glad tidings V1, we may have passed in seahouses harbour, I have been to the Farnes 5 times now and can honestly say I have never seen the sea so calm as it was on the saturday.

Was going to go to St Abbs with Nigel W mon tues wed but he has come down with the dreaded lurgy so unfortunately can't make it but I am trying to sort out a dive on the wednesday only if anyone fancies meeting up with them.

Safe diving,
Steve.
 

·
Just not enough dive time.
Joined
·
9,135 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Imported post

Howard
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Matt did you understand the local lingo
we were alright with Steve, but to be honest some of them had us baffled. Still we hit them with " Adam i've got something stuck in me hampsteads" - 1 all I think.

I heard about that hood - wicked! Steve's got a pony hole in his, tried to make out it ripped, yeah right, I reckon he hasnt replaced it since his hippy days, so its well old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
Imported post

Quick addition tot he Farnes business from “the girls” – it doesn’t seem tomatter where we go, or with who, we always end up being referred to as “the girls”!!  This could be because if anyone attempts to actually use our names they get them the wrong way round.  I spent half the weekend being addressed as Caroline – thanks John, Matt and Peter k!!

As reported already Friday afternoon’s dive was an outright winner for “worst dive of the weekend”.  Sent in for slack, spot on.  Bouy for shot was underwater by the time we got to it, a combination of half a dozen Swedes hanging on it somewhere in the depths and the current that was running.  Followed it down to find a seabed at 32m and nothing else.  The logic said swim up current as it would have been pulled down current and after 5minutes of huffing and puffing we found the boilers – hoorah.  We let go of boilers and went backwards again.  Tanks on 100 bar by now so time to let up blob whilst making a vain effort to swim past the wreck tot he wall.  No fear of that and we surfaced near Steve W but heading somewhere south-ish at a fair rate!!  Ok, not a good start!

That night was a few quiet beers and a reasonably early night after our 4am start to get up there!

Saturday was much better.  The early start paid off as the planned seal dive at the Hopper was changed due to too much surge.  We went around the other side to Blue Caps and the seals were already curious beofre we got in.  We were the only boat there, and the first of the day so everyone wanted to play.  A descent to about 23m and immediately seals appeared on the periphery of the viz, darting about and inspecting their visitors.  The odd braver one made a closer pass and then they disappeared.  We were chuffed with just that, having no idea of what was to come.  

C & I turned to keep the wall to our right and set off at a gentle pace.  C normally swims to my right and slightly  above and behind me so when I felt something on my fin I intially though I had kicked her.  When I began to be pushed along I looked between my legs and saw a seal was helping me.  He had my fin I his mouth and was swimming along merrily.  After a couple of metres I thought I would bend my leg to get him off – the experienced seal divers amongst us has told us that we shouldn’t move when they came near as they were skittish…- but that just brought him closer to my bum!  I rolled on my back and C & I spent a good 5 minutes having this chap bting oour fins, swimming up between our legs, lying aginst us with his head and shoulders.  I tried to push him off gently with my fin a few times and he just leaned against them more.  His teeth were some sight but an inspection of the fins later showed no obvious signs of his attentions, he was just mouthing them like a dog would.  I took a load of photos but in the excitement forgot to cover the flash on the MX5 so all I have is backscatter, fins and barely visible seal faces!  He eventually left when a smaller seal approached and required chasing off.

That wasn’t the end of the seal encounters.  We continued to be buzzed and examined, but none were so bold as our new pal.   The ascent and stops were made comical by the sight of seals seeming to copy us by hanging vertically in the water nearby, before swimming to the surface and then diving back down past us again, as if to say “what are you hanging around for??”.  Back onto our (tiny) boat with BIG grins.  Definitely enters straight into the top 5 dives.

The other three dives saw only fleeting encounters with seals for us, although the Swedes got luckier.  Maybe they  attracted the seals because they were in the water first, but nothing could compare to the first time so we weren’t too peeved.  The other dives were lovely little bimbles about.  We saw a few octopus, which was a first for me in the UK, but I was surprised at the lack of fish-life.  There were a few ballan wrasse and pollack, but nothing like that which I am used to from the south coast.  It could be due to the evident decimation of the kelp by the plague of urchins that were on every site.  It did make for dives where more attention was paid to the small things and we had fun finding clear shrimp, butterfish, what I think was a scorpion fish and all manner of other "tinies”.

Ander’s slide show was stunning, and the accomodation excellent value for money.  I think the boat  (Hope of Life) was too small for 12 divers, but we coped by doing two waves of kitting up.  This would have been difficult if we had gone for more tide affected sites however.

Big thanks to John for organising it and inviting us along.  It was nice to see the familiar faces again, and great to meet my nemesis Mr K, and Budgy.  Where did you guys disappear to??

Lou – one happy diver
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,914 Posts
Imported post

Had a couple of text messages from John G, they only managed one dive on Monday, none on Tuesday due to weather, but have three arranged for today (Weds) and Thursday, ah...the joys of UK diving, bloody weather eh?

Lou, just for comparison, I think I saw more fish this weekend than ever before while diving NE England/Scottish borders, so if you think there were very few fish you've been spoilt!
Chee-az
Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
Imported post

Maybe I have been spoilt!  But you have to admit, the Aeolian Sky etcthat you dived out of Swanage are crammed with bib, poor cod, pollack, wrasse, bass etc compared with what we saw.  I was chuffed with the octopi though ;)

Fingers crossed for John's diving today.
 

·
Just not enough dive time.
Joined
·
9,135 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Imported post

I'd say numbers were average to what I've seen so far in my vast UK experience (not) but whatever that bloody great big thing was it was the BIGGEST thing I've seen to date, apart from the Seals. Did I mention we saw two kissing .. ahhhhh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,914 Posts
Imported post

Yep, loved seeing all the fish darn sarf, just goes to show you what a poor state the fish stocks of the North Sea are in eh?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
Imported post

IT WAS A CONGER>>>>>>>>>honest.....trust me.

BTW, guess what my brother gave me for my b'day on Sunday night??  That book by Paul Naylor you guys have!  Hooray!!
 

·
Just not enough dive time.
Joined
·
9,135 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Imported post

You might well be right, but I had a look in THAT book and it didnt look like what I think I saw. Now I dont think I was narked at 23m but it looked like it had a longer head, it just looked like a big pollack really. The rock it was hiding in didnt hide any of its body either, I thought Congers hid away and just exposed their heads. Anyway I'm not going to say you're wrong and I'm right cos I dont know what it was other than it were reet big. Oh no I've caught Northern dialect disease

If the snap comes out and I bet it doesnt, or it will look like one of them old Nessie snaps, then we'll know lass.

Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
Imported post

If your photos are anything like mine you will have alot of snowstorms!  Only the important one though, when it was exciting and sudden and I forgot to block off the flash....damn, damn, damn!!

I have made out teeth on one shot that I thought was all backscatter though!
 

·
Respected Wreck-diving Author & Resident Farnes Ex
Joined
·
666 Posts
Imported post

Hi Guys un Gals,

There's plenty of fish of all discriptions around the Farnes, but not so many where you find all the seals (they eat fish)

Someone mentioned the Aeolian Sky having lots of fish, but if you look in the bigger wrecks near the Farnes you'll also find just as many, however not the smashed up wrecks at the Farnes. There are quite a lot of big conger and wolfish too, but the most likely and commonest ones would be a big cod. I'm not quite sure where you actually dived and on which wreck, but it sounds like the remains of the JAN VAN RYSWYCK at the base of Whirl Rocks on the flood tide. On big tides, there is little, if any slack water and the best places to stay around would have been the cliff wall and half way up, where there are lots of pollack, plus lobsters and crabs in the reef gullies, however these gullies are full of wreckage too, but you have to look closer as much of it is covered in weed growth.

I would have loved to have come up and met you all, but other things cropped up at the last moment, maybe next time.

Cheers Ron
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,773 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#000F22'>Are John and the Swedes still at Abbs?

If so I'll pop alomg tomorra and say 'ello.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,240 Posts
Imported post

Aye,

Apologies to the members of the Southern (Honourable Shandy-drinking) Contingent who apparently missed out on seeing them, but there, as Ron says, absolutely rucks of fish in the Farnes! Did you dive the Somali? You could quite happily do 7 or 8 dives on her and still not see everything! She's laiden with big cod, pollack, congers, ling et al! Well worth a shufty. Grab a bag of it next time you're up.

And then there's the gullies and trenches (massive by the way) around dives like the 'Hopper' - shoals so big they quite literally block out the sun-light when you're underwater! On a trip a while back, Willo, Jay, me and others were frankly amazed as the quailty of the diving up there - and so close to a seal colony, which made for fun when we had to bag-off!

As Homer might say: "Mmmmmm.......F-a-r-n-e-s..."  
 
 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,914 Posts
Imported post

Aye Gav, John & Co are there today and tomorrow (weds & Thurs) at least. Did you get my PM about this weekend? sent it last week.

Ron, we didn't actually dive any wrecks last weekend, unless you count the Chris C which I got nowhere near (see above post about lack of slack
 
 Must get around to calling in to your gaff to get myself a copy of your Farnes book.  Didn't get to Whirl Rocks 'cos of the weather and did Blue caps instead, did blue caps on Sat and sun, plus The Harkers and ... can't remember the other but it wasn't a wreck dive. Skipper gave us a choice for the sunday morning Somali or Seal dive, Seals won yaaaaay! Personally I can't  see why people like the Somali so much, "horses for courses" I guess.

Chee-az
Steve
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
1,773 Posts
Imported post

<font color='#000F22'>Sorry Steve,

I did get yer email - in a rush to pack for the weekend so didn't get back to you. Hopefully see you b4 our little sojourn to warm climes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
Imported post

As Steve says, the wreck (what we saw of it) was the Chris Christensen.  Thye lack of slack meant that the Somali wasn't worth the effort (borne out by mediocre reports from a group who did go out there) and the prevailing weather and surge wiped ou tthe Hopper and Whirl Rocks.  If we could have got to the wall by the CC it would have been netter but the current was too much by the time we got in as some of the last off the boat.

On all the sites we saw pollack etc, and the crabs (velvet swimming crabs by the bucket load - fab!), lobsters, octopus, small fish like butterfish and scorpionfish, and the ubiquitous but nonetheless charming wrasse.  It was just that we had to look for them.  The sites were pretty decimated by what seemed to be a plague of urchins and without the kelp many of the usual suspects were notable by their absence.  I'm talking about the shoals of bib and poor cod, cuckoo wrasse and rock cooks, and others of the ilk that I realised I took for granted when they weren't there.

It's not to say that I didn't enjoy the diving - I thought it was great - but it was definitely different and both Steve and I agreed that you could see the difference in fish stocks.

Maybe if I do any of the big wrecks in the Farnes I will see the other side, but to be honest I only mentioned the Aoelian Sky as I dived it with Steve on the Swanage trip and it was a mutual point of reference.

Credit to the seals though....magical diving.  I will  be going back to the Farnes for sure, and next time I will try to get St Abbs into the mix as well.  Dying to meet those wolf-fish!!

Cheers

Lou
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top