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THere is a report today in the press of a search for a diver  who went missing in the SOund of Mull. Seemed he had been diviing the Shuna, had briefly surfaced and then disappeared.
The other week, there was a death on Loch Long. Both these are tragedies and condolences to all those involved.

Just how dangerous are these waters in the west coast compared with others in Scotland? And is the site of the Shuna very challenging?
 

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Hopping Mad
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I dived the Shuna along with the Hispania, Rondo, Breda etc. last September and didn't think that any of them were that challenging if you are used to typical UK wreck diving.

I do most of my diving off the south coast of the UK and found that the Sound of Mull provides a lot of shelter from the prevailing conditions.

Perhaps these two instances are just an unfortunate coincidence.

Nick
 

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wibble
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<font color='#000080'>I think it is probably due to the number of people using the sites, not that they are particularly dangerous.  
Think of stoney - they have what seems to be like a lot of incidents regularly for two reasons - they are used for a lot of training, and the fact that you have such a huge volume of divers using it.
The sound of mull is a great place, but the main wrecks are all around the 25-30m range (excluding the rondo), which can be a little challenging for someone who isnt used to cold water wreck diving.
 

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To dive or not to dive - that's not even an option
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Not dangerous at all.

In 90% of incidents it's diver error/lack of skill/training, nothing to do with the site. If you get a chance - GO.

James
 

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would agree that the west coast waters are no more dangerous than any other in Scotland.  I think what you have to bear in mind is that at this time of year many divers are going in for their first dive of the season into still very cold water (8 degrees today).  Some may be over estimating their abilities after a few months of non-diving, and expecting to jump right back in the saddle again.  

A very experienced instructor in my organisation recently got back in the water for the first time for 2 months and restricted himself to no more than 14m for his first few dives. I dont know if the two divers concerned fit this criteria, but it is something to be aware of.
 

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Good point Sam, the "start of the diving season" (whatever that actually is), always sees a high proportion of the total number of fatalities for that year. It's worth asking those not "dived-up" to take it easy for the first day or two getting back to the water. Gav noted last year that with the increase in YD "membership" it was, statistically speaking, probably only a matter of very little time until a YD-er becomes "a statistic", let's try to not let that happen...
 

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wibble
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<font color='#000080'>Dive log from this year reads:
Stoney 21m
Shuna 30m
Thesis (i think) 25m ish?
Rondo 46m
Scallop dive 12m
Wall dive 30m

I must say i think i did rush things a bit with the deep one.
Ooooops.  It took a whole season to get me to that depth last year, mind you, that is the direction my diving is heading, plus i didnt have the experience or the training to get there before that.
 

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Small, yet perfectly formed...
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Sound of mull was my firstexperience of uk sea diving and conditions are usually good, even in bad weather the skipper s can find a suitable dive. it's pretty busy with the usual wrecks being dived all the time so maybe it's jsut statistics.
wouldnt let it put you off some of the best diving in the uk
jules:D
 

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Mark W
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I think the sound of mull's a great place to dive. The viz is usually pretty good and the wrecks are wonderful.

You will always get a rise in problems with an area which is as popular as this, but as others have said, it's usually a training issue or downright bone-headedness which can cause problems.

For example - I know of the story of a chap who died on the Breda. He had recently come back from a dive and was on the rib, and had put his costly optical mask on the rib tube while sorting out his kit, and it, of course, went in the drink.

He got his buddy's kit which still had 50 bar in it, and a borrowed mask, and proceeded to go back in and fetch his mask.

Suffice to say he never reappeared and was found less than 20 yards away from his mask.

I remember this so well because it was the week before I was diving up in Oban and did the Breda / Shuna / Hispania and so-on.

I think we all have to remember that the only real person we should be responsible for is, er, ourselves, unless we're in a training situation.

Mark.
 

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Bantam,
          That's not quite true! It was my old clubs RIB that he was on. He'd got on the boat, his cylinders were turned off, he put his mask round the top of his head, it pinged off and he went after it. I know the guy who recovered his body! He got hit in the process.

Peter
 

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Mark W
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I apologise profusely.

I was going on my memory, what I read on the BBC and also what peeps had told me so chinese whispers prevail to some extent although It wasn't far off.

Nonetheless, what was the aftermath of that?

Mark.
 

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From Divernet it was the Brendan that the chap was diving off.  This is one of the boats that the YD group were using last weekend.  Thoughts to the diver's friends and family of course, but also one to the skipper.
 

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Regarding Warmwater's question, in my opinion the waters up here are no more dangerous than anywhere else round the UK. As others have said, diver error is a big factor in incidents.

Living in Oban, I dive the main wreck sites all year round but I last dived two weeks ago at Ardgartan on an MCS course, max depth was 18 metres.

I didnt dive last week due to a bad back. This weekend just gone I was visiting family in Sheffield and spent Sunday afternoon in the A&E department of Rotherham Hospital in great pain with what turns out to be a "muscle spasm" in my neck/shoulder.

If I feel fit to dive this coming weekend, and I have my doubts about it, common sense will prevail. There's no way I'm going on a "roller-coaster" boat ride up the Sound of Mull to have a look at the bows of the Rondo!

If I dive at all, it'll be a gentle,shallow, current free site in one of the sea lochs up the road from us. I love diving but I'm not prepared to risk my life for it.

The last time I dived the Shuna, there were 3 newly qualified Open Water divers on the boat. The wind had been blowing a gale through the Sound for 3 or 4 days previous and I knew the viz would be low. Despite my warnings, they all jumped in and promptly had a bad dive.

I'm no expert, and I hope I don't sound like one, but I do believe in listening to people who know better than me, that's one of the reasons I joined YD. When I dive somewhere new to me, I like to get as much info as possible and be as prepared as I can, and if I think a dive is beyond me, I'll quite happily sit it out.

So, as I said at the start, the diving up here isn't dangerous, in my opinion. Like anywhere, it has the potential to be if not given enough respect, and when you start going beyond your limits and taking chances..........
 
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