Diary

Another nice shore spot for scallops.....well maybe!

Why 'maybe'? Well the nunkie tells me that it was running quite fast.....

And if the nunkie says it was running 'quite fast' then to most other people they would say it was going like a train....it's the years of lobstering around the islands you know......legs wrapped around the kelp.....hook in one hand an bag in the other cursing the seals as the nip fins and accidentally loosen your grip on the kelp where one slip and when you each land you'll need to say "hej jeg er en britisk dykker".

Anyhow, looking at the area he described it isn't a surprise as the shore kicks out and funnels a large amount of water, meaning that the usual flow is constricted into an area where you 'loose' about one hundred meters of the width of the Sound of Kerrera. Oh and the double bugger is that not only is the flow much increased but it is also pushing down the sea-bed into the centre of the sound into deeper water. Of course like most tidally affected dives it really isn't too hard, if the flow picks up then retrace your steps and don't stress out.

I always think that you can gauge a scallop site by the amount of star-fish and this one had loads on a really good bottom, with the odd-ball being what looked like a huge 'bloody Henry' and I mean big probably fifty centimeters from leg tip to outstretched leg-tip. Now I have never seen a BH anywhere near this size but he insists it wasn't one of the common starfish or the prehistoric monsters wo who knows maybe it was a BH that had changed habits and was now an avid scallop eater?

Of course the water is chilling so that quite a few of the more mobile animals have called time and disappeared, either into deeper water to hibernate or simply overwinter where there is a chance of some food, however the static creatures and I include scallops in that definition go no-where and as such support their own little dedicated eco-system.....well ok starfish, small crabs and gobies all of which feast on the remains when the starfish has done the hard work and opened up the unfortunate scallop. Oh and of course as well as 'standard' crabs there were also huge amounts of Hermit Crabs, as usual involved in their permanent squabbles over shells, food...well almost anything. Next summer I am going to set up a Go-Pro camera and just film the carpets of Hermit Crabs that are in Knacker Hole as if I set it to a suitable audio it would be a funny watch.

The area is infront of the old Seafood Temple, which incidentally is now a 'creative office' with exceptional views, and despite what appears to be hard black rock sloping very steeply into the water the topography is typical Oban, that is to say a short gentle slope covered in bladderwrack before a sudden drop down to about five meters where the bottom is mainly fist size rock without a huge amount of life visible before the slope 'eases' and becomes a mixture of mud, coarse grit and the odd fist sized rock that has rolled down the slope. However where the tide was running it was different, more of the coarse sand that can withstand the flow of water 'better' than mud and there must have been some larger rocks partially exposed as there was the occasional long streamer of kelp which served silent witness to the flow of water.

This type of environment is ideal for scallops and in the short dive time the nunkie grabbed a sackful which I gather were consumed by the Ancient Diver, no doubt whilst plotting more nefarious activities for next summer!

Now talking about nefarious activities I always try to do some sort of winter project to keep me sane and this year is no different whilst a little different! The day before the 'Beast from the East' struck earlier this year I went to Bamburgh North Beach as I had spied an interesting piece of timber. It was obvioulsy from a ship and an old one judging by the presence of tree nails, it had been in the water as the outside had evidence of shipworm but it must have been hidden under sand for a while and blown out from a dune as it was bone dry.

The Ancient Diver had a good look and reckoned oak with a vintage of 17th or 18th century for a build date, but what was it like when cut into planks? Well you shall see when I write up an article on what I hope will be a very interesting table top!

Dive safe

RichW

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