Diary

A lobster at Gallanach, that's something you don't see every day!

Over the many years that I have been 'muck diving' at Gallanach I can honestly say that I have never seen a lobbie, or at least remember seeing one.

But that all changed during a quick splash today!

I like Gallanach as a shore dive, there is a nice slipway to make sure that you can easily get into the water without clambering and to be blunt it is one of the few shore dives that I would currently attempt, so having decided to spend a few days at Oban I thought that the fates may conspire and make it possible to have a dip and when I looked over the edge of the sea-wall at Gallanach and saw that the vis was 'good' well it was a no brainer! With one thimg and another I am rather restricted in what I can do so it was a shot dip as a half full 7l weighs significantly less than a pumped up 12l, it's not the cold that is a restricting factor rather air supply but with slow and steady diving and breathing I was able to comfortably manage half an hour and have plenty in reserve for any untoward events!

At this time of year the fish life does tend to disappear but the loss of predators and also the weed die back means that there is more chance of seeing 'small stuff' and in that respect this muck dive was a spectacular success even though the camera 'acting up' meant that it wasn't much good from the photography front, that said there were only a few shots that would have been 'odd-ball'.

One of the shots that sort of came out and may be 'ok' with some computer manipulation was of two 'larger' hermit crabs eating a dead or dying shore crab it was a nice composition with all subjects sitting on the dark sand with nothing else about to take your focus away from 'feeding time at Oban'. Hmmmmn the more I type the more I think that it will make a good shot if only I can get it cleaned up a bit.

The one thing that is always striking about this dive is the amount of whelks that are present, I always see a dozen or so of these snails which although a delicacy on mainland europe are rather ignored here in the UK, indeed the only guy I know who ate them used to have a few in his kettle so he could make a cuppa and have a tasty snack with it, yup rather horrible and you've heard it before but it's always a good anecdote!

As a force of habit I always work along the boulder slope either on the way out or way back to the slipway, the hidey holes usually hold nothing more than the odd squat lobster and maybe a leopard goby but this time I spotted the tell-tale white no blue claw tip of a blue fiend, wow! I know that it was undersize but it was quite a turn-up and something that I haven't seen before even though the slope is ideal land for lobbies and would be 'infested' if it was in the north east. The nearest thing I can think of is the boulder slope at babbacombe and as I found after diving in 2018 there has been a bit of an explosion of fiends there in the five or six years when I haven't dived it.

Another similarity with Babbacombe was the amount of smallish edible crabs that were bimbling about, now they were all very 'clean' which makes me think that they had recently shed their carapace but again in the summer none are visible so either they are present under the weed or alternatively thay have walked down to deeper water for the summer.

During my short dip I spottted a few scallops but the site is looking a tad bare, maybe I need to do some 'seeding' by taking a load from either Lismore or Bac Islands and quietly dropping them around the site, certainly the conditions are good but over the years divers, me included, taking a dozen here and a dozen there have removed most of the population, two sacks of a mixed size, basically picking up everything I see large and undersize, dropped onto the area should mean that there are plenty there for the future!

So that was it a steady half hour, kit off and out, oh I forgot that another reason that the slipway is good is that the guys from Puffin regularly treat it with and acid to remove all of the weed and algae so you won't slip and reversing down the car to pick up and drop kit actually at the water-side is risk free!

Dive safe

RichW

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