It was wreck diving at Oban......honest......

There are risks inherent with 'Spring' diving and iffy vis is one of those things, if it's poor it's to be expected!

The nunkie decided to have a dive weekend at Oban with Shane at Dive Oban and Argyll, it was advertised as one day wreck diving 'up the Sound of Mull' and another close day around Oban with the chance of some comestibles and this is his first report back following the 'wreck dives'!

With some big spring tides it really wasn't possible to complete two of the tidal wreck dives so the plan was to dive SS Shuna before moving over to the west side of the sound for a dip on SS Rondo and with the wrecks offering similar depths, that is to say that you have to hit mid-twenty to reach the Shuna and deeper than that there isn't much to see on Rondo it seemed a plan.

The SS Shuna sits upright in deeper water, sheltered from the main flow running up the Sound which makes it 'ok' to dive at pretty much any state of the tide, there is a fish farm which is situated maybe four hundred meters further 'up' the Sound and whilst there will be ecological disaster just adjacent to the operation the diluted fish faeces are at a nice concentration to ensure that the port side of the wreck facing the 'fertilised' water is home to a much greater number of filter feeders that the starboard side which doesn't get this flow, a strange 'benefit'.

Before I really start the first thing to say is that the vis was poor, maybe three meters and 'dirty' not just dark to the extent that you could make out a light source at maybe six meters but no more than that, this turn-up meant that the nunkie, although armed with the wide angle set-up didn't manage to get any gratuitous 'bow shots' but did take a few nice images of the filter feeders which were all out and feeding vigourously.


It is often said that Fiji is the 'Soft Coral Capital of the World', well it was coined by the great fraud Cousteau so it must be true, however having dived Fiji I would say that the static filter feeders around the northern part of the Island of Great Britain are as good, sure we don't get the vis, the water is cold but when the filter feeders are out having a munch it is spectacular!

With the prevailing conditions being cold and dark I took a series of photos of the 'small stuff' on the central accomodation block, swam around the stern where the 'spare' anchor still sits on the deck and called the dive before going into deco. It was interesting that the fish life consisted of a single very large pollack that was hidden away in a hold, is this a reflection that seals who ae frustrated in not being able to snaffle a salmon head to the wreck for a feed, who knows?

After that dip, we headed to the 'Mull' side of the Sound for a short break and a low water slack dive on SS Rondo, now this wreck is most famous for sitting, bow first on a cliff which seems vertical but is more likely around the 75 degree mark, so spectacular especially in the summer or when the vis is good as you can hang around the stern in 6m of water and see the remains disappearing into the gloom.

The problem with today was that with big tides everything was slighly out of kilter and even as first man in it was noticeable that the tide was just picking up, indicating that the narrow window for slack water had passed, hey ho.

rondo prop

Prior to the dip I noticed that the propellor from the wreck was sitting on the kelp covered shallows, now that is something that I haven't seen before and I have to assume that if the prop was made out of phosphor bronze it would have long gone......

Now I haven't dived the Rondo for a few years, maybe three (?) and I was struck by the degradation of the remains, which must be remembered were heavily salvaged as she sat on-top of the rocks, the damage is most obvious at the twenty to thirty meter range where the swim through has become quite tight for divers who are carrying air on their backs, so at last a dive that the side-mount fairies can call there own!

Again with the vis a bit better than on Shuna and maybe six meters but not great there was time for some filter feeder shots and then out for a warming cup of tea!

I am hoping for a few scallops tomorrow so fingers crossed for a suitable site....or two!

Dive safe

The Nunkie




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