Diary

At last a quick scallop bash, but wish that I'd had a dip on SS Breda!

It was day two of the Nunkies great adventure and he had been told to bring back a few scallops, you know what, he did!

However in sitting out the first dive of the day on SS Breda he probably missed out on a new Go-Pro camera that was picked up by one of the St Andrews students! The students on the boat were all young, twenty or younger whilst the nunkie is significantly older so I believe he felt his age on the motor out to SS Breda, and from there he can continue his day.......

With a bit of swell running down towards Ardnamuckish bay I really didn't fancy climbing up a spine ladder and onto the pitching deck of Cearban so with the promise of a cheeky scallop dip I loaned my weight belt to one of the students who had forgotten that particular bit of kit and sat out the squalls that were coming along with a monotonous regularity.

The worst part of the day was when one of the students climbed back and said that it was her best dive ever, look! She was one of the first guys in and the camera was new and shiny and had been found sitting forlornly on the deck, damn and double damn. But there were scallops to be picked, so with the students all on board we slowly motored over to a bit of shelter at the inlet towards the end of the peninsular.

Now it looked promising with a nice sloping bottom and sand after the little broken slope, the truth was not quite as pleasant, sure the topography was just as it appeared just the scallops were noticeable only by their absence. The only scallops that I found were in tiny pockets of sand at the base of the rocky broken slope, so I guess that the area has been picked clean by scallop divers who were working commercially and didn't have the time or inclination to pick along the slope for a dozen or so of the tasty bi-valves.

There was plenty of other life on the site, with several species of spider crabs and squat lobsters zipping about the place but in hindsight the absence of large 'prehistoric' starfish should have been an indication that there weren't many scallops about, you live and learn.

After their excitement clambering onboard in a large swell the students opted for a scenic wall bive on what I am advised is called 'Black Island' which is located down towards the Isle of Eriska and whilst they dropped onto the steeper section I opted to go for the rocky beach area where the bottom looked a little more conducive to scalloping.

Now as an aside why are so many younger divers obsessed with depth? With partial fills of around 175 bar they were trying to get thirty, thirty five meters and yup there was one guy who came out with no air and his buddy had to go back to do his deco. Earlier in the day when talking about DCS there were lots of feet closely examined when it was pointed out that statistically two of them would have a PFO and it can hit at anytime, his lordship had done 3,500 dives before his incident........ (RW - it was at 3,267!)

Well this site was just as bloody awkward and I bagged maybe twenty clams which is significantly more than the students saw when they were grovelling about on the sand at depth, it was strange but at one area in about twelve meters of water there was a source of fresh water as the vis went all swirly, it was quite strange as the island is small so I wouldn't have thought that there would be much run off but maybe this was from a natural spring?

Again, in among the hardwork of looking for food there was a good head of crab species and even a few larger brown crabs hiding away in rocky overhangs but no fish, I guess it is just too early and with a water temperature of around six degrees I guess that the smaller coalfish and pollack are huddled in deep water waiting for the sun to warm things up a tad.

So there you go, an interesting weekend at Oban, not a place that I get to visit much but I think that I will return in the near future as the diving was good and the company, as always excellent!

Dive safe

The Nunkie

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