Diary

Babbacombe, day three, dive one

I always find it amazing just how fast you start picking up points on a dive that you regularly do where its, 'ahhhhhh go left here'....well after five dives back here at Babbacombe I am at that stage......

Now that's not to say that the diving isn't really good fun, it is, loads of different life and water that really is a 'top-coat warmer', I know that as today I ditched half of my thermals and after just short of an hour I still wasn't chilled. Great, summer is here, although I fear it will be chilly again on the North Side of Beadnell Point at the weekend!

It was an evening dip today after a stressful trip to Plymouth to grab some air fills and it had been a warm day and at top of the tide the area where I was getting in at the pier steps was very warm and absolutely teeming with blennies.....there were at least three species with a tom-pot in residence in one small hole, the odd-ball large one still there and a few random few on the barnacled vertical surface, you could set up shop with a snorkel and get good blenny photos without moving very far at all.

Now on this dive I decided to pick up some 'wildlife' to show some of the children staying in the hotel prior to returning to the water, so don't worry my hugger friends no animals were harmed in the session, but what did I find? Well the hardest thing about snaffling a spider crab is finding one small enough to fit comfortably in a bag without damaging it's legs, but a few minutes fossick and one that was small enough was grabbed and bagged! An edible crab was easy to find as was a velvet swimming crab, the trouble is that the latter are evil ba$tards with double jointed font nippers but into the bag he went! Finding a scallop was harder than I remembered but eventually I found a small king scallop that was maybe two inches across, far too small to eat unless you are in Croatia!

Being an evening type dive there was loads of fish life out and about and although I didn't manage any photos until the end of the dive as my damn camera was steamed up I spotted some of the largest tom-pot blennies that I have ever seen at about five inches long, even the huge amount that I saw on a dive on a wreck out from Teignmouth couldn't compare and that was a deep WW2 wreck that was effectively a natural reef. The strangest sight was towards the end of the dive as the large shoal of pouting had moved from their usual spot at the bottom of the boulder slope to a huge under-cut at the sea-ward end of the pier, I guess that there are predators that move in on a night. I certainly remember seeing a few catshark here last year, but strangely none yet in 2019.

The single lobster pot was lifted today and bearing in mind it contained two fiends yesterday then it is reasonable to reckon that he will have had four or more ready for the pan when it was lifted today, but oddly enough it wasn't back in the same area, in-fact I couldn't see the pellet at all, strange considering how many it had trapped.

I must admit that during this dive I spent some time scouring the flat bottom for a scallop with a very limited success and the presence of cuttlefish eggs was noticeable only by their absence, normally there are cuttlefish or eggs but I have only seen a single cuttle and there have been no cuttlefish bones on the beach so I reckon that I have missed the spawning by close to a month which is odd, I guess that it is down to global warming!

Tomorrow is the last 'diving day' with a session in the morning and a dip with the guy I was with last year in the evening so it should be a good day, especially if I get in whilst the 'night creatures' are out and about.....yum yum!!

Dive safe

RichW

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