A successful recce I think!

I decided that rather than do the same old same old Saturday to do something a bit different that meant a shift bashing about in Duo-Diver a rather ancient looking SR5.4 RIB with a new prop set up, which incidentally is rapid ad a lot more hi-tech than she looks!

Ah yes the nuts and bolts..... I was chatting with ian Wright whilst waiting for the tractor and he told me that the vis on the Islands was 'poor' at around 5m and I could scarcely believe it, especially after the vis that was reported mid-week but he was correct!

The vis was indeed 4m maybe 5m

The temperature is in abeyance, it was warm enough for a daft jump off the breakwater post dive

It was with astrong heart that we revved up and headed South with the first port of call being Dunstanburgh Castle, the idea being to have a look at the area to the North where there anglers fish and there is a reasonable depth. The plan was to restrict bottom time to ten minutes and see how much lead was about to gauge the feasibility of a large scale clean up dive later in the season, this would be repeated at spot two.

Today there were a dozen or so guys who looked like they knew what they were doing so we anchored up about one hundred yards out and in I rolled, down the anchor rope through the crap vis which I put down to an algae bloom, probably caused by the large amount of fresh water and thus nutrients which have entered by local rivers over the last couple of weeks. Once down it was lost weight city and this is way out where only the proper anglers fish, what it will be like closer to the cliffs, well, great I would say!

The topography is strange with huge boulders sitting on I am sure solid rock bottom but you just couldn't see it, the blocks were doleritic limestone from the cliffs but when you moved closer the natrual bottom popped into view and this was sandstone, sandstone which looked 'perfect' for Blue Fiends with long undercuts, corner holes and the usual hidey holes but the only fiends that I saw were under the blocks and even then there were none that were 'wow', maybe the absence of pots should have been a clue!?!

Now I did say that this was a popular anglers spot, but the only fish that I saw were small Ballan Wrasse and the only other creatures were sea-urchins and a few velvet swimming crabs so I guess that the target on this site are cod and rock cod are normally adept and nipping under stones as soon as they sense water movement so I will put the lack of target fish for anglers down to the probable species!

After ten minutes I was more than happy with the haul and we will certainly return, probably loaded with cylinders and lift bags to make a proper job of it, so roll on a few sunny days when I can pop down and do some more cleaning! The only problem with this site is that you can't pick up the anchor from the boat so after unloading the weights it was time for a zip down to throw a lift bag onto the anchor and out and off, again.....

To Howick, now I have been meaning to dive Howick this year and you know what I am glad that I haven't done the shore dive, complete with horrendous walk, why? Well because it is mainly sanded up! Or at least the area directly in-front of Submarine Hole has.

Dropping the anchor into about 8m of water I expected to drop into kelp and crap, but thinking back we didn't pick up kelp on the sounder so that should have spoken volumes and once on the bottom it was deep sand which had me scratching my head somewhat, so picking up the anchor I headed towards sore where I know it get rocky and eventually I did find a couple of outcrops poking through the sand where there should have been rocky reef systems.......

On the top of the rock were a couple of small lobbies that were walking about in the kelp, obviously looking for food and where there should have been loads of 'stuff' on the rocks there was very little....again thinking about it there weren't the usual multi-strings of pots running parallel with the shore so the potters know that everything has changed and are giving it a wide berth! That said for anglers there has to be the chance of some good flatfish in these conditions and maybe a turbot as well as the usual plaice, I will have a look on the NESA web-site to see what has been written.

Back on shore talking with the Ancient Diver he told me that there was a huge sandbar thrown along Budle Bay so maybe the huge quantities of sand that have been stripped from Beadnell and the environs has been shifted South in the bad weather? A bit of an extreme example of long-shore drift assuming that it has gone as far south as Budle Bay, but Howick, yes that is a distinct possibility!

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 7.9 kg

Weight this year - 267.7 kg

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