Diary

Kelp kicking kan be Fun!

On my last dip at Knacker Hole I was pleasantly surprised when fossicking about in the kelp near to Black Rock, so I thought, 'why not a full dive', so that is what I did!

As always some nuts and bolts....

The vis, well it wasn't quite a s good as yesterday and I assume that the nasty little wind chop has has something to do with that, but we still had about 5m so not terrible.

I tend to dive this one on a rising tide but today I slightly misjudged and the tide was 'just' on the flood when I got out which meant a swim through shallow, one metre deep water to reach the exit point, so a pain but not as bad as staggering in ankle deep water over weed covered rocks!

And I will get another one of my chest, there was far too much bloody plastic today, all bits of those ghastly thin bags that are free gratis at shops and even then not worth the money! Because they are cheap, horrible and split spreading the contents everywhere the remnants tend to be left on the beach or dropped at a bin allowing the beach turkeys to complete the shredding process. Please take them home or 'just say no'!

So now off we go, the first thing that was noticeable when you 'got into' the kelp was the amount of Ballan Wrasse that were about and the absence of the red coloured 'Kelp Cod', the wrasse were a mixture of sizes with the dowdy smaller female fish tending to dart away when you got relatively close whilst the larger male fish stayed put until you were within touching distance. Ballan Wrasse are a species that changes sex with age and size, fish starting life as females and then changing sex as they got older, I guess that this is 'natural proof' that wiser animals are males! These larger fish are absolutely beautiful, with each scale having an electric blue iridescent edge which are in contrast to the general reddish colouration.

The other animals that were present in numbers were nudibranchs, with loads of crispea and also the flagalle species in the small patches of 'clear' water where the bottom was in sunlight rather than in darkness, strangely enough no Sea Hares which is strange considering the amount around in the 'open', I guess because they are so much 'bigger' than the other nudibranchs there simply isn't the volume of food available in these liitle pools of light so for that reasion they stay in open areas, away from the darkness of kelp beds.

An animal that was notable by its absence was my old friend the blue fiend, the lie of the land looks great for lobbies with jumbles of big rocks and lots of cracks, crevices and caves but I saw very few fiends, oh and this was a twilight dive so they would have been coming out looking for food. Again, taking the lead from the pot fishermen there were no pots in the site so they have obviously found a shortages of takable lobsters and moved their fishing gear else-where.

After about thirty minutes 'bashing' through the kelp my calves and shoulders were starting to tire, the constant bash of pushing kelp aside and forcing through when fronds have tangled and formed a quite secure noose is tiring and whilst years ago I could manage two or three such dives in a day here an now one a day is a plenty sufficiency, especially as I was dragging along a bag that was filling not only with lost lead fishing weights but also some aluminium tube, it had been a rod rest, oh and also a few 'chunks' of brass which I guess had been used by anglers in the absence of lead weights. Now talking weights I try to explain to anglers on the state of the ground that they are fishing and really they do not need weights with stainless steel wire grips on them. These weights are designed for sandy bottoms and tide, here on NE sites there is little tide and the gear really doesn't move once it has hit the bottom.

Heading out from the kelp there were a few smaller saithe mooching about but not a huge head of fish, whilst on the wrasse front I only spotted a couple of smaller female fish dashing back for the safety of the kelp, they obviously feel much happier in the kelp as I found bashing through it earlier in the dive.

As I got in the shallow, well two meter deep water, it became much warmer and there were lots of plastic fragments which I picked up where possible, these bits are terrible to catch by hand so I think I will take along a small kids beach net to pick them up

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 7.4 kg

Weight this year - 287.0 kg

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