Who got the 'O' from Loch Leven

It was a midweek adventure with Nunkie and the Ancient Diver out with Natural England, a trip with the guys who schedule Ancient Monuments would have been more apt.....

But first the nuts and bolts!

The vis was checked with the secchi plate and it was around 8m, but at depth it was closer to 10m or better

Now the narrative, apologies but this is based on notes after a tel-con and a load of photos e-mailed, sorted through and posted and some on-line posts to Facebook.

The plan for the day was 'easy', Lucy from Natural England was visiting to dive a few sites which will subsequently be dived by a group from NE with a view to monitoring the amount of weed and 'fixed' filter feeders on the bottom and walls. So an empty boat with Lucy, Nunkie, Ancient Diver and Toby the boss, loads of space and with limited divers in the water a chance to dive even though tidal conditions weren't perfect.

First up, bearing in mind that there was a depth 'limit' of 15-18m was the outside edge of Longstone, close to Northern Hares and ending up on the site of Loch Leven, a ship that was lost at the start of the twentieth Century with no loss of life. A lovely dip that isn't done all that frequently as it is tide dependent and putting in a dozen numpties means divers all the way from Longstone to Bergen!

I'll nail in the photos now and then add the narrative!

Farne Islands - Loch Leven (2019)

The start of the dive is along a shallow, well 6m deep, gully between Longstone and a small reef and on the island side there is a hole that always houses a huge blue fiend and in this dive the inhabitant was there and a rather large and arsie cock lobster that came charging out to see who we were and see if we were 'edible', a couple of photos and off, at this stage we were not sure if Lucy was 'green' and not keen on taking lunch!

Rounding the corner we started seeing bits of wreckage with small bits at first and then larger bits until we got to the main body of the wreck, so the camera started flashing away whilst Lucy was bimbling about picking up pieces of weed and considering if the site was appropriate. With a few shots in the camera it was time to 'grub' about and sitting in some rocks there was a small thin bit of 'green', ahhhh brass!

It was the work of moments to wiggle and slide out what on first look seemed to be a distorted copper gasket piece, so into the pocket and ready for dropping into the scrap pot. Now leaping ahead of myself when the Ancient Diver saw this he was interested and very quickly it was clear that it was the brass 'o' that would have been fitted onto the bridge as part of the ships name. Looking at the piece it was obvious really, holes on one side were countersunk.....only three fixing holes....no distortion so not a bent sealing ring, what a nice find and it'll part polish up lovely!

Continuing underwater, Toby had joined up for this dive and seemed to be enjoying himself, certainly it was a nice and pretty dive with plenty to see with loads of smallish Saithe forever milling about just to the sea-side of us, well they were milling about until a juvenille seal zoomed past. It was quite strange that despite a few seals hauled out we only saw one when we were actually in the water. This particular seal joined us for maybe ten minutes and after the initial swim past he went 'sneaky' and stealthily came through the kelp and started tugging fins. Finding that none of us wanted to play he only stayed a short time and went off.

On this dive one of the prehistoric starfish was spotted, I haven't seen many (any) of these on other dives, common starfish, sun-stars, brittle-stars and bloody henrys yup loads but I can't say that I have seen many of these ancient creatures. From research they tend to 'like' to eat brittle stars so I guess that there is plenty of food for them in the deeper water around the islands.

We were limiting the dive to twenty minutes and after this time it was 'up and out' and strangely for Nunkie he had to carry out a safety stop so spent most of that trying to get a photo of Lucy and Toby in Snells window. There were a couple that were 'ok' but with such grotty weather they could have been better.

That was dive one and quite a good one, it was time to go to other sites and have a look-see, as an aside the feedback from this site was that it was good but quite heavily grazed on the bedrock by sea-urchins.

Dive safe

RichW and Nunkie


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