South End of Longstone

Now this is a lovely dive, lots to see and plenty of options should you want to have a bimble at 10m run along the bottom at about 30m the choice is yours!

As always what's the vis and stuff?

Well on the 'vis-o-meter' it was a steady 10m but in the water I would have said a tad more, maybe 12m horizontal which is pretty good!

Oh, and the motor over was great, it's a short blast from North Sunderland to the Outer Farnes although at this time of year you have to 'go steady' as you approach the islands due to the sheer volume of birds that are on the water, mainly guillimots and razor-bills but also lots of puffins and pufflings, fulmar and other random gulls as well as a variety of terns darting about looking for food. It is a busy time of year at the Islands and a feast for the senses both audiable and olfactory.....


We were lucky that the only other groups that were planning to dive the site were pretty clueless so as soon as the tide eased off we dropped in at the southern edge of Longstone with a simple instruction.....right hand on the wall, really nothing should go wrong and it didn't on this particular dive.

As the wall drops off so quickly the standard instruction is to get where you can see the wall as a reference and descend but today the vis was great and you could easily see the dead-mans fingers and associated filter feeders in huge carpets virtually from the surface so it was drop down and have a start.

I started by heading'further' south to have a look at any 'life', read blue fiend that may be hiding under the prop of Chris Christiansen but no such luck so i turned around and slowly started heading back at about the twenty meter mark....lots to see and plenty of natural light at this depth so a nice place to start before slowly heading up the slope to a shallower depth to prevent any deco obligation and get out without hanging around waiting for a trip boat to run over your DSMB.

The most noticeable thing about the dive, from a fish point, was the amount of cod that were showing, some staying out and not darting into a rocky cave or crevice until you were almost within touching distance and some being quite large, I do think that cod get a bit of a raw deal as when they are on the slab they appear a drab olive with a white lateral line, however in the water they are much lighter and have gold flecks which reflect the light as they dart away from divers. On deep wrecks the larger cod are much more relaxed with divers to the extent where I have been known to grab them by the jaw, insert a reg and pump them up with air.....they go to the surface tail first where the boat cover picks them up, happy days!

Moving along the wall and dropping into and out of various chimneys the first thing I saw was a seal that had recently died and was in the process of being 'taken' by the sea.......nothing to see there so out I went. In these chimneys there are loads and loads of lobsters plus various other crustaceans, long deep cracks full of squat lobsters, velvet swimmers, edible crabs the works. The problem today was that all of the fiends were either soft, well you can tell that easily as they are barnacle free and a brilliant blue or berried, not so easy to tell until they have been extracted. I suppose both bode well for the future but in the here and now when I fancied a lobbie bolognese for tea it was a tad more frustrating!

As I worked along the slightly shallower water in about ten meters, so below the kelp line, it was noticeable that there were lots of bits of 'rust' on the bottom, nothing that could be easily identified and nothing like an anchor but enough lumps to make me think that it must have been a mainly wooden ship that had hit the end of Longstone and sunk, the name of the ship, well there are many options and I guess there will be notes in the various information sources that I have.

Towards the end of the dive, in this shallower water it was noticeable that there were loads of smaller saithe hanging around in shoals, the iste is 'hugely' tiday and with the tide due to ebb there would be a large amount of water brought from the deeper water and pushed over the end of Longstone and then though Crawford Gut and Piper Gut. This water passes over the gritty ground to the south and I am guessing that the fish were there in anticipation of large amounts of sandeels and other baitfish being pushed up and over the rocks into their waiting mouths, certainly they appeared a bit 'agitated' in their actions and with the absence of seals the only thing that I can think is that they were getting ready for a bit of a feeding frenzy.

So, following this deep then shallow up profile I had managed a good foty five minute dive without incurring any decompression obligation so it was time to launch the DSMB, climb up the string and get out to assist the Ancient Diver in getting back on-board his charges for the day, wher next that was the question in my mind, where next?!? 

Dive safe


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