Diary

Big Harcar isn't my favourite site but it's 'ok'

Around the Islands I have some favourite sites, Knivestone, Gun Rock and the like and there are some that I simply don't dive specifically Wamses....the Harcars are towards the bottom of my list, I can't explain why as I do like Blue Caps

The vis was great at about 10m and the temperature was 'ok', well it would be as it's summer and we were only 'over the way' from the earlier dip at the Inside end of Longstone.

On these Harcars dives I tend to drop in on the deeper water, I do this for a few reasons firstly there is less chance of piniped interaction, chance of finding dive and wreck trash plus there tend to be odd scallops too. And today I wanted a few scallops as it felt like 'paella' time, so half a dozen scallops would be great.

Well I have to say that I didn't escape from the bloody seals, there were only a few about and you know what? Within the first five minutes I had a seal nipping at my fins, which is a pain, and then when it was being ignored I started to get 'bashed', the only way forward when a seal starts getting frustrated about no interaction is keep on ignoring them, if you turn around and give them a push then they have won and will keep on coming back. Now if you want to 'play' with them then the best way is to ignore the fin nipping and wait until they start bashing into you, at that point they will 'play nice'.

Heading over the flat, well flattish ground at about twenty meters you are basically heading over flat rock which has occasional 'steps' which are about a foot in height and can be rather under-cut. Strangely whilst it's perfect for lobsters I have rarely seen any fiends in this area, on the Northern Hares where it is similar there are loads but here not so many, there are however plenty of crabs and whilst there was no sign of any of the really huge cocks that inhabit this area I managed to scrag a reasonable size sandy for the pot. I have added an old album which shows the lie of the land in this area, just for interest!

Farne Islands - 'Off' the Harcarrs (07.17)

The scallops can be found in the gritty/gravel that gathers in the lee of the steps and also as the ground gets slightly deeper towards 25m, the problem with covering this deeper ground is that the tide does really run over it and if it's slack water there are so many better sites to dive so I only get a chance to dive this area when the other sites are wiped out due to surface conditions. Today I managed the obligatory half dozen with very little trouble and was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few smaller scallops which is something that I have rarely seen around the Islands. It is obvious that there must be small scallops somewhere but I have rarely seen any, these small ones varied from little 'flappers' that were about an inch across that start frantically swimming when they sense you are close to larger ones that are maybe three inches across.

On this deeper water there wasn't a huge amount of fish life, there will be angler fish about but they are so well camouflaged that you rarely see them, when you do and if they are large enough they simply have to be bagged as they are delicious! Today I spotted a cuckoo wrasse, well a pair actually, with the male in his electric blue livery and he was very bold and very photogenic, the problem was that my camera was on the boat!

Talking, post-dip, with the Ancient Diver it appears that there is going to be some 'trial trawling' inside the Islands, for years the area has benefitted from trawling being banned from around the Islands, for sure there have been occasional cases where boats from Eyemouth have come sneaking down but fortunately these are rare and the boats in question get reported PDQ as they are breaking the law. If there is trawling or fishing inside the Islands then for divers it will impact on wildlife, both that which is seen and I fear that sandeels will also be targetted for fish-farm food, the targeting of sandeels will impact on fish, birds, well pretty much everything! Throw into this the additional risks of entaglement as gear will be lost and it's a ghastly prospect

Dive safe

RichW

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