Crumstone on a big spring tide.......

I tend to be an interloper when diving with the Ancient Diver so when the paying guys wanted seals it was off to dive the North side of Crumstone where loads of seals were hauled out.

Of course hauled out seals doesn't mean that they will splash into the water to play with divers but at least it means that they are there....but first the nuts and bolts!

The water was full of 'snot' and at depths of say 8m and less the vis was maybe 3m, however once you got some 'depth' so down at about 15m it was ok with the vis being around the 6-7m mark.

The water temperature was ok, thats to say a vest and top under my membrane suit was more than warm enough.

With the tides being very, very large, with the drop down to an anticpated 0.17m above astronomical low, the Ancient Diver gave the group very clear instructions to find a gap in the kelp then sit and wait for the seals to come. Me, well there was no way I was waiting to be bothered by seals so I thought that I would drop down through the 'bad current and then follow the 'little wall' around to keep out of the current which would be raging way above where I was sheltered, by the wall!

It is a nice dive here as the wall is as good as vertical and it is smothered in filter feeders like Dead Mans Fingers and it has the added bonus of having occasional gullies which you can swim 'up' looking for anything of interest, oh it's also doleritic limestone so hard as hell and likely to be unchanged for a long, long time.

Today I had hoped to mark a Danforth anchor that lies on this, North, side of the island but unfortunately this late in the season there was a horrible layer of the 'american kelp' which seems to have appeared and become more 'common' in my lifetime around the islands, so whilst there were various bits of metal sticking up I couldn't pin-point the anchor. I guess that we are going to have to wait for a big blow to rip up the weed before we can find and move this lump of steel to somewhere that an anchorage would be more useful.

Dropping through the snotty water it was a bit grotty until I reached a reasonable depth and here it was double bonus, the snot was 'above' me in the water column and also the weed on the bottom had disappeared as the deeper water restricted light so it was boulders and bits of wreck, all plate and spar and all very well spread, but that is to be expected as the site is very exposed to any swell from the North-East to the South East meaning that these 'light' bits will be bashed about and eventually either settle in deeper water or be pulversised to a mush of rust. I can't say that I have seen any 'large' lumps of either engine block or boiler so maybe the wreck ran over the Crumstone and wreckage is both sides? Mor investigation needed I think!

From a dive point of view there was a remarkable absence of Blue Fiends, I was expecting loads of them in the shallower water but despite the large number of good hidey holes, both in the boulders and also the cracks and fissures of the Crumstone itself I only spotted a couple of lobsters in the cracks of the rock. But thinking about it I cant remember seeing any strings of pots and the fishermans pots do tend to be a good indication of the amount of crab/lobster on the site. The one crustcea that was present in numbers was my old mate the velvet swimming crab, there were tonnes of them, well ok maybe not tonnes but everywhere I looked there were a pair of 'evil' red eyes looking back at me and quite a few had the 'death stare' looking at me and waving one claw whilst the other held a dead pogge. Another strange one here, I have seen 'lots', well say ten a year, velvet swimming crabs eating fish which they had obviously caught rather than scavanged and in each case it has been a pogge, in quite a few cases the pogge wasn't dead. I wonder if the pogge is an easy target as none of its spines are poisonous....odd that!

On a piscine position there were loads of smaller shoaling fish, saithe, pollack and codling, up in the water column feeding on the 'snot' or at least something that I couldn't see that was feeding on this plankton bloom, strangely there were no signs of sandeels up and feeding on this late season food source, or at least there were no signs of any birds that would be on the surface eating the sandeels as the fish forced them to the surface and there were certainly mackerel about as I caught two for tea!

Having bmbled for a good half hour it was time to throw up the DSMB and help out on winch and coffee duty, but a nice dive with conditions which were not quite as good as expected but were generally ok.

Next would be interesting as the big tides made some of the usual suspects undiveable!

Dive safe




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