You should have been here last week!

Isn't that always the case? The second dive of the day was at the Hopper and the Ancient Diver took great pleasure in telling me how you could see the bottom of the wall last week, but not today!

Today was not so good, snot at the top of the water column and vis 'ok' a bit deeper, however there were seals for those who wanted them!

I really fancied a fiend for tea so jumped in near the long gullies that go into Longstone and in a couple of cases lead into the Brada, being gullies it is not possible for the fishermen to pot these areas wo they are normally good for a lobster but today wasn't a normal day.

Nope, there were loads of lobsters with probably 80% being obviously undersize and quite happy to walk about. Now these small lobsters of 'wiggies' were vivid blue and white which means that they have been shedding their exo-skeleton to grow and I guess that in most cases this must have been the second 'shed' of the year before filling out the shell in the remaining good feeding time of 2019. And of course the larger lobsters also shed although sometimes only once a year with the larger monsters which weigh several pounds perhaps shedding only every few years.

It should have been a warning but working along the gully, checking out the cracks and 'tutting' as most lairs were inhabited only by wiggies I eventually spotted a large enough fiend in a crack. By this time I was pretty fed up as a seal wouldn't take no for an answer and had gone from fin tugging to trying to steal bits of kit, fortunately my knife is on a yellow string so it was easy to pull it up and put it into a bag as the bloody pinniped was insistant on tugging at it. Anyway I should have noted that the lobster was 'vivid' and that there were a few bright orange kelp cod about and when it came out with absolutely no fuss it was because it was really soft and so immediately put back. However I didn't put it back close enough to its hole and in the blink on an eye the lobster disappeared and all that remained was a single claw that slowly dropped down from the crack towards the sea-floor, chased by a few cod!

Talking about kelp cod, they really are a vivid red, almost like goldfish, and I guess that this colour is driven by both diet with crabs and crustaceans meaning that there is a tinge to the skin and flesh and camouflage with the red blending into the environment of the kelp beds 'better' than the usual cod colour.

Having got over the shock of the cod I eventually found a fiend that was 'ok', that was after seeing half a dozen that were 'scrunchy', that is to say not yet fully hard, oh and I also extracted and returned a few berried hens, it is always teh same the ones that come out easy are the ones which are safe from the pot, hey ho! However it is good that there are plenty of lobbies and they are breeding it does auger well for the future.

With tea sorted I bimbled further along the site, every fin kick being followed by my shadow seal that was absolutley desperate to get some interaction and I was just as deperate to try and get the damn thing to b'gger off and find some divers who want to play.

The wall here drops from the surface down to maybe fifteen or twenty meters almost vertically and with a strong current sweeping along the site at every tide there is always a healthy amount of Dead Mans Fingers out and feeding, the problem is that the orientation of the wall means that at times it can be a bit 'gloomy' near the bottom and of course working along the gullies which are really gaps in the rock, starting maybe five meters wide and ending up quite tight it gets very dark as the kep on the top of the gullies block out quite a bit of light. You also have the additional joy of the larger bull seals which use these gullies but are not quite as keen to play....it can be very disconcerting seeing seven feet and seven hundred pounds of seal wanting to go a different direction to you...it is amazing how fast you can fin backwards and down!

Today when I put the blob up, in about twenty meters of water, I was intrigued that the fish up and feeding in the snotty plankton appeared to be whiting! It's odd as you do catch the occasional whiting when fishing but I can't for the life of me remember seeing any of them whilst diving other than the odd fish. Now I am pretty certain of my identification and there was a shoal of them but it doesn't sit totally right......another investigation I think!

Oh, post dive we spotted a seal on the end of Longstone with a 'healing' wound to its neck, now it may have been the individual we saw a month or so ago at Wamses with a deep wound, not sure. But it does make you think about what is causing the injuries....fights....waste....boat injuries? The last time that there were injured seals knocking about and I thought it may have been a predator I was 'poo-pooed' by St Andrews University right until the dead body of a Greenland Shark was washed up........

Dive safe everyone!!!


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