More than a Pleasant Surprise!

Following a nice dive on Blue Caps it was a short motor to Little Harcar, again there were a few seals for those that want them and it's not a bad dive really.....so getting my kit on double quick I was back in.

I won't do the usual stuff, the vis was the same as we had experienced on Blue Caps and with the sky blue it was British diving at its best!

I had decided to start the dive working around in the shallow water, say 12m, where you are looking at solid rosk and not boulders, I was, of course, looking for a lobster but the fiend situation was the same as at the Blue Caps, that's to say no-one at home.....

However what was at home was a delightful little Go-Pro Hero 4 which was lying in a crevice surrounded by bits of kelp, now judging by the slight degradation on the buttons which advertise to be stainless but actually do rust it had been there for weeks rather than either days or months and, yes it gets better, the battery was ok and working so that was pocketed pdq to add to my collection of dive stuff. I do find it odd that some guy or gal has paid around £300 for a camera and not invested in a £5 lanyard to prevent loss when the velcro comes adrift, which it frequently does when you are bashing through kelp looking for seals.

The solid rocks here are doleritic limestone and are quite an interesting dive with lots of gullies which are wide enough for a diver  plus cracks and fissure that should hold blue fiends but today there was no such luck! The sheer faces of the walls which cannot be grazed were smothered in filter feeding life but flat surfaces which sea urchins could hold on to were grazed down to bare rock with maybe a smear of algae.

As per Blue Caps there were loads of saithe mooching about, with shoals of fish about thirty centimeters long and odd 'lone' fish deeper in the kelp. these lone fish were larger, much larger at up to 90cm long and were obvioulsy predating their younger siblings. The other fish that were here in numbers were Ballan Wrasse and when i say numbers I mean loads of them, from smaller fish maybe ten centimeters long to the fully grown, brightly coloured males that were maybe thirty centimeters long or a tad longer. In all cases the fish came zipping up hoping that I would break open an urchin, obviously a conditioned response after a summer of divers performing the trick. On the subject of urchins, years ago my father had a collection of small urchins ranging from tiny to half size, today in the deeper water there were large numbers of small urchins, I think I may have to set up something similar.

So with the 'Brucie Bonus' in one pocket it was back down to deeper water looking for anything of interest, the boulder slope at Little Harcar is quite strange as it really flattens out at the 19m mark and it is a fair old fin to get to a point where you are on solid bedrock at around 25m depth. At the Blue Caps it is obvious but on this site in 'average' visibility without a compass you could very well spend an amount of time heading in the wrong direction, I guess that if you drained the water the boulders all end in pretty much a straight line and the difference in slope length is down to the crescent of the islands.

Once on the 'real bottom' it was similar to that which you will encounter further down the site, the difference here is that you do get stone skeers standing maybe a foot or two proud of the rough sand and gravel bottom and these skeers do act as traps for dive junk that is 'light', today there was nothing there but if guys drop 'things' into deeper water you can find it later in these skeers. The other difference is that here at harcars there are more small clams, locally known as clitty clams or sand dancers, but today nearly all that I found were empty, having being found and eaten by one of the large starfish that hunt on this flat ground. 

When working over the deeper ground I had permanent company in the form of two seals, both yearlings, who would take turns with one nipping my fins and the other in-front of me trying to hold my attention. there was a case this year of a seal mouthing a Go-Pro before getting hold and swimming off at speed, I wonder if these two knew that I had a camera in my pocket and were angling to comit larceny?

There was a large amount of boat and trip traffic with half a dozen boats with the associated hundred or so divers so I headed out from the deeper water to the main body of Harcars before launching my DSMB, it meant that not only was I out of the usual lanes for boat traffic I was also launching from twelve meters making deco pauses less problematic with only the briefest of pauses at 3m to listen for boats before surfacing and waiting to be picked up.

Dive safe


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