Diary

The Hopper but diving the wrong way

Or the right way to have a look on the area where I pick up the bits of keel pins!

The nuts and bolts.......well things hadn't changed massively since we had dived SS Somali on the morning, it was dismal up top and maybe 8m vis on the bottom, the shallower water meant that the light there at least lifted the ambient a bit.

Now in the surface interval I had been fishing, I do enjoy fresh mackerel it is the best fish in the world when fresh, but ghastly when a couple of days old. Oh and I had been successful in picking up one for my tea but I really wanted half a dozen to test a modification to my smoker and anyway I hooked what I thought was a small fish, probably a baby cod I thought reeling it rapidly to the surface and when it hit the top I was shocked it was a squid, not the kraken of legend but this thing that was probably just shy of a foot in length, hooked in the mouth area and far from happy. It was quickly unhooked and put in a bucket of water and from there went with the Ancient Diver to go into a paella. In my forty years in boats fishing and diving I can't say that I have ever caught or seen a squid caught, but there is a first for everything.

The site was absolutely lifting with seals and that is what the group who were diving wanted so as soon as they hit the water various go-pro and normal cameras were whirling and a group had gone in just before us and at the bottom there were three people clicking away at a seal that seemed quite happy performing.......

I had a good look around the area where I ususally find bits but today all that I managed was a lump of copper sheating from the hull of the ship, sure there were bits of iron that were visible where the sand had been washed out from the cracks but nothing of note, damn it!

But there were a huge amount of fish mooching about and quite a few were large cod that were brazenly swimming about and only darted under boulders when I bashed them with a crab hook, I reckon that if I had taken a 'spear' of sorts then I would have had cod as well as mackerel. The Ancient Diver has offered me his old speargun to use when we next go to the site and that seems a good idea, although I will need to be careful as I don't want to end up like the priest who shot himself through the head whilst spearfishing........how?

As per the dip on Somali there were loads of Ballan Wrasse about with quite a few obviously 'guarding' nests as they would dart rapidly out of holes and overhangs with their fins on 'alert'. It is good to see so many wrasse in the area as the press would have you believe that Salmon Farmers are catching as many as they can to put into cages with the salmon to pick off lice, now I am sure that this is the case on the West Coast but I think that it is a case of send ing some of the workers off in a RIB with fishing rods to catch the wrasse which live on wrecks, the sheer logistics of netting (how?) and transporting quantities of wrasse from the East Coast make the whole scheme prohibitively expensive, I hope!

I was looking for a blue fiend and whilst this area isn't always the most productive you can generally pick up something but today it was terrible, sure there were a few about, but they were all small but just legal. The most promising was a cock lobster that I extracted but then just lost interest as the 'body' wasn't up to the size of his nippers, maybe I should have scragged him to add to the Ancient Divers squid based paella?

Diving with just a ten litre tank I was rather limited to just shy of three quaters of an hour so rather than set off on a marathon swim I decided to have a good look at the large rock which sits up just off Longstone and before the bottom drops off. It rises from about 18m up to about 10m and then away and has a few fronds of kelp on-top but it is just too deep to get a good coating so they look like a few hairs cultivated on a bald mans pate! I worked up and over on the deep cracks and although there were squatties and leopard gobies no blue fiends, which was a little disappointing and even more disappointing there was a chunk of brass wedged into a hole which I didn't really have time to try and extract, but I shall be back, not sure what it was but it looked interesting!

Back on surface I was on winch duty and eventually we got everyone on board including the go-pro guys who were having a blast with the seals!

Dive safe

RichW

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