Beadnell Haven, I dive it every five or six years.......

The reason being that it is a terrible and stinky dive if you are not careful......

And to be careful you need to dive just after the bottom of low water when there is a bit of fresh water moving into the gut itself!

The vis was between nowt and 6m, how you may ask?

The Haven, ws back in the day a natural harbour used by the fishermen of Beadnell, the old sheds are on the top of the dune and although only one shed remains you can see the brick bases, tar pit, large windlass and other paraphenalia used by the old boys. Also more interestingly there are two old hand cut fish keeps in the rocks to the south side of the gut. These were cut to keep high value fish such as turbot alive until such a time as there were sufficient to ship out, back in the day they had tight fitting wooden tops and were naturally washed out by the sea at every tide.

Enough local history back to the dive!

This site has a sand bar at the head of the gut where the bottom comes up maybe three meters, so today at low tide the depth went from five to one and a half meters. This sand bar has always been there and is the reason for the 'stink' in the gut, it acts as a natural restriction to water washing out all of the dead weed and means that 'inshore' of this bar the vis tends to be crap and the water stinks of hydrogen sulphide, to the extent that you can taste it through your reg, once you leave this 'dead zone' and go over the bar usual service is resumed.

That is however not to say that inside the bar is devoid of life, as well as the crabs which seem to live everywhere today I found out where all of the Saithe had gone, they were foraging over the top of the dead, rotting and bubbling bottom formed of mainly dead dulse. I don't know what was there but there was a huge amount of smaller fish and where the smaller fish go there hungry, cannibalistic, larger brethern follow....

I tend to dive this site infrequently and then just to have a 'look see' if anything has been thrown up, back in the day the fishermen were not overly concerned about environmental issues and would quite merrily dump old and worn out stuff, quite unlike the potters of today, 'cough-cough' apart from the string of pots dumped in shallow water which the Ancient Diver dragged up and into the props of Mhara Mhor, a new gearbox later it was an expensive do!

So despite having a good bimble nothing, indeed it appeared that sand had been dropped in as there were very few boulders showing and I know that the anglers who fish here have historically lost a fair bit of lead, of course I did pick up one large home made weight but that just got slung into the pot rather than weighed and noted. I did however have one problem on the dive, the hi-pressure hose/gauge started to leak from near the joint, I am not sure if something is broken or just loose, fortunately on such a shallow dive the constant bubbling was only a minor irritation, it would have been more of an issue on Somali or similar but in five or six meters, naaah.

Despite some very 'homely' rock formations out from the main gut I didn't spot any larger blue fiends despite these formations, of dolerite, being perfect with wide cracks ending in holes that went right back and facing all directions. I don't think that they have been dived or potted out as the holes were all 'dirty' with the sand having a grey tinge with a white 'scum'. Despite their fearsome appearances lobsters do keep a clean home and one of the ways to spot 'em early season isto look for the 'scrattings' where they have pushed the sand from out of their chosen lair.

There were however quite a few smaller lobsters including a few of a size that made me wish that I had a salt water aquarium, quite a few were small, very small maybe four inches long and ideal to watch grow on in an aquarium. I know that salt water aquaria are supposed to be very hard to maintain but back in the day my mother had one set up in her school which lasted ages containing all of the usual suspects and it was topped up with fresh water and the animals kept alive with a dead simple aerator. Anyway enough of that, a guy was fined an eye-watering amount for taking small lobsters for an aquarium....methinks he was like a recently deceased North East diver and they were for the pot. On that subject Ron Young had his ashes scattered on the islands recently, I shall say no more.

I always say that you must trust the compass and today I had my doubts, working back over rocks looking for anything the southern wall appeared to be missing so I did a short seal pop and the compass was correct but it did reinforce that you must trust it, I guess that the topography with the bar throws everything out of kilter.

Up against the wall (eventually) there was another home laid pot this time with a two litre milk bottle as a marker, I must say that for the cost of £10 per annum for five pots and the authority for two lobsters a day it does seem the way forward in my dotage to ensure a regular supply of fiends for the table, or now that I have reconfigured my smoker maybe it's time to try smoked lobster? 

Dive safe


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