Back on Snowdonia for a recce

The Snowdonia is a bit of a 'shambles' it ran up on Brownsman in 1881 and settled back and sank......she was a steel ribbed, wood covered barque so not much left but it's always good to check!

As always the nuts and bolts.....

The vis was poor maybe 4m or a touch more with lots of snot, snow and shite in the water.

Work is progressing reasonably well at the harbour although I gather that a two month extension has been agreed, with workers grafting away at the harbour some of the cuddy ducks have become very 'human friendly' and one particular female has recognised that humans who keep lifting something to their heads are probably eating sandwiches which means food. If you pause by the top of the slip she runs up and demands food and it's a shame not to give her something...

The other odd-ball today was a quite small 'red' salmon jumping about in the harbour, it was either a kelt that has returned to the sea from spawning or more likely a cock fish looking for the Long Nanny where it would go to spawn, hopefully it got out and headed south, I guess it could be heading North to swim up the stream at Warren Mill which also holds a head of migratory game fish.

With a full boat and awkward wind I sat out what would have been a nice dive on the outside edge of Longstone and the wreckage of SS Loch leven, the basic fact was that a single operator, the Ancient Diver, would have had issues picking up divers so close to the rocks with a Northerly blowing him on. There were still a few intersting moments when guys and gals realised that they would need to move off the rocks a bit to be picked up!

Being in a period of large tides and with a steel grey sky I wasn't expecting super vis when I splashed in on the wreckage but I was hoping for a bit more than I got! The vis may have been a bit bteer than 4m but certainly it wasn't up around the 6m mark, that said I would expect things to be better on sites where the tide moves water about, certiainly from the surface it looked better at the edge of Longstone, that said it can be surprising that when you can see the kelp sometimes the open water vis isn't great, maybe poor vis 'browns out' the bottom which the kelp would tend to belnd in with, I'm not sure but it is something that I have noticed before.

Having a quick talk with the Ancient Diver the plan was to drop close to the windlass and then have a grub about, ending up on what appeared to be a channel between a little reef and Brownsman Island......the first part of the plan was spot on and I landed just about bang on the windlass, oh and the 'wafter' that I took was great, maybe a bit big but ideal in shifting sand!



This was a very slow 'mooch' dive and there was a large amount of pottery shards lying about, some bits quite 'fine' and othere of half inch thick pipe which I guess was attached in some way to the galley. Many moons ago the Ancient Diver lifted a large cast cooking pot from the site which was covered in fire bricks, I was in the same area as the pot was found so the theory kinda hangs together.

I had a good look at the small reeflet which is on the outer edge of the Brownsman and it is a bit of hard doeritic limestone bedrock with a jumble of boulders on to, strangely despite the favourable looking lie of the land there was very little sign of fiends, one hole looked cleaned out but no fiend inside and the dimensions of the hole made me think 'octopus' as it was a bit of a squeeze to get under the rocks, but the sand scoured out and dropped by the hole is a clear sign that something was in residence and if it isn't an octopus then its a wiggie that was very very busy!

Trying to find the channel between this reeflet and the island was tough, it didn't help that there wasn't a channel, infact the gap is only there because the bottom is small stones which means that the kelp can't take a hold and grow, so good to know. However in this area I did pick up the 'long' keel pin that I am buggering about with in the embedded photo, I am not sure why it won't rotate, not clever enough I'm afraid! 

The area does need a thorough dive but it will need to be a high water dive after a big blow as the bottom has weed on it meaning that you could swim over trinkets without seeing them, also it gets quite shallow, it was only a couple of meters at low water and it's always a 'chew' thrashing about in shallow water, at high water you would be in five meters so no fins breaking the surface and waving about....

I decided to trace my steps back to the windlass and have agood look in the holes that I had wafted and whilst there was nothing interested in the holes things picked up when I headed out a bit to make it a bit easier for the Ancient diver to pick up...... the bttom here is pretty flat at about six to eight meters and is sand covered making it a great place for bird photos due to the reflected light. So, heading out maybe fifteen meters friom the face there was a section of what I am sure is the wrought iron keel of the vessel poking out of the sand. The section is maybe fiver meters long and has the stumpy remnants of ribs attached. It is certainly a place where I want to do a little digging as there could very well be large amounts of copper sheating and some of the larger keel pins, the problem today was that I had promised a thirty minute dive so wanted to be out to make sure that the customers weren't kept waiting.

The second dive for the paying visitors was on Big Harcarr and they had playful seals so happy punters!

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 2.0 kg

Weight this year - 382.5 kg



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