Diary

This local site is moving up in my list of favourites

I have always tended to rate Lady Hole based around the geology of the reef that bounds the south side of the site so 'shaley' with loads of shelves and cutbacks but due to its nature no long term holes for fiends.....

But last summer I went riiiiiiiggggghhhht out and this reef 'sinks' into the seabed leaving the sandstone top which has been carved into all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes, so this combined with the 19/20 storms scouring out the area where the site drops away from 6m to 10m has made me reappraise this compact little area.

Well this was the last in a series of dives and with the vis around 8m and going in at or around HW it was a bit of a chew getting down to where I wanted to be, but the life in the shallow intertidal zone was great and two ifs.......sun and camera.... there were several shoals of sandeels zipping between the bladderwrack, some had as few as ten members so must have been badly predated while one had hundreds of these tiny fish, which form the basis of the food pyramid up here. Without them no birds nesting on the Islands and not half as many of the 'faster' fish, such as satire and pollock, which hunt the shoals of fish. And of course moving up seals and larger fish eat the 'faster' fish and so on and so forth. I hope and wish that one outcome of leaving the EU will be no vessels scooping up huge numbers of these fish to process into pellets for farmed fish, pigs and the like, that would be a huge boost for our ecosystems.

So moving into the deeper water you will not be surprised that there were large numbers of these predators waiting patiently for the shoals of sandals to come closer. The swathe were not venturing into the area where there were clumps of bladderwrack floating up towards the surface so I guess that they were waiting for the tide to drop and ambush the shoals in the water where there is not so much cover. I have also witnessed shoals of sandals being corralled by the predators but today there didn't seem the head of fish to do this.

I worked along the north side of the site where the rocks and boulders have clumped together and over time almost formed a natural concrete bond, I know that huge amounts of lobsters live under these boulders, safe from divers, well today one wasn't safe enough and a nice size cock lobster was caught in the open and bagged up for tea! Oh and to make his life worse there were a few weights added to the bag over the course of the dive, I bet he was really fed up!

Whilst grubbing about in the rocks I spotted a really big scorpion-fish that was almost white in colour with small patches of very light pink, I couldn't see it's eyes to check if it was an albino and don't even know if fish demonstrate this trait but what a bonny fish and ideal if you had a big salt-water aquarium, I am struggling to think of a zone where this colour would work, certainly it wouldn't ambush much in the gloom under rocks but it was big so it obviously was able to get enough to eat. As an after thought if it was living in-among deadman fingers the colour would work but it was a long, long way from any head of these filter feeders.

The turn around point today was what I call the 'prehistoric shore', why? Well there was an extended period in our history when the sea-level was around six meters lower than it is today, if you go to quite a few dive sites you will see a change in the sea-bed at around that depth, on this site there is a sudden drop off that is perhaps two meters high and it's as good a point as any if you are just bimbling rather than looking at or for something particular!

On the way back it was a bit of a chew what with a load of additional weight and a lobster trying his hardest to get out of my booty bag, normally the blue fiend part wouldn't be an issue but for this dip I had brought along a bag with no draw-string so I had to twist the top of the bag and hope that with the weights holding everything taut there was no chance of a sneaky claw getting hold of my finger, although I am sure the eco-warriors reading this will wish it got hold of something more painful than a finger!

Oh, as anticipated there was a string of pots running up the centre of the site, I saw the rope but as I wasn't working along the deepest area I really have no idea how many lobsters had been snagged, I would imagine a few..... and last but least I also picked up a couple of golf-balls to add to the sack of 'em that I have in the shed at home, they aren't worth anything but when I have to use a cane to support a plant in the garden I drill a hole in the ball and stick on-top, makes it safer and less likely for anyone to impale themselves if they trip onto the cane, good idea eh!?!

So there you go another great dive and with the weather settled I am hoping for quite a few more in the coming weeks starting with a little RIB diving at the weekend, whatever you plan and do, please..........

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 8.6 kg

Weight this year - 150.8 kg

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