Diary

An anomaly that I didn't know about!

Well today I decided to have a dip at the South Side of Beadnell Point, really to be far from the madding crowds due to a rescue course being run at Knacker Hole and it was very interesting indeed, even disregarding the damn seal!

First the vis, well it was bit odd........

There is still loads of smashed up bits of weed in the water column but it is getting better and the groundswell is greatly reduced, which is helping things settle down, so close to the shore 'inside' the first line of kelp beds it was maybe 2m but once you got down to a reasonable depth, say 6m then things improved to around the 5m mark. But (again!) I was diving from LW on the flood and the water coming down seemed much better and you got pockets of really nice vis, helped no doubt when the sun poked his nose through the clouds. However the forecast is bad, it has been wrong all week so fingers crossed but it could really go to hell this week, at least the lobbies and forecast agree!

I will jump ahead, what anomaly? Well I always say that you should follow your compass, the only exception being if you are aware of a big lump of iron on a dive that you 'know', today was on a site that I know very well but I found a bloody strong anomaly that really messed things up over a ten yard area to the extent where I stopped, looked at the compass, tapped and and thought 'naaaaah', well in general it is an easy site to navigate, head North to get out or 'up' the slope but around the anomaly everything was skewed and when I was going down the slope and going 'North' and watching the compass slowly turning despite my straight swim it was apparent that there was something. We all know that there are loads of magnetic anomalies in rocks around the islands which make the use of a magnetometer damn near impossible and because the seabed was solid it was pretty obvious that this anomaly is also natural rather than loads of steel from a wreck buried under rocks.

Oh the damn seal? Well as I was getting my fins on and air out of my suit a young seal, probably last years pups stuck his noggin out of the sea not ten yards from where I was going in and I knew then that during my hour of getting wet I would be subject to endless fin pulling, suit crease nipping and maybe worse! Seals of this age are beyond the 'frightened' stage of life and are the teenagers who just want to play about rather than either set up a territory and harem or join said harem! 

I had decided to go in at the gully, head along, past the wreckage of the Mistly, out to the various pinnacles and then slowly east to make the walk easier, however with the anomaly and me 'following' the lost weights I ended up heading north and thinking........'mmmmh this looks like little rock, it even has bits of plate stuck under it' and it was! However it was a nice dive and interesting insofar as large swathes of kelp had been ripped off the shale pinnacles leaving areas barren and lost fishing weights 'obvious', well I am a tad wrong, the kelp isn't ripped from the rock, rather the rock shears and whilst the kelp is still hanging onto rock it is only a thin sliver of the original bedrock which doesn't bode well for the weed.

I must say on the fish front that there were large numbers of kelp cod about, with the smallest being maybe a foot long and the largest a damn big lump that any angler would be happy to catch, now I know that water distorts but having looked at the hole that this thing darted into it would be closer to fifteen pounds in weight than ten pounds, some size kelp cod! Now on the subject of holes, large areas of this site comprises of big, car size boulders with a mixture of smaller boulders, rocks and rubble  all naturally 'concreted' together to form a vast labyrinth with large numbers of ways in and out of varying size. It is home to huge numbers of blue fiends and must be 'safe home' when the winter storms come along as these areas seem never to change year on year even as the shale towers are slowly eroded away or in some cases demolished in a single winter. Certainly the fishermen are quite happy to put their pots over this mass in the knowledge that when night falls hungry blue fiends come out on the prowl.

On the topic of 'scabby hawker' the bedrock under these concreted areas must be coated with lead weights with no damn way of getting at them other than blowing the whole area to smithereens, something that isn't going to happen. I guess that they will not be rolling about releasing little bits of lead but I must say that I would be a bit concerned about regularly eating lobster from this area as the lead content must be higher than average as they are pretty much living adjacent to and onto of lead weights all of the time.

Today however there were very few lobbies hanging out from their lairs, a situation that I find indicates that either there is sand in the water or impending bad weather, so despite the reducing groundswell maybe there is a subtle change in the way of the water which means that the lobsters know that a blow is on the way so batten down the hatches?

Having seen that the western side of the site has been liberally coated with sand it wasn't a surprise to see that the eastern area had also received a liberal covering, not in the Howick fashion where some areas experienced a nine feet drop last year but rather the tosheroons all were full and level with the main rock meaning that the only weights that I found were in the open which is no real hardship. I had half hoped that the groundswell may have moved some of the damn sand and dropped back on Beadnell Bay Beach but no such luck, I guess that it will have to wait until winter 2020 before it is cleared out.

And the seal, well yes it was a pain and did at one point manage to give me an 'ouch' nip on my thigh and I think that my reaction meant that it cleared off for a while, at least I saw the thing, it can be damn disconcerting having a sudden tug on your fin when you are engrossed in a task!

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 8.0 kg

Weight this year - 211.5 kg

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