Howick and Sinatra!

Checking my records I find that shore diving tends to drift to an end towards the second week of October and being a week from the end of September......and now the end is near!

As always lets start with some nuts and bolts, the vis!

Well there was some, just not very much, so lets make it sound better and say that it was between 3 feet and 9 feet depending on where I was on the site, but with iffy seas and big tides was it going to be much better?

I had shoved my face over the side at Knacker Hole in Beadnell and it looked quite good, so in hope and judgement I drove to Howick to have a splash at Submarine Hole. Walking down towards the Doctors House it looked quite nice from a distance but when you got closer you could see that the vis was poor and there seemed to be a bit of surge despite the lack of any real waves up-top.

Now I know that the weather was due to go to hell over the weekend with the surf forecast to be in the four meter range at Beadnell on Sunday so it very much was a last hurrah before what could be curtain down for the shore season. With that in mind I had brought along a few cylinders but just as well I was starting with a single 10l tank!

Dropping in at the Southern side of Submarine Hole I could see that the kelp was visible maybe a yard down but beyond that it was 'murked out', but having walked there in I went! Oh and close in it was horrible, a big wishy-washy surge made the vis non-existent, sand, silt, smashed seaweed all contributing to a horrible start to the dip, but you simply head East and soon enough things improved from horrible to ghastly!

Now I have said before that I really, really believe that lobsters and to a lesser extent crabs 'know' when a spell of bad weather is on the way and hunker down in the depths of their hidden holes, the fine silt in the water will irritate their gills so hidden in a hole they are able to keep out of the way of most of the disturbed water. Well that is my take on it and they do act as a good indicator, certainly on 'high octane' drift dives the crabs 'disappear' when the tide turns and act as an excellent indicator. So with that in mind you can probably guess that despite the prevalence of blue fiends I never spotted a single antennae in what was a short half hour dive, sure there were odd small edible crabs about but not many.

The fish species were also in short supply, now I know the poor vis may mean that there were huge quantities of fish but I find that unlikely. The only fish about were three lesser spotted dogfish or more correctly cat-sharks which were quite happily lying on the bottom in small gullies well out of the way of the surge which was bloody terrible. Ah yes the surge, it was pushing me maybe three meters each way if I wasn't hunkered down and had shifted quite a bit of sand since my last dive at the site a couple of weeks ago, but even with sand being deposited there were still a few lumps of lead to pick up, though I fear this will be the last session of 2020 on this site.

I had written that the site was strewn with dead and dying Lions-mane jellies but on todays dive there was no sign of any of them, I am assuming that over the last couple of weeks the crabs and lobsters have been busy munching and the bad weather has also smashed some up against the reef and rocks. However they will have bred and next year I am sure that there will be plenty of these big, painful jellies all around our coastline. 

With such poor vis it really was a compass dive and on reaching the reef I headed south, my thought being that I would lessen my walk back, the problem with this plan was apparent when I took a west turn, so to speak when I had 'seen enough'. Exiting the site, at low water, well 'very' low water there aren't many good areas to get out with the reef edges going in a wall manner from three meters deep to ten centimetres, but eventually I found a suitable spot and hauled out, like an ageing seal I reckon rather than an elegant diver!

I do think that we are nearing the end of 'planned' shore diving in Northumberland and with the Corvid 19 restrictions in place I am not sure what the impact on hard boat diving will be, will the operators be allowed to continue running with eight divers or will it be restricted to five divers (plus skipper equals six) which may make the costings impractical? Lets hope that things improve and we can get in the water a bit between now and the year end and please make sure that you.........

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 6.6 kg

Weight this year - 470.8 kg

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