Diary

Third time lucky? Well guess!

It had been flat all week so the vis was bound to have improved, wasn't it?

Well actually yes, yes it had..........

The vis was 3m maybe 4m in places once you had got over the first lot of kelp.

Why when you were over the first kelp beds? Well because I was in around the top of the tide so what little wind-waves we had were just lifting the grot from the top of the kelp and reducing the vis to around the 2m mark over the inter-tidal area and just over the first kelp bed.

Today I was down to half a tank so it was going to be a short dive from the South Side of Beadnell Point, but up towards the 'Little Rock', my main reason for choosing here is that at the top of the tide there are a couple of flat spots where you can get into the water without going over the cobbly rocks, where one false step equates to broken ankles.

Okay, so without further ado it was 'lost weight city' and I absolutely 'bagged up' with weights and yes it needs more dives with full tanks to clear out the weight and rubbish.

The area has been turned over 'a bit' in the winter storms and there were a few areas where the big stones had been shifted and while there were no brass 'keel pins' showing there were large quantities of very old cast/wrought iron parts from what was obviously a wooden hulled ship. In the past the only thing that was visible was a very identifiable rudder pintle, now there are bits of iron 'ribbing' dotted about all over the place. There are may wrecks in the area, well at least four, and these bits and pieces are certainly not from either ST Mistily or MV Yewglen, as both were steel hulled and a much later vintage, one of my recent jobs has been digitising data from the North Sunderland RNLI and whilst I have seen records that go back a fair way I have only seen details for the Mistily and they had that as wrecked on Newton Point in a heavy fog! It must have been some bloody fog and there are other wrecks that are a long way from the reported position. I know it's an aside but one write up was it was a hard pull back to North Sunderland Harbour from Megstone on the flooding tide........well it was a hard pull as the wreck was on Goldstone, about six miles north! But I guess in a heavy fog you will be disoriented, certainly many moons ago pre-chartplotters the Bishop Auckland flotilla has a right bugger about getting back to the launch site at Beadnell!

Anyway moving out from these boulders, which are the remnants of storms past causing damage to the Point itself and also the pinnacles and 'reeflets' to the south I reached the first pinnacle, this one is about 5m up from the sea-bed and as is common comprises a doleritic limestone wig on a shale head! This combination means that every winter some of the shale is cut away and you then loose a few meters of the pinnacles as it collapses and this year has been no different. One of the reasons that the shale gives way so often is that it is made 'holy' by burrowing bivalves which bore deep into the stone to make a safe home with only their filter feeding bits sticking out. On top of the pinnacle the cracks in the limestone were coated in ribbons of nudibranch eggs, probably from sea-hares which inhabit the area in huge quantities.

I must admit that I had expected to see odd crabs or lobsters about, due mainly to the presence of buoys marking strings of lobster pots not far off-shore, but I can't say that I spotted anything over and above the odd-hermit crab in shallow water, I am sure that they are there hiding away under boulders and inside some of the deep cracks and crevices just waiting for conditions to warm up....well I hope so as I really fancied lobbie linguine for tea!

In common with my last dive I had also expected to spot the odd lumpsucker but even in the better vis and covering the 'right areas' I didn't spot any, I am sure that they will turn up and maybe I am just a bit early, last year I spotted plenty but didn't really dive through March and into April due to the C19 lockdown issue.

Many moons ago there was a young seal out on the islands that simply loved DSMBs, thats to say he would zoom after it after it was launched then pulling himself around it when it was on the surface would do his level best to bite through it. I remember one particular day sitting with the Ancient Diver watching this bloody animal burst two DSMBs from six that were launched by a group who were diving on The Hopper.

So today I noticed at various points through my dive that I had a fin puller following me around and up here there are only seals that do this, I have even switched to hard rubber, old school US diver jet fins which they prefer less than splits and other 'soft' designs. I had decided enough was enough and was heading back through the deeper kelp bed and stopped dead in the water, turning around this seal had a good hold of the fin and didn't fancy letting go, it probably took a minute or two of tugging and then pushing its nose with my hand before he let go and took off, bloody thing.

Was it a good spring dive? Most certainly and whilst it may go to hell over Easter weekend if the forecast weather arrives, certainly up until mid-week its well worth a dip, however when you go in please make sure that you..........

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 19.9 kg

Weight this year - 42.6 kg

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