It's always 'different' at Howick

I do enjoy diving at Howick, it's far away from the madding crowds even if you do get numpty potters from Craster so I had a slot to do a couple of days diving along the site I thought yeah!

As always first vis....

Howick is silty even when Beadnell is good as seen here where I had a snotty/silty 6m or thereabouts whereas Beadnell was 8m plus with some milkiness.

The second dip on 15th June was terrible with the vis at about 3m and very wishy-washy

The first couple of dives were just to the North of Submarine Hole and wow the topography is outstanding, if only the vis was something like as I do dislike bloody great reef walls looming up at me.

Anyhow, why submarine hole, well in brief G11 ran aground there at the closing of WWI and was deemed a total loss, one chap lost his life and the sub was broken up slowly by weather and man until the wreckage is now just that, bits of metal strewn all over the site. But with a little imagination you can certainly work out it was a submarine......there are two 'toggled' air tight hatches in the gully just to the north of the entry point along with a brass/bronze surround which I am told was an escape hatch......there are a few compressed air tanks dotted around the site which were used to enable the G11 to surface and tellingly there is a structure that could very well be part of the periscope assembly lying on one of the skeers, I really should check it out in-case there is something interesting still attached but to be blunt it has been picked so much over the years that I very much doubt anything of interest is still there.

The dives were all about picking up scrap, rubbish and things that shouldn't be there so I will leave you to judge how successful I was based upon the weights detailed at the end of the article, I shall only say thank goodness for wheel-barrows!

The diving at Howick is concentrated along a series of reefs that run North-South along the site, although at the Northern End things do get a bit odd with some very large skiers running East-West and confusing matters, but as I always say trust your compass unless there is rust! In which case move up in the water column a few yards and look again, oh and to be blunt at this time of year in these conditions you can also use the sun as a rough reference.

Now the sea-bed isn't bare rock, rather it is covered with 'crunchy' worm casts made over time immemorial, this means that generally the geology stays 'as is' after winter storms as this crunchy sand holds together the rocks and boulders that would otherwise bash about the site causing assorts of mayhem and change. The geology is basically sandstone which means that there are some strange shapes carved out down there and combined with the pretty fixed bottom this is one of the few North East shore sites where you could expect to see conger eels, so keep your fingers and arms out of holes before shining a torch in there!

In my dives here there have certainly been a few fish about, with the most common species being Coalfish, including some right lunkers that I saw mooching about in mid-water just looking to see if I had disturbed anything that could be classed as a meal. I would guess that these fish were close to 10lb in weight and would be a fighting proposition to any angler who went after them, the thing is that not many do hence the plethora of lost weights littering the bottom.

Also present were large numbers of immature cod, pretty little fish that are quite bold but as they grow older they will either move into deeper water or learn to get into cracks or under boulders should they sense a diver or seal.

I also spotted a few topknots camouflaged nicely against the rocks they were lying on, you can quite easily pick up this flatfish but I wouldn't recommend taking home for tea as they tend to worm infested for some reason, no idea why.

The most common aquatic species here are lobsters, there are thousands of them, ranging from wiggies of three or four inches up to monsters of five pounds or more, although the latter are not so common and tend to be in silty holes that go back a long, long way. The area is heavily potted by the guys from Craster who have a big 'No Divers Allowed' sign up at the harbour so if you intend getting tea please remember that you are allowed one (1) unburied, none V notched lobster per day and again don't make a song and dance as you will be stirring up $hite for those of us who dive here on a regular basis.

Diving from Submarine Hole rocks was a bit of a revelation, all of the sand that was shifted from Beadnell appears to have been dumped here, with maybe three feet of it dropped in the hole directly infant of the entry/exit point, oh well when it is washed out again in a few seasons time it will be absolutely full of lost weights.

I was working further south than I usually do and nearing the end of the dive decided to follow one of the gullies all of the way in, ok well not all of the way in as it turns into a cave but as far in as I wanted. In this gully I immediately noticed that there was no sand and all of the cobbles and rocks had been moved about in the winter storms, exposing large amounts of bed-rock and to be blunt I wasn't terribly surprised to find a very rusted admirals pattern anchor on the sea-bed along with a load of partially smashed up concretisation which yielded quite a few brass keel pins, which was a nice bonus.

Exiting was a bit exciting as the damn swell had picked up to a couple of feet so it was a case of choose your spot, take a deep breath and get up those rocks as far and as fast as you can, I should really get a video taken of how to inelegantly get out when needs must. Of course it always helps having a booty bag full of lead that you can use as an anchor against the retreating wave!

Dive safe


Weights this session - 27.1 kg

Weights this year - 327.3 kg

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