Back on the beach after a while on the boat

It's been flat conditions so we have been taking full advantage of it visiting various sites around the Farne Islands but today I decided to get my gear together and march to the end of Beadnell Point

So the North Side of Beadnell Point was the dive, but what of the conditions?

The vis was in the 6m range, maybe a tad more but with the tide pushing bubbles and stuff my direction it was hard to tell,

And the temperature was ok, I was in for 75 minutes and could have stayed longer but the little 10l was emptying and I do like a bit in reserve in-case of problems.....

I am feeling my age and general condition and tend to time my dives now, with this dive being around HWS whilst as an example I dive Knacker Hole about an hours after LWS....back in the day it was just a rush to get in whilst I now think about getting out a bit more.

Before kitting up I was talking to a couple of anglers who were complaining of catching nothing which I found quite strange as there are or at least I thought there were plenty of fish inshore and so it proved when I started my journey away from the wall to the area that I tend to mooch about in.

There were the usual large pollack patrolling the area between the wall and first little reef, these are large fish and when they are 'on the fin' their smaller brethren are noticeable by their absence as these large predators do and will quite happily eater their smaller relatives, having spotted these usual suspects and metaphorically shaken my head t the anglers I started looking to see if anything had been 'turned over' in the last lot of bad weather and whilst there was nothing to pick up I did see a very photogenic little anglerfish/monkfish/green* (choose depending on where you live)  that was lying on some plate. Again my memory isn't great but I don't think I have seen these fish lying in water that is maybe 5m deep before, but things are going crazy with lobsters exposed today in cracks on the rocks and it's not especially big tides, life seems to have exploded this year!

At other points in the dive there were dog-fish/catsharks, ballan wrasse, codling and any amount of micro-species so plenty of fish life for anglers and the budding under-water photographer to take a series of excellent photographs.

At the start of the dive I had spotted a buoy that indicated that there was a string of pots in the area and sure enough they ran close inshore in the second gully and sure enough there were five or six sets of anglers tackle snagged up on the rope, so very carefully I went along and cut off the lead weights! I am sure that the pot-fishermen know that they are going to have pot lines festooned in anglers tackle and I know that at least on the lads is quite happy picking sets of mackerel feathers from his ropes as that means he doesn't need to buy any but you would think that heavily fished areas would be left alone, wouldn't you?

The second gully that is home to most wreckage from MV Yewglen has once again had it's dusting of sand and pebbles removed and the bottom is just a massed jumble of rusted 'stuff', some of which is from the named wreck but I am sure that if you had the time and inclination you could take a photo montage and identify other wrecks in this gut as there are several sections and pintles which are simply not contemporaneous with the main wreck, and of course I have, over the years picked up lots of brass (and silver) trinkets which are also much older than the date of this wreck.

As you would expect for the time of year and quantity of pots there were lobsters in virtually every crack and hole, with the exception being the deep, deep hole that was always inhabited by a monstrous old blue fiend, this bobbie disappeared before the start of the 2020 season and I reckon it was probably old age rather than any other reason as there is simply no way he could even get a claw into a pot let alone two plus his body and there is really only me that dives the area, although some dive schools very occasionally have a splash but since their motto is 'fish = friends' then he would have been safe. Oh well I am sure that such a 'des-res' won't be empty for ever and the next time big lobbies are about it will be re-inhabited.

When moving back to the Point to clamber out is was noticeable that every now and then you got a 'bang' as a wave smashed into one of the cracks with force, the first time I heard it was when I was bumbling and my initial reaction was that it was a near miss from and angler who had cast at the bubbles! This destructive action of waves into the doleritic limestone means that the point is being slowly eaten away with a few big chunks smashed off over winter 20/21 but I am sure that you don't need to panic for the next few hundred years! 

I reached the wall quite a distance from the exit point so had a slow swim inshore, keeping an eye open for sandals, which are now about in colossal quantities but didn't see any shoals, the smaller coalfish which were probably spawned this year were about and obviously very nervy about the prowling pollack, keeping close to the sea-bed and skittering about every time a shadow passed overhead, which must of been tough on them as the spray and bubbles from every waves caused a momentary darkening of the water and my presence didn't help them either.

My timing for exit was impeccable and I was able to glide onto the second 'step', kneel down then slowly stand up, bliss and so, so different from some of the exits that I have previously made climbing up the rock-face like a flipper clad Chris Bonnington!

So there you are, apart from a 'blip' midweek the weather looks great so next weekend should be 'spectacular' for those shore diving whilst if you are diving the Islands with a camera I would suggest a dip on the site of the Snowdonia, it is shallow at 6m but there is a bright sand bottom ten yards away from the Islands and this time of year you will get lots and lots of guillemots, razor bills and maybe puffins 'flying' through the water to check out exactly what you are, just remember to have a fast shutter speed and please......

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 8.5 kg

Weight this year - 370.5 kg

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