Diary

What excellent conditions!

Well they are at the moment but we have a bit of a 'blip' next week which may bugger the job a little but at the moment.....

Well at the moment the vis at the North Side of Beadnell Point was 8m, maybe a tad more, certainly no less;

Temperature? Well even a nasty little leak on my dry-suit was no inconvenience!

We decided to dive 'around' the point at just around the bottom of the tide and it was quite a good call, with the conditions very benign and vis so good it was all very low stress, I say low stress, the old ticker was pumping somewhat when I lifted a bit of wreckage that I have had my eye on for a while, not from the MV Yewglen, rather a smaller vessel but I am sure that it will clean up lovely and be added to the miscellaneous bits of ship I have dotted around the house and garden. One day in a couple of thousand years I have the sincere hope that archeologists use the ship scrap that will be buried in the ground as 'evidence' of a tsunami that ravaged the County Durham countryside in the late 20th century.......

For me the 'high-point' of the dive was sorting out a lost lobster pot that was solidly wedged between a reflex and boulder, I started chopping out one side and there was a bloomin' big octopus in it, yes, yes I know that they can easily squeeze into a pot but it was nice to see an octopus in the shallow water, I know that there are loads there but they are so damnably hard to find as they do manage to pretend to be a kelp stump very effectively and you swim over them and providing they don't spook you are none the wiser. So what was the octopus doing in the pot? Well my take is that he was using it as a regular feeding spot and maybe even lair as it would be awkward for a fish or crab to get at him and if a crab got in then he could catch and eat it at leisure, oh well hunt for food you bugger!

Another interesting diversion was a dancing crab, well velvet swimming crab to be specific. It was unaware of us but dancing away merrily from side to side, rubbing his nippers on the ground and almost jumping left and right. I have seen nothing like it and watched for a few minutes, oh well I say I have seen nothing like it but over in Lembeh they have what are nick-named 'sexy shrimps' as they wiggle their backsides when you get up close to take a photograph.

The sea-life this time of year at the Northumberland Coast is phenomenal and today was no option, there were loads of species of fish, from smaller cod slinking about to their larger brethren zipping under boulders when they sensed us, Pollack yup loads including some big ones in mid-water, Saithe, again yes, Ballan Wrasse, well obviously and of course a multitude of micro-species such as pogge, scorpion-fish, dragonets, leopard gobies, etc, etc. The big surprise for me was a lack of sand-eels, we have had gannets as well as the usual terns around hunting and forming up bait-balls along with gulls and probably mackerel and on the point you are normally assured a few sand-eels moving up and down the wall, but today nothing! I am sure that there are plenty about I was just expecting to see some swimming up and down, very close to the wall, being shadowed by the Pollack and Saithe but nope.

The last lot of bad weather wasn't terrible but did move lots of sand with lots moved from the inter-tidal zone to the top of the  beach. There has also been a drop in the shallower water from the kelp line down to maybe 8m depth and whilst it isn't a large depth it does seem to have buggered the job for sea-hares. Normally you couldn't swim, if you have poor buoyancy control, down to the interesting areas without squashing or dislodging some of the large nudibranch but today I looked carefully and couldn't spot any, perhaps they are hidden away, perhaps they were sandblasted out of existence in the bad weather, the next couple of weeks will tell us which it has been.

And finally lobsters, there were lots of lobsters all around the site, some big but lots and lots of smaller blue fiends, many in the four to six inch size range which would be ideal for the saltwater aquarium, providing that you transport them safely in a water filled box and take only one (1) so that you don't get your collar felt by the fisheries chaps. For some strange reason they take a dim view of people taking nine that are just under the size limit for an off-springs 'aquarium', oh well I must admit they do taste nice curried as do squat lobsters if you can catch enough, although to be honest if you want enough squat ties you are better off making a fine net pot and fishing for them with pot rather than hand!

It has been a very good year for scrappage and I reckon that my half-tonne-target will be hit this month, certainly I have spotted some lead scupper pipe that should be 'persuaded' out to meet the target and I also have a few areas to attack by boat which will perhaps take me to an annual record providing my back and the weather holds!

Dive safe

RichW

Weight this dive - 5.2 kg

Weight this year - 492.7 kg (nearly at the target)

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