Something you seldom see

It's been a while since I wrote, it's the old back I'm afraid it is rather limiting my options but here we go anyway!

Despite some pretty big springs the vis was 'ok' jumping in from Beadnell Point, maybe 6m but it did slowly degrade and by the Sunday it was ghastly but again it was forecast and it is forecast to be a short, sharp shock so touch wood for the weekend of 18th September for both shore and boat diving.

As I was diving buddied up with Graeme today it wasn't going to be a head in the kelp, weight bashing, rather I hoped to just have a nice scenic bimble and cover some serious ground, which is exactly what we did, starting from the Point and ending up at the bottom of the skeer which forms the southern end of Lady Hole before returning on a rather circuitous route. My buddy thought that we had gone past and into Lady Hole but I was able to confirm that this reef degrades into some very weird shaped sandstone and we had not passed over this area, but still quite a fin, oh and yes despite the self imposed no concentrating on weights I really couldn't help myself and picked up quite a few moving over an area that I don't usually pass over. I am guessing that these were lost from people fishing from Lady Hole southern skeer and casting south.

We are approaching the time of year where the water is as hot as it is going to be and the sea-life is everywhere and today I was in guide mode looking for odd-balls and the first I spotted was a little nudibranch that was vivid blue, it's strange but when your eye is 'in' you spot them from a distance but need to beckon your buddy real close before they appear, likewise a delightfully camouflaged and quite large topknot that was laid on the rocky bottom rather than 'stuck' to the ceiling of a crevice, bloody disconcerting when they do that!

Now the seldom see. Blue fiends do loose claws, be that in arguments with other larger lobsters, cod or simply the inept action of amateur lobster whisperers. If they loose the large, bulky 'crusher' claw then on their first cast 'post-loss' so to speak, the existing 'ripper' claw comes out as the 'crusher' and the new appendage is the 'ripper'. Obviously nature has decided that it is most important that a fiend can grab its prey and squeeze it to death and it can use the diminutive ripper and indeed the tiny claws on its legs to chop luncheon into bite size pieces. Well on the dive today I saw a reasonable size lobster, well over the legal limit (86mm) which was equipped with two sizeable ripper claws, that's to say two rippers which were about commensurate to the body size. Now not sure if it isn't a genetic thing and its been like this since spawning or if it lost its ripper claw when very small but I have never, ever in close to 4,000 dives in UK waters and probably eating 16k lobsters over these nearly 40 years seen this before. I am sure that others have but I haven't, maybe if I was tooled up I would have extracted him but no I only saw and thought 'well I never'.

I always wear the same kit and I am not sure if some of the larger pollack on the site have not adopted me as official 'small fish spooker' as I have found over the last couple of dips that I am accompanied by a couple of large fish which swim between a yard and two yards ahead of me through the dive and only zoom behind when I drop down to grub about picking up diving weights, an activity which often disturbs small fish, especially when there are a few weights poking out of a small sanded up area and I waft away the sand throwing up creepy crawlies that small fish dart in to feed on before getting picked off by the pollack. As well as a load of saithe and pollack the ballan wrasse this year have grown very, very fat, and whilst they are not as diver friendly as the group that live on The Pinnacles and expect to be fed with smashed sea-urchin they are certainly not in any way spooked when I hove into view, they get within touching distance before slowly moving aside which is very different to the same fish which dash away at the first sign of a diver in the early season.

One of the big 'where are they?' this year has been sea-hares, normally the south side of Beadnell Point is covered and there are plenty on the other sites feeding in the red weed but this year I haven't seen any, not sure why as they usually survive the various summer storms, maybe, as quite a few of them live two years we are simply in a cycle where the big ones died last year and they are here but small this year and while turn up in size and quantity in summer 2022. On the round-about subject of nudibranchs at the end of the dive when Graeme was asking about the vivid nudibranch he confessed that he hadn't seen many, well that is a challenge for our next dive, which I may suggest for Nacker Holes as I am pretty confident of tracking down at least four different species whenever I dive that particular site.

During the dive I also picked up a piece of old depth gauge, well I say old, the display was in feet and the bourdon mechanism on the back was covered in a very thick layer of verdigris suggesting that it had been there for quite some time and when I googled the make and model it does seem that it is something that would have been in use at the start of my career, certainly I remember from the early days that the only place that you could easily 'get' 100ft of depth was at Longstone End on the wreckage of the Chris Christiansen, certainly the wreck of SS Somali at around 28m just wasn't enough.

So having bimbled out to nearly Lady Hole and started working our way back in I spied a few interesting bits that need further investigation, one of which is a thick seam of coal! I prised out a big lump with my knife and will have to see if it is high quality and what it burns like, not that I intend diving for coal, that does seem rather hard work. Rather I am intrigued if some of the big lumps that I pick up on the beaches are from this source, I don't think so as I believe that they are lumps of steaming coal but I could be wrong.

The other interesting bits were chunks of wreckage well away from the debris field of MV Yewglen, there are a multitude of ships that have come to grief on The Point so its pretty inconceivable that it is anything that wasn't known about, but I will need to have a good grub about to see if there are any 'green bits' hidden away that may make nice trinkets or indeed offer some clue as to which particular vessel the once was, and there you have it a nice dip, plenty to see and although the conditions were worse when we clambered out still interesting and still one hell of a drag back to the car when weighed down with dive kit and a bag full of scrap weights.

I doubt that there will be much shore diving until the weekend but if you are lucky enough to get into the water in the meantime then.......

Dive Safe


Weight this dive - 13.3 kg

Weight this year - 550.2 kg

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