All around Howick and Beadnell for a weekend diving

With one thing and another (back issues) my diving has been limited to places where I can take my gear in a wheelbarrow.....yes it looks comical but its a simple equation.........no wheelbarrow = no diving

First the vis, in a word f&&&&&&g spectacular, we had around 15m at Beadnell Point on Saturday, it reduced to 10m on Sunday with some snot on the flood but with everything flat-calm I expect it will once again be up there at 15m, what conditions for the photographer, with no surge its all sooooo easy!

Before I start to wax lyrical, weights, specifically lost fishing weights. At Howick a swathe of sand has been shifted exposing sea-bed that has been covered, with a brief exception last year, for three years. This means huge amounts of lost tackle has been exposed on a silt covered sea-bed.

Should you wish to help pick up rubbish its a long walk and work up-tide as there is a layer of silt that puffs up when you pick up a weight, oh I assume that your buoyancy control is good, you have a booty plus lift bag and finally you can plan ahead, diving mid-tide means where you walked in won't be where you clamber ooot!

I have been diving on the North Side of Beadnell Point having set my sights on a lump of a brass valve under the boiler, the source of which has finally been tracked down, as I put in a random jotting a couple of weeks ago:


I remember the valve was there on one of my first three dives some forty plus year ago and I had a yank, it didn't shift, I bashed it with a stone and it made no difference, so I left it to continue with my dad looking for lobsters. This routine has been followed by countless divers over time and it was still there. Notice the use of 'was', I made a concerted effort to chop it out and after maybe three hours work it is finally mine!

Miscellaneous Stuff - 2022

But fear not the mating flange plus three inch pipework is still there to lust over, and you can see both ends of the pipe! The problem being that it runs around 3m under the boiler so until such a time as the boiler is shifted or disintegrates its pretty secure and diver proof!

With the vis being so good I finally expected to see the shoals of small coalfish that inhabit the sites around Beadnell and beyond in the summer but no such luck which is strangely worrying, the absence of these fish and to be blunt shortage of lobsters and other crustaceans has me worrying, the authorities are dredging the River Tees docks to set up a freeport and there have been huge amounts of crustaceans killed off in that area, but to impact so far north? I believe that the culprit is the discharge of sewage and other 'nasties' from the outflow pipe on the south side of Beadnell Point.

Why? Well there has never been any kelp growth around the end of the pipe, everywhere else on the Point loads of it but at the pipe outlet none and I have noticed this year that the red seaweed (dulce) has bleached white and died in area around 15m from the outlet. I know that the pipe is used despite protestations from Northumbrian water that it isn't, Ive seen the 'bangers and mash' and I have contacted the water board as advised and not yet had a 'truthful' reply. I feel that the pipe may be blocked up in the next storm which is a shame as I get on well with the old couple living next to the dive site entry and it will be them and the people living/renting houses in Harbour Road which will ultimately suffer.

It's odd but on one of my dives I was momentarily disorientated at the North Side as you can never see so much wreckage, I always navigate by big lumps that don't move, so boiler, bow section, windlass, old style danforth anchor plus chain etc but seeing so much meant I had a brain overload and it was only on seeing the gap in the reef where I guess the Yewglen smashed away the bedrock that I got my bearings. However the exceptional conditions have meant that spotting other bits and bats in among the wreckage has eased considerably, today I picked up another couple of 303 bullets, a flattened cartridge case and also spotted a larger shell, maybe 1 inch diameter and I think another brass rating plate. Yes there are still things like rating plates down there, a few years ago I picked one up and it would seem that there would be one per hatch cover for the Yewglen!

A word of warning should you dive the North Side before I get back in, there is a ball of lost fishing net on the site so please, please be careful, I will get it out and trashed some time this week but I have usually found that you don't just get one load, sure its 'obvious' but if you don't treat with respect then you could be in trouble. On the subject of trouble we are getting into summer anglers season so if you are bashing along keep an eye out for lost fishing line, monofilament will usually snap if you 'wrap and pull' but if you try that routine with the every popular braid then you will end up with bad cuts. Make sure you have at least one sharp cutting device!

So there you have it, not all of our summer species are in residence but with the vis this good it matters not, get in while you can! The forecast is saying that conditions are due to blow up by Sunday 19th so mid-week would be the safest option, otherwise keep your eyes on wind-guru and the excellent cameras on North Sunderland Harbours web-site, with the technology we have today there shouldn't be an excuse for turning up to dive and its wrecked!

Dive safe


Weight this weekend - 109.15 kg

Weight this year - 512.7 kg

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