A buddy dive in Knacker Hole

Well thats a turn up for the books, Nunkie pulled out of retirement!

But he had to be, I had an increase in medication and I am always very wary of the impact of pressure and increased levels of oxygen intake and nitrogen toxicity on said increase in meds, even if we were only in 8m or so!

As always start with the vis, from the side it looked good but once in it was maybe 3m, occasional 4m away from the reef, there was a bit of residual wishy-washy which meant that the macerated seaweed near to the Southerly reef was up and in the water column, head into the middle and you got much better vis.

However, lets start at the start, walking down the reef there was a family rock pooling, which is good fun, although perhaps they are a little early to find the full amount of animals that inhabit the inter-tidal zone. So the daughter told everyone 'be careful the sea-weed is very slippy'....aaaaaaargh, oh how we smiled! It was one of those 'you know its coming moments'. Many, many moons ago as a family we were up in the Lake District and messing around on a rill, it was too small to be called a stream, all rocks and a tiny amount of water, anyhow my mum said, well something very similar to the above and then 'bang' over she fell, and got up absolutely soaking and fuming that no-one had ran to help, the only running being my Uncle Billy sprinting over with his very early video camera, happy days and long gone.

So once in it was a case of him watching me watching him, the nunkie hasn't been in a while so I was a bit wary and he was wary just in case I went more loopy than my usual self, before all of the PADI pedantic start the dive was limited and shallow and I wouldn't have done any real depth as that would be risking things a bit!

With the in mind we didn't find a whole load of lost weights but we did spot a few changes, the main one being that there is now a dusting of sand on deeper areas of the site which had been sand free, I had thought that this might be the case as the last days have seen a load of sand dropped inshore, typically against the southerly reef faces, there is maybe two feet of sand dropped against Dell Point with the beaches at the haven stripped clean of sand, so I guess it hasn't travelled far, just a little local re-distribution.

During all of my recent cold water dips I have spotted a solitary flounder and this dive was no exception, the fish was lively enough and bolted when I went to touch him. Frequently you can pick them up as they are quite torpid at times, I guess after a heavy feed but this one wasn't playing that game. As an aside if you spot a flounder don't bother with the old knife out trick, you don't get a huge amount of meat and they are quite bland.

Closer inshore, almost on the beach where you get out there were huge numbers of immature flatfish, if you reached out to touch the sand there would be a few dashing off in all directions. Whilst in most cases they were just 'flatfish' there was one which looked like a small, very small turbot or brille, certainly I have seen these species caught from the beaches at Beadnell Bay and further South so I guess that the smaller brethren must have a nursery somewhere.

It is quite odd speaking of shore diving in February, usually the conditions are not settled long enough to get clear water which is diveable but here we are in 2023 and I have had a few sessions, the water really is cold meaning that lots of the wildlife are tucked away, today there were the usual amount of lobsters but nearly all were tucked away at the end of their hidey-holes and you could only spot them if you actively went a-looking with your torch, I think there were two or maybe three that were 'extractable', that's to say antenna sticking out of their lair and actively sensing what is happening around them, we just left them alone as they were marginally takable, though that said there were a few strings of pots around the area so I guess that the fishermen do get lobsters if they leave the pots in for a few days, although as they say up in Northumberland they aren't 'warkin', that too say lots of them leaving their hidey-holes and foraging for food.

We were in about an hour which is the limit for me at this time of year as you do chill in the cooler water and finger tips starting getting 'itchy' cold which isn't nice and signals more itching when they warm up, and looking from our position in the water I could see that the steel door on the outlet of the water drain was missing, it hasn't gone far as winter storms have dumped it at the inshore end of the concrete construct. This has been in place for years and has finally been ripped off, witness to the ferocity of some of the winter storms we have seen this year, for sure Storm Arwen made things a mess on land but that big seven meter swell that we saw a few weeks ago has made big changes on the sea-bed that will be invisible to the general public.

As one final aside I read that the biggest swell possible on the North Sea was twelve meters and it was in these conditions that a ship foundered to make quite a famous wreck. The write up in Diver magazine was interesting but wrong on a couple of counts, the propellor isn't near the wreck its at the end of a skeer at Lindisfarne where she was first driven ashore and there were no fatalities, all the crew got clear at Lindisfarne before the rising tide lifted the ship and moved her North to where she finally foundered.

The weather is due to blow up for the weekend so don't make any plans unless its for Friday, please keep an eye on the cameras at North Sunderland Harbour as they offer a real view on conditions and please assuming you can get in............

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 3.4 kg

Weight this year - 152.3 kg

Recommended suppliers

Latest Photographs