Back in the South Side

With the conditions being so good topside I really wanted to go in from the North Side of Beadnell Point for a mooch about but my back said '12l tank, no way', so it was a simple dawdle to the South Side

As always vis first, well there was quite a North/South groundswell running, not washing machine but a bit of a surprise and that was probably what kept the vis at a steady 5m, so ok, not spectacular but good for the time of year.

Rather than down to the reeflets and turn left today I headed right, a similar sort of a dive although there is a wee spot where there are bits of a wooden wreck that are sometimes turned over and with everything being really bashed about there were indeed a few brassy bits to pick up. There is never anything spectacular simply keel pins, occasional flakes of copper and lumps of brass that were at sometime 'something' but have been bashed to bits and resemble nothing!

Although it was still bloody cold I had taken the precaution of adding another layer and whilst my body was ok so it was finger tips that were really painfully cold to the extent that I was forever trying to rub some life into my blue fingertips of my right hand. I really can't believe that only a decade ago I would dive all year around without gloves or hood, must have been mad!

So, whilst I still had the temperature as unpleasant there were signs that the animal life thought things were picking up, at one point there is a load of 'rubble' comprising large stones lying North/South along a reeflet and having been there a while they are pretty secure and concreted in place. You can almost always spot a cod or two darting under the rocks when you get close and today was no different, there was only one cod but it was a reasonable size and a sign, maybe, that things are improving and summer, or at least warmer waters are a-coming.

Other signs of better conditions were the sight of blue fiends, and whilst there were not huge amounts of lobsters there were quite a few with some being tameable, not that I had remembered my implements. The local creel fishermen had strings of pots maybe two hundred yards off-shore so with that in mind the lobsters and crabs must be 'warking', thats to say mobile and actively looking for grub. Maybe I will tool up and get a nice one for the pot should I manage to get out again this weekend.

Whilst there were plenty of lobsters I didn't spot any Velvet Swimming Crabs which was a bit 'odd'. These are usually very common around our sites and today nil, but looking back on my ramblings I have had years before where these critters didn't appear until later in the season, which is odd. I always think that because they are an active predator when conditions go from horrible to ok then a sting in the tail with another extended period of stormy weather they are caught out and mashed up. Alternatively I have most oft seen them sheltering in cracks on reeflets and these cracks are subject to sweeping action should the conditions run the 'wrong way' so possibly if storms are really messing things up they are washed out and mashed up, certainly they don't have the robust legs you see in edible crabs which often push up with their legs to jam into hidey holes when you are trying to extract them. Swimming crabs have legs which have developed more into 'paddles' to enable them to swim and they don't look as robust as edible crabs and indeed spider crabs, oh, a word of advice, should a big edible crab do this you can get a hook beyond the body and 'sweep away' the legs, just make sure that you leave the pincers in place and drop them into boiling water rather than heat them up from cold. I have found that heating them from cold increases the chance of the pincers being shed and the meat 'boiling out'.

You can guess from my total that there were a few lost lead weights about, I always pick them up as it turns a bob or two and cleans up the sea, oh and a final point it reduces the carbon footprint of the family.

Talking about a blast from the past, many years ago, about forty to be exact, we used to launch boats from a car-park and slipway located on the dunes directly infront of the touring caravan site at Beadnell. The dune was owned by Finn Coxon of the Coxon Ice Cream family and you turned up, paid your 50p, launched your SIB, a sexy zodiac with a 30hp mariner and went to the Islands for a couple of dives then breathed off your air diving the skiers for another lobster or two.

Anyway, the recent weather has shifted huge amounts of sand so you now have a situation where the bedrock is there for all too see and not yet covered in any algae seaweed, we were walking the dogs earlier in the day and there in a crack in the bedrock was a long-lost dive weight!

The car park has been closed for thirty or forty years and in that time the National Front, oops Trust have adopted the land and now have signs up saying its theirs, as an aside they tried to do this all the way to Seahouses but gave up on one stretch where the farmer quite rightly continually removed their illegal signs. Anyway that weight must have been there for three decades plus and has now been picked up........I wonder if it was a member of Bishop Auckland club that lost the weight all those years ago?

The weather is set fair for a while and although I can understand that dive schools may not wish to freeze students in wet-suits it is certainly worth getting your dry-suit out of winter storage and getting rid of that rust, so please start shallow and ..................

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 8.1 kg

Weight this year - 322.7 kg

Recommended suppliers

Latest Photographs