A day of unwanted confusion

Everything started fine, there was a plan, get Calypso onto her moorings at Fluke Hole and then off to the North Side of Beadnell Point for a splash with a mate, but as always snags!

The first was the new-second-hand on Calypso loosing the tell-tale whilst I was taking to moorings, this led to me missing the best dive slot at Beadnell Point and ending up at Knacker Hole………………..again!

Not that diving Knacker Hole is all bad, the conditions top-side were flat as the proverbial and in water the vis was great, the snot had cleared and there were quite a few sea gooseberries in the water, connected? As a guess I would say the vis was around the 8m mark and my mate who was on time and dived the North Side of Beadnell Point reckoned 10m.

On the weight front it was another good day that included a lost dive weight as well as forty odd lost fishing weights, it is amazing that in benign conditions where there is zero shift of material on the sea-bed you can mooch over an area one day and repeat the next day with a similar haul of weights, oh well I have been told by anglers that the area is a tackle graveyard so fingers crossed that on my next dip its business as usual!

Oh, and I spotted and picked up yet another blue nut, bolt and two washers! I am picking them up as I can and probably should, then rinsing with fresh water, drying and dropping into my workshop fixing store with the rest of my fixings. I am not sure if I will ever use such a large fixing but they eat no meat sitting there.

The timings today weren’t that great, I was able to get ‘almost’ to my preferred start point at Black Top Rocks and it was an entry on the ebb rather than flood so there was a bit more finning needed when I was approaching the exit point, as the small inlet was emptying via the smallish opening.

With much improved visibility, in the deeper area of the dive, due north of Black Top Rocks just before the bottom starts to slope up I spotted, again, a small group of three palm size John Dory. I have seen these rare, in the North East, fish a few times and always at this site and in this area. I presume that the, sea bed which comprises of small rocks and coarse gravel with interspersed small patches of rock and kelp is perfect ambush territory, with the coarse sand no doubt home to plenty of small sandeels and ‘very’ juvenile flatfish and probably small critters living in the kelp also potential targets for the predatory John Dory. Spotting small John Dory is a bloody pain, I have found you need good vis, zero surge and a slight tide, you then start looking for pieces of suspended kelp that is travelling against the current, this kelp is usually John Dory! But if conditions are wishy washy the subtle movement of the fish is almost impossible to spot, you really do need almost perfect conditions.

On the fish front, there were still large amounts of Flounder but no sign of the Ballan Wrasse. I realise that it is a large site and that you can miss even a colourful fish like a Ballan Wrasse but it was odd as I do see them more often than not, I have an inkling that the large increase in free-divers combined with their spearguns may be making a hole in the population. Certainly I have seen a few wrasse taken for ‘the pot’ being scaled and prepared on the beach, I cannot preach on the niceties of taking seafood for the pot but only hope that the fish were eaten and not left to be thrown away at some point.

Returning to the subject of ‘scran’ rather than scrap, with so many dive schools and indeed individuals now enjoying the delights of shore diving around Beadnell I do on occasion feel slightly guilty taking my tea during a dive, only slightly but so often when plodding along with a lobster in the bag you do get far too many ‘tuts’ and shaking heads. I suppose it’s partially my fault writing these articles and dive guides, but please readers if a diver is carrying a blue fiend home for tea keep your opinions to yourself, its similar around St Abbs, although when there, I just point out that we are in a voluntary marine reserve and I don’t volunteer!

With the highpoint of the dive being the few John Dory that I spotted it was back to the exit, with the improved vis I spent quite some time following the reef along at the southerly edge of the site. I have said before that it’s really scoured out by the big stone blocks but also at an area I call the ‘prehistoric shore’, which is an area around the six meter mark where the seabed suddenly goes up by a meter or so. I reckon its where the seashore was many years ago when we had a lower sea level as it’s a feature I see on a few sites, or maybe its just ‘one of those things’, anyhow, the smaller shingle, coarse gravel and the like have been shifted, revealing a shale sea-bed (and a few lost weights), I am not sure that anything will take root here or indeed if the boring molluscs will set up shop but it is interesting mooching about looking for any unearthed goodies and strangely enough and fossils exposed in the shale!

Diving this site on the ebb poses very few problems but one is negotiating the gap which was blown in the reef many years ago in an attempt to make the small inlet an alternative anchorage for the small fishing cobles and it was rather a puff going through the actual gap, which is I guess five meters across, I would advise approaching from the side and swimming through adjacent to the northerly edge. It’s not hard work but does need a change from a bumbling gentle scull to a tad more effort for a few seconds, that said sculling will get you through, no need to starting flapping away.

And the last generic note about this dive, going in on the ebb is great but please if you are diving towards the time of low water check to see just how low the tide is above the calculated astronomical low, exiting on a LOW tide involves walking over a load of very weedy rocks before going through the gap where the bottom is very uneven and a fall hazard waiting to happen.

Finally all of the repair work on Calypso looks good, the new transom is solid which is much more reassuring than see the engine ‘nod’ when putting her into gear, however it has been a damned age since I drove a boat so with that in mind I will fill and repaint a dink on the front port bow where I clouted the landing stage, I do have ‘half tyre’ protectors but for some reason I can’t fathom had decided to leave them in the cabin!

So whether its skippering or bubbling, if you’re out there please, please…………………

Dive safe


Weight this dive – 8.0 kg

Weight this year 353.4 kg


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