The first Howick Dip of ‘23

Its an odd old place Howick, only a short distance as the crow flies from Beadnell but quite a silty area, the vis can be quite acceptable at Beadnell and silted out at Howick,

however after a nice steady few days of settled conditions when I finally got in at Howick it was a more than acceptable 8m, although with a slight swell of around two feet close around the rock ends it was getting rather ‘wishy-washy’ with a few lumps and fragments of the flat green seaweed, with a Sunday name of ‘Sea Lettuce’ being moved around close in. Again this wasn’t impacting on visibility as the lumps were not ‘all over’ and there was little or no sand and silt suspended in the water.

There was a little bit of Northerly in the swell which made my planned ‘get out’ interesting as I was planning on diving from mid-tide up, entering physically into submarine hole, then working around the skeer before exiting on the southern side, the issue with the ‘bit Northerly’ was that it was causing some wash around the area where I would normally exit. I will jump to the chase……..I decided to head back into Submarine Hole and clamber out towards its end where the rocks do allow an inelegant exit.

Every year you have to think that there is very little extra to be ‘thrown up’ and out from under the boulders that lie at the land end of the ‘hole’, but no and this year there was a hint of that ‘pasty green’ which copper or brass colours too when it has been in the water for a long time and not subject to the abrasive effects of moving sand.

This one was the remnants of a twelve pounder shell, with the projectile long rusted away, wear to one half of the casing and all cordite long washed out! Quite an interesting find with the colouration indicating that it has been hiding in plain view somewhere! Not content with this I also spotted a couple of copper coins jammed between some concreted pebbles, whilst these coins have zero value as a coin they are certainly interesting pieces as it’s almost certain that they were dropped by either sailors or salvors of the lost vessel, submarine G11.



The main purpose of my ‘first of the year’ dives is to recce the sites and look for major changes to the sea-bed, particularly to see if the winter storms have dropped several feet of sand onto the rocky sea-bed, any sand means that you struggle to find any blue fiends and lost fishing weights will remain lost until the sand is once again shifted.

This year there was no sand on the site, this is the second year where it’s been largely sand free following a year in 2021 where the seabed comprised of a sandy desert with odd clumps of reef tops and lots of baffled looking lobsters who were expecting to find a suitable habitat following their walk in from deeper water which forms winter residence for a fair few of them.

I have seen a few shallow water oddities here on dives but maybe it is a little early for Angler Fish to be moving into the shallower water, there were however a few of the usual candidates with Ballan Wrasse quite active in the gully and open water, some seemingly constructing nesting sites. Oh and on the topic of nesting sites I still haven’t seen any bloody Lumpsuckers this year, for sure there will be loads of males sitting on nests but I just can’t spot ‘em this year, I know a few nooks and crannies that usually hide a few nests on both North and South Sides of Beadnell Point so will, promise, get in with a camera and see what I can see.

In another direct comparison of Howick and Beadnell I rarely pick up lobsters from Howick as the fishermen at Craster have a bit of a reputation of attempting violence (murder?) of shore divers who they suspect of taking ‘their’ lobsters. Running up and down over bubbles isn’t a good idea and attempting to cosh a surfaced diver who is in the water looks, through jaundiced eyes as attempted murder, though the latter activities ceased when a diver caught said skipper in a pub and explained to him the errors of his ways. But old habits die hard and there are still big ‘No Divers’ notices painted onto Craster harbour walls and don’t be surprised if there is a potter or two waiting for you to exit your dive, especially if you are diving on Tuesday evenings when the local RNLI are out practising!

Not that I am saying don ‘t take tea, just be sensible, one diver = one lobster is the IFCA law and you will get a fine of thousands if you have two, or the one you have is undersize, or a berried hen, or a breeding hen with V notched tail………..

That’s another first for 2023, but I certainly shall return, and yes I would recommend a dive at Howick with some provisos, namely you do really need settled conditions, you need to assess where you are going to get out before you get in and finally think about what you are taking and how to take it. The walk can be a bloody killer especially whilst wearing weight belt and cylinder! I use a 10l tank which is plenty and most importantly a wheel-barrow, those trollies you see being used at certain inland UK sites might be great for flat concrete or tarmac but they are worse than useless for a path made from compressed chippings!

And a last point, Magic-Seaweed is no more, the king is dead and all that! My concern is that the new site which has 'taken over' from Magic Seaweed is as yet unproven for accurate swell details, I am sure that Surfline will do their level best but I get worried, sometimes with reason, sometimes without!

Many a moon ago my forecast tool of choice was Wind-Guru, however they changed the locations of the telemetry buoys from which they receive data and also the algorithms which they used to crunch the raw data and arrive at accurate forecasts so the forecasts became terrible and I stopped using them. I hope that Surfline don't make any changes to data collection or calculation but please, if they do I will tell it like I see it, here!

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 11.0kg

Weight this year – 579.1 kg

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