Tween the Doctors House and Rumbling Kern

The last time I did this dive was an absolute shambles, think it was in 2020 and the swell picked up something rotten and trying to exit near the top of the tide with a load of weights was shambolic, but today? Well it was different

Well why was today so different? Well it's been flat as the proverbial for days and that means that the vis at Howick was bloody good, probably around the 10m mark, which was useful as there were still a few Lions Mane Jellyfish in the water, I thought that they had all died off but no, not that I was stung but it was a close thing!

The other odd-ball today was that there was a string of pots very close inshore and for probably the first time I can remember I saw pots at Howick! Now I know that the fishermen are convinced that divers steal 'their' lobsters but we don't and to be honest I really dislike diving when there are pots close inshore because people will say 'oooooh there were divers' and the potters will say 'oooooh there weren't many lobsters in my pots' and to be honest it's all cobblers. Now back a lifetime ago when the potters were playing silly games at St Albs slashing car tyres and stuff I really enjoyed going along a string of pots, emptying them of fiends and filling them with rocks and jamming under boulders where possible but to be blunt I am too old for that kind of a game anymore and as long as I am left alone then I don't feel the need to get arsie!

So having got into the water at the Doctors House my plan was to go East to the main edge of the reef then slowly work south against an emptying tide before heading inshore a tad and drifting back Northwards. Easy peasy and natural navigation regards where to get out is easy on this site as the entry to the bay runs well out to see and is in the form of a big, deep channel in the bedrock, so you reach that then turn West and you're out, even when the vis is poor its an easy site to navigate!

On the aquatic front it was a really interesting dive, probably about halfway down to Rumbling Kern there is an area where a large sandstone pinnacle, maybe twenty yards North-South and ten yards East-West means that the bottom is all over the place, with some large bowls carved into the inshore side which means that its usually good for some weights. Well today there were two bass in this area, not huge fish, I guess that one was maybe around 5lbs and the other about half that weight, so certainly good size fish for the pan. There weren't especially shy and I got within a couple of yards before they slowly swam away over the kelp, now I can't remember having such a positive identification of Bass whilst diving the Northumbrian Coastline, sure I am pretty certain that I have seen them at Beadnell Point but maybe they could have been Pollack with attitude but today it was a definite positive ID. As an aside I was chatting to a couple of anglers who fish relatively close inshore with rod and line, they rarely go beyond the 30m mark, so S Somali distance. Anyway last week they spotted a shark, a non-basker, about twelve feet long, so that would either be a bloody big Porbeagle Shark, which are known to live in the North Sea, or something else, I have said that there are 'other' apex predators eating seals that live on the Farnes and maybe that was the first sighting?

As you would expect there were large numbers of Saithe and Pollack on the dive, with shoals of smaller specimen as well as a few large Pollack that tend to mooch about looking to mug something for lunch. I am not sure how you would go about catching one of these fish on this site but I will think about it! Its a bit odd that a few dives ago there were a couple of huge shoals of takable Saithe and Pollock but today nope, have they headed off-shore? I hope not.

On the crustacean front there were lots of lobsters about including a few monsters that were shoving their noses up and out from fissures in the rock. The bottom when you head towards Rumbling Kern is odd insofar as it appears that at some point it has all fallen away so that huge sections are cracked and obviously have voids underneath them, this means ideal habitat for lobsters and indeed conger eels that can happily mooch about in the gloom until night falls and then come out to feed. It is, however, a bit frustrating for divers as you see antennae and a pair of huge nippers sticking out of the ground then 'zip' gone. I have caught them before when they are more in the open but being honest you only get a single chance then thats it, they are either bagged or gone.

There are a large number of crabs on the site and today there was a large velvet swimming crab slowly dismembering an equally large edible crab, that must have been soft, and chewing awn on legs and nippers. There was a large leopard goby in attendance mopping up the off-cuts from the table, nothing wasted in the sea! I have previously taken what I assumed was a 'stunned' pogo off a velvet swimming crab only to find that it was fatally squashed, the crab looked daggers at me and took the fish straight back. These evil, red-eyed, crabs are top predators and it's just as well they don't grow to the size of edible crabs as they would certainly be bold enough to take a nip at divers. They could be the North Sea equivalent of the Titan Trigger Fish, but thankfully they stay small, or at least small enough for divers to simply ignore.

Whsilt I never found any major tosheroons there were certainly plenty of lead weights dotted about, including some that were very new, meaning that I got a ball of line and tackle as well as a lost weight. There were also some that had been in for quite a while including one that was bashed almost flat due to the action of the sea and rocks, still they all weigh in, or should I say melt down for re-use.

It really was a good dive and whilst the weather is due to worsen in the middle of the week the boat diving should stay ok for  a while yet, it''s just the time needed to get up and get out, but do try! And when you do, please make sure that you.....

Dive safe


Weight this dive - 8.5 kg

Weight this year - 832.7 kg

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