Random Jottings

More 'wash-ups'......

The poor weather at the start of the year has been 'unprecedented' with my records over the last three years 'proving' the point!

In 2017 the vis through this period was 4-8m and I managed quite a few shore dives...................

In 2016 the vis through this period was 2-8m and again quite a bit of diving.........

However this year it has been zero with the last dive being in conditions where I couldn't see my knees let alone fin-tips, I had flash-backs to many a desperate session training at Wraysbury, arguably the most over-priced 'bog-snorkel' in the UK!

However it's not all doom and gloom, the reason for the atrocious visibility is a number of hard, easterly storms that have battered our coast, moving around large amounts of the sea-bed and throwing onto the shore all manner of sea-life from the mundane like lobsters and crabs to the odd-balls and more exotic.

During the weekend I took a scramble along the rocks at Beadnell and came across the remains of quite a large angler-fish.....or monk-fish.....or green. These fish tend to be in 'deeper' water and to be brutally honest I personally have never seen one in less than 25m of water although I do know that on one occasion a diver claims to have spotted one in about 18m on Little Harcarr and back in the depths of time my old man bagged one on a shore dive close to a disused pier on the Isle of Arran, the depth on that dive was also about 15m so really these tend not to be seen on shallow water dives.

One of the beasties that I haven't yet seen washed up in any numbers are lumpsuckers, although I do suspect that the terrible weather has delayed their annual migration from really deep water to spawn in the really shallow shallows, why these aquadynamically brick shape fish choose to spawn in water where bad weather equals disaster I shall never know, but they do and there are many disasters for the male fish which hang around and tend the egg cluster.

There was however one real odd-ball that was washed up and needs further work to identfy, one reason being that the head was missing......It appears to be a cetacean, based on the ribs being fused into a sternum, or breast-bone, where the flesh has been stripped away the remnants are very dark red and bloody. The problems are the general body-shape, it has a large 'chest/stomach' area and the body tapers rapidly leaving a very spindly section leading onto the tail, where we have another problem it is small but also in the 'wrong' orientation. The skin does not appear to have any hair, ruling out a seal, but there are no fins apparent.

The guys who found it were baffled about exactly what this three foot long, grey, carcase, actually was and I msut say that I am equally confused, my initial thoughts were along the lines of a foetus from one of the larger whae species, this might expalin 'under-developed' tail muscles and apparent orientation of the tail. I have asked the experts and look forward to being illuminated!

With the forecast set to be ghastly for the next week (plus) I suspect that there will be more clambering about in order for April!

Dive safe

RichW

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