For much of June the weather was fantastic. Surely it couldn't last until July 6 - 8 when SSAC had a trip booked with Len & Sue Bateman - with excellent assistance from Alan - on the Predator, out of Nayland Marina, Milford Haven - but it did! Everybody arrived on Thursday afternoon at Upper Neeston bunkhouses & prepared kit for an earlish start the following morning. Friday dawned another fine day, so we all set off to find the Predator and get kit stowed. It was too hot to travel out in dry suits, so most elected to get changed once we were nearer the dive sites.
First dive was the SS Adamantios J. Pithis (better known as 'The Greek') just off St. Ann's Head. She was a cargo ship that ran aground in 1940. We were dropped in about 10 m of water and swam away from the shore to a depth of 15 m where we started picking up pieces of plate and other wreckage. This was the pattern for the first 20 minutes or so & then we found the boiler and a lobster nearby!
|Briefing on the way out of Nayland Marina||Lobster by the boiler|
For the second dive, we went to High Point North, a reef & wall on the mainland to the north of Skomer Island. There was a bit more plankton here so the visability was not quite as good. Plus there was quite a bit of fishing line & I had to cut myself free on one occassion. Friday night's entertainment was a barbeque. I neglected to tell Mike & Richard that the lighting gel I had brought was about 5 years old and it turned out to be worse than useless! But we got the coals going in the end and a fine feast was had by all.
Saturday dawned another fine day & we set off out of the Haven again. But then disaster struck - what was that low cloud on the horizon. As we approached St. Ann's Head the sea fog was rolling in on the tide. There was to be no diving here. After a bit of waiting and having a look around St. Ann's Head the consensus was that the fog was here for the duration, but it was still sunny near Nayand so we headed back up the waterway and dived a wall under the toll bridge where the Warrier had been moored - so we called it Warrier Wall. By now we had heard that the fog had lifted, so Len headed us back out to sea and, after lunch, we dived the Dakotian, off Dale Fort. The last time I had dived the Dakotian visibilty had been zero and we had felt our way around the wreck with a distance line to find our way home. So it was lovely to dive it again in 6 - 10 m visability and see what I had previously felt!
|Relaxing after a lovely dive||Plenty of tankers unloading in the seaway|
Sunday was our last day, but we had not managed to dive the two sites I really wanted to get to; North Wall of Skomer & The Lucy. The Lucy was not to be. She lies within a marine reserve and only the wardens can buoy the wreck. Unfortunately, so far this year, they have not done this. But Len reckoned he could get us out to the North Wall of Skomer, back via the Behar, another wreck off Dale Fort and back to Nayland in time to pack up and drive the long road home. And he did, well almost, we were half an hour late getting back but no-one was complaining! The North Wall of Skomer was worth the wait. We dropped down to the bottom at around 32m and then worked our way back up with the species changing as we got shallower. The Behar made a lovely last dive. She was a cable laying ship sunk by a mine in 1940. There was plenty of structure left to dive around, with a couple of lovely swim throughs.
Many thanks to Len, Sue and Alan for taking us to some fantastic dive sites. Many thanks to everyone who came along for making it such an enjoyable trip. Starting to plan for next year....