Friday, 8 August 2008

Summer time diving

Been getting a few dives in over the past couple of weeks which is always fun.

Last Sunday it was the Orca Divers Trefor Pier Shoot Out, which is a photo comp organised by and for Orca divers. Again, nice day out. I'd not been to Trefor Pier before and whilst it was a fairly surge-y and with low vis I managed to get some nice photos, including some of Tompot Blennies, beautiful little fish (I say little but I think they're the largest blennies you find in the UK, although I could well be wrong!). Anyway, it was a shot of one of them I took which was voted the winner last night, which was great. Really shouldn't have drunk all that wine whilst we were judging though...

And a fortnight ago it was the Orca Divers trip to Abersoch. Alas, Nick James couldn't make it due to stomach problems, so I got a lift with Mike who is an amiable chap. We arrived in Abersoch around 7ish in the evening. Nice little village suffering from minimal parking which is problematic (well, I say suffering and problematic but that is purely from my tourists perspective). Myself and one other chap, Alex, were in the Ship Hotel with everyone else billeted in another place so I bounded in and enquired as to my room. "Got a room booked, my name is Bill Watson. Probably in the name of Orca Divers!" This met with a look initially of confusion which was soon followed by a look of worry as the landlord said the immortal words "Err. Divers? That's next week...". The room contracted somewhat as did my chest. The old lady behind the bar chipped in and pointed out with a chuckle that there was always space available under the village bridge. Fantastic, a room with a view, albeit lacking in amenities. Mien host shuffled off (literally as he had a gamy leg) in a hurry to check his bookings leaving me to contemplate bunking down with the local trolls. Good job I've shaved the goatee off.

Turned out to be a cock-up over names (Dawn who was organising the weekend had booked it her name) and the room was available. And very nice it was too even if we did have to have brekkie with the main party in a different hotel. Too difficult to get the cook up at 7 am or something.

The last weather forecast I'd seen wasn't that brilliant, and on the Saturday it looked like it might be right. However it brightened up over the course of the day and we ended up with glorious weather over the course of the weekend. Diving off a boat, The Shearwater, which is the best dive boat I've been on! Very well designed and laid out cat, plenty of space to kit up and then store kit out of the way. Not surprising given that Alan, the owner and skipper, has decades of experience as a diver and applied that knowledge to his boat.

We aimed for an earlier start on the Sunday in order to try and get to dive with the seals without being buzzed by jet skies and other pesky hazards. Alas, it was not to be due to a set of car keys going adrift and much too-ing and fro-ing ensuing. Went for it in the end but the bloody seals didn't want to play anyway ;) All in all the dives were fun, with the water being almost sub tropical temperature wise. Well, a good 17 degrees Celsius anyway, which is good as. Plenty of spider crabs, velvet crabs, pollacks, hake, dog fish, some shrimp and a few wonderful nudibranchs. Great group of people as well, including Kathryn the Spider Crab Queen! All in all a fantastic weekend...

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