The Bistro and the Caves 14th Nov 2010

Having failed to buy some grease for the trailer bearings on Saturday things were looking bleak for any diving on the Sunday. I was sitting back in the old armchair enjoying a bit of man-flu with a whisky chaser when Hamish decided this simply would not do. So with frosted windscreens scrapped and a full load of chilled bottles we were off to sample the delights of Loch Fyne.

Turning down the Lomond-side road and over the Rest and Be Thankful, the snow covered peaks of the Arrochar Alps provide spectacular views and a cloud inversion smothering Arrochar village, but by the time we got over to Loch Fyne the clouds had all but gone with only small patches hanging in a piercing blue sky perfectly reflected in a mirrored loch.

At the Bistro we were the only customers and felt obliged to avail ourselves of a cup of tea but the temptation of a bacon and egg roll was too great and a leisurely half hour was spent in front of a jet heater planning not what the dive would be but what we were going to have for lunch.

We entered the water by the fish farm boom just on low water, the ebb tide provided a very gentle drift along the breakwater at the 15m mark in fair vis. The larger fish had all gone reported taken by the local trawler men a few weeks past but interest was provided by a couple of lesser spotted dogfish


and the usual collection of Gobis and Blennies and dog whelks on enormous egg clusters. A few large crabs beckoned the goody bag but they were left in piece and for the next diver’s enjoyment. A small forest of sea loch anenomies at the big boulders at the end of the reef provided variation but also signalled the end of the dive. It was here, on starting to ascend we spotted the beast of the day. It was a carniverous worm, something in the nemertea phyla , and was foraging in the boulders and at over a meter long (at least the exposed bit) and a good finger wide and with a beautiful dark purple colouration to it,  it had the making of nightmares about it. I tried to take a couple of pictures of it but my ability with the camera is a bit lacking. 

Lunch sounded good, and a steaming bowl of soup from the Bistro saw a bit of banter with the proprietor and a decision made to try The Caves as the afternoon dive.

We drove past the small layby and culvert by accident, and continued along the road and were amazed to find the HMS Ark Royal moored onto Glen Mallan Pier off loading her ammunition. Now that would have be a wreck site ! Back in reality at the Caves, an oily halocline with leaf litter numbed lips as we descended into pitch blackness at 11m.  As we descended further horizontal visibility was good but any disturbance of the sediment made it even darker. The boulders were well covered with giant anenomies but many of the larger ones had retracted while the smaller sea loch anenomies reflected brilliant white in the torch glare seemed happy enough. After 30 minutes we started back, but ascending to shallower depths meant we moved into colder water and surfacing meant we were in fresh water that was colder still!

We retired to the Drover’s Arms, Inveranan for a pint in front of a roaring fire and put the world to right before travelling back to Perth.  An interesting day with two totally different dives, a bit of scenery and a bit of history.

a few photos here

check out Hamish’s blog