Isle of May, 27th March

Map of the Isle of May
To be at the club hut at 07:30 after the summer clocks change is always hard but we all made it and after a few last minute hitches a small group of six divers were off to Anstruther to launch the club RHIB on the RNLI slip.

Todays trip gave us the chance to shake down “Deep Dancer” prior to the Oban weekend and we are happy to report that both boat and trailer were performing well.

First dive was on a reef just between Colm’s Hole and the Middens on the East side of the Island and north of the wreck of the “SS Island”.

Dead Man's fingers feeding in the current

Dropping into 12m and reasonable East coast vis, we traversed a small wall of dead man’s fingers before finning over boulders and bed rock. At a full degree colder than the West coast, the gauge read slightly less than 6 degrees and felt very chilly, especially when diving with an incorrectly fitted dump valve and the ensuing insidious trickle that eventually reached my feet!

One highlight was a shoal of fry dancing in a torch beam see here

Lunch time saw us land at the East or low water landing and take the opportunity to make a short pilgramage round the South of the island. The ruined Benedictine monastery, dating back from the 9th Century the key note of some interesting archeology.

Having ruled out Maiden Hairs rocks for a second dive due to the chop, we settled for the wreck of the Anlaby (or Ann Labbie) off the Altarstanes or Standing Head near the West or High Water landing where a few grey seals were popping up to see what we were doing. The gulls had started to claim teritorial sites on the cliffs but we didn’t see any gannets, guillemots or puffins today.

from RCAHMS site info: 23 August 1873, ANLABY, SS, of Hull, 717 tons, Master Thomas Martin, iron screw steamship, departed Leith Roads for Danzig, 23 crew, carrying coal, stranded on the west side of May Island.
In August 1880 divers were engaged in blowing up the hull of the steamer to salvage portions of the hull and machinery.

Within the bay we dropped into 5m and quickly came across rust, plates and spars

Swimming along the keel
(dropped my camera towards the end of this, must have been the excitement!)

Until at last we reached the propellors

where we had a rummage, Gary and Izzy finding a few lobsters, then turned round and retraced our tracks back the way we came where I came across my very first East Coast scallop.

East Coast Scallop

Site 1: Colm’s Hole N56 11′ 7″ W2 32′ 51″
Site 2: SS Anlaby N56 11.3167 W2 33.7

Map of the Isle of May and the wreck location from CANMORE