With a few keen stalwarts daring to try cold water winter diving a small team drove across to Loch Fyne to take advantage of the calm weather. When we arrived the loch was absolutely flat with only the occasional riffle breaking the mirror.
The plan today was to concentrate on weight, trim and buoyancy and possibly DSMB drills and give a couple of our newer members a chance to sort themselves out before the diving starts in earnest in Spring. As this was also the first dive with new kit for one member we decided it was appropriate to take it easy and opt for a sheltered, safe site with easy access where shore cover could be applied effectively should it be needed. The Tea Rooms was selected as the ideal venue. Although we seem to use it a lot it is a very good dive, interesting life, good topography and generally reasonable vis.
So with Paul and Kris going in first, on an ebb tide just half an hour after the turn, diving on the inner reef, John and I provided shore cover and spent a little time improving the access. Having complete a trip out past the point and back, Paul and Kris surfaced where they started and reported good vis until they reached the point here crud allegedly from the fish farm slightly spoilt things. The water temp at 9 degrees was positively balmy today!
John and I went in on the inner reef as well and after a few initial problems getting down and having added the proverbial few extra pounds we managed to see some of the life on the reef. A large ballan wrasse proving to be the highlight. Although a short dive, this was a good outcome as we had started lightly weighted and added just enough to complete the dive and still be capable of demonstrating neutral buoyancy at 70 bar.
Lunch in the Tea Rooms was as ever an enjoyable affair, lentil soup today though someone in our midst opted for chocolate soup with a side order of cake…..
Seconds out, round two. With the same pairings in the same order we now dived at low tide with the entire reef exposed. Paul kindly took my camera in and the dazed look on Kris’ face as he surface betrayed the number of snaps that had been taken. Kris had the opportunity to do his DSMB drill on the return which gave us something to watch.
note: these photos have been added in a video here but will get updated when we have had a chance to edit them.
John and I dived the inner reef again, this time without incident. John had his torch out and was busy searching for life under boulders as we swam out past the road cones and sea pens to the start of the gravel where we turned and retraced our steps past a new resident, the slightly enigmatic gnome that has now been installed. There were numerous large edible crabs today, one of which needed freeing from fishing line. I make a complete mess of demonstrating DSMB deployment, with the string wrapping around the reel handle as I inflated from my exhaust breaths, easily dislodged but not a good demonstration. Still this is why we practice…..
That was it, conscious of the time and not wanting to detain Frank, Paul had moved the cars outside the barriers by the time we made our ascent and we quickly changed, packed the cars and were off home.
A good day out with the club and a pleasure to see some new faces out diving with us.