Farne Islands, 19th August 2012

Having set off from Perth at about 6.45, we reached Seahouses at 9.10
to find everyone else there already. Frank and Alistair had the good
sense to stay in a B&B in Seahouses (no 6am starts for them), and I
think that you need to get out of bed very early to beat Izzy and Gary
to a dive site… Thus organised, we managed to load everything into
our boat for the day, the lovely Ocean Explorer, for 10 o’clock ropes
off and set out to the first dive site, Knife Stones.

This site was billed to be a bit of everything – seals, wall, scenic
and a wreck. And it lived up to its promise! Although we only saw a
few passing glimpses of seals as they swam past, there was quite a bit
of life of the walls, with some pretty anemones, dead man’s fingers
and lots of lobsters hiding under rocks, safe in the knowledge that
they were in a no take zone. We also found quite a few bits of the
wreck – some big boilers and other assorted pieces of metal. However,
we had swum all the way around the island and into the tide, so it was
unfortunately time to get out the DSMB and surface before we were
swept away.

We had a brief surface interval with all the facilities, despite being
on the RIB – there was a hot kettle provided from the hard boat, and a
bucket behind the console to use as the commode… There had been
some petrol split on the deck, so the boat was a no smoking zone.
Certain members of the group required their nicotine fix, so had to be
evicted from the boat and into the sea in order to do so. 10 year old
Josh, who had come along with Helen to accompany Briagha for the day,
was by far the most well behaved member of the group despite being
more than 4 decades younger than some members of the team.

The second dive of the day was on the south side of Blue Caps. We
were given the option to swim through a shallow gully with the
potential for some playful seals, or head around the point for a bit
of depth. We opted to go through the gully, following Steve and
Briagha, and were disappointed on the seal front. We headed along the
wall, which had, again, lots of lobsters and crabs peering out from
underneath the rocks and the addition of hermit crabs – which I can
never get tired of seeing. There were again some pretty anenomes, and
we managed to reach a depth of 20m, as Izzy was disappointed by the
maximum depth reached on the previous dive… We turned round and
headed back along the wall, and when we reached the exit to the gully
we started off in, I felt the telltale tug on the fins. From that
point onwards, we were besieged by seals. Eventually it was time to
surface and Izzy put her blob up. Apparently, a seal came up just
after the blob, and she was certainly fascinated by it once we got to
the surface, attempting to tug it out of Izzy’s hands.

To top off the day, we managed to get back to the harbour just before
it started to rain – although, unfortunately, the rain didn’t quite
hold off long enough for us to get changed in the dry. A top trip,
with thanks to everyone who came along!

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Photo credits to Helen and Gary,