Perth BSAC Summer Isles Trip August 2014 – Fair Weather Five and Boston Stirling

After a Five hour drive up to Altandhu we pitched our tents quickly at the Port a Bhaigh campsite encouraged by the Midges we quickly headed off to the Am Fuaran Bar stopping to watch the beautiful sunset over the Summer Isles to plan our diving on the Saturday. 

Sunset from Altandhu
Sunset from Altandhu

After a full cooked Scottish Breakfast (Potato Scones included) we headed off to Old Dornie Harbour a 5 minute drive from the campsite to launch our Rib. Old Dornie is a excellent base to explore the Summer Isles with a short 10 minute ride you can drive across to Priest Island or 20-25 minutes to the Fairweather five on the other side of Loch Broom.

We decided to head across to the Fairweather Five as our first Dive arguably one of Scotland’s most prettiest wrecks the best marks we had for her are 57.56.350 N and 005.21.343 W which were spot on thanks to Andy Holbrow – Atlantic Diving Services in Achiltibuie.  After a bumpy ride across Loch Broom fortunately she was already buoyed with the seabed about 32 metres and the superstructure rises up to 19 metres so she is easy to spot on a sounder. 

I jumped in with Spike to take some photos of the Wreck and this is what we found:

What a dive! The plan was to dive the Key hole on Priest Island but the Atlantic Swells were against us making the dives dangerous, so we headed across to Three Skerries called Sgeir Nam Mult.  While preparing to dive Bethan’s Pony was so excited it jumped in first!  With the Man overboard button pressed, a shot deployed Chris and Bethan mounted a successful search and rescue mission.  Steve and I jumped in just on the Western Edge of the Skerries with the Kelp line at 18 metres we descended to 27 metres to spot Long spined Bullhead (Scorpion Fish) and a Ling hiding amongst the boulders. A second good dive.

With Strong winds and lots of Rain forecast for the Saturday night we headed to the Bar for some Burgers and a couple of pints, to help sleep through the rain in our tents. This definitely helped and Four of us emerged at 6:30 am on the Sunday morning to make porridge and break camp.  We had been able to put Deep Dancer on a mooring for the night to save time and we were off to the first dive site just after 9am.  All good!

Our first dive was a successful Scallop bash, with plenty of scallops to keep the folks at home happy. conciuos of time we headed across to the Island of Tamera More to dive the Boston Stirling wreck another Trawler that sank in the 90’s amazingly intact and only in 13 metres of Water. 

Here are some photos from the Boston Stirling Wreck (58°0’01” N 5°24’30” W) which is now buoyed – Green Buoy that drops to a Concrete Block and you then head along a rope 30 or so metres to where the wreck lies on its side tucked into the end of the bay please be careful that on some of the charts the Wreck is in the next bay along and you will end up diving SS Vicinity 😉  

Finally thanks to Hamish, Spike, Chris, Bethan and Steve for an enjoyable weekends diving and socializing.

 

Perth BSAC Trip to the Summer Isles and Altandhu 11th to 12th August

With the good weather continuing after our Midweek trip to the Forth, Nine of members of the club headed up the A9 for a weekend of Camping BBQ’s and diving of course!

On the Saturday morning we headed down to Old Dorne harbour just 2 minutes drive from Port a Bhaigh campsite  for 9am to launch the Ribs for our trip to the Fairweather V a trawler on  the south Side of Loch Broom about 7 nautical mile trip. After heading out for 5 minutes just to the channel between Tanera Mor and Tanera Beag we helped out two boys who had snapped off the throttle on their creeling boat. So after a 3o minute delay towing the boy’s boat back to port we got back on track.  The Fairweather V is a interesting wreck to shot as it sits out on a underwater headland which drops off either side of the wreck making it more challenging to find if the co-ordinates are off. Hence we struggled to locate the wreck and with the Help of Inverness Sub Aqua Club (who were diving the wreck of the Innisjura we just missed the wreck but the shot was 2 metres too short – Doh!

After putting a second shot down, the first divers dropped down to find HMS Vicinity, luckily Tony and Spike found the first shot which was only a few metres off the bow of the Fairweather 5 , so everyone got a dive on the wreck which was covered in Plumose Anemones and Shoals of fish as well as Ballan Wrasse Its also worth finding the Bridge of the Wreck with the Captains chairs and electronics which you don’t see in the older wrecks although we had to forgo the dive on the back wall of the Isle Martin.  After recovering the Shot we headed back towards Altandhu and 4 of us who hadn’t had a second dive dropped in to the South West and North West of Tanera Mor, Bethan And I dropped down a Kelp covered Reef with small gulleys to about 18 metres where we found a gently sloping sandy seabed with a few Scallops which we collected for the BBQ that evening at the Campsite.
Arriving back at the Old Dornie Harbour we arrived during the Awards Ceremony for the Local Fishing club competition that had been held while we were out diving, traffic jams on the West Coast.

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We had a BBQ and were blessed with a slight breeze which kept the West Coast Midges at bay for most of the evening, I hid in the smoke from the BBQ’s when they did, we chatted with Andy the Local Diver that offered to help fill our tanks from his compressor in Achiltibuie which saved us a night of pumping cylinder with Colin’s Mobile compressor.  Andy spent the evening chatting about old times with the Club. I managed to take a few shots of the Sun setting over the Sea one of best experiences is the amazing sunsets you get on the west coast of Scotland.

After a slightly later start of 8ish some of us more worse for wear than others we packed up and headed down to Old Dornie to do two local dives, the first was Reef North West of Eilean a Char that looked interesting on the charts, west side of the Rock  looked the most interesting with kelp down to 14 metres and we followed the reef heading north between 15 and 22 metres there were rich terraces with a mixture of Red Sea weeds with , Hydroids and teeming with life shoals of juvenile cod and as we went deeper the encrusting yellow sponge sea squirts we passed a Lions Main Jellyfish with its huge mass of stinging tentacles being dragged along in the water column and along the seabed catching zoo-plankton, I then spotted a Ling (Fish from Cod Family) briefly before heading back up to the kelp park on the top of the reef.
After a hours lunch on a pebble beach on Tanera Mor looking over Loch Broom towards the mountains and we headed across to dive the Wreck of the Boston Stirling, a great shallow intact wreck lying on a 45 degree angle ideal for a first wreck dive, Bethan and I did several circuits round the wreck at different depths with lots of varying habitats.