Easter at Oban, 23rd-25th April 2011

People started to gather over Friday and by evening a lively party spirit was evident at the caravans by Puffin boding well for the weekend.

Evening social

On Saturday morning with perhaps an eye open for the Garvellachs, the boats were towed down to Cuan where Spike’s boat and Deep Dancer were launched from the ferry slip. Deep Dancer decided to play tricks on us and refused to start opting instead to remain silent until Tony performed his Lazarus act, laying his hands upon the errant deadman’s switch and bringing the engine roaring to life.

The boats motored south to Shuna where Deep Dancer’s team went in under Shuna House near the slip at Port an t-Salainn reporting a mud slope and a forest of phosphorescent sea pens. Spikes boat went exploring around the corner on the west side of the island. For lunch the boats were anchored in a sandy bay on the south-west tip below Shuna Cottage where we enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours in the sun, watching sea kayakers paddling past.

Boats moored below Shuna Cottage

Second dives of the day was a lucky dip affair off the West side of Shuna. We found a steep sand and bolder slope which provided some interesting life including slender sea pens and some vintage scallops. All divers retrieved without incident and an enjoyable boat ride back up to Cuan where we had the opportunity to take Deep Dancer into the tidal race for a bit of boat handling practice.

Flat fish of Puffin

The evening activities had started by the time we got back and a couple of enthusiastic divers opted for a night dive off Puffin dive centre. Numerous flat fish , poor cod , butterfish and bleneys being more inquisitive than usual were seen.

On Sunday morning the boats were in the water early and the day trippers arrived from Perth. With the weather looking fair Deep Dancer and Am Fheoladaire set off up Kerrera Sound and towards Lismore taking advantage of calm seas. Identifying interesting sites off the SW tip of Lismore interesting, gentle drifts were enjoyed along a “pick your own depth” – slabs/wall. As part of the entertainment for the day a small lesser spotted dogfish caused delight in Alan’s boat before it was released. Due to visibility closing in we motored back towards Oban taking lunch on Kerrera. Spike’s boat headed south to South Kerrera Sound light for shake down dives.

Skate: Dipturus Batis

The afternoon dive was off Maiden Island where a good bag of scallops was collected. One bag which was sent up,caused a hazard to shipping as the Calmac ferry steamed over it. Chris and Paul reported a little skate Dipturus Batis off the south tip which is an unusual site these days as they are threatened with extinction through over fishing. Fred and Maureen providing boat cover and Fred subsequently brought Deep Dancer home with a display of impressive boat handling skills.

During the evening Neil took his boat out to charge the battery and some of us enjoyed a tremendous cruise up and down Kerrera sound. On return two keen divers were waiting for it to get dark for a night dive off the Puffin dive centre where a similar array of life to the previous evening was reported as they provided a light show spectacle for those watching from the pier.

Monday saw Am Feoladaire and Deep Dancer heading the 8 miles south to Insh Island in glorious weather and calm seas. The wall of the NE tip was dived and good life reported with colonial sea squirt and soft corals in abundance. Lunch was taken on Easdale Island in sunshine.
The afternoons dive was a pot luck affair and a reasonable site was found off Rubha Lagain Aillidh on the mainland just north of the Easdale cliffs.

Rubha Lagain Aillidh

Dive sites: OSGB
Dive site 1: N56°13’26” W5°35’23” E Shuna Island, S Sgeir Chreagag below Shuna House, Port an t-Salainn
Dive site 2: A secret clam bed somewhere in Shuna Sound
Dive site 3 N56°13’20” W5°36’49” West side of Shuna: S Port na Cro, Port nan Sea-ramhach
Dive site 4 N56°12’35” W5°37’5” West side of Shuna: N Rubh’an Trilleachain
Dive site 1: N56°28’48” W5°34’45” W Lismore, Bagh Clach an Dobhrain
Dive site 2: N56°27’51” W5°35’46” W Lismore, Rubha Cloinn Mhic Leoid
Dive site 3: N56°22’53” W5°32’7” Kerrera Sound , Sgeirean Dubha Light
Dive site 4: N56°25’54” W5°29’28” Oban ,E Side Maiden Island
Dive site 5: N56°25’47” W5°29’24” Oban ,SE Point Maiden Island
Dive site 6: Puffin Dive centre pontoons
Dive site 1: N56°18’54” W5°39’32” Sgeir Beul na h-Uamhaidh
Dive site 2: N56°19’10” W5°37’31” Rubha Lagain Aillidh

Perth BSAC Trip to Oban Easter 2011

All in all a very worthwhile trip blessed by good weather. Thanks are due to Steve for his organisation and for everyone for mucking in.

Insh Island, Easdale, Sunday March 6th

Alan and crew were out again on Sunday and a very good and varied trip it was too. From Puffin we headed south to Insh Island on light seas and had it not been for a slight headwind they would have been flat calm.

Map of Insh Island and Easdale

The first dive of the day was on the NW of Insh Island where we dropped onto kelp and sand in 12m before venturing out onto a gravel bottom to 25m where a good bag of large scallops was collected. No dredging is allowed around this area so the bottom is not disturbed. Visibility at 20 m was very good but there was a significant oiliness to the top few meters of the water which we crept into as we ascended boulders and sand at the end of the dive.

See that diver, he was this big!

For lunch we cruised around Insh Island and made for Easdale where we met Tony and his Wife (former members) who invited us across to the island for a coffee, a natter and few of the local stories. A great opportunity to have a walk round and check out the pub and coffee shop as well as the amazing harbour carved into the middle of the island by the quarry men.

The second dive was superb, probably one of the best dives in the area. Heading back toward Puffin on the NE side of Insh and under Dave, the island owners home, the small skerry of Sgeir Bheul na h-Uaimaidh sits on one side of a small channel that gives an energetic drift under the small cliffs. We were dropped on the outside of this and the initial shingle and kelp gave way to rock and then a wall that was covered in sponges including the snow drop sponge, yellow fingery sponges, grey perforated sponge, cup sponges , vase sponges and a hundreds more. We did not however see the Northern Sea Fan at this site. Jewel anenomies of fluorescent green, sandaled anenomies and the ubiquitous deadman’s fingers all over. Looking closer, top shells and even a small nudibranch could be found. Finally, bottom time ran out so we ascended onto the shingle and kelp to put in a safety stop before ascending. The second wave went in where we came out and worked their way back, reporting another good dive and another bag of scallops

The journey back to was swift with Alan at the helm and dolphin sighted. A great day with at least one top class dive.