St Abbs on Tiger Lilly, Sunday 3rd July 2011

With a few people on holiday it seemed a good idea to try the commercialism of St Abbs for once and get a few people together to book individual spaces aboard one of the many hard boats that operate out of the harbour and enjoy some easy low hassle diving.

Ringing Paul Crowe from Rock House and DiveStabbs, it was easy enough to arrange a couple of dives and with ropes off at 09:00am, five of us made an early start and arrived in plenty of time to find Paul, join a group from Sunderland and help with the task of loading tanks and bags aboard “Tiger Lilly” before the short trip out to the dive sites.

Regardless of the fantastic weather we experienced, a rather large swell albeit on an otherwise calm sea was rolling in from the North, breaking heavily on the shore and skerries and promising added spice to the days diving, it was not therefore surprising that the more experienced members of the party had kitted up and were sitting ready to dive before we had left the harbour !

The first dive of the day was Anenomie Gullies off the Skells and while I dived with Steve, Colin joined Gary and Izzy. After shuffling across a pitching deck, like a drunken penguin we flopped into blue water and made a free-fall descent to hit the top of gullies at 18m which were encrusted with deadman’s fingers and an amazing variety of anenomies.



Luckily it was a marine conservation area.
The viz was initially a little disappointing with particulate matter in the water column but this improved with depth as we swam seawards, soon the anticipation of finding life in every nook and cranny took over as the swell moved us to and fro along the gullies. A lobster provided a bit of sport as we teased it out of its lair before of course putting it back unharmed. The other party reported three wolf-fish and a scorpion fish as well as an octopus. After nearly an hour in the water we surfaced to be retrieved by tail lift onto Tiger Lilly, a truly delightful experience when compared to climbing up a ladder or even into a RHIB.


A quick turn around saw the gear stowed below benches and the bottles offloaded before we disembarked and the next wave of Sunday trippers boarded. To degas we spent a very pleasant couple of hours in the sun, eating sandwiches and setting the world to rights.


The afternoon dive was the Black Carr where we jumped into 10m and straight down against a reef to shelter from the easing swell. This time Colin joined Steve and I and we had a merry chase around the skerry where we found an old and very large anchor.


conscious of the bottom time (no really!) and the contents gauge, slightly shallower depths were sort and we ascended off the reef and onto rocks above, where we found a knarley old wolf fish and gardens of anenomies and Deadman’s fingers, here we spent time will numerous tame Ballan wrasse and passing Pollack that seemed unconerned with our presence. Finally it came time to ascend and we slowily drifted upwards over an amphitheatre covered in life through a cloud of jelly fish to end what was a remarkable days diving.


Tea and cakes in the harbour cafe and a final chinwag in the sun before we set off home after a very easy and incident free day.
Another great day out with the club!






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Wednesday evening dive and Bar-b-que at Elie, 15th June 2011

A warm breeze, bright sun, bar-b-que by the beach what more could you possibly ask for and with a good turn out from both diving and non-diver this Wednesday evening’s splash at Elie , that was organised by Steve was a success, with OD training and recreational dives being completed without incident.

Initial reports of 38m and 41.3m were however probably exaggerate thought I am prepared to accept the first was an error with the decimal point and the second referenced the distance off shore that one particular pair had to travel to reach the 4m mark at low tide.

Shallow east coast shore diving is not for the faint hearted generally there is a swell that stirs everything up creating low viz, but when you are lucky and we were lucky on Wednesday evening, you can get calm conditions and reasonable vis of over 3m+ !

The interest of diving always lies in what you see and shallow diving provides its own challenges as generally the life is small, hiding in the kelp or encrusted on small reef systems. The trick is to take time and look for it.

Star ascidian – Botryllus schlosseri moved with the swell attached to kelp stipes while Blue-rayed limpets were found on the fronds. A group of small, dull brown nudibranchs was also seen on a patch of barnacles.

That’s it, condensation in the camera housing today so no decent pictures, links above to internet images.

Isle of May, diving with the seals Sunday 12th June 2011

Map of the Isle of May
An early start of 6:15 at the boat shed you have to be kidding ! And yet everyone made it with ‘Deep Dancer’ checked, hitched and away by 06:30 to catch the tides. Today’s trip had an impressive turn out with seven divers (Izzy, Gary, Maureen, Steve, Neil, Chris and Spike) in the Perth-BSAC Club boat and another four (Dave, Phoebe, Alan and Hamish) in Dave’s , which we were meeting in Anstruther. Brilliant weather greeted us as we rolled down towards Anstruther catching that first view of the Isle of May, covered in a last veil of cloud, lingering wisps of chiffon, light and watery. The clear sky and in bright sun gave the impression today, that the May was not that far away.


The launch from Anstruther is an easy one and the two boats ‘Deep Dancer’ and ‘Plan B’ where soon heading out to the May on a deep rolling swell with Gary driving Deep Dancer, giving us all a lesson on rhythm, throttle management and a smooth ride.

Maiden Hair gullies
First dive was the SW tip of Maiden Hair where the various teams were diving with inquisitive and friendly grey seals as they explored the gullies in excellent vis before using the current which gave a gentle drift Northwards along the West side of the Islands. Everyone reported lobsters but the ones seen by Maureen and I were berried and left for another day. We spent a very pleasant 45 minutest in the gullies swimming through the skerry and then back encountering seals as we did so and finishing where we started being buzzed by even more seals as we made for deep water and a pick up.


Lunch was taken at the high water landing amidst the cacophony of nesting birds on the cliffs and Sunday yachties and birdwatchers.



The second dive saw the boats split with ‘Plan B’ taking advantage of the calm conditions and putting divers in on Norman Rock on the Northern point while Deep Dancer opted to dive the Western cliffs in the area of the Green Face where lobsters, wrasse (both corkwing and ballan) and guillemots ‘flying’ around the divers bubbles, were seen. The boat crew was entertained by one seal that thought the DSMB was worth playing with, a fisherman’s tale for sure had it not been caught on video.



Back at Anstruther the boats were retrieved with ample tide to spare and after quick refreshments in the Ship Tavern (3 scallop rating and a tick in the East Neuk of Fife good beer guide) we finished the dive back at the boat shed, washing down the boat and charging cylinders for Wednesday evening and the Bar-b-que dive at Elie.