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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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.

Diving the West side of Kerrera. 7th February

A challenging day
A big thank you to Alan for organising this Sunday’s trip to Oban.


After Fridays storms it was unlikely that the diving around Oban would be up to much and it was with a certain amount of amazement that Paul and I arrived at Puffin Dive Centre to find a calm sea. We were a little late and Alan’s boat was just about ready to be put in the water for the first time of the season and Alan, Dave and Phoebs waited ‘patiently’ as we quickly got ourselves changed and the kit ready for two dives off the SW tip of Kerrera.

Kerrera Island by Oban


A quick ride down to the area of Bach Island saw a tidal rip around Rubha na Feundain with fresh ‘clear’ water from the West pushing into the Sound of Kerrera. A reef, an extension of the point produced a small standing waves and promised a terrific drift dive.

Rubha na Feundain from the west
Rubha na Feundain from Alan's rhib


David and Phoebs went in first and reported very poor visibility with a layer of fresh water on the surface and an uncomfortably strong current and suggested that we went in around the corner towards Port Dubh. This we did, dropping onto kelp and found that the visibility improved with depth and the current encouraged us downwards onto sandy slopes, the land of scallops! Energetic finning had the contents gauge falling at an alarming rate so we clawed our way cross current up the slope with our bag of booty, it became clear after 20mins that an open water ascent would be required and the DSMB was deployed to lift the scallops and we soon followed it. Rather a challenging dive.

We had lunch at the pebble beach of Barr-nan-broc Bay and the weather remained clear, calm and mild.


The second dive was at Rubha na Lice on the Western side of the Island. Alan joined David and went in first followed shortly afterwards by Chris and Paul who found a shallow reef with a small 5m wall.

Good life on the sheltered reef

This wall gave shelter from the current and held a good assortment of life ranging from cup corals to deadman’s fingers and plumose anenomies and a good smattering of scallops that had gathered at the base of the wall. The visibility on this dive was much better and had good ambient light at 20m. Ascending to the top of the wall, slabs continued upwards into kelp and coarse sand where white burrowing anenomies were found. All in all a much better dive !

Paul has published his photos here

Second dive profile



Dive site 1: Rubha na Feundair , Kerrera Isle, Oban. 56°22’50N 5°35’19W
Dive site 2: Rubha na Lice , Kerrera Isle, Oban. 56°24’32N 5°33’45W


credits: all underwater photos taken by Paul