Following a great post and video by Karl Taylor about his thoughts on local diving and how to describe his experiences to others got me thinking. So this is the story from just 2 days of this week….
Having a slow boat, being winter and the need to catch scallops on almost every dive means that for the last few months we’ve pretty much stuck to the East coast between St Sampsons harbour and St Martins point.
Mick has 2 weeks off, the plan was to hit the scallops at the start of each week, make sure that the “week’s good” with orders filled and then explore a bit, maybe a wreck or 2 and try and scope out some new spots for the coming summer – hopefully find a thick scallop bed in 40m, yeah, right, keep dreaming.
Day 1, Tuesday. Disaster! First tank down Gabrielle way in “bend alley” and the vis was disgusting, horrible, total shit. The bottom was covered in the dead algae snot stuff, so thick that it covered the scallops and made everything very green and dingy. So I came up, threw all my toys out of my pram and did what I always do when the vis is bad. We headed for Sark.
Of course, with such thorough advanced planning, we got to Sark at completely the wrong time. No matter, we’re here, have gas, will dive! I picked a spot on the plotter that looked vaguely interesting and jumped over the side. The first couple of minutes were rubbish, but at least the vis was good. Then someone turned up the dimmer switch as i came to lovely soft, bright shell-beach like shingly stuff and decent size undulations (waves in the sand around 2 feet high).
It was beautiful, mooching along with a trickle of tide, surrounded by a shoal of thousands of sandeels without a care in the world. Then came temptation in the form of flatfish. The first was only a small Brill of a couple of pounds, so that was no hardship. Then came the big fella, biggest fish i’ve ever seen. It was a Turbot and i grabbed hold of it to see just how big it was, a good 2 feet long and easily 3″ thick! Maybe 20lb…
I should explain at this point that it’s not allowed to take anything by diving in Sark waters. Though it hurt to leave, it was nice to see and and I still loved the dive anyway. Hopefully no dangler catches it next week and that it lives to get even bigger and moves over to Guernsey – Whack! The dive finished with some lovely reef and a few massive yellow sponges. Lovely.
Dive 3 of the same day was a quick explore on the South-east corner of a rock called Goubinere. This is a place known for flatfish, but there was too much tide. Bouncing along and crashing head-first into soft sand can be quite fun in the right mood, and i found a big anchor, I wonder if anyone has seen it before?
Day 2 came, and still with my toys very much out of the pram as far as scalloping was concerned, we headed for the South coast, always a dangerous move with dodgy vis. The general rule is that the East coast is the base, the Platte is 20% better, Sark 50% better and the South, well it’s normally 50% worse! But still, the wind was NE and South would give us some shelter. And i wanted to wet my spear…
Mick was first in, came back empty handed and announced that the vis “was shit” hmmm. As we we had come all this way (about an hour) I decided to have a go anyway and i’m glad i did, a decent Turbot and a Dover Sole, fish for tea!- Though not for me, eurgh…
So, we’re off to a good start, next dive was a “lucky-dip” where we just drop into a random place and see how it goes. My dive was awesome!
As there was a chance of scallops i took the sack, landed in 46m off to the South of Longue Pierre rock. Hit the bottom on really black rock and my initial thought was, Bollocks, this is a wasted tank. But then a few seconds later I came to the end of the reef and onto nice bright shingle.
I skirted the edge of the reef and soon the sand started to form a slope, before long this slope became a sheer (ish) wall that stood maybe 60 feet up. Picking up what few scallops were there, i continued to “fly / float” along this Grand Canyon type place. As the vis was clear like gin it was brilliant. Imagine hang gliding in the Grand Canyon with birds close by and you’ll be close to the feeling. Amazing.
Somewhat refreshed by these few dives. dive 3 and day 3 reverted back to scalloping and all is now well with 2 tanks with scores of over 100 scallops today.
So what are you waiting for, get wet! If you’re bored of it, try something new, it still works for me after 15,000 or so dives, so it should work for you too.
On that note, i’m off – diving in 7 hours 🙂