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James Gardner: Home > Life > Dive > Tobermory

Tobermory

With:James, Naoko, Akiko, Chirs, Martin and Clare, Aiden, Phil, Emily, Trevor, Steve W, Sarah B, Boggie
Accommodation:Tigh Na Ach
Dates:Saturday 29th August - Saturday 5th September
Boat:Perigree skippered by David

Points of note:

Wildlife seen:

Things I've learned:

Dive 27

Sunday 30th, water speed medium.

Date:30.08.2009
Start Time:10:19:00
Dive Time:43
Water Temperature:14
Maximum Depth:21.64
Average Depth:13.35
Place:
Buddy:Trevor
Equipment Details:
Visibility:10m
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:
Entry/Boat:

We got up at 8am ready to be on the boat for 9am. Trevor drove the minbus down to the harbour and we shifted all the gear and other cylinders down the ramp and onto the boat. Since the kit says on the boat for the week this was the only time we'd have to do this.

The first dive was the Calve island wall, designed to be a gentle introduction as some of us had only dived a couple of times this year. I wasn't feeling too good well but got kitted up anyway. We descended to about 12m and then followed the wall with the tide, keeping it to our right. We slowly went down to about 21m looking at the huge starfish they have here (one of which I mistook for an octopus in a crack!). Saw some squat lobster too. There were quite a few small fish catching food in the current as it flowed against the wall. We made our way up to about 9m where I wanted to practice with my new reel and DSMB. The current was fairly strong and we were clinging onto kelp and I couldn't get the reel detached from my BCD or get the DSMB un-velcroed from its pocket. Trevor had to do both which was no mean feat. Eventually it worked and we surfaced but because I only had 8Kg weight I found it hard to stay under so Trevor took over. We ascended slowly and got back in the boat.

Second Dive

Naoko made us drinks (tea for me) and we all dried off and had lunch. After lunch was another wall dive but I wasn't feeling too good still so sat it out. Instead I got my mask, snorkel and shorty and did some snorkling along the shore at Auliston Point. Again I saw the large spiny star-fish and plenty of purple-coloured ananome (beadlet anenome).

The water where I jumped in was pretty chilly but the water near the shore was fairly warm. After about 15mins I headed back to the boat and David picked me up.

Dive 28

Date:31.08.2009
Start Time:09:01:00
Dive Time:35
Water Temperature:15
Maximum Depth:28.04
Average Depth:17.2
Place:
Buddy:Aiden
Equipment Details:
Visibility:15m
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:
Entry/Boat:

Had another early start again today to be at the boat at 8am for slack water. Woke Aiden up at 7:50am but he still made it!

Apparantly the captain of the Hispania went down with his dog when he hit it. People tried to encourage him to come out but he didn't. Aparantly the done thing was to sit on the captain's toilet (or bath) but that not there anymore.

Covered with the jewel anenomes. It was completely covered with wildlife, sponges and anenomes everywhere. Phil commented that it's breaking up compared with the last time he dived it.

Because I'd been under-weighted yesterday I put 10Kg weight on. This was much better.

Went down the shot line (Aiden told me off for not swimming straight to it!) and down the side of the wreck. Aiden lent me his HID torch and clipped it on. Descended down the port side of the boat. Saw a large thin blue fish (maybe a cod) under the side of the wreck. Headed down to the stern at 30m and swam through a hole under it (following Boggie). Swam back up the starboard side. The whole ship is completely covered with life so it is hard to touch the actual metal. Saw sponges, anenome, dead men's fingers etc.

Spent quite a while around the propeller on the deck (possibly with cranes and gantries). Aiden was basically letting me lead but I hadn't studied the boat before hand so we basically just swam around where we fancied.

Swam through the window of the bridge. Pottered around the deck doing some other swim-throughs and then headed back to the shot line. I only had 110 bar and because I still wasn't feeling too well I decided we should go back (rule of thirds and all). Aiden did the DSMB and we did a saftey stop.

In hindsight it would have been safer to stay slightly longer. Great dive though.

Dive 29

Date:31.08.2009
Start Time:12:45:00
Dive Time:39
Water Temperature:14
Maximum Depth:32.31
Average Depth:17.82
Place:Thesis
Buddy:Aiden
Equipment Details:
Visibility:10m
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:
Entry/Boat:

This is another very pretty wreck, possibly even better than the Hispania but it is smaller with the metal plates fallen off exposing the ribbed structure.

Really enjoyed swimming through the wreck. Aiden led this time and gave me his spare torch. One lasting memroy is swimming up through the hull of the boat and seeing the ribs still intact sticking up. Just like you'd imagine exploring a wreck should be. Aiden did the DSMB again on the way up.

Dive 30

Rhondo
Date:01.09.2009
Start Time:09:37:00
Dive Time:36
Water Temperature:14
Maximum Depth:29.87
Average Depth:16.17
Place:
Buddy:Boggie
Equipment Details:
Visibility:15m
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:Overcast
Entry/Boat:

The Rhondo is a large wreck at about a 45 degree angle which goes down to about 80m.

We all got dropped in together and descended fairly quickly down the shot. Boggie pointed out the plaque to Neil Rodgers who died on the wreck last year. We descended to 30m, poked around a bit and accidentally kicked Martin in the head!Atually, Boggie kicked me in the face a bit during one of the swim-throughs, he must have thought I was the wreck.

We saw plenty of sponges and anenome and a few pollock off the wreck. On the ascent things became a bit crowded as the 50m divers (Phil, Aiden, Trevor and Chris) returned to the surface. Phil made it to 50.2m, Aiden to 49m but Trevor and Chris only to 45m.

I was hoping to use the reel and DSMB but the bow of the boat and the other divers made that a bit tricky. Instead we ascended by the shot and did a 3 minute safety stop. Saw the plauque again on the way back

Equipment note: 10kg is the right amount of weight for me but because it is all in the integrated weight belts at the front of the jacket it tends to try to pull me vertical in the water. It would be better to adjust it so that more weight was at the back or higher up, perhaps by using a weight belt too.

Dive 31

Date:01.09.2009
Start Time:13:22:00
Dive Time:35
Water Temperature:14
Maximum Depth:31.7
Average Depth:21.1
Place:Shauna
Buddy:Boggie
Equipment Details:No torch - don't release the reel too far!
Visibility:3m
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:Very heavy rain!
Entry/Boat:

15 minutes before we arrived, skipper David said it was about to start raining so we kitted up. It did!

We got in, swam to bouy. About 5 of us went down together. Very bad visibility -> green, dark and silty. But that meant it was very atmospheric. Went down to about 30m. Very dark, could just see other people's torch beams through the murk. Very relaxing though, like no other situation I've been in.

We swam back up and around the edge of the deck. Pottered back to the shot swimming around the mostly intact superstructure and descending into the hull on occasion.

We entered deco time as we got back to the shot. I did the reel this time (Boggie filled), we had 5 min ascent time, 3 of which was a safety stop at 6m.

Really enjoyed this one even though it was very silty and the visibility was terrible.

Dive 32

Date:02.09.2009
Start Time:11:18:00
Dive Time:47
Water Temperature:15
Maximum Depth:25.91
Average Depth:17.15
Place:"Danny Boy" (pinnacle near Elizabeth Island)
Buddy:Steve Williamson
Equipment Details:Steve was on a 15L tank too, my breathing rate was about the same as his
Visibility:15m
Water Speed:Slow but lots of swell
Weather Conditions:Sunny
Entry/Boat:

Skipper put down shot line. Swam down it through kelp to edge of wall, I went first. Steve took a bearing South and we found the wall. We headed down to 25m. Steve took some photos and gave me his torch. We swam with the wall to our left and met up with the other divers. I got Steve to take a photo of a purple thing and a weed which I kept spotting so we could identify them later. We swam left and saw some wrass. I noticed some dead men's fingers had "fluff" on them and that others were smooth.

Eventually we hit where the sea floor slopes up and meets the wall. We explored the rocks for a few minutes and then headed right again. We went back up the wall and into the kelp once again and saw a crab.

At 80 bar we decided to surface. I did the reel and DSMB but a heavy swell made it hard. Finally got it inflated and the DSMB came untied!! Steve laughed so hard he got water down the neck of his drysuit! We came up on his reel and DSMB instead. We did our 6m saftey stop and waited for the boat which was quite a way away. Luckily we could see the inflated DSMB from the boat so we drove over and I jumped in to retrieve it.

During the safety stop I saw some very interesting plankton, circular with a cross in the middle and long strands perpendicular to the axis of the disc, about the same diameter as a fat thumb, looked like a space station!

Dive 33

Date:02.09.2009
Start Time:15:03:00
Dive Time:52
Water Temperature:14
Maximum Depth:22.25
Average Depth:15.13
Place:
Buddy:Trevor and Boggie
Equipment Details:
Visibility:
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:
Entry/Boat:

Pinacle at Ardmore Point Trevor and Boggie (Steve was feeling ill so I joined them)

We went in as a three and headed down to the bottom. I thought this one ws going to be a wall dive but it was more of a potter around the shore. We headed along with the rocks to our left, down through the kelp layer. Notable points in the dive include:

Dive 34

Date:03.09.2009
Start Time:11:22:00
Dive Time:44
Water Temperature:15
Maximum Depth:26.52
Average Depth:17.38
Place:Hispania
Buddy:Chris
Equipment Details:
Visibility:
Water Speed:
Weather Conditions:
Entry/Boat:

This was the second visit to the Hispania and this time I led the dive which was really fun. Sarah had asked if I had seen any sea squirts and since I hadn't, Chris and I set out to find one.

We descended the shot and I lead down the port side towards the stern. I'd borrowed Aiden's torch so we went right under the side of the hull, looking at the different dead men's fingers and other life. We saw some large crabs hiding right under the hull and also the large fish I'd seen with Aiden (but still not identified). There were also what looked like cones of iron coming out of the hull but I don't know what those were.

We headed up and looked around the stern of the boat with the various bits of metal hanging off the back and then headed up to the starboard side of the deck. There are some large holes into the stern hold so we explored the hold, looking at the ladders and other features. It seemed to be in two levels and we swam around the top level before moving up onto the deck again. We had a look around the spare propeller on the deck and then moved up the starboard side of the deck and around the starboard hull, peering through holes in the hull. At one point Chris found a sea-squirt on a pipe deep within the wreck, the first one I'd seen!

We continued up onto the bow deck and had a look around. There seemed to be a bit of swell because I found myself bumping into a few things. (Maybe swimming though bits of wreck makes lack of boyancy control more obvious though!). We swam through the port side of the cabin back towards the stern and had another look at the propeller.

To be honest I can't remember quite what we did next because we'd already seen the entire wreck (it felt a lot smaller this time) but we ended up back at the bow after having had a look at the stern again. I was at 80 bar so we decided to ascend. I did the DSBM on my own following Chris's advice of getting the octopus inside the DSMB and ready to go with two hands before picking up the reel. It worked well and we ascended with a 3 min safety stop and ended up quite close to the bouy even though we hadn't spotted the shot line on the way up.

Iona

In the afternoon Trevor, Chris, Emily, Naoko and myself took the minibus along a single track road to Iona to check out the abbey. It is a beautiful drive along a single track road. There was actually a surprising amount of traffic and we were held up at one point by some workers fixing pot holes in the road.

On the ferry over to Iona we were lucky enough to spot some Dolphins swimming towards Mull.

Iona itself is very small and after checking out the Nunnery we headed to a hotel for tea. They had wifi but I was told off for using my laptop in what was supposed to be an electronics-free lounge. To be fair when I chekced there was a small sticker on the door but the idea of free wifi but no electronic devices seemed somewhat contradictory to me.

We had a look at the Abbey (rebuilt in the 1800s I think) and I picked up a bit of wool from the fences nearby to use for blisters when walking. Trevor drove back (slightly faster than Chris) and after another couple of hours we wer back home.

Iona is worth a visit but I don't think I'd go back if I visited Mull again.

Dive 35

Date:04.09.2009
Start Time:09:27:00
Dive Time:30
Water Temperature:14
Maximum Depth:31.39
Average Depth:21.01
Place:Shuna
Buddy:Sarah B
Equipment Details:
Visibility:Poor - green, murky and silty, but very magical
Water Speed:Slow
Weather Conditions:Slightly overcast
Entry/Boat:

My first dive with Sarah! Sarah was the dive marshall and because I was slow kitting up (as usual) we were last in. I went first and started swimming for the bouy but when Sarah went in she had a freeflow on her pony regulator. We tried shaking, breathing and turning upside down but to no avail. Because Sarah had no octopus on her main we headed back to the boat for a refill. As a result we were in quite a lot later than the others.

We descended the shot and I had a few sinus problems so went more slowly than Sarah. We headed down the port side of the boat to the rudder. The boat is covered in sea squirts and we had agreed an action for them. We swam up the starboard side and along to the bow, looking at interesting things as we went along including starfish, bloody henries, dead men's fingers etc.

We headed back along the deck towards the stern, doing a swimthrough on the port side. At the stern deck I did the DSMB on my own again and we ascended, doing a 3 min saftey stop.

I really enjoyed the swim again, it is so dark on the wreck that it feels very different from other dives.

Dive 36

Date:04.09.2009
Start Time:12:27:00
Dive Time:50
Water Temperature:15
Maximum Depth:21.03
Average Depth:14.55
Place:Calve Island
Buddy:Sarah B
Equipment Details:
Visibility:10m
Water Speed:Slow
Weather Conditions:Overcast, outbreak of sun at the end
Entry/Boat:

We were the third pair to go in this time we went down a few meters to the wall and Sarah decided to go left. We followed the wall down, looking at some small crabs, a butterfish, spiny starfish, lots of anenome. The vis wasn't quite as good as the first day but still good. Phil had lent me his torch because he was sitting this one out. It had a habit of floating up when it wasn't being used.

We saw a few squat lobsters hiding in the cracks too. Lots of wrass, small and large. There were also lots of fish feeding around the wall. This was around 16-20m

Eventually the wall turns into rocks and we spent some time around 13m looking under rocks, on kelp and generally exploring the rich wildlife. Wesaw another load of squat lobsters (with two under the same rock at one point) and were lucky enough to see a dogfish swim past. It came very close underneath me and swam around before continuing on its way. Sarah also found two neudibrachs on different kelp. One was white with orange bits and and the other more purply. The sun came out Sarah did the DSBM on her own.

We did our 3 minute saftey stop and since I was on 49 mins I took a minute longer than Sarah to come up to make it the first 50min dive of the trip!

Really enjoyed this dive, there was just so much life there and it was fun exploring it with Sarah. Good way to round off the trip.

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