Our last weekend trip of the season allows us to experience
St Abbs Marine Reserve with some of the warmest water temperatures of the year.
We will be diving around the reserve from Wavedancer which has a heated cabin
and a flying bridge to experience depending on your preference. Accommodation
will be two nights B&B at the Home Arms in Eyemouth.
Our final visit to Seahouses and the Farne Islands usually
brings warmer water and the best chance of encountering seals in the water. We
will be diving with William Shiel on one of the Glad Tidings boats around the
islands. There is no accommodation for this trip as it is only one day however
some people may decide to book separately to extend their stay especially as
this is the last UK trip.
We’re creatures of habit in Robin Hood Hood Dive Club and true
to form the weekend’s fun and frolics started with a few welcome beers in Oblo
with Steve, Keith and Amanda leading the way as the first to arrive, soon to be followed by Bev, Andy, Jay, Sue, ‘Birthday
Boy’ Nigel and eventually Tom. Ian decided to spend the evening in his room to finish charging his torches but the rest of us decided that with a
very civilised ropes off time of 10.45am the next day – It’ll be reet!
Next morning Tim and Liz made a very early start at 5am to
arrive just in time for breakfast, leaving a very disgruntled Merlin in the
van. Whilst the day dawned bright and sunny the wind had whipped up a bit of a
swell but our intrepid skipper Gary was not to be deterred and we headed out on
Wavedancer with only one fully working engine and a slightly bent prop – It’ll be reet!
After a leisurely sail past St Abbs Head we arrived at our dive
site, Anemone Gullies, for what turned out to be the first of four cracking
dives over the weekend. With 15+ meters of viz and abundant life, including wolf
fish, octopus, shoals of Pollock & Herring, wrasse, lots and lots of
lobster and a 1.5 meter long Anglerfish (Tim/Liz – you do know things look
bigger under water?) everyone agreed that UK diving does not get better than
After the second dive of the day at West Hurker we headed back
to Eyemouth and despite a VERY lumpy steam, during which the skipper was heard
to say “better have a Haribo before we die”, the boat was full of very happy
smiling divers – It’ll be reet!
A couple of deco beers, showers and a meal at Oblo provided the
evening entertainment before everyone turned in for the night to be up bright
eyed and bushy tailed for a 9.30am ropes off.
Sunday kicked o_ with a superb dive at the much maligned Pettico
Wick followed by Skelly Hole and Anemone Gullies to compete another memorable diving
Thank you to our skipper Gary and his crew, Dougie “Aye”, Graeme
and James for looking after us on the boat and to Jade and Alex at the Home
Thanks to all for making this another cracking Robin Hood Dive
Very early Saturday morning saw our intrepid divers heading
up the A1 towards South Shields to pick up Spellbinder, our dive boat for the
weekend. The rain was so heavy that at one point I was tempted to call the
skipper to come and pick us up at the roadside with the boat as I’m convinced
the water was deep enough.
As it happens we all managed to make it to the jetty at Mill
Dam on time to hit our ropes o target. I did have a chat with a bloke called Noah
at the jetty who wanted to take an even number of his menagerie of animals onto
the boat with us but unfortunately we didn’t have enough room for the giraffes
so had to leave without him.
Skipper Allan Lopez navigated us out to the first wreck
SS Eston successfully and we were encouraged by the reports of 7m of viz from the
previous evening. Now I’m sure some of you will have been on many trips and
read enough of these reports to know where we’re going next. Sure enough the 3m
of viz was a little disappointing but everyone had a decent swim around the
wreckage and some of us even found some recognisable parts of it.
The second dive took us to an old favourite on this coast
with the wreck of the Pandora. No talk of good viz this time which is just as
well but we did get another metre or so which helped. Lots of life on the bow
section with a new split in the wreck to give a bigger swim through in that
area. Some divers found their way to the stern to find the prop mostly buried again this
Having done two dives we now got onto the main event on any
Spellbinder trip – lunch! As usual Allan didn’t disappoint and a bowl of
steaming chicken curry and rice was presented to each of us almost before any
kit had been taken off.
Something shocking did happen at this point as human dustbin Jay Lawson couldn’t
eat all his lunch. This has never been seen before with Jay and I can only hope
it doesn’t happen again.
For those hardy souls who were up for it there was a third
“cheeky” dive on the wrecks of the Oslofjord and Eugenia Chandris which lay on
top of each other just off
the mouth of the Tyne. Not everyone did this and the Dive Avoidance Specialty
will be awarded to those divers in accordance to club rules – you know who you are
The Sunderland annual Air Show was on for the weekend and we
did get to see some impressive formation flying and a direct fly over by
a Chinook helicopter.
As we came back in to the Tyne Allan had some bad news for
us as the weather forecast for the Sunday winds wasn’t great and the diving for
the rest of the weekend was to be cancelled.
As you will understand, everyone was pretty put out by this,
but in the best club traditions we quickly put this setback behind us and went
to the pub. And then another pub, which was followed up by an evening meal at
the Man Vs Food restaurant in South Shields.
Unfortunately, Food won and Jay had to settle for a doggy
bag in an attempt to retrieve his rapidly disappearing reputation as the club
food processing plant.
Thanks to everyone on the trip for making this a great, if slightly shortened, weekend.
Final picture is in the form of a caption competition. My effort on this: “To his horror, Bob suddenly realises that he’s run out of pies!”
Limping boat, dolphins, scooters, great visibility, leaks and sunshine………Just a brief summary of this week’s instalment of the ROHO 2019 calendar.
Thursday begins with a cracking weather forecast and 12 excited divers readying up for the weekend’s festivities, this soon takes a temporary hit with the news of dive boat gremlins having gotten loose, thus demoting our dive boat Wavedancer to the Waveplodder. 11 of the 12 divers are so blinded by the thought of some Scottish sun and North Sea dipping we happily head up on the Friday with some more local diving destinations in mind.
In true ROHO fashion, we pick up a straggler and bolster our numbers! Welcome to the club Genine Keogh, who funnily enough I’d already met on a liveaboard in Egypt last October, small world! Soon attention turns to diving with a warm-up through Tyes Tunnel, visibility turns out to be good, water still has that cheek flushing coldness with a successful (for most) dive to follow. Wet dive number 1 for Liz… The Glanmire is available for the 2nd dive which is duly jumped upon by many, all reported a nice dive with no issues, bar Wet Dive number 2 for Liz….
Saturday night saw a nice meal at the Ship Inn and sensible decisions were made ready for a 9am RO Sunday to find another spot of slack over the Glanmire. Visibility seemed to be even better than the day prior and the dive club had 2 new friends today breaking their salt-water virginity, in testing for their Britannic Expedition later this year, both scooters working flawlessly and sending their riders far from the wreck in search for god only knows what, finding
absolutely nothing, but bloody good fun!
Wet dive number 3 for Liz? I can’t quite remember due to the appearance of the dolphins I had ordered, but the final dive of the trip being a nice leisurely wolf-fish hunt starting on the landing pad, the scooters had new yobs on them this time providing smiles of equal grandeur.
All in all a successful trip, always well looked after by the team from Divestay, plenty of post-dive hot drinks and snacks by the Duracell bunny that is Dougie. Reports from MarineQuest divers that visibility around Bass Rock and the Isle of May being particularly poor over the weekend showed that maybe the dive gods were really looking out for us after all.