In August a few keen members of Putney BSAC set off to Pembrokeshire for a week of diving off Skomer Island and in Milton Haven. Skomer Island is a marine reserve just of the coast of Pembrokeshire famous for its abundance of life and large range of dive sites, from shallow reef dives to deep wrecks such as the Lucy. Our streak of luck in 2014 continued with another dive trip with excellent weather and calm seas. Unfortunately our other streak of dives with poor visibility also looked set to continue.
On Monday, our first day of diving, the visibility was less than two metres. Luckily there is a lot of life on the sea floor off Skomer, we still had plenty to see, but this wasn’t the best start to the week. Fortunately this was more than made up for by our surface interval when a pod of dolphins swam past our boat. The pod was about 25 strong including 5 very young calves. We followed them for about 10 minutes, they raced the boat swimming under its bow, frequently jumping out of the water as if they were showing off to us. Seeing a pod this large on a dive trip is a rare occurrence in the UK, we all felt incredibly lucky.
Tuesday was much the same as Monday, but sadly without any dolphin sightings. On Wednesday the visibility got even worse. Our first dive was on a wreck called Thor, I’d love to tell you what it was like but unfortunately I could never see more than a vague outline through the gloom even when I was right next to it. The visibility was frequently less than a foot, and after 15 minutes of prodding around in the muck we decided to end the dive.
That evening we were all getting a little despondent that despite a whole week of diving none of the dives would be truly memorable. Luckily for us, by some miracle on Thursday the visibility improved substantially. I don’t know what caused the change but we ended the week with four great dives. The best probably being our very last dive on the Friday when we saw a pile of hundred spider crabs crawling all over each other. It was like a scene from some underwater horror movie, the seabed was a writhing mass of crabs with crab carcasses lying everywhere. I later read that they do this to protect each other whilst moulting but that didn’t stop it from being creepy at the time.
Highs and lows:
- Feeding the seagull is every lunchtime whilst anchored of Skomer island
- Darren the trip organiser, who had been planning the trip for almost a year, unfortunately had to leave us after the first day of diving due to work commitments. Darren you were missed (you’re bad jokes however were not, we had enough of those from Brian;-))
- The ‘gents’ toilet
- Did I mention we saw dolphins!
Thanks to John, Darren and Steve for the photos. Thanks to Darren for organising the trip, sorry you had to leave us early, and thanks to Steve for helping out with last minute organisation. Lastly, thanks to Nick Watson from Holburn BSAC for once again joining us for some diving off Skomer, always great to have you along.