A quick trip report for B Boat, Lochaline, Scotland, May 2015 as supplementary to main trip report.
Divers on boat: Paul Shill, Matthew Dodsworth, Stephen Stapleton, Stephen Free, Johny Rangeley, Terry Manton, Ruth Hair, Barry Shaw. Also featuring Bodie the skipper (also known as “nicest man on the planet”) and Joe-forever-asleep-Hair, occasional boat boy.
Tis a long way to Lochaline (pronounced Loch Arrrrlan Johnny, not Lock A Line). Tis a long long way past Loch Long, Loch Lomond and several other Lochs and then a long way further on. Once over the Corran ferry there’s still a lot longer to go, but if you take the little scenic coast road instead of the “main” road it is worth it. This road has grass in the middle of it, deer sprinkled all over it and long breathtaking views of massive mountains that bring tears to your eyes. On arrival therefore, tis worth all the longness as you’d have to go a long way to beat the beautiful setting of the Lochaline dive centre and its annex, The Old Post Office.
After a quick shore dive for some, Joe retired to bed until Monday whilst the rest of us in the B team jumped aboard The Brendan and set off for the Shuna. Twas good to start with this one as it got the man-dive out the way first with the boys enjoying the deep dark silty holds of the big impressive upright vessel whilst the girls amongst us looked forward to prettier things. Back above water, two sea eagles flew past on the short journey to our next dive on the Pelican. This wreck has a rather lovely “clipper” bow for those of us that got down first and found it before the bottom dwellers kicked the silt up, made Johnny get lost in the murk and moan about it a lot. Lunch next in Tobermory after a quick stop at a waterfall to see shags nesting, then on to the Hispania which is the prettiest of pretty dives and much loved by all. It was great to do it on slack as I seem to remember imitating a flag on the way down the shot line on the 2010 trip and spending most of the dive hiding in a hold. This time we saw all of its 70 metres and had it all to ourselves at the end of the dive – magical – even for Terry who forgot to insert his hose in the correct orifice and got several drysuit love bites across his body as a result and blamed Johnny.
Day 2, the horrors of Eurovision night behind us, our boat headed out for the Rondo which had such good viz you didn’t really need a torch at 35 metres! After a beautiful chilled out safety stop hanging in a huge shoal of Pollock, we filled our tanks once again to a heady 240 bar using the boat’s on board compressor and headed east to the Breda via some Sea Eagles in a nest full of chicks. We were greeted with pretty awesome viz on this sometimes-silty wreck which meant we could all play about in holds n holes to our hearts content. Next up – a quick in-between dive on The Swan – possibly the dive that caused the most laughter on our pot boat – and then a final dive on the Thesis. Poor old Thesis is like some of our dive club members – it’s had a hard time over the winter and is looking a bit frayed round the collapsing edges. Highlight for me however was seeing Paul go up the shot-line so I could be last-man-in-the-water for a change.
Day 3, the sun broke through the cloud, we jumped boat onto The Peregrine and headed out to Coll and Tiree to dive the beautiful Tapti – still one of my favourite UK dives. Minke Whales greeted us on arrival and the dive didn’t disappoint as we ambled from stern to bow enjoying the stunning colours and textures of the wreckage. Seals played on the safety stop and then we had a magical journey home sitting on the bow in the sunshine scanning the sparkling waters for more Minke and the odd porpoise. “Life doesn’t get much better than this” was the general conclusion of those of us sat up there surrounded by all that magnificent scenery.
Thanks to all who made it such a great trip. Check out the dive centres web pages for really good details of all the sites we dived.