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Dunbar – The windy city

Dunbar, a magical place in Scotland with castles, big rocks covered in bird poo, Tennent’s lager, a cement factory and a nuclear power station but nowhere to get your cylinders filled!

Friday afternoon and off we go to the land of said ‘bird poo rock’ with more cylinders than you can shake a stick at. Perhaps a few too many for Tim judging by the blowout, oops!

Tyre repairs aside our buddy pairs start arriving at the Pine Marten Pub & Hotel for some well-deserved food & beer. We’ve delicacies such a gourmet burgers, best gammon, rotisserie chicken and of course Bob’s enormous Tupperware box of sandwiches. All that topped off with peanuts and Peroni made for a great night out.

Saturday arrives with the sun shining but a breeze that limits our options somewhat. We plum for the Isle of May and manage a couple of reasonable dives. I think we were meant to find wreckage and boilers on dive one but Steve & I must have read the map wrong. Never mind, by the time we’re on dive two Steve found an angler fish (which was the highlight for me) and Liz found an octopus. Another highlight was to be found topside, we saw the UK’s new Aircraft Carrier out on her maiden sea trials.

Our skipper Steve Haddow of Shadow Marine took great care of us on his Swiftcat catamaran ‘Mako’ which was a smashing boat. He’d been keeping a close eye on the weather report and come the end of the day we called it for the Sunday, the breeze we’d had was more likely to be a gale by morning.

Back ashore and we unload (in more ways than one), Andy manages to upset the locals by peeing in the car park. “I’ve taken his reg. and phoned the Police” an irate lady informs me. So we dash to the pub to avoid a run-in with the law but chaos ensues and we end up in two different pubs with two groups of divers grumbling about how this came about and whose fault it is (least said the better).

After a quick scrub and polish, we’re out on the town and surprise surprise enjoying food & drink again. This time we’re in Dunbar’s finest Italian restaurant “Umberto’s“. I think we may have been a bit tiddly by the end judging by the tip we gave our waitress Sarah (we didn’t have to pay for her entire gap trip – Tim!).

Sunday as predicted was very breezy so scattered by the winds we separated out with some going straight home, others off to some salmon smokery and the rest for a brisk walk and another visit to Umberto’s.

A smashing weekend away, thanks to all that came.

Andrew

Eyemouth : we actually dived this year!

The news that we were on the late dive on Saturday, with a 12.30 dive time was,on the face of it, good news. If only we had some self control. Sadly we don’t have any at all and so we kicked off the weekend in Oblos with a few pints and a lot of banter. 

Saturday breakfast was greeted with a sore head but nothing a nice cooked breakfast couldn’t sort out. The weather on the other hand was not going to improve and as the morning wore on the clouds thickened and the sea turned a foreboding shade of grey. On the boat we huddled out of the rain and kitted up in the luxurious cabin…then we had to go diving! It turns out that things were much better below the surface with excellent visibility in excess of 10m! The Glanmire looked fantastic and whilst there wasn’t many fish we did discover an enormous cod hiding under the plates. On the bow, keith and Amanda demonstrated great team work as they demolished Keith’s reel and between them managed to get an smb up. Back up the shot line for a nice cup of boiling hot tea, well deserved because at 9 degrees the sea is still bloomin’ cold! Terry wished he’d put his heated vest on! 

Dive two was the Skelly hole. Flatish seas and excellent viz once more, we rooted around looking for critters. There were a few big cod, Ballan wrasse and a baby squid, but alas ,no guillemots came to play. Still, we all had two pleasant dives despite the snow.

The usual takeaway carnage unfolded on Saturday evening, but with no Eurovision we had to make do with ewoks and keith Lemon murdering the return of the Jedi. 

Sunday came very quickly. An early shift meant I was still bleary eyed as we loaded the boat. Off to Blackcarrs to hunt some wolf fish. We didn’t find any!  Keith thought he’d demolish his regs to match his reel and as he set up a small jacuzzi of bubbles emanated from his high pressure hose. With a bit of swapping and hole plugging he solved the issue. Who needs a gauge on their pony anyway? And off he went. With Tim’s rebreather switching on of its own accord, and Terry’s computer complaining loudly outside there was a relaxed ambience on deck as we bobbed about deciding what to do for a final dive. The swell was building a bit so we headed south to Burnmouth caves. I was cold and even with my heated vest turned up to level 2 was not warming through enough to entice me back in to the water so I opted for a chinwag with the skipper and Rob. The divers climbing back on board reported 3m viz and Kelpy unpleasantness , although Tom and Patrick did take some reasonable pictures so it couldn’t have been all that bad. Unfortunately I’d eaten all the flapjacks 🙂 

‘Fash and chaps’ on the sea front rounded off yet another successful foray into the U.K. Under sea realm with Robinhood Diveclub.   

2017 Annual General Meeting

This year’s AGM is being held on Thursday 16th February at Robin Hood Watersports (WF16 9BJ). Please note the meeting will start promptly at 7pm.

The agenda will be as follows:

  1. Chairman’s Address (Liz Saville)
  2. Diving Officer’s Report (Tim Saville)
  3. Financial Officers Report (Terry Manton)
  4. Election of Officers (Andrew Lamb)
  5. Any Other Business

Wreck wombling weekend

When Gary, aka Great Uncle Bulgaria – the oldest and wisest of the Wimbledon Wombles and their leader, asked if anybody wanted to help clean the Glanmire wreck of rubbish, we wombles jumped at the chance. Little did we know that temperatures would plunge to below freezing and Angus, the first named storm of the year would be threatening us out in the North Sea. James,aka Tobermory – an engineer,  a skilled inventor, and avid diver tooled himself up with a variety of cutting implements and was chomping at the bit to get started on the clean up. He excitedly told us of his vast array of lift bags and clips as we planned our operation in Oblos on Friday night. 
Sadly Jake, aka Orinoco – who loves sleep and food, was snowed in and didn’t make the first dive on Saturday so there was plenty of room on deck and we braced the -3 degrees and set out as the sun came up over the cliffs.

Chris, aka Tomsk – an athletic Womble, discovered that ‘slack’ doesn’t always mean slack and reappeared at the surface puffing and panting, with tales of endurance and exhaustion. He must have been delerious because he kept mentioning something about a train. 

It turns out that wombling at 32m in the dark with a raging current is quite tiring and shortly every body was back onboard , empty handed and empty tanked. 

Dive two was more successful and shortly after descending James sent up a lift bag. Attached was a mere tonne of tangled rope which took four of us to haul on board. This manoeuvre was expertly executed by Douggie, the toughest and most agile 73 year old I know. We were momentarily concerned that James was in fact wrapped up inside but it turned out to be just a couple of gasping fish which we duly rescued. 

By 8.30 pm we were all fed and watered and ready for bed, thanks to the early start, and everybody had turned in by 9pm! (Good little wombles).

Uncle Bulgaria was really looking after us and on Sunday morning we were greeted by a radiator festooned with warm, dry, gloves. This was a bonus seeing as it was so cold the mask bucket had frozen solid and we had to salt the deck! Liz , Andy and Chris opted for a dive on Anemone Gullies, and enjoyed 55 mins of exploration, flat fish and lobbies whilst down on the wreck some serious wombling was going on! Tim and James launched several creels to the surface, whilst Bob and Tom sensibly kept their distance. Luckily all wombling bags and divers made it safely back on board and enjoyed hot coffee and an odd biscuit or two to warm through. 

Following the fourth and final dive we arrived back in Eyemouth harbour to unload our wombling haul, which was actually quite impressive (see photo) and we celebrated with a ‘healthy portion’ of fish and chips. 

Learning points of the weekend:

1. Tides are unpredictable.

2. It’s bloomin’ cold in November in Scotland.

3. Pruning saws are not that effective on rope under water. 

4. An 18l cylinder is not such a daft idea. 

5. An empty twinset is very bouyant.

Thanks Gary and Zoe for the usual hospitality, and to all the junior wombles for making it a great wreck wombling weekend.

Farnes – The Final Frontier

A final trip report : Farnes 22nd October 2016

Last trip of the season and there we were on the steps at Seahouses contemplating the waves INSIDE the harbour. Two divers said feck it and went back home which meant the rest of us had a lovely big empty-ish boat to roll around in. Having tossed and turned around a few islands with Timmy excitedly saying “we can get in there no problem” and the rest of us saying “we can’t get out of there – big problem” we ended up somewhere with a bit of kelp and some randy seals. Never has Mr Seal been so frisky, pressing poor Barry to the seabed by climbing on top of him (it was a relatively small seal) and ferociously biting at hoses, mask and suit. Back on the boat we heard that three divers on another boat had their suits punctured. Whilst most managed a respectable 40 minutes in the murk, Graham made a couple of new friends and spent a very impressive 63 minutes doing god knows what with naughty Mr Seal. His SMB looked like Robinson Crusoe’s trousers by the time they’d finished, but Graham didn’t care – he was in love.
After we’d broken the boat with an alarming bang at lunchtime, we then attempted a second dive despite murmurings of “pub” because we are after all a dive club, not a drinking club. With the boat belching steam and not sounding healthy we then rolled back to the Ship Inn to get shit-faced……and that my friends was the Club season closed.
Thanks as always to the trip secretaries – Tim, Ruth, Liz, Barry and everyone else who did everything that needed to be done – oh and thanks to the King of Delegation – myself – even though I’ve not even written this. This years crown for worst trip sec ever goes to……….

Roll on next year.