St Abbs, Sept’ 2019 – “Lobsters, lobsters and yet more lobsters (and some dolphins)”

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Yet another trip to New Asgard for a weekend’s diving comes around and yet another good time was had by all. Whenever I go on a dive trip, it’s always the same. ‘Can I be bothered with the four hours’ journey, is it worth it?’
The answer with St. Abbs is always the same.
‘Yes’.
The drive up on the M6 along the edge of the Lakes is fairly tame, as the views are nice but not stunning. It’s the Borders drive that I enjoy, turn right at Carlisle onto the A77 and I’m into one of my favourite areas of the country. Beautiful views and iconic Pele towers, with attractive rivers crossing the routes. Finally turning right at Berwick to follow the rugged coast into St Abbs. It always sets me up for the weekend.

After a late start and a not so relaxing journey (Editors Note: Always check you have enough fuel before the petrol stations shut for the night!) I arrived on Saturday morning at St Abbs harbour to find everyone having their breakfast and getting ready for the day’s diving.

First dive (ropes off at 10) was a question of finding a sheltered area as the wind was sweeping in towards Black Carr kicking up the waves. We bounced across the bay, rounded St Abbs head and the sea calmed enabling us to dive on one of the best sites (in my view) Anemone Gulley.
We dropped off the back of the boat into water about 14 meters deep with visibility of about 10 meters and proceeded to dive up and down the plumose anemone smothered gulleys, hunting for marine life.

The area was inundated with lobsters of all shapes and sizes (this was true of every dive this weekend). About halfway through around 21 meters I finally found the elusive wolf fish tucked away at the back of a crack glaring morosely out at us. Moving on I headed shoreward heading towards a large ridge where large schools of fish can always be guaranteed. We finally ascended and headed back into the harbour to be greeted at the midway point by a pod of passing dolphins.
A relaxed lunch (at the Ebb Carr Café) of a haggis and cheese panini and a coffee prepared us for the next dive at the Wuddy Swim Through. Once again, we had to sail round St Abbs Head to avoid the increasingly choppy sea. We dropped off the boat and pottered around the entrance to the swim through, it was like diving in a rock pool. Great clarity, lots of nooks and crannies and hundreds of small fish swimming in and out of the kelp, and a few lobsters. We then swam NE through the rocky gap and nosed around the boulder strewn bay investigating all the small caves. Once again, the visibility was superb, and this enabled us to see the large schools of fish that normally stick at the edge of view. This area was also swarming with large inquisitive wrasse that swam in and out of the caves keeping us under scrutiny. Another gloomy wolf fish glared out at us (unusual at a depth of 14 meters). Amongst the stars of this dive were octopus, squat lobsters, flounders and several large schools.

As tradition demands we headed up to the New Inn in Coldingham for the evening meal and enjoyed a restful evening, good food and a few beers. The walk back along the dark lanes was stunning with a clear night and little light pollution allowing the stars to light our way back to St Abbs harbour ready for an early start.
On the Sunday the wind had dropped but a sea fog had closed in, fortunately this burnt off and the skipper, Paul Crowe, headed out to the next dive, deciding that Weasel Loch would provide the best conditions for the first dive. On the way we saw two pods of dolphins, one passing us by and the second circling and feeding offshore.

Paul, as usual, was right and this proved to be a superb dive. Jam packed full of marine life and stunning topography. Once again lobsters, crabs and squat lobsters of all shapes and sizes were littering the seabed and filling every nook and cranny. This was a great dive to start the day. Very relaxing, plenty to see and, once again, good visibility.

For the final dive of the day we headed north again, diving North of St Abbs head at the Skelly Hole swim through. I love this dive site and the start when the skipper reverses the boat into the inlet, and we leap off into 8 meters depth diving back out the way the boat came in. After winding my unwinding reel back in we headed off and immediately found a huge lobster tucked away under a rock. Not surprising in itself, but its enormous claws had hold of a large jelly fish, obviously dinner was served! This was the classic bimble and we just swam round taking in the sites. It was a great way to end the weekend with several people finding an enormous angler fish.
Well that’s it for the weekend and an uneventful journey home.
A fantastic bunch with which to share some social time and diving. Roll on next year.

Simon Read

Guy

Advanced Diver and Open Water Instructor, I am also the TSAC webmaster, contact me if you need help with anything on the website or have suggestions for new content.