Browsing articles from "April, 2014"
Apr 27, 2014

Dive Sites

Went out for a jaunt today looking at possible dive sites, knew there were a couple of small quarries near by and had to start somewhere.

Quarry Dive Site Exploration Map

Can’t reveal its exact location yet but the first place I found was down a few windy lanes and I didn’t take a photo of the gate which could give it away.

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The site looks large enough for a reasonable dive but it is obviously the depth, especially as there is a good layer of dead Algae and other particulate matter like most quarries. There was a lot of life at the edge of the water, tadpoles, larvae and newts but what isn’t clear is the layer of white on the bottom 18 or so inches of the overhanging trees round it but we are in Imerys country and it is most likely just dust from the china clay.

There is an easy entry point after squeezing through the gap in the hedge, could possibly be some cars in there as the ramp leads down from the road, there wasn’t any defined path around it and I didn’t try making a way through as to the left of the photo is a near vertical eroded earth bank face, and to the right more overgrown trees and scrub than any sane person would try and get through, especially with dive gear.

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As can be seen on the map there is another site a short distance away between the paths to the SW, so after a jolly ramble down the hidden footpath and chatting to a local over his garden gate, where I was mauled by his 3 dogs, my hands were lucky to be intact after all the licking they did, I came across an ominous sign. This is a public footpath though so I found a way over the hedge to the right of the photo.

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The state of the entrance gave a clear indication as to the state of the ‘public’ footpath that had been closed off, and to the level of pollution that will occur over time as will be seen in a moment.

I jumped over the hedge and turned to give my friend a hand up but he was raring to get up the bank so I just went through the gap to find a beautiful woodland only a few years old.

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I started clambering through the thicket only to hear from behind ‘It’s this way, a path’, to which I replied ‘Maybe but my way is more fun’ and I promptly kept fighting my way through only to find the path he was walking on.

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We walked into an area that looked more like a dump than a public footpath, this is where I should name the land I was on but living where I do is only one company that owns all the land round here, Imerys and the fact they have done what you are about to see is shocking.

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This was probably the part that angered me the most, rusting oil drums full of… oil and they were breaking open as you can see.

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Now this may have taken a long time to get like this but it is clearly something that should now be cleaned up before it gets any worse.

It didn’t end there though, heavy duty plastic pipes may take thousands of years to break down, but at the base of a watershed with all the other things lying around this is just a disgusting excuse for a company to dump things for later on their land.

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The area these pipes are is where it shows a fairly large water body on the map, but it was clearly more of a pond and I couldn’t get through the hedge but could see plastic sheeting and all sorts in it.

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I just hope the other oil drums around the area haven’t already leaked because Imerys need to be shamed into making sure any area they own is kept clean of rubbish, not only to stop pollution but to stop locals from thinking it is OK to dump their waste their as well.

waste_dumped_07sound_proofing

The last one is rubber sound proofing, just thrown over the hedge and going to take an extremely long time to break down, when it does it will get carried away as small particles and will get in the food chain from the bottom feeders in the stream and further down in the river.

There were more oil drums in an old tin shed, couldn’t tell if they had anything in them and didn’t want to rock any of the drums just in case.

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There was also what looked like an old oil container for a house or business

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I am going to be contacting Cornwall Council over this as it is disgusting that not only no one has noticed they have closed a public right of way but also the state of it with rubbish piled everywhere. I am not going to turn my blog into a clean up your pollution and waste page, but every time I go exploring for possible dive sites if I find anything I will name and shame Imerys or who ever the land owner is because these things are just taking the piss when they are meant to be a lot more stringent on protecting the environment.

As for the first quarry as a dive site, when I get the chance to re-visit it with friends will post an update if it is worthy of looking for to get wet.

Apr 13, 2014

Secret Dive Spot 12/04/2014

Kurt and I were planning on doing an early morning dive tomorrow because the weather this weekend, along with the calm sea made for almost ideal conditions, I say almost because we are still plagued in the UK by a lot of particulate matter in the water column making vis extremely poor at less than 1m.

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Kurt had finished with family things earlier today than he thought he would and suggested we go for a dive today instead so after a mad panic getting all my gear together and setting up my camera we headed off to one of our secret dive spots that at most is 7-8m at high tide, but as I hadn’t been in since last August we decided it was best.

When we arrived just after high tide we kitted up faster than superman could fly, so excited about getting wet for the first time in ages and glad my semi-dry still fitted, the 7mm though not the 5mm I used in 2C at Vobster February last year.

Buddy check and we were off, almost running down the beach to get in. We already knew where we were going (and the way back) so as we indicated to each other we were ready to go down I couldn’t help but smile and must have looked like a Cheshire cat from behind my regs.

I was aware I was going to have a few issues with my buoyancy after such a long break and hitting the sand before I could clear my ears made me realise how out of practice I was. This wasn’t going to stop us though, and we had agreed to be in the water no longer than 30 mins so it gave me a good dive time but not too long even though we would only reach a max depth of 5-6m with the tide going out, meaning our air would last well over an hour.

Critters on the dive.

With the tide on the way out we knew there wouldn’t be as many critters as we usually see there and we were right, with a couple of nice surprises near the end of the dive. There were plenty of starfish, and some beautiful anemones like all the dive sites round Cornwall, so as to not let you down I took a few pics.

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Anenome1

Anenome3 Open

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After weaving in and out of the reef Kurt found a well hidden but beautiful anemone.

Anenome4 Open

Then there were lots of small green eggs, I believe they are from a worm that mainly lives on the South coast of the UK but I saw last year on a Seasearch dive on the North coast.

Worm Egg

The torch holder from Alex was worth its weight in gold, it made it so much easier to see under rocks with the camera ready to snap anything hidden there, as well as aiding the auto-focus as I hoped it would. It was just a shame we were on the wrong side of the tide with a slightly improved vis at around 2m and that I had forgotten the piece of plastic I was going to use to diffuse the light as can be seen with the large white spot in the photos. I do need a tray with handles next as my wrist was cramping up after about 10 minutes so will be calling on my friendly Nauticam dealer when I have finished sorting my new car out.

We found a branch that was about 9ft long and Kurt posed for the shot I am going to call ‘You shall not pass!’

You Shall Not Pass

After about 20 minutes weaving in and out of the reef in a South-Westerly direction we headed in an Easterly direction out across the sand to where we knew a rowing boat was anchored, on the way I saw the flash of 2 very small eyes staring at me, about a foot from my face and a small black cloud appeared and it sped off away from me; I suddenly became like a discover scuba diver and glanced over my shoulder to see Kurt and slowly started chasing what I knew to be a baby cuttlefish. I saw it burying itself into the sand and spread my fins to slow down as I was trying to find it on my small 3″ screen, wished I had a viewer on my camera at that point as I couldn’t find it and when I looked up could see it speeding off into the distance. As I was kicking myself in the backside (in my mind) for missing my favourite little critter I saw the unmistakeable lips and eyes of a Flounder staring at me.

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I waited patiently with my light shining on him for Kurt to see what I was pointing at when it lifted (as they do) and sped off so we couldn’t eat it, not that we would have, I did manage to just catch this though, one of my best photos taken so far I think.

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I’m not sure if it was, but back on the reef I saw what looked like Maerl, it isn’t a great shot but found it very strange being this far from known Maerl beds, there was quite a bit of it spread around the area that I hadn’t seen here last year.

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So back to the boat, Kurt was guiding us and keeping an eye on out on our heading after I had chased the cuttlefish like a child in a sweet shop and I could see he wanted us to head slightly North-East and just like a pro he hit us right on the anchor, I still think it was more luck as it was dragging with the tide.

Dragging Anchor

After a few minutes of some attempts at some arty shots with the boat and a model that couldn’t stop grinning ear to ear.

Rowing Boat

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We headed in North-Westerly direction and started to surface to find ourselves right back in the beach on the right hand side. Divers will know how I feel right now after not being in the water since August, and I hope the smile on my face and glint in my eyes will show my non-diver friends what they are missing. If all goes well I will be in the water in the next 3 or 4 days and I will need to start widening doorways to get my smile through 😉