Browsing articles from "June, 2014"
Jun 18, 2014

Newquay Headland Evening Bimble.

So after 10 months and 3 bailed dives earlier this year for one reason or another (battery on my computer died, then on my buddy’s, visibility zero meters on another) I finally got to get in the water. Kurt and I went to Newquay Headland for a pleasant evening bimble and it was a thoroughly enjoyable dive.

We discussed going in at seal cove, swimming out to anemone rock and then back past the slipway to the main entry point below the toilets, but by the time we had got our kit on (which wasn’t long) we were both rather hot and decided we would go in at the entry below the toilets and swim to seal cove instead. As always I was snapping away, could probably heat an igloo in the middle of the arctic with the heat coming off my poor little camera when I am diving.

femalespidercrab

This was the first critter my lens fell in front of, and we saw a fair few of them like you do on all dives here, she calmly waited for me to finish taking the shot before she decided to find a bit of cover from the 2 bumbling big black monsters that had just invaded her space.

huge starfish

Then I spotted this common spiny starfish, it was huge, next to it is Kurt’s hand and apart from one I saw at Port Gaverne that looked like it could eat a whale, this was the biggest I had seen with my camera in hand.

Puzzled diver

Kurt was enjoying his dive, and fighting with the smb, boy am I glad I have an excuse not to tow it around anymore, as you can clearly see in the vis the reports of 10-15m vis on the headland had been greatly exaggerated and it was more like 3m clear, 5-8m dark shapes you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley and am so glad we don’t really have issues with sharks here in Cornwall.

We were casually bimbling along and I was enjoying being back in the water after such a long time (love the way it recharges your batteries and clears your head at the same time) when I realised I had blown through 50 bar of air just in getting myself settled in the first few minutes, I suppose for those that don’t know I should now tell you we were only at 9m, at high tide it is a constant 9m along most of the headland on the NE side making it an easy and safe dive, as long as you don’t go any further North than the female seals tiny cave.

No I didn’t get any shots of seals, they were obviously being fed in the harbour by the tourists, kinda sucks as need to start getting pics for the calender soon.

I did however see a new species for me, I thought it was a small, or female pipefish and got carried away taking pics as it had a strange glowing secretion coming out of it.

stickleback_01

stickleback_04

I brightened the second pic up post dive in ib (the Olympus RAW editing program) so I could see the fish clearer, I have since found out that it is a 15 spined stickleback or Spinachia spinachia and while fairly common by the sounds of it, being the first time I saw one, and a male about to build his nest, which was why he was secreting a bio-luminescent chain of pearls I was, and still am pumped about it and looking forward to diving it again soon to see if I can find the nest.

It was about this point that I was starting to get into that zen moment of enjoying the dive and it felt a bit like one of my first dives again, even though I have been diving at Newquay headland more than any other spot due to people knowing where it is and its access.

crab_pot_captive_2

We found a crab pot and its captives sat in the sand, it looked more like a mosh pit than a crab pot, can’t help but feel sorry for them crammed in like that.

crabpot_captive

With the poor vis I couldn’t get a full shot but did manage to get Kurt holding the pot like a stone age hunter.

crabpot_diving

There was a lot of changes in the reef after the storms, some areas the sand had been cleared away from its base and it was amazing to see how fast it had been colonised, again due to the lighting and sediment in suspension it was hard to get a good distance shot but did manage to get a nice shot of one of the breaks in the reef where the sand was at least 12″ lower than it was last year as you can see on the lower right of the picture with the kink in the plant growth.

diving

When we had been pottering around in the area past the break, where the male seal sometimes lies on the bottom in a small bowl he had carved out I saw a small jellyfish flaot past, I tried a few shots of it but the camera wouldn’t focus so had to put my hand behind it, it is on the left of my hand.

weird_jellyfish

Then I saw a rather large fish swim into the weed and I followed it slowly hoping it would stick its head back out but I call it the ‘one that got away’

one_that_got_away

There were loads of juvenile dragonets as there are at most spots around Cornwall.

hide and seek

We had reached seal cove and I checked how much air Kurt had, if I recall it was around 150 bar and I was down to 80 bar, but it was my first dive in a long time and I expected to use a bit, just not that much so we turned and rushed back toward the lifeboat slipway, surfacing 30ft away to keep an eye on the approach. There were 3 youngsters snorkeling and Kurt and I waited patiently for them to get away from the bottom of the ramp, I think one of them may have swum under me and been caught by my fin as she apologised for catching me but I hadn’t noticed.

Kurt passed me the smb and I clipped the housing back onto its shorter leash so it wouldn’t bang on the rocks as we got out, he managed to get out on the slipway without any issues, I passed him the smb and his fins, took mine off and glanced up the slope to be hit with dread as my body had just noticed it was heavier than it should be, that was the worse short walk in a long time but after de-kitting and packing everything away it was great to end the dive with a coffee in the beautiful sunset.

end_of_dive