ScubaFest 2013

The weekend is well underway at Scubafest 2013, many of the divers will be out right now enjoying the calm seas the South Coast of Cornwall has to offer. Yesterday while the divers were out setting up the stands were getting ready and they had Scuba Steve pointing the way.

Scubafest 2013 Scuba Steve pointing the way

The local dive club, Kernow Divers were out in force with Atlantic Scuba in their stand at the top of the field, the place to go if anyone needed to book a boat dive and well sheltered next to the fence from the gusty wind.  It was also a great spot as the view over the bay was astounding, eventually when the sun popped out and the rain stopped with a perfectly inviting flat sea for divers to get wet thinking about.

Scubafest 2013 Atlantic Scuba and Kernow Divers Stand

Scubafest 2013 Suunto tent

Suunto have the best stand, their yurt had so many comfortable places to sit it was more like a divers heaven after sitting in wet gear on a hard seat on a boat half the day. The most popular stand was Fourth Element because they had free hot chocolate and a couple of great reps who were smiling all day dealing with the longest queues.

Scubafest 2013 Fourth Element Stand

Scuabfest 2013 Fourth Element hot chocolate stand

When I was helping it was a bit empty as all the divers were out enjoying what Cornwall has to offer under the sea, as the day went on the sea stayed calm and then the rain cleared up so the sun could pop its head out and with the divers all coming back with big grins on their faces it is another year of success for the team hosting the event. Was a shame I didn’t get time to pop down Saturday night, but I did get a dive in for the Scubafest weekend with Kernow divers on our club boat ‘The Trout’. I hope all that attended had a great time and were able to see plenty of marine life and didn’t party too hard into the night.

Pendennis Silver Steps 21-04-2013

Scuba diving at Pendennis Silver Steps.

After a 25 minute drive from my home, and accidentally driving up to the castle, I found myself waiting in the small free car park at Pendennis Silver Steps for Zoe Russell who was going to be my dive buddy on this trip. We had both been running a little late as we were going to meet up at 10am. I thought I was late at 10.15, yet Zoe arrived a few minutes after me with her usual big grin on her face.  After the excited to dive greeting and reasons why we were late we started kitting up and talked about the dive, our hopes of finding some scallops for our dinner and my new camera and housing on its second trip out; so apologies for off focus or framing, as I use it more and learn the techniques I have been told they will improve. The lighting isn’t great but at present as I don’t have any strobes, so am stuck with the internal flash and macro lights on the housing when I remember to turn them on.

After our buddy check we walked down to the shore chatting about her new quail that kept waking her at 5am and her missing snake and got ourselves into the water by clambering over the rocks as it was low tide. The great thing about going at that time was we dropped straight onto mixed seaweed beds and sandy floor without having to deal with the usual surges a rocky entry would have at a higher tide.

Pendennis Silver Steps low tide drop in.

As this was my first dive after the day with the Seasearch team I was torn between just enjoying the dive and trying to take some shots with my camera, yet I was looking around and noticing so many different species that I wouldn’t have paid much attention to before. Straight away Zoe found a Lobster hiding under the rocky outcrops and it made me wonder what else would be hiding there so I started looking but wasn’t brave enough to get my head stuck in as far as Zoe did, which turned out to be a good thing when she found an Edible Crab the size of a dinner plate.

lobster_1

edible_crab_1

The great thing about diving at Pendennis Silver steps is that there are some old U-boat wrecks, they are hard to find as one of them only has the boiler left and the other is further toward the point. We didn’t go for either wreck this time because we had the taste of Scallops tickling our taste buds, as well as finding things to photograph.

scallop_1

This was the only live Scallop we saw on the dive, plenty of empty shells and half shells with things living in them, like this hermit crab.

hermit_crab

The area is known as a Merl bed, and we saw plenty of that scattered around, I also found something I couldn’t identify and could only think wood louse when I saw it, but have since been informed it as a Chiton and I saw my first Sea Slug, well its mouth parts sticking out of the sand catching Zoo-plankton in the gentle current. Zoe had a big smile on her face as she gently dug into the bed near it and we watched as it pulled its beautiful tree like mouth parts into its hiding place.

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Chiton

As on most dives we saw a variety of coloured Common Spiny Starfish that seemed a little busy eating something that hadn’t been fast enough and one just hanging on the kelp looking like it was about to jump.

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common_spiney_starfish_3

c_spiney_starfish_2

It turned out to be a beautiful dive and I was so amazed that I was noticing things thanks to the Seasearch tutors, we didn’t get any Scallops for our dinner but I was so refreshed afterwards that I wanted to go back in for more. If anyone ever comes to Cornwall diving, or lives here, then I would recommend Pendennis Silver Steps as a dive site for  ease of access at low tide, free parking and abundance of sea life. There is a cafe just round the corner and down some steps, another entry point if you wished and they do mean chips and a nice cuppa, with seating for an after dive chat and filling out the log book.

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