Jul 10, 2014

Castle Beach U-Boat Wreck Dive 29-06-2014

After such a nice lunch it was hard to get back into the water but taking Elli to see UB128, the wreck dive off of Castle beach was going to be worth it for the second dive of the day. I had forgotten to tell her we had a surface swim to the U-Boat, well how far it was as I am sure I said ‘we follow the transects till we find the wreck after a little swim’.

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Funny thing about those transects though, after the storms the cafe on the beach was knocked down, leaving only foundations and they had put one of those orange plastic chicken wire type fences around them, everyone was trying to tell me we wouldn’t find the wreck with one of the transects gone but after a small swim we dropped down right on the bow.

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Elli looked as though she was laughing when I signaled OK and she back as she pointed down to see this young lady right underneath me, Elli couldn’t help but wanting to pose with her.

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As I was descending I saw a couple of small things move about on the floor but will get to them shortly as this was a dive to remember and there are some beautiful photos to follow at just over 5m depth.

Flounders made an appearance, this was the nicest shot, and from right at the bow as well but these still weren’t the small things hugging the sandy seabed.

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From the front of the U-Boat the profile could be clearly seen heading South(ish) straight out from the beach and there were views into the skeleton frame of the U-Boat that proved an easy and interesting place to photograph, was thinking to myself how handy it would be to have a strobe but my cheap torch and holder gave just enough light to make for some interesting shots.

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This poor crab looked like he had been in the wars, maybe with another crab, or maybe with the small things outside the wreck, either way it looked to be fairing well despite the injuries.

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There were a few anemones hiding in and under the wreck but as most of the last dive I had here was at the stern I couldn’t help but stick my head in holes.

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This critter was hiding away from all the commotion and the second tompot blenny in as many days, but I didn’t expect to see him hiding in the torpedo room (OK inside the front of the U-Boat, close enough).

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After bimbling around the wreck for a while, and keeping an eye out over my shoulder for the little camouflaged critters on the sand I signaled to Elli to follow me and we both went cuttlefish (squeeee! as a friend of mine would say) watching.

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They were always about 1 1/2 -2m away and I have learnt to stay still the hard way because cropping images on the Olympus doesn’t bear very good results.

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I was lucky enough to get a little footage of this cuttlefish (squeeee), now this is my first underwater video and attempt with windows movie maker to put it together and it is short because I wanted to try it out before I made my feature length Cornish cuttlefish film.

Cuttlefish from Diving Junkie on Vimeo.

I signaled Elli to find out how much air she had and we bimbled around in between the weed a little longer, then when I was on 100bar pointed in the direction of the shore and off we went, we stopped to do a selfie but I forgot I had the wide angle lens on in the excitement and only got my mug in the shot.

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So I span round and snapped Elli before she had a chance to blink.

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We surfaced and swam the last 20 or 30m back to the shore, both excited about the things we saw and how great a dive it had been, I had learnt a lot taking some video and trying to get clear pictures inside the hull yet I had a feeling I would have a few nice pictures to share.

When we got out of the water we were both extremely tired and looking at each other decided on the spot we couldn’t do another dive today and one tomorrow morning. It was sad that the cafe wasn’t there yet after the storms knocked it down, nothing like a cuppa and chips after a dive while going through the photos.

We headed home and stopped at a major fast food outlet for dinner as it was hard keeping my eyes open, let alone cooking something. After we rinsed the kit out and hung it up we both tried to get some sleep for the next morning.

 

Pendennis – Silver Steps Wreck Dive 29-06-2014

Pendennis is famous for its WW1 U-boat wreck dive, even though in total there are believed to be the remains of 5 U-boats along the point there is no information on which wreck is which and they are scattered amongst the gullies; some of them are so broken up they just look like parts of the reef covered in kelp. We had Paul as our guide again and Steve as our shore cover, and after a straight forward dive brief we were off.

 

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Elli and I were both feeling a bit tired after the previous days diving but it was great to see Elli hadn’t lost her enthusiasm in looking in the smallest of nooks in the reef. It was also impressive to see her confidence in the water and she had definitely remembered her training, almost as if she had a secret mermaid hidden away inside.

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Again as we were on low tide there wasn’t as much to see, but we did have a great dive with some very pretty wrasse, lots of snakelock anemones again, along with the stunning seascape with its huge variety of colours and common spiney starfish, lots of them.

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Because of the amount of light at 4-5m, the further round the reef we went revealed more beautiful seascapes.

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After the storms earlier this year it was great to see so much plant life back on the reef and I was even pleased to see the eggs of some busy little critter.

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Elli was darting from one outcrop to the next and with Paul there her confidence was growing by the minute.

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We found a few things that seemed out of place, this huge coil of rope being one of them.

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Lots of these, a type of Dragonet I believe from its basic shape and colouring.

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Being Sunday Elli and I had discussed going to get a roast somewhere between dives and Paul suggested his mum’s place, The Log Cabin Cafe just outside of Mylor, there was a nice area outside to relax on the grass and it had a petting zoo with geese, turkeys, a couple of young calfs and a friendly sheep.

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It was a well tasty lunch, with roast pork, beef or lamb to choose from and roast tatties and veg, definitely a little find just outside Falmouth for the hungry diver. We headed over to Atlantic Scuba about 5 mins by car to get the 2 tanks filled and had to wait a bit for Mark while he came back from a boat dive.

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Met a young lady who had done a photography degree and got some advice on macro for nudi hunting, this was a test shot in the housing with the macro wet lens I have, the stone was only about 2-3mm across.

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It was also here that I found out my tan line was worse than it had been earlier (on a sunny day, DOH!).

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Pendennis Shore dive – Silver Steps 28-06-2014

After the refresher course we drove to get some lunch and met back up at the silver steps on Pendennis headland for another shore dive in Falmouth bay. The sky was still clear with a few clouds passing by and from the surface the vis looked great even though we were going in as the tide started to come in. We left the car park and walked into the small wood, headed to the right and with some help got Elli down the rocks to the shoreline.
elli coates

It was great to get Elli in the water for her second dive as it was a much more relaxed dive, 40 odd minutes of just enjoying a bimble with Paul taking us along the reef to the boiler. Elli is another of those divers that can’t help but be inquisitive about a dark hole in front of her, am glad we haven’t really got anything over here that is dangerous, as she found small nooks and some interesting critters in them over the next couple of days. Following Paul we headed out through the gullies at a depth of about 5m and water temperature of a balmy 17C.

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The colours as always were amazing, the huge variety of seaweeds gently swaying with the tide was just breathtaking and meant the hunt would be on for critters hiding in them.

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It was great to bimble along the reef, finally saw a fish I think is one of the cutest critters in the sea and as I had my camera and he was posing couldn’t resist snapping him.

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There were plenty of snakelock anemone as always, not so many crabs for a change but did find this edible hiding in a little crack.

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Also saw something I can’t identify, didn’t get a great picture but it is there hidden away.

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We made it out to the boiler and it was great to finally see it close up, when Paul pointed out the holes at the base of it Elli was straight in there to see what she could find.

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It was surprising to see how big it actually was, sticking out of the sand like an obelisk covered in seaweed, the knees in the picture below are only about 1/2 of the height of the boiler under the kelp to the left.

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We could have stayed in for another 20 or 30 mins with the air Elli had left but as it was my second dive on a 10l I was down to 80bar and after signalling Paul we started heading back. Paul’s knowledge of the site was great as he took us straight to the gully we would exit from, have been on dives before where we ended up going up the one before, when you see it can understand why it is a little confusing though. I did feel as if I should have been a priest at one point though as Elli and Paul posed for one of those shots.

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As we were entering the gully Paul stopped and pointed ahead of us, there was a massive shoal of sand eels flashing in the distance, without thinking about changing the aperture I tried to take a couple of shots quickly and the best of the 2 shows how much care needs to be taken when using a camera and thinking about its settings.

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So 2 dives down and a very tired Elli in the car on the way home, I agreed she shouldn’t do the last dive of the day which Kernow Divers had put on as a shore dive at Mevagissey. We had no way of getting in touch with them to let them know we wouldn’t be there till we got home and headed for a pleasant drive to a couple of North Cornwall’s beaches, stopping first at St Agnes and then Newquay Headland before heading home to rinse the kit off and get in touch with the dive club to apologise for not turning up.

After some indecision we decided to get our dinner from The Gurkha, a Nepalese and Indian restaurant/take-away in St Austell and it was a great dinner, we were both knackered and couldn’t finish it, but the 2 complimentary drinks when we picked it up went down well.

The end of day 1 shore diving Falmouth bay was welcomed to prepare for Sunday and 3 more dives to enjoy.

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