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Farne Islands Trip – 25th to 26th June 2011
Louis Wheatley very kindly organised this trip to the Farne Islands on 25th to 26th June 2011, very near to his home town of Newcastle. Eight members from the club travelled the 300 plus miles by car to a small fishing town called Seahouses, Northumberland on the Friday. The journey time for most people took at least 7 hours. When we arrived, we all decided to go the pub and relax with a couple of beers at the Lodge Guest House that evening. Most members stayed at the ‘The Old School House’ which was owned by Sovereign Diving, the diving company we were using for the weekend.
The Saturday morning was an early start. We had a lovely cooked breakfast at 7.30am and had to be at Seahouses harbour for 8.00am where we waited to board the Sovereign II which was a twin engine 12 metre Cheverton. The boat was fantastic and was large enough to store everybody’s kit and it even had an electric dive lift making entry and exits a lot easier, especially for the oldies. This was luxury diving compared to the ribs we have used before. The Skipper who we had for the weekend was called Ron. Ron is a fully qualified Skipper with vast experience and knowledge of the Farne Islands and is also a qualified diver, which was very useful as he understood our needs.
The Farne Islands are situated only ten minutes boat ride from Seahouses harbour. They are separated into two groups – inner and outer Farne by Staple Sound, a stretch of water 1 mile wide. The Farne Islands consist of some 28 islets. When we arrived, the conditions weren’t that great; the sky was overcast and the sea was far from calm. We continued to circle the islands until we found a sheltered area where entry and exit would be safe. As we were doing this, many seals could be seen sitting on the islands and swimming nearby. Once we were allowed in, we descended to a depth of roughly 18 metres near to the wall of one of the islands and found a gully that we were able to dive through. The visibility was great and I’m sure we could see at least 15 metres, if not more. As we made our way along the gully we could see seals swimming in the distance and if you were sharp-eyed enough you would notice lobsters and crabs tucked away in small crevices. The morning dive lasted about 40-45 minutes and we were greeted by a hot cup of coffee when we surfaced. During our surface interval we chatted on the boat and compared stories of who saw what. Unfortunately for Louis his dry suit had sprung a leak and that was the end of his diving for the weekend. The second dive in the afternoon was very similar but it was a refreshing change to have such great visibility. Although the sky was overcast I had caught the sun, especially on my face and hands. This will definitely remind me to bring sun tan lotion in future.
We arrived back at the harbour at 4pm, left our kit on the boat for the night and headed straight back to the hotel to clean up before going to the ‘The Lodge’ pub for a lovely home cooked dinner and some well deserved beers.
The Sunday morning was also an early start. Again we had a full cooked breakfast at 7.30am before boarding at 8.00am at Seahouses Harbour. The Sunday morning dive was more exciting than normal as my diving buddy Chris and I had a face to face encounter with a seal. The seal had been sleeping upright in front of us, he opened his eyes to look at us and seemed to be disinterested and decided to carry on sleeping then thought better of it and swam off. He was only in front of us for around a minute but it is something I will never forget. The second dive in the afternoon was a shallower dive at 12 metres to view a wreck. It was a great dive but we could not stop thinking about our amazing seal encounter!
After the last dive, we returned to the harbour at 4.00pm, packed our kit into our cars and drove the 300 plus miles back home.
Our weekend in diving in the Farne Islands was fantastic, I have been on many drive trips around the UK but I think this has been the best UK dive trip to date. Can’t wait to go back!!!
Day’s hardboat diving at Newhaven. Cost is £35 per person for 2 dives with tea and scones included! Contact us if you want to join in!john wade
During the Friday of 26th May ten members from the club traveled to Newhaven, with the planing to come down next day,for a trip on Sea Zonesdive boat. The plan was to dive the T R Thompson and The City Of Brisbane, but as most bank holidays the weather had a better idea, with sea state 4-5 going on 7-8we were well and truly blown out.On the Saturday we just happened to find two dive shops in the area with Mark doing his usual trick of buying the shop out,but was still not allowed to order a new O- Thee suit. Still with the calling of the sea we popped into Brighton sea life center to see some fish the channel could not show us, with lots of comments of “do you remember that big one we saw in some far flung place in the world”.
A good evening was had at The Brewers Fayre with several comments of “well I am stuffed”,and that described the following days weather as well, so some went to Drucillas theme park were the fat controller was seen ( Mark takes offense at this comment) , and some go for a wander around Brighton (shopping).
On the Monday we finally had a chance to dive, so with Chris who came down for the day,we were bound for the wreck The City Of Brisbane only to find a rib with divers sitting onsite,so we decided to dive The Lancer a WW1 armed trawler sitting at 28 meters.The vis after the bad weather was as expected , about 2 meters, but with a good torch you could navigate the wreck,.It sits proud of the sea bed but is well broken up at the stern. The marine life was abundant with lots of Bib and Whiting around the wreck,and two large spider crabs having a “domestic”, with better vis this would be a good wreck that could be navigated in one dive.
It was decided to knock the drift dive on the head as the vis was so bad there would be nothing to see, and also Marks neck seal ripped (still cant order that O-Three suit).
Thanks to Mick of Sea Zones for his help and taking us out on an unscheduled trip I am sure we will use the boat again.And so back on the road for an easy trip home, thanks to all on the trip for making this a good one.john wade
Two days diving on Wandering Star dive boat out of FishguardRhona Gilder
11 Riverside members and partners popped over to Cape Verde for a very relaxing holiday, the 5 divers enjoyed 10 dives to a max depth of 30mts mostly reef/drift dives and 1 wreck, the viz was ok and the sea life was fantastic, loads to see from parrot fish, string rays, eels and many many more, photos will be uploaded soon.
the unnamed diver who forgot his stab jacket i can report did not stop complaining about it for all of the dives, then on the last day he thought he had left his camera in the dive school so we all waited patently for him to go back for it to reappear camera less, and he then found it in his goody bag. a different member mislaid his towel and shock horror could not dry and style his hair, this was nearly a bad hair day, had the non divers not been near by to assist him.
on a serious note all dives went well the divers as always showed their top skills with good bouancy control, and the look but don’t touch policy and all dives safely performed, this is one of the huge benefits from club trips we no each other, work as a team help each other when needed and this ensures safe diving practise and very enjoyable diving.
on the days we did not dive we relaxed on the white sand chatting and some getting merry, on one day Mark started to build a sand castle we all watched thinking we would see a lovely father and son bonding time, but alas poor Samuel could not get close his bucket and spade as daddy concentrated very hard to build a whole fort with mote and bridge their is photographic evidence to back this up.
we all enjoyed a day trip around the island by 4×4 traveling across the vast desert was a delight, Ellie and Rhona took to the Camels for a trip around the sand which was great fun and Rhona being Rhona took pictures of her own shadow while waving to herself their really is no hope for the rest of you. ok i hope to see some more holiday tales up here very soon and once i have picked through the pics my memory will be full of more little tales.admin
Well the Riverside crew have managed their 3ed full day in Cape Verde, and what can we say 5 have done a days diving on the Atlantida 2, a reef dive to about 30meters, we were blessed with the sound of wales singing and chatting for the whole dive a very beautiful sound that we will remember for a long time.Then a second dive to 20 meters, apart from the sea sickness a good fun dive for all.
A member of our crew who will remain anonymous found he had forgotten his stab jacket so after being ribbed by his peers hired a stab and moaned about it the whole time, we have another 8 dives booked and looking forward to.
Today 6 of us walked 3miles along the beach to the capital sou……. and it was lovely, the boys speed-ed ahead of the ladies to kindly locate the first beach bar and do all safety checks on the local beer their, we continued to walk on by to the arranged pit stop, but did gather photographic evidence for reference, the two boys sharing a room together i can report are getting along very well indeed in fact they are becoming inseparable it is nice to see a special friendship blossoming. finally we are diving tomorrow so early sober nights all round.Denise Wright
Weekend of diving on Farne Islands.Denise Wright
May 27th/28th, hardboat day diving at Newhaven.