There was real buzz of excitement at the pre-dive meeting for the Bank Holiday trip to Oban. This was because there were 18 people signed up for the expedition including some students doing their first sea dives and others who had never been diving in that area of Scotland.
The number of people going made dive planning a little daunting as there was a mix of students to advanced divers to consider, along with the aim of doing three dives per day from our two club RIB’s. Fortunately we had a good team helping to plan the dives lead by Sue who had experience in diving the area’s we wanted to visit along with requirements for slack water (a real issue due to it being Springs over the trip).
Fortunately all the pre – planning paid off and we managed to achieve the three dives per day (for those who wanted to do so).
Friday was aimed at students and less experienced divers and after launching at Puffin Divers we dived next to the seal colony on the North side of Kerrera. This was followed by two dives on the Breda as after the first dive the instructors decided that as the conditions were so good and it being low water it would be a suitable experience dive for our students. It was some of the best underwater visibility we have seen on the Breda for quite a while.
Saturday was the first of our longer trips, first 16 miles towards the South side of Mull to dive the wreck of the Meldon and then across to Dun Chonnvill on the North tip of the Garvellachs. This is where we had an interesting drift dive (for some) through the channel between the islands. The final dive of the day was to do some open water training drills with our students in Castle Bay on Kerrera.
Sunday saw the most challenging trip, 23 miles up the Sound of Mull to dive the Rhondo. The shallower parts of this wreck and the surrounding reef was ideal (if a little awesome as one member put it) for
our students while some of the more advanced divers plunged to the bow section much deeper. This was followed by a dive for the more experienced members on the Shuna, again with much better visibility than recent years.
As we then needed more diving gas we called in at Localine to re-fill our cylinders as arranged during planning which enabled us all to dive the wreck of the Thesis at slack water on the way back down the Sound towards Oban. It was an epic but tiring day in calm and very sunny conditions.
The final half days diving on the Monday was back on the Breda where conditions were even better than they were on Friday.
Most people including the boats started to make their way home Monday afternoon as it’s a pretty long drive but a few of us did one last training shore dive from Puffin Divers to wind up a fantastic weekend of diving (I managed 11 dives which is not bad over a four day period with so many people on the boats). All of this was also helped by the fine weather over the long weekend.
As always it just goes to show what can be achieved when everyone helps out, plan the dive – dive the plan in actions.
Special thanks to Stuart for sorting out accommodation and ensuring both boats worked like a dream, Sue and Sallie for doing the dive planning (with a little input from some others), the boat towing people John and Stuart (got to be the worse job), all the instructors for getting the students in for so many dives, boat handlers John, Martin, Anne, oh and me. And really everyone for being in the right place at the right time.
Andy McKay (Training Officer)