The club’s first foray away this year was a great success. We were blessed with grand weather, good company and some fine diving.
Action got underway on the Friday with Jason, Rob, Mike and John Nellis diving at Ballachulish. Shut down drills were carried out on the twin sets by Jason and Mike and some fine navigation work was completed by Rob and John.
Kenny, John McMahon and Alan W walked in off the beach near the pier at Lochaline and bimbled around to 28m – some fine anemones, tubeworms and colourful soft plant life, as well as some decent squat lobsters.
We were joined that evening by Nicola and Alan and divers, Simon C and Allan D. Divers ate in their respective accommodations and met up for a few libations at the social club later on.
Saturday saw the expedition starting in full as we joined skipper Malcolm on The Peregrine. Eleven divers and Iris, as our talismanic snorkeller.
First dive was on the Dutch built (1909) steel cargo steamship, Shuna. A coal carrier, she went down in 1913 in a bad storm. Viz was pretty poor on the wreck which is common, but we ploutered around and made the best of what we could see.
Second dive was on the excellent Hispania, a Belgium built, Swedish owned ship (1912) which sank in 1954 after hitting a rock. Great anemone and soft coral growth on her structure and some big wrasse with some fine scorpion fish and blennies. A great prop shaft and decent viz made for a good dive. The skipper, Ivan Dahn went down with the ship and some claim, including Kenny and myself to have heard his voice whilst diving the wreck – could be just our vivid imaginations though?!
Dinner that night in the Lochaline hotel-mainly pasta, pizza or burger, Rob and Allan D. managing to squeeze in a sweet dessert with Iris stealing some of Rob’s. Jolly refreshments taken pre dinner, with dinner and tail ending the evening made for some entertaining craic.
Sunday saw us motor down to the Breda, a steamship requisitioned for the war effort in WW2, which sits in Ardmucknish Bay near Oban. Originally carrying 3 bi-planes, 30 tiger moths, military vehicles, asbestos, cement and 10 horses owned by the Aga Khan, she was bombed in 1940. Animal lovers amongst us will be relieved to know that the horses managed to swim ashore. Viz was pretty decent and most of us got round the whole wreck. Some shoes, truck wheels and axles, asbestos blocks still in evidence and some good life including extra big pollack.
Final dive a real revelation on the wall near the wreck of the John Preston, out of Lochaline. An abundance of peacock worms, plumose anemones and squat lobsters. A dog fish and an octopus were also spotted. Rob in particular was very chuffed as he got over the 40 m. mark as part of his dive leader progression. This is a wall which allows you to pick your depth with varied topography and things to see at all depths.
To conclude, fine diving in good conditions with everybody contributing to the underwater experiences and to the banter.