Skye – September 12th to 15th 2008-09-17
Marc Forrest, Julie Young, Kevin ‘Pin Cushion’ Watson, Helen Gardner, Jonathan Payne, Steve ‘Buzzsaw’ Taylor, Kim Orsel, Sutherland McIver, Rolly ????????, Alan Lissimore, Karen McPherson, Dave ‘The Snorer’ Simspon.
Dive and Sea the Hebridies.
After a slow start to the day and a few delays my Thirsty Hippo and her 3 occupants, dive kit and enough food to feed a small army (let’s not mention the beer lake swilling about in the trunk) set off. The drive was un-eventful . . .
. . . apart for the combine harvester tailback that lasted for what seemed like a week, and then there were the run-away horses that closed the approach road to the sky bridge, then of course there were the suicide sheep that pride themselves in the camouflage abilities under cover of darkness that inhabit the Isle of Skye. To say that we arrived later than planned would be an understatement.
After a quick tour of the deserted accommodation and a translation of the gone to the pub message left hanging on the door, we (myself, Jules and Kim) found ourselves out of the car and sat in the pub. Yum, Yum.
While I had planned to upset the locals while in Skye (see my plans for the weekend,) it was a little tongue in cheek. You can imagine my surprise when we discovered on Saturday morning that certain people had forgotten to settle up their bill from the pub the night before, and as a result, Pentland can never show their face there again After much dishwashing, these individuals were released from servitude and allowed back out to play.
Okay, so there was no BBQ on Friday night, I’m sure it would have been crap anyhow.
Saturday morning rolled along to the smell of breakfast. Kevin’s eyes were bigger than his belly as there was loads left. Then off to the boat. The first dive for the day was to be a wee drift. The site, Waternish Point, the viz was better than I have ever dived in this country. Drift dives are fun! Some people saw crayfish, dog fish as well as the usual suspects.
The second dive of the day was Ocean Rock, viz was not as good, loads of silt and I think this was Dave and Steve’s first of many encounters with the local kelp. They became good friends over the course of the weekend. Congratulations to Alan on his 200th Dive, it was a shame I forgot to open the champagne until we were back on dry land.
Thankfully the weather held and we had a BBQ for dinner, followed by a beer or six.
Sunday started to the smell of bacon once again and the ringing of ‘you’re not diving on an empty stomach are you?’ After our briefing from the skipper (Gordon, the most entertaining skipper I’ve met so far) we got out shit together and headed for the boat ‘Elena C.’ We set of across the lumps to the ‘SS Chadwick’, passing sea eagles, porpoises and basking sharks on the way. After re-visiting her breakfast Jules and I were the first in to get ‘off that bloody boat’. The wreck was a beautiful site, the viz was good and the dive was enjoyable. A couple of our numbers did not find the wreck but that famous Skye kelp was there.
I have never seen Jules move as quickly as she did when the shark was close by when we surfaced. Once all of the divers had been collected we spent a while watching the basking sharks. Several people managed to go swim with them and get a few good photos. Much to Kim’s delight the shark passed her by within reach. Judging by her screams she enjoyed the experience.
The afternoons diving was @ ‘Meanish Reef’ and was once again a beautiful dive site. A nice underwater cliff, loads of life and lots of little gullies for guddling about in. Once again a nice dive, again our resident kelp watchers were not disappointed. A word of advice, don’t drop pony bottles on your feet.
Sunday evening saw a trip to Portree for dinner and then either a few G&T’s at the local pub or a beer or six in the house. For most it was an early night.
Monday started to the pitter patter of tiny rain drops and the plans for the day’s diving were both local sites. The first, ‘Lampay’ was a nice reef dive, a deep dive for those that wanted it. The shallows were bright, life abundant, and spiky urchins left their mark. Yet again our kelp specialists were in for a treat.
The final dive for the day was ‘Loch Bay Pinacle’. This by all accounts was a good dive.
Highlights of the weekend have to include the sharks, the drift dive and without a doubt – The Skipper. As knowledgeable as he was funny. Would i go back? In a second