Monday, May 04, 2009

Loch Long

I was at it again! While The Man of the Place and our boy were in Sunderland watching the team get beaten again, I was already 20 meters under the sea with the Dumfries Sub Aqua Club in Loch Long.

The weather forecast wasn't that fabulous yesterday, but we don't let things like bad weather put us off. We are getting wet anyway!

As with a lot of day trips, it was an early start. We met up in Dumfries in the car park (parking lot) behind the swimming pool at 7:30. As Dumfries is about 45 minutes away from where we live, I was out even earlier!

Here are some of us as we organise the air tanks and see who is going to drive and who will share a lift up north.

The drive up to Glasgow is one that I do all the time, so I wasn't paying much attention to the scenery. Once past the airport though, it starts to get interesting. The further north one gets, the prettier Scotland becomes!

I think Loch Long is stunning! There were a few gannets in the sky to greet us. There were also a couple of oystercatchers on the shore of the ever receding shore line. The tide was just beginning to ebb when we arrived. If you do a search on Loch Long, you will see that from time to time a visiting humpback whale will come up to investigate this deep loch. This is the car park just above our planned point of entry. You can see up the loch from this viewpoint. The day was mostly dry and clear but we could see the occasional shower coming toward us from a long way off so we had plenty of time to get things under cover. Thankfully the showers were always short. Setting up the gear.This was where we went in, just north of this pier. Aside from Roger, whose neck seal split after his first dive, we all had two dives each. I am still struggling to adjust my bouyancy with a drysuit. It is a big more complicated than using a wet suit. That'll just take some practice. The water was about 8C or just over 46 F. The visibility was good at about 10 meters on both dives.

We dived a popular dive on Loch Long called The A Frames. Named for some concrete structures that are down at about 20 meters (low tide). There were so many things to see in Loch Long. In addition to the hundreds of common star fish there were some brittle stars. I was surprised at how quickly the brittle stars moved. I thought they'd be slow like all other starfish. I disturbed a few queen scallops and they clapped away from me like living castanets.

There were plenty of mussles down there. It is no wonder there are starfish!

One of the things I was delighted with were the jellyfish. There were two varieties on offer today. Moon Jellyfish, and the Comb Jellyfish.

Comb jellies are not true jellyfish, but for the sake of the story, let them be jellyfish for a bit. If direct sunlight hits them OR if you shine your dive torch underneath you will see rippling lines of irridescent colour. They are absolutely beautiful and as delicate as they are beautiful. It is so easy to inadvertantly rip them apart with the turbulence of a fin kick.
At the end of the day's diving we met just up the road at The Green Kettle for mugs of tea and coffee and get our dive logs updated. The proprietors were so kind and accommodating. They put two tables together so that the eight of us could all sit together. The smells coming from the kitchen were wonderful. If we had finished our dives earlier and weren't in such a hurry to get home to our families, I think we would have stayed and ordered the Shepard's Pie and crusty bread that was on special.

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