Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Diving in The Gloom

Sunday saw us out on Loch Long with our dive club.

It was another great day out with our friends, because that's what they've become, friends.

Here are the two of us waving to our shore cover person (who had my camera). The weather wasn't great - but then we are in Scotland and it's the tail end of October. 

We were diving at a place called "A Frames" because it's an easy entry dive.  Its a good all round dive.  Lots of sea life to see.  Yesterday there were enough common starfish to start a revolution!  The whelks were very busy laying eggs in big papery blobs.  I made two short dives yesterday and during the first dive I saw a group of about four large common whelks all in a big egg laying frenzy.

I didn't take any underwater photos for a couple of reasons:  1. I was training.  When one has a trainee in the water, you can't be taking photos.  All your focus is on your trainee.  2. It was dark.   The water wasn't particulary cloudy as long as folk didn't kick up silt from the bottom but it was a very dark and cloudy day..  I prefer to have better light conditions.  

I did take a few shore photos:  This is The Man of the Place

He is in hunter gatherer mode and collected about 4 kilos of wild mussels.  We split this haul with a couple of people.  Wild mussels are certainly a LOT different to farmed mussels.  First of all there is a lot more cleaning involved.  Barnacles have to be scraped, limpets removed and they must be rinsed more than once.  As for flavour, they are delicious!  Our were cooked in white wine, shallots, butter and parsley with cream thrown in at the end.  We were transported!

As these mussels come from the West Coast of Scotland and their lives were lived on our turbulent coast, grit got inside them . . . the mussels did what any decent bivalve would do when faced with grit, they created pearls.
 They aren't gem quality - but they are pearls.  Some mussels had more than others.  We had to be very careful when eating them.  It was similar to eating pheasant or duck  . . . you have to watch for the bird shot. 

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