Saturday, December 03, 2011

I Visit Arran Again

It is actually been over two years since I have been on Arran for work.  The cost of getting my car across on the ferry,  inhibits me from a casual trip across . . . so when work is picking up the tab, all systems are go!

I thought that if the the ferries were running and if I could get somebody else to come along and if the forcasted gales stayed away long enough, I could squeeze a dive into my working day.  It would have to be meticulously planned and dive after my last appointment at lunch time and before the 4:20 pm crossing.

I broadcasted my plan to my dive club on Wednesday and the first volunteer was young David, a trainee.  He hasn't been diving in a while and would like to just "get his chops back".  Fine!  The dive I planned was a shallow dive in Lamlash Bay.  Easy in and easy out on sand, staying shallow because in our short winter days, light is often very poor.

I had to get up at about 04:00 to be out of the house by 05:00.   I picked David up at 06:00 just outside Castle Douglas and then drove north to Adrossan.  When I got out to go buy tickets for the ferry, it was very windy.  I was starting to resign myself to just a day out on the island, scrapping the dive because of the weather. We caught the 09:40 crossing from Adrossan to Brodick. 
Though there was a little pitch and roll on the way over, by the time the ferry entered Brodick Bay, the sea was very calm.  The wind direction mean that Brodick was sheltered.  Force 5 winds but there is barely a ripple on this bay.  

We managed the usual tourist stuff, buying cheese and soap.  We didn't really have time to get to the brewery, distillery or chocolate shop as we had a different agenda today.
Over in Lamlash Bay where the dive was planned there was a slight chop on the water, but nothing that would stop me from going in.  I must say that it doesn't take much for me to call off a dive, so the conditions were really quite okay. 

David and I DID manage to get a dive!  Because I was intimidated by the wind, I cut our dive from one hour to half an hour.  I was afraid that the wind would change direction during the dive.  That has happened before.
This is us getting ready - You can see the wind whipping my hair.  I put my hair into two plaits when I dive.  It is so much easier to manage and much less painful with a tight neoprene neck seal.  If I don't braid my hair up, it gets pulled and that hurts.

Once you're under the water, there is no wind.  There was a bit of current in the bay the further out we went, but as for bad weather, that was all on the surface.  We saw some wonderful stuff!  David was the first to spot some long-legged spider crabs.  They are very spider-like in appearance.  When I looked them up in my books afterward, I discovered that they stick bits of stuff on themselves for camoflage as they don't have much in the way of defense.  Staying hidden is the best way for them to stay alive. There were very few starfish.  Just a couple of little tiny ones, hidden between rocks.

My buddy also spotted a little humpbacked shrimp.  I noticed a seaweed with blue iridescence on it.  That was beautiful!  I was unsure about where the no-take zone starts and stops in Lamlash Bay.  Taking a sample of this pretty seaweed wasn't going to happen.  I wouldn't do that anyway.  If I'm in again with my camera, I'll get a picture.  I won't take the camera in when I have a trainee with me.  All my focus is on them and the dive.

On Friday afternoon, at the end of the working week, I managed to get a dive.  It was a beautiful dive too!

Many thanks to David  for coming along and being such good company.  It was a lovely lovely day out.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Looks like a lovely day!