Monday, March 05, 2012

Under the Sea

I am a bit of a diving slut.  I'll dive with anybody and anywhere.  Need a dive buddy for a boat trip?  Pick me!

Going on a trip to Loch Fyne?  Can I go?
From a boat . . . from shore . . . I don't care.  As long as I can get in and out without damage to myself and my gear.  I am not very graceful so I don't even consider loss of dignity an issue.
There were a couple of dignity stripping episodes on Sunday.  As we checked prospective dive sites, I managed to slip and fall on my backside.  I managed to land in peaty, sour mud.  Bleh.
That dive site not only had dangerous access to the water, there were four other vehicles filled with divers (crowded).  The second site was more of the same . . . . .  The third site was much better.  It wasn't a site that anybody had experience of diving - so an added risk was that we didn't know what was under the water.  But with a sloping rocky beach into the sea and having been diving just up the shore from this area, we had a pretty good idea what was under there.
With the third site being the site of choice we set up camp.  We parked near the top of a big bit of bare rock that sloped down into the sea.  The rock had been scoured smooth by glaciers then cracked by weather and the sea.  If you were a nimble, goat-footed type person you could make your merry way down One of our party works for a company that fells trees for the power company.  He had a good climbing rope.  He tied this rope to a tree.  The rope was stout and long.  It  spanned the entire rock face and the free end went almost to the water.  We used it to steady ourselves as we made our way down with the gear.    Even with that, I still managed to crack my shin on a rock - ouch!
We had arrived at high tide so the little bit of beach at the bottom of the rock kept getting more generous as the day progressed..

We had two delightful dives! Again, I saw a couple of things I have not seen before.

The first new species for me is the olive squat lobster.  You can see the red claws of a long-clawed squat lobster sticking out in the centre of the above photo.  If you look up and to the right you'll see smaller claws sticking out from some little rocks . THAT is the olive squat lobster.    Exciting, huh?
The red cushion star isn't new, but it is always pretty and worth mentioning.  Here is one delightful specimen sticking to some fluted sea squirts.
This looks like wood lice or pill bug or slater depending on where in the world you come from.  It is a chiton. Near enough to a limpet.  Did you know that limpets can be aggressive toward each other?  I discovered this fact in a book I've got on UK marine life.  I think to discover this fact you would have to be 1. dedicated to 
the study of marine life and 2. have lots of spare time as limpets don't move much .
There was a carpet of sea squirts and feather stars..  These are feather stars (members of the star fish and urchin family)  Common feather stars and Celtic feather stars that are only found on sea lochs on the west coast of  Scotland (woo hoo!)  

Do you remember the old Batman series from the 70s?  The one with Adam West as Batman?  Remember when they were scaling buildings and holding onto a rope?  Getting back to the truck meant  getting up that (not steep) rock with my tank and weights still on and using the rope.  All I could think of was Batman and Robin scaling those walls. . . . .It was a full on workout.  Forget pilates and Zumba - do this!
Among the other many things we found . . . we found scallops!  

I didn't get home until just after 9 last night so they're in some brine in the sink . . . waiting to be turned into dinner.

Here's a thing about the affects of pressure on a wound.  It can make it worse.  If you have a fresh bruise, the bruise will get bigger.  If you crack your shin before a dive.  It will look a bit more dramatic afterwards. I needed a leg wax before the dive and now I have to wait until my leg is no longer scabby.  They won't wax legs that have broken skin.  I'm fine - I can have lovely scallops for my dinner and I have some terrific diving memories.
Rest and be Thankful 
Here is one more thing I love about diving in Scotland.  Driving to the dive sites can be spectacular!!


Anne said...

This is awesome : )


Sarah said...

love it!