6 of us had a fantastic weekend in Pembrokeshire diving around Skomer Island marine reserve staying a launching from Broad Haven.
Day 1 consisted of a failed attempt to locate the wreck of the MV Lucy. After trying all the best surface search techniques we gave up to dive Rye Rocks instead. This was a great back up!! The Scenic drop offs to over 35m were hive of marine life activity. All watched on by some friendly seals. The second dive consisted of the Garland Stone. Again a fantastic scenic dive with drop offs to over 40m. The pinnacle that we were dropped in on whilst initially been quite kelp gave way to fields and fields of muscle beds. The majority of the muscles had died back given the time of the year. The shells however made great homes for velvet swimming crabs, lobsters, edible crabs and the occasional wrasse (of course!).
After a recoup in the pub Saturday night we were able to obtain better coordinates for the MV Lucy of the skipper for West Wales Dive Centre. We shotted her straight away in the centre of the forward two holds! She was a cargo motor vessel carrying carbide navigating through Jack Sound. In fog she collided with a submerged pinnacle and started to take on water. The highly exothermic (Think big loud bangs!!) reaction of carbide with water was enough to move the captain to abandoning ship with his crew. She came to rest on Rye Rocks just to the NW of Jack Sound. After a particularly high tide she reflected and then promptly sank just 100m from the rocks.
She sits in general depth of around 38-40m with the deck at around 31-33m. The visibility was 4-5m in places and although it was green wasn’t that dark. Having completed the majority of the dive heading around the stern companion way suddenly a ‘?Fish?’ caught my eye through a porthole. Being a little dark and a little narked I thought nothing of it and continued around the stern. The all of a sudden literally 6inches in front of my nose a large seal jumped out of the porthole! (Jumped=swam) To no small amount of laughter from Dave my buddy and a little bit of a ‘thank goodness for the p-valve’ moment, this seal then proceeded to try as hard as possible to get its clearly too large body through the porthole. The whole experience was quite amusing, google fat cat trying to get through a cat flap for a similar experience.After the seal decided it was indeed too fat for a porthole it disappeared inside the wreck. We continued our dive around the stern only to be met head on for another fright by this bloody seal as he popped out the doorway further round. At those depths playing with seals, whilst amusing is a little precarious but the seal was there to stay, every 2 minutes we would (because of both of us wearing yellow fins!) turn round to find the seal tugging away with the big puppy dog eyes. He only disappeared when we put the DSMB up to start our deco! A fantastic dive one of the best UK dives Ive had.
Dive 2 was Tusker rock in Jack Sound. The drift through Jack Sound is fast, that would be an interesting one to try at some point. However Tusker rock sits at the North end of the sound and whether the tide is ebbing or flooding dictates which side of her can be dived in relative slack. The flow brings an abundance of nutrients so there is a lot of life. Loads of squishy things! Lobby, Butter fish, Crabs, Star fish and of course, Wrasse. The journey back to Broad Haven is quick, about 7nm. Beryl was struggling a little with 6 people and the 4 Twins, Single kit with a spare tank and rebreather. She still only took 35mins or so but struggled to stay on the plane. However the new boat might solve that problem! The recovery was a little interesting too.
Little did I know that morning after reversing down the beach and putting my car keys in my pocket I didn’t take them out again and they had been to 40m! The didn’t work. Obviously. Fortunately Julia had planned for my stupidity in part and had brought a spare but left it at the accommodation. The major advantage of Broad Haven however the accommodation was only 2 mins up the road! So fortunately we could get the boat back in, washed and get on the way after a great weekend.
For the record.
Stayed at 18 Swanswell Close (http://www.stayinbroadhaven.co.uk) Fantastic accommodation, large house. Needs some nifty reversing to get the rib on the driveway but there is a hose to clean the boat/kit with. The cleanliness and standard was excellent.
Launching is free on Broad Haven beach. Looks daunting but the sand is very firm, you’ll need a 4×4 as the beach shelves slowly but the discovery managed with water coming to just below the sills. Will be un-useable in anything but light Westerlies, backup was Milford Haven.
Dive Sites Dived. MV Lucy (Correct Co-ords now in GPS), North Cliff, Garland Stone, Rye Rocks and Tusker Rock.