Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Easter Weekend at The Farne Islands

Waves Shape

The club by now is starting to get into full swing after the winter hiatus and five divers and five non-divers took the RHIB to The Farne Islands over the Easter Weekend. This proved to be a fantastic trip and what a difference a week can make in Scotland with the weather. It was glorious all weekend.

The group was spread out accommodation wise with Anne and Jonathon in their Camper near
Seahouses, Rob and family in a cottage in Seahouses and George, Andrew, Christina’s and Christina’s partner, Angus stayed in an excellent Air BnB in Belford about 20 minutes drive from our launch site of Beadnell Bay.

The RHIB was driven down by Rob and launched by the interesting method of having a tractor tow us in from the beach. I asked Rob why this was and apparently it is because the tractor driver has the key to the gate – nothing more technical than that.

The first dive was at the furthest away Island called Knivestone. Rob, George and Andrew went in first and we found the wreck of the Abyssinia. This was more wreckage than wreck as over the years it has been broken up but there were still some fascinating structures to see – a huge prop, the engine and the boilers. We saw the largest fish we had ever seen in UK waters. A man told me on Monday it was a ling, but not sure. It was inside the boiler in a vertical position. It was at least a metre long.

Anne and Christina went in at the same place but stayed to the wall enjoying more wild life and photography.

The second dive for Rob, George and Andrew was on Longstone Island. This was a pretty challenging dive from the point of view of currents. They took us this was and that through gullies. There was not nearly so much life to see but an enjoyable dive if you like drifts.

Anne and Christina had a disappointing second dive within the shallower bay next to our dive. They reported only really seeing lots of kelp when what they had wanted to see was lots of seals. The seals were plentiful on the surface but not underwater.

Christina’s spirits were lifted however by some fantastic bird watching where we saw Gilliemots, Shags and Puffins galore on the rocks of the Islands.

The diving ended with a very choppy ride back on the RHIB as the wind had got up from the morning. One thing about the Farnes is that the currents and swell can be strong and unpredictable so we remained on our toes and sensible all weekend.

The evening was spent having a wonderful meal with all the crew at The Links Hotel, where the locals were out in force watching the local team, Newcastle United. They all speak like Rob down there so he felt at home at least.

The Sunday we decided to set of at the same early time of 8am rather than give ourselves the planned lie in as the Saturday earlier return around 3.30pm had worked well.

Our first dive on Sunday was on Slate Island. Rob, Andrew and George again went in first and it was a similar dive to the second dive of Saturday in that we were in a very strong current. Unfortunately, George got separated on the descent as the current pushed him away so he ascended without a dive.

Rob and Andrew at this point were holding on to Kelp and doing their best superman impressions. Rob and Andrew continued the dive as a drift and by good fortune we drifted onto the Saint Andre wreckage. This is what we had been planning to do before going into the water. The current was still quite strong but we managed to see the large boilers from the ship and some wreckage lying around. I imagine this would be a good dive in more favourable conditions.

Christina and Anne had a shallow dive at Northern Haires and George went in for a play with the seals with a snorkel on. There were good but not outstanding reports from this dive.

We then saved the best till last. We dived on the Island of North Wammses as it was more sheltered. George and Andrew went in with Rob deciding to sit this one out. The best thing then happened. As we descended, we practically landed upon a seal. It was curled up by the wall as you can see in the photo and just stayed there looking at us but deciding not to swim away. It was amazing to see it in such a way as up until that point the seals had been somewhat shy.

Then if that was not enough, we encountered a second one swimming along. It did not stay around for so long but George still got a great photo.

Anne and Christina then went in and came back describing their dive as the best of the weekend. They too had spotted seals and had enjoyed the photography on the wall “full of life”.

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