26th to 28th May Bank Holiday weekend 2018
As I was gently “volun-told” to report on this trip by Clive… I will start this story with a thank-you note to Sally for organising this fantastic trip. Everything was perfectly organised up to the smallest detail. Even the weather! And the flat calm sea!!
Sally chose to dive with Brian Dilly’s family run operation divein2pembrokeshire. Over all 3 days the boat and crew were excellent as usual. With the excellent local knowledge, terrible jokes, supply of hot drinks and packed lunches, all most welcome!
Details of Brian’s operation can be found here: Dive-in2-pembrokeshire.com
26/05/2018. Day 1:
Well, here we go. As all journeys start with a single step we met at Milford Haven Harbour at 9am. To be fair all of us looked a little bit knackered due to the horrible traffic jam the day before (not everybody has a comfortable Jaguar to hit the road…) but the nice Welsh sunshine, beautiful scenery and the expectations of some great dives ahead soon cheered us up.
We loaded the boat at a the very easy pontoon, with free parking right next door.
Once on the boat we started pairing up buddies: Sally with Iria, Clive with Ian and Ken with myself. We soon made friends with the other divers on-board, friends of Brian’s, from Cardiff Dive Club. The spacious boat making everything very easy and relaxed!
Brian and his skipper took us to the Skomer reserve, not far from Milford Haven, and we dived in two different locations: High Point and the Dakotian. Note that this area is protected and must not be touched so result at the end of the day was Lobsters 1 – Jose 0. (Little did I know that this was going to be a reoccurring shoreline.) Viability was 8 or more meters and the sea was flat calm.
27/05/2018 Day 2:
On this day we had the pleasure to incorporate Theresa to the team and we met again at the same location to start the trip. It was probably one of the nicest days Welsh shores have ever seen in decades!
Only downside was Clive was still a little bit disappointed because of Liverpool very predictably losing its final against Real Madrid. Although having a world class Welshman (Gareth Bale) scoring twice for Real, was a small consolation.
Hen and Chicks
Hen and Chicks is a great site and ideal for the novice diver, the depth going to only 10 metres (33 feet). Its composed of pinnacles and you will also find lots of candy stripe flat worm, sea hares, pipefish, nudibranchs and seals. At the end of the dive I performed my very famous ascent I call myself “Fins up balloon” mmmm Jose 0 dry suit 1!
Stack Rocks as the name suggests is composed of rocks. This site is very much like Hen and chicks and very popular. There’s plenty of marine life including dogfish, cuckoo wrasse, pollack and butterfish. Velvet crabs, edible crabs, different kinds of lobsters and hermit crabs are also present. Colourful plumose anemones, jewel anemones, peacock worms and dahlia anemones are abundant. Seals are often spotted here.
On this dive Sally showed us that dry suits don’t keep you always “dry”. Oppps!
Ken and I were trying to catch a lobster and a spider crab for five minutes but turns out, as lazy as they look, they are smarter than we thought! and bigger than Ken’s goody bag! Lobsters 2 – Jose 0. Today the visibility dropped to only 6m, but we did our best and struggled through.
Fortunately for us there was an Iranian peer diver, nice guy and much more experienced in the art of crabbing than us and he shared 2 spider crabs with Iria and I 😊.
With a little bit of Galician culinary magic (by phone, from Iria’s mum) …. They were delicious!
Ken and I saw the cutest little octopus ever just before deploying the SMB. He didn’t know it was dangerous to be around when I was trying to sort the SMB out. But I’m sure I only stepped on him a little.
Day 3: Skokholm
In solidarity with the lobsters, we as a team, adopted a uniform tan “red like a lobster” to enjoy our last dive in Pembrokeshire. Although it wasn’t our first option we ended up diving next too Skokholm. We had to give up two locations firstly because of the strong tide and then because of some fog.
Skokholm Island Seal Bay has plenty of seals and is sheltered from the westerlies. It’s a shallow site not exceeding 10 metres (33 feet). There are so many wrecks here to choose from, about 500. Sea was flat calm and we had visibility of nearly 10m.
Locations chosen by Brian were Crab rock and Dead man’s bay.
On the latter we enjoyed a nice drift dive. I felt like Nemo’s father swimming in the Eastern Australian Current (EAC)!!! Surfacing amongst the Puffins and Guillemots with several inquisitive seals giving us the eye!
After this roller coaster dive we went back to the boat and headed back to Milford Haven to pack our things ☹.
It’s always sad when coming back to the Big Smoke again but we were so lucky to enjoy such a good weather and company that I’m sure it was a pleasant trip back to London for all of us!