Lochaline, Scotland – 3rd – 8th May 2012
Accommodation: Lochaline Dive Centre
Skipper(s) and Boat(s): Andy Cox on Sound Diver and Alan Livingstone on Sound Diver II
Dive Sites: Shuna, Thesis, Garvellachs, Meldon, John Preston, Hispania, Rondo and Calve Island
Divers: Chris Aspinall, Dave Keogh, Alex Muhl-Richardson, Ray Coyle, Jack Whiteley, Dave Brown, Claudius Kerth, Martin Wilson and Edward Haynes
Conditions: Flat calm and beautiful weather all trip
Whilst part of me wanted to post the entire four page comedic trip report I wrote for this trip, there is neither the space for it here nor would it be entirely appropriate, however I’m sure it will at some point emerge into the light of day for general viewing, but until then you’ll have to guess at the gems within.
The dive centre at Lochaline is top notch and has everything a diver needs – the rooms each have a bunk bed, an en suite shower and toilet and under-floor heating, the kitchen has fantastic cooking facilities and several fridges for chilling noms and booze and this opens on to a large common area with seating, tables and a wall-mounted TV. There’s also a lovely outside decked area and a section of this even has a cover if you fancy some fresh air when it’s raining. We didn’t, but if you’ve requested catered accommodation then in the kitchen you’ll find the chef, Gordon, with his collection of unnecessarily big knives (he probably has other things too but the knives are my most salient memory).
I’d heard a lot of good things about the diving around Lochaline, and I wasn’t disappointed. On our first day we headed out on the Sound Diver and dived the Shuna and later the Thesis. We swapped boats for the second day and relocated to the Sound Diver II, a catamaran. Saturday began with a lovely cruise over to Oban to take on fuel, the water was like glass for most of the trip, the sun was out and a perk of this particular boat was the ability to sit and dangle your legs off the front as we cruised along. After ice creams in Oban we decided that we might as well do some diving, so we did a drift near the Garvellachs and then the wreck of the Meldon. Sunday saw us diving the Hispania and the John Preston and Monday, the Rondo and a wall off Calve Island. Between dives on the Monday we also stopped off on Mull and paid a visit to Tobermory (a.k.a. Balamory) and, although we missed the distillery tour, we popped in the museum, Chris bough Ray some soap (she needed it) and we got some supplies from the Co-op.
On our last evening we had some ate some tasty food, drank some tasty drink and played some fun games. All too quickly the morning came and then it was time to head back to Sheffield, our short spell of living the diving dream was at an end.