Trip :Eyemouth – St Abbs August bank holiday
Dates : 28/8-31/8/2015
Attendees : Emma K., Laura D., Jen S., Jack III, Mike K., Shin, Chris T., Dom W., Billy, Ross P., Tom D., Vic H. and Sarah.
Diving : Reef/wall/drift
Boat : Wave Dancer
Skipper : Billy Aitchison
Dives : 6
Accommodation : Dive Stay, Eyemouth
Cost : £265
I was looking forward to this trip as my re-birth into the soggy and cold womb of British SCUBA diving. And so, on a lovely Friday afternoon, at 5:55pm (after a 5pm sharp start) we set off to bonny Scotland. The weather was brilliant, the sun was shining and the time was perfect to catch the bank holiday traffic heading up to Scotland with the rest of us. After the epic 4 hour journey past sights like the Angel of North and the Eternal M1 Roadworks (legend has it that they’re older than Hadrian’s Wall and no less significant to the culture of the North), we arrived in Eyemouth – this hidden gem of the North East.
Following an evening of (mild) debauchery and introduction of contortionist toes (weird) to those less fortunate of us (i.e. with normal toes), we began with a late start on Saturday.
After relatively efficient kit faff (for a change, WE had to wait for the boat!), we boarded the spacious Wave Dancer and with some chop and spray were on the way to our first dive of the weekend.
First dive :Broadhaven Bay
Max depth : c 18m
Dive time : 45 minutes
Second dive : Weasel Loch
Max depth : c 16m
Dive time : 45 minutes
Freely and openly, I admit that I have little recollection of specifics of these dives – they seem to have merged in one for me, most likely because of the weight of the excitement I experienced form BEING IN THE SEA and DIVING for the first time in two years. Paired with Jack III (we had a BLAST), I pretended to be able to use a compass. Dropped off at one boiler, we managed to find another by an absolute fluke, having thought we were following a totally different bearing. These things happen. There was plenty of crabs and lobsters everywhere, but the boilers were sadly devoid of any blue angry eels willing to bite our faces off. I guess you can’t have everything on your first dive back!
In the evening, we finely wined and dined at Oblo, with plenty of sea food and some fine haggis. Between all of us, we determined that spotting an otter is a rarer achievement than saving a life. To tie off this amazing evening, the more adventurous of us had a go at skinny dipping in the freezing waters of the North Sea, with great results.
Following the previous night’s shenanigans, another lie-in was in order.
The kit faff, in an utterly unSUSAC way was even more organised and orderly and timely than on the first day. The day was magnificent.
First dive : Black Carr
Arguably the best dive I have had all weekend. Shin and I decided to turn left instead of right, and thus, went exploring away from the rest of the group (this seems to have been the pattern that day). Suffice to say, after a while of being lost and swimming aimlessly as only SUSAC can, we decided to head back towards the reef. At around 17m, with a vis of 4-5 metres (until we kicked silt up), we were able to spot 6 wolf fish, a conger eel and a butter fish eel! Certainly the highlight of the dive – particularly given the fact that Shin had his wonderful camera to capture the life on digital tape.
Second dive : Tunnel
The initial part of the dive was a tunnel quickly opening into the cavern. It would have been the most stunning thing ever, if it wasn’t for Shin, who picked up a lobster (poor thing lost its claw!) and tried to poke my eyes out with it. Nice one, Shin. Following the cave, we swam out left, instead of right (sound familiar?), despite the best efforts of Chris and Dom who were just behind us. Whilst the rest of the group managed to catch some drift and have a varied dive, Shin and I just scooted around the area, spotting loads of lobsters and crabs. Great dive.
The evening was tied off with a pub meal, which became a full-on educational experience where we finally understood what an otter actually is! No skinny dipping that night, but Ross did win at Cards Against Humanity, making us worry slightly about what really happens under that benevolent face.
With the weather slightly worse than on the previous days, and a much earlier start, a bunch of grumpy SUSACians boarded the Wave dancer for the third time.
First dive : The Skellies
I have never seen so many live lobsters in one place. Chris found one that was bigger than any I’ve ever seen before – we’d abandoned the efforts to tease it out from it’s hiding place after realising that we were possibly slightly too scared to disturb it. This was an enjoyable dive with very slight current and an acceptable amount of vis.
Second dive : Cathedral Rock
The Buddy of Doom strikes again! Chris and I separated within 5 minutes of descending. Having found each other a few minutes later, we spent the whole diving more keeping eyes on each other than surrounding areas! Even more surprising was that we actually managed to find the big swim through that gives the Cathedral Rock its name. As we were getting cold and tired of looking mainly at each other, we decided to call it a day and return back to the surface. We were greeted with a bucket load (literally) of fish, caught by Laura and Jen.
Back on the shore, following fish and chips facing away from the sea, we packed the gear and drove back to Sheffield. I cannot speak for other cars, but the Sarah-Billy-Chris-Mike combo had some insightful discussions on the way back – and we all loved every minute of it.
To sum up, I asked a few people about their “best thing of the trip” at our excellent post-trip Rama’s Bridge tete-a-tete.
Shin – I got to play with my fancy new camera.
Ross – God, I’m glad it’s over.
Tom – Haggis.
Jack – I really enjoyed sharing room with Mike.
Vic – I was particularly happy with the way I did my zip up.
Billy – As a zoologist, I really enjoyed observing SUSAC in its natural habitat.
Sarah – SUSAC aren’t actually weirder than most people and I know!
Laura – couldn’t give a comment, being too busy making odd noises during dinner
Em – Really loved the mothering of SUSAC part. Felt almost like Khaleesi and SUSAC are my tame, toothless dragons.
Dom – The highlight of my weekend was being described as “ jagged jock”
Jen – Laura is still awful at fishing.
Chris – The best thing on the trip was Mike’s reaction to me irresponsibly pulling on his fins underwater.
Mike – I have forgotten how frustrating and how wonderful SUSAC trips are!
Many thanks to Emma (and Ross) for organising the excellent SUSAC adventure. St Abbs hasn’t disappointed, Billy was an excellent skipper as ever, WaveDancer a wonderful, spacious boat and SUSAC the perfect company to spend a Bank Holiday with. Here’s to more!
Disclaimer : the above trip report and quotes may or may not be entirely true. The events and opinions and factual statements contained within this are solely responsibility of the author, who plausibly denies anything and everything.