Caernarfon Bay

Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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Ged Kirwan
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Caernarfon Bay

Post by Ged Kirwan » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:39 am

Thanks to everyone for another cracking weekend's diving.

Anton started planning this two years ago, so it has taken quite a while for things to fall into place to make it happen.

We dropped off the boat at the Ty-Calch boatyard near Caernarfon on Friday afternoon, so with a bit of time to spare until the others turned up, Mick thought the only responsible thing we could do was go to the pub which was a good decision.

Saturday morning had light winds and Mick coxed us the 10 miles down the South Menai channel out to Segontium dive site. It always seems a small target in a big sea when locating a wreck site, but the shot went in on target. 32 mtrs to the sea bed and we were all delighted with the vis. The Segontium is an intact wreck laying perfectly upright, and arguably the best wreck in the area in the range of recreational divers. I dived with Mandy and Andy and we easily kept in touch pottering about the wreck. The wreck was covered with shoaling fish and is something of a nursery and refuge for bib and pollack as well as being covered in marine growth of plumose anenomes, sponges, tube worms and so on.

No-stop time passes very quickly at 30 mtrs and we planned to limit deco to 3 or 4 minutes, so it was time to swim along the deck, up the companionway to the top of the superstructure and up the SMB line. An excellent dive.

We had had a really good morning but then a hiccup! Pulling in the 56lb shotline is not easy. Anton and I were hauling it in when I slipped and fell back on the engine. The fuel line connector snapped off. Oops! Red face apart, we started the auxiliary engine and made headway of 5-6kts with a heavily loaded boat and motored back the 10 miles to the slipway. In spite of accusations to the contrary, I had not planned to test the new engine in this way, but it certainly showed it was up to the job and has been an excellent investment by the club. Thanks to everyone for their understanding and patience, all's well that ends well.

Back at the boatyard, Chris the very helpful owner, let us rummage through his box of old spares, and after a bit of faff we fixed the boat and were ready again for Sunday's diving.

Mandy returned home on Saturday evening. Maria arrived Saturday evening in spite of having a cold, and coxed the boat for day two. Thanks for that Maria.

We started off the morning diving the Kimya, a good old stand by in around 10 mtrs but coming up to just 4 mtrs. A great dive for new divers to cut their teeth with an intact wreck dive. Loads of life and decent vis. We all enjoyed this pleasant very safe dive.

Then we thought we would try a site new to us. We headed off up the west coast of Anglesey to locate the Euphrates wreck site close into shore. The wreck is that of barque lost in 1868 in difficult conditions, the story of the loss is well worth a read. The depth is just 10 mtrs or so and turned out to a really good dive. Anton, Jan and myself jumped in at least and hour before the expected slack water and found no current. This was something we learnt for future trips. Not much of this wooden wreck survives but it's a bit fun searching out the scattered remains in the crevices. I have never seen so many huge spider crabs, and we witnessed a stand off between a couple of big ones who seemed to be fighting over the hand of a smaller, nearby lady spider crab. Extraordinary.

Diving over, back to the slipway and the ever helpful Chris pulled us out with his tractor.
I don't think I will retire from diving just yet!

David Willman
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Re: Caernarfon Bay

Post by David Willman » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:13 pm

Hi Ged

sounds like a great weekends diving. If Anton and yourself had not put so much effort into securing and fitting the auxiliary engine it might not have been as 'plain sailing' as you make it sound. I hope you did n't hurt yourself arranging the 'test'.

Dave

Anthony Mould
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Re: Caernarfon Bay

Post by Anthony Mould » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:36 pm

Anton and Jan were the first pair to enter the water as Jan wanted to do a decompression dive. Jan lead the dive and kept me on her strict plan. I insisted we use a distance line as we had planned to do the decompression stop on the shot line. The distance line was fastened onto the handrail on the stern of the wreck along with a strobe so it could easily be found at the end of the dive. The wreck is a textbook wreck sat upright and intact on the bottom.
The wreck was well illuminated by natural light and is covered in life. On returning to the stern of fellow divers were nowhere to be seen so we removed our distance line and returned to the shot. I put some air in the lifting bag to aide lifting the shot later, as we started our ascent we were met by the second team of divers Ged, Mandy and Andy. They disappeared off to the wreck and a third wave of diver from another club passed us as we arrived at our deco stop. On reaching the surface Mick picked Jan and me up and informed us of one of the other club’s divers had ended up on Oxygen following a rapid ascent. Pan Pan calls were made and the chamber put on standby. Our second team of dives surfaced under one of three DSMB and we picked them up. We offered our services to the other boat but by this time they had cancelled the chamber and were happy to collect their remaining divers. Our lifting bag on the shot has developed a leak and lost all its air and was very difficult to lift. During the retrieval, Ged slipped and tripped over the main engine fuel line breaking off the fuel connector. We tried to swap out our fuel line but found them to be different. So, we called the second dive and headed home on the auxiliary engine.

Anton

Jan Glenn
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Re: Caernarfon Bay

Post by Jan Glenn » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:13 pm

This weekend was a massive success and ranks among some of the best UK diving.

We had a 'David Attenborough' moment on the Euphrates dive with two of the most enormous male spider crabs I have ever seen having a face off over a female!

The Segontium was on my bucket list and did not disappoint, what a superb wreck, absolutely covered in life and shoals of fish - amazing vis for the depth, thanks for that dive Anton.

A brilliant weekend all in all thanks to Ged and Anton for organising it, much appreciated by everyone involved.

Very importantly, many thanks to Ged and Anton, this doubled as an expedition planning trip, exploring sites to organise further trips for club members so that we can all get the best use out of the boat so keep your eyes and ears open for posts.

Jan 8-)

Mandy Knott
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Re: Caernarfon Bay

Post by Mandy Knott » Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:23 pm

As I drove back from this trip I was pondering whether travelling all that way on my own to do one dive of around 25 minutes was really worth it.

Do you know what? I answered my own question (yes I do often talk to myself - the cats have given up listening to my ramblings...) My answer was

A RESOUNDING YES!!!

Not only are you a fab fun group of people to spend time with, not only is north Wales one of my favourite places on earth, not only do I love messing around on the RIB (despite my constant and very annoying fight with seasickness) but diving just has to be THE BEST thing I ever decided to do in my life, and this cracking wreck with superb viz was one to remember.

Diving for me really isn't just about the time we spend in the water. It's the challenge (never had to get back 10 miles on the auxiliary engine before but very grateful to the guys who put the work in to make THAT happen); it's of course the marine life; it's being at one with an aspect of nature most people don;t get the privilege to experience; it's the keeping your eyes out for dolphins, porpoises, whales as we travel out and back; it's the learning as I watch how the guys find and shot the wreck; and it's the camaraderie, laughs and biscuit snaffling with just a superb bunch.

Thanks everyone. Here's to our next trip. :)

Maria H
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Re: Caernarfon Bay

Post by Maria H » Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:56 pm

Mandy Knott wrote:As I drove back from this trip I was pondering whether travelling all that way on my own to do one dive of around 25 minutes was really worth it.

Do you know what? I answered my own question (yes I do often talk to myself - the cats have given up listening to my ramblings...) My answer was

A RESOUNDING YES!!!

Not only are you a fab fun group of people to spend time with, not only is north Wales one of my favourite places on earth, not only do I love messing around on the RIB (despite my constant and very annoying fight with seasickness) but diving just has to be THE BEST thing I ever decided to do in my life, and this cracking wreck with superb viz was one to remember.

Diving for me really isn't just about the time we spend in the water. It's the challenge (never had to get back 10 miles on the auxiliary engine before but very grateful to the guys who put the work in to make THAT happen); it's of course the marine life; it's being at one with an aspect of nature most people don;t get the privilege to experience; it's the keeping your eyes out for dolphins, porpoises, whales as we travel out and back; it's the learning as I watch how the guys find and shot the wreck; and it's the camaraderie, laughs and biscuit snaffling with just a superb bunch.

Thanks everyone. Here's to our next trip. :)
I had a similar 6 hours solo round trip, from Birmingham to Caernarfon and then back home. I had a cold, so I didn't even dive, but my answer was also a resounding yes! We had a lovely evening in the Port Dinorwic hotel, trying to tempt some of the locals to take up diving, and then had a cracking day on the water. A bit of sunshine always helps to lift the mood, and it's a relief when the divers surface and say that the shot was actually on the wreck!

We were checking tides on Wednesday evening, so watch this space for more planned dives.

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