Beadnell & Seahouses Trip, 18th and 19th Sept 2021

Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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Neil Radcliffe
Club Member
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:30 pm
Location: Lives in Whalley near Clitheroe
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Beadnell & Seahouses Trip, 18th and 19th Sept 2021

Post by Neil Radcliffe »

This trip was pulled together with only a few weeks notice, and suffered the inevitable consequences of finding no suitable availability on any of the hard-boats (including several also tried in Scotland), plus there were very few options for accommodation.

So in the end it became a do-it-yourself RIB trip, with Maria and Anton staying in separate B&Bs several miles distant, and Catherine, Graham and myself (Neil) camping at Beadnell. For the latter it turned out that we were pretty much the only tent in a field full of motorhomes, I guess we were slap-bang in the month of the silver pound.

The somewhat disjointed nature wasn’t helped by the late realisation that the Beadnell boat-launch tractor was out of action; whilst I did phone him to check a couple of weeks prior, it turned out that I may have called on almost the only weekend of the late summer where he was actually operational. So we ended up DIY launching from the main public slipway in Seahouses harbour, which turned out to be a challenging option given our planned low-ish tide starting times.

The first dive was on the Somali, a wreck lying in around 30m, which was sunk in WWII by a Heinkel bomber. The huge final explosion was supposedly much bigger than anything that could have been accounted for by the declared cargo manifest, so this wreck has always been one for the conspiracy theorists. We were just beaten to the wreck-site by one of the local hard-boats, somewhat inevitably filled with many divers clearly well known to Maria! (So they could hardly refuse our request to use their shot-line). Successful dives followed for Anton and Graham (first wave), with the remaining three of us in the second wave. Underwater visibility was excellent, and for the fish lovers there were plenty of Bib and shoals of really large Pollack. I also later heard Graham talking about triple expansion steam engines, which almost certainly highlights the value of a previous BSAC webinar on wreck features.

The second dive was supposed to be a Seals dive on the Outer Farnes. Whilst the chosen site should have been sheltered from the flood-tide’s currents, it definitely wasn’t protected from the significant swell. So after a bit of traipsing around, we did what we should have done from the outset and again dived adjacent to a local hard-boat. Anton and Catherine did briefly see some seals on their dive, but in truth they were seen much more from the boat. The highlight for the second-wave was probably a nice shoal of sand-eels, plus a close call with getting too far into a gap where the current was running fast.

Gas fills were obtained from Sovereign in Seahouses, and we did then all manage to meet up for an evening meal, in a completely rammed local pub. A bit of a shock to the system perhaps given the prior lockdowns.

Sunday saw an even more challenging launch, and, as per the day before, the swell made the open sea a better option (for most of us anyhow :D :D ), so we headed back to the Somali. Great for me – I have a real soft spot for this wreck – although I still have unfinished business in terms of wanting to dive it in a more tekkie manner. But on this occasion myself and Maria were second in, and as it was we ended up pushing the boundaries of slack water. I think the boat crew were quite surprised how far we drifted under our DSMBs before surfacing. Large DSMBs and even flags will always be a good choice for North Sea diving.

The later start time and continued swell dampened our enthusiasm for fourth dive, so in the end we called a halt, which at least then allowed for some more relaxed tent packing and a sensible home arrival time.

Katy Blue now joins the Club's RIB with a long list of repairs needed, still ongoing as I write this. This trip would have been so much easier if the Beadnell tractor was working, hopefully it will be next time. Many thanks to Maria, Anton, Catherine and Graham for making it a great weekend.
Neil Radcliffe
Club Member
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:30 pm
Location: Lives in Whalley near Clitheroe
Contact:

Re: Beadnell & Seahouses Trip, 18th and 19th Sept 2021

Post by Neil Radcliffe »

Quick postscript: after last year's debacle, Northumberland Council have appointed a new contractor to run the Beadnell boat launch service. They are now up and running - more info here:

https://www.facebook.com/The-Beadnell-B ... 3861801665
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