This trip was originally planned pre-Covid, with six divers supposed to be staying in two rooms at Anglesey Outdoors. I think we all expected it not to happen, but after some careful checking of both the most recent Welsh rules and our divers’ individual preferences, we ended up going as just a four: Anton, Peter, Graham and Neil. We were also then nearly beaten by the weather – forecast up to 40 mph from the SW for much of the weekend. This was really quite dispiriting given much effort had been put into planning dives on the Trearddur Bay (non-sheltered) side.
But go we did, and yes we did manage to do some decent diving.
Saturday saw us up and off quite early, with the Club RIB launched into the pleasingly calm waters of Holyhead harbour just after 08:00. The chosen dive was the wreck of the Meath, which lies just outside the main shipping channel a short distance outside the harbour; although even that was enough to put us into a notably lumpy sea. Amazingly, despite the main GPS not yet working, we found the wreck in only a few mins, and got the shot successfully away; seabed depth was approx 21m. A long slack was already underway so the first wave, Anton and Peter, kitted up and duly went diving. This was Peter’s first sea dive in the UK, so I’ll let him provide his own description below. A bit of a baptism of fire given the conditions, but he coped brilliantly which bodes well for his future dives.
“As mentioned this was my first UK sea diving experience and I will admit I was both nervous and apprehensive especially when I saw the conditions. The experience and knowledge of the people I was diving with quickly subdued any fear I had. Following clear advice we quickly went down the shot line to the sea floor. First thing I noticed was how calm it was just a couple metres below the surface and how clear the water was. After clipping onto the shot we set off and within no time I could see the start of metal plates spread along the bottom and then the main wreck just appears before you. I was surprised by the size, not sure what I expected, and how intact it seemed. The bottom time passes so quickly when you are occupied and unfortunately within no time it was time to return to shot line and surface. As my first wreck I don’t think I could have asked for more with the viz as could clearly make certain parts out, boilers mainly and I think in future more research prior to getting wet will help identify various parts of a wreck. Some sea life was around but to be honest I was more taken back by the actual wreck. I would certainly go again hopefully in calmer conditions as getting back into the RIB was not great and practice is definitely needed. The other 2 dives I did just finished off what was a great experience and again, thanks to Anton, Neil and Graham for sharing their expertise and guidance. I am looking forward to more sea dives with the club that’s for sure.”
Unfortunately the period of surface cover left one of the second wave feeding the fish, with the remaining fourth diver somewhat pleased that the dive could be aborted. So we were back in the harbour by mid-morning.
The early afternoon saw just Peter and Neil dive, again from the RIB, in one of the quieter and sheltered areas within the harbour. A steady 10m dive was about silty and barren as some parts of Coniston, although right on our time limit we did manage to find and subsequently open up a ghost lobster pot; hopefully the crab within made an escape.
Over a Chinese takeaway that evening we de-scoped our ambitions for Sunday to a single but long shore dive in the small cove of Porth Eilian, on the (sheltered) North Coast.
Anton’s prior experience shone through brilliantly here: I think some of us thought conditions would still be bad, but in the end we arrived to find the sea was flat calm. There was even respectable vis again. So all four of us achieved near-hour long dives, and we found all the expected marine life, loads of small fish, lobsters and crabs etc. Plus a couple of golf balls and some swimming googles, although sadly not the GoPro some Coasteering bods had apparently just lost. A scenic picnic lunch followed, and then we were off home in time to beat the tea-time traffic.
My overall lessons were that Anglesey Outdoors and the Club RIB still make a great cost-effective option, and that it’s true that you will always find somewhere sheltered to dive on Anglesey. And that my compass doesn’t work when held right next to my torch – doh! It does make for a slightly surreal trip though when you feel more at risk on dry land (due to Covid) than when out diving.
PS Ian - should you read this - any chance of enabling photos on this part of the forum please? - I'm not seeing the 'attachments' tab.
Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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