Easter Monday and I am back at work today after a pretty awesome weekend diving the west coast of Scotland. A rather last minute trip that turned out very well!
Thursday night I showed up at the club night and when I asked if anyone is going diving I was told that Mike and Brian were planning to go to the west coast of Scotland to dive off Mike’s Boat the Irish Mist.
At that point I could not resist self-inviting myself and shortly afterwards I left the pub and went back home to start preparing my gear. About 02:00 Friday morning I was ready to go!!!
After work Brian came by my place and we started our journey. 180 miles later we were at the marina! After a few drinks we went back to the boat to sleep. The next morning and after we loaded all our gear onto the boat we went for a hard core full Scottish breakfast and made our way to Oban for refuelling.
View of the Marina on Saturday morning
After refuelling (a rather costly affair!) and while on our way to dive the Shuna we went past the Duart Castle a very picturesque castle that appeared in 1999 Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones Entrapment film!
Not looking very inteligent (and a tiny Castle behind me)
A close up of the castle (Camera’s zoom not great)
Our discussion about decompression algorithms, gradient factors and bubble models kept Jake’s interest irreducible!
Blue skies and a flat calm sea made us think that we were in the Med but the temperature (had to wear jacket, gloves and a woolly hat) brought us back to the reality!!!
Jake was looking out for dolphins but sadly none were around this time
Unfortunately Mike’s unit was not cooperating and after failing the negative test Mike decided to abort and not dive. By that time Al was also getting cold and opted to stay on the boat instead, leaving me and Brian to go for a very pleasant 50 minute dive in rather limited visibility 3-4 m but plenty of ambient light, which is always a bonus !!!. Much to our delight on surfacing Mike was waiting for us with freshly baked pizza!!! How cool is that now!!! Once we got everything sorted we headed to Tobermory for drinks and dinner.
Colorful houses of Tobermory
Having decided that we didn’t want to pay £20 for mooring on the berth we anchored at the bay and took the dingy to go ashore!!! four reasonably big men and a dog!!!
A few drinks later and with the dingy lower on the water (a bit of a leak there) we returned to the boat!!! Surprisingly we made it back safe and after a last drink, a glass of Irish Mist, the whiskey after which the boat is named, we went to bed!
Sunday we decided to dive the Breda. A cargo ship that lies upright in about 30 m of water. On the way out Brian made breakfast (bacon rolls) a luxury that RHIB divers cannot afford!
Myself and Brian splashed first and by the time we came up Mike’s unit could pass positive and negative tests and was getting ready for a dive. Brian went up the boat so that we had at least someone on the boat as Al was already in the water and a few minutes later Mike joined me at the anchor line and we headed for a quick dive to test Mike’s new JJ back mounted counter lungs. All seemed fine (minus a few leaks here and there) and twenty minutes later we surfaced and started our way back.
Once back in the Dunstaffnage marina we offloaded the boat and started our 180 mile journey back. The return trip was much more pleasant and most of it in daylight as the clocks had moved an hour forward and after the customary stop for Fish and Chips we made it back to Aberdeen for a very respectable 22:00.
Overall a very busy weekend but was well worth it !!!! I got 2 sea dives in UK waters and I really enjoyed them too!!! My unit worked and my dry suit / undersuit also!!!
Many thanks to Brian Burnett for driving and diving with me, to Mike Ferguson and Alex Powel for letting us stay on their boat!!!
Can’t wait to go back!!!