Ard Na Cuile & Heather Island 15/03/14

The weather has not been on our side so far this year, we had planned to dive the Breda in Ardmucknish bay on this trip but on the way to Oban we could see that the strong south-westerly wind was creating pretty miserable conditions in exposed areas so we decided to stay within the shelter provided by Kerrera.

Once we had all arrived at the Puffin Dive Centre it wasn’t long before everyone was ready to go and the club boat was in the water waiting to be loaded with kit and divers. Given that we were limited to fairly sheltered dive sites we chose to dive Ard Na Cuile first which is just a short trip south of Puffin, there was still a bit of swell coming across this part of the sound but it was still safe to dive here.

Graham dropped Steven and I in first, followed shortly by Ken and Micah. We had entered at the northern end of the wall so the plan was to head south keeping the wall on our left. Once in the water Steven and I descended down the sand slope to 25m but there was not much to see so we followed the slope for a short while before coming back up to 15m before making our way along the mix of boulder slopes and vertical walls which a good covering of life with lots of feather stars, dahlia anemones, soft corals, squirts, and sponges. The visibility wasn’t bad, around 5m maybe less, with a fair bit of ambient light. After about 20mins we turned around to head back towards where we had dropped in and soon after I sent up my DSMB and we were on our way back up.


Ken and Micah had surfaced not long before us so they were just getting picked up as we reached the surface. I had decided to try a fibre optic cable with my strobe and black out the built in flash of the camera but for some reason the strobe failed to fire so unfortunately I didn’t get any photos from this dive.

During our surface interval back at Puffin we bumped into a group of divers who had just been up to the Breda on their RIB and after their single word answer to the question “how was it?” we were glad we had made the decision to give it a miss.

The second dive of the day was to be at Heather Island, we had done a couple of dives here back in January but it is always an enjoyable dive and it would be the first dives here for Steven and Micah.

The buddy pairs were the same except Dave joined Ken and Micah on their dive. We all went in at the usual point at the north-east end of the island with the plan of heading south with the wall on our right.

With reasonable visibility again, Steven and I followed the drop off down to 20m before heading south to make our way along the wall. Even after numerous dives at this site there is still a lot to keep you interested. There really is a huge variety of life here with feather stars, squirts, numerous different sponges, sagartia anemones, dahlia anemones, white cluster anemones, and peacock worms all filling in the spaces on the rock surface. There are also lots of well decorated spider crabs and a number of different nudibranch species here.

After about 20mins of following the wall we had reached the old creel, complete with line and buoy, that marks the point at which the wall starts to disappear into a sand bank halfway along the island. We crossed the sand for a short time before Steven sent up his DSMB before we ascended. After the first dive I removed the fibre optic cable from my strobe and unblocked the built in flash so I was able to get some photos this time. Another great dive.

Just a short trip back to Puffin then the boat was recovered and thoroughly washed before being stored ready for next time. Not the best weather but it was still a nice day out, with great dives and great company.

For more photos click here, or go to the Gallery

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Dogfish(less) Reef, Loch Fyne 01/03/14

We had originally planned to dive this site back in February but the poor weather put a stop to that. So, determined to see some Dogfish (Small-spotted Catsharks) we rescheduled the dive for the next day that everyone was available. Apparently they are at their highest numbers here in early spring so we were still hopeful that we would be able to find some.

Last year a few of us from DSAC did make it over in February and had a couple of really nice dives. This site is not only good for finding Dogfish but it also has a nice easy entry/exit, is easy to navigate, and has a huge variety of other life.

Alistair and Micah arrived on site first followed soon after by Gordon and I. As the gate down to the shore is now locked we had to use the car park near the houses which meant a slightly longer walk down to the shore with your kit but it’s not that bad really.

Alistair and Micah were in first and had an enjoyable dive, reporting reasonable visibility and lots of life on the rocky slope, but no Dogfish. Gordon and I were in next and followed the concrete blocks near the entry point down to 26m before turning left and heading north up the loch with the rock slope on our left. Gordon was trying out a new camera and strobe set up so we just made our way slowly along the slope taking lots of photos and hunting for Dogfish.

The covering of sea loch anemones is really impressive at this site along with the variety of sea squirts and sponges. There were also a lot of feisty squat lobsters, spiny starfish, soft corals, greater spider crabs, and a couple of different species of nudibranchs to be found. All of this life makes for a really nice dive. However, we only managed to spot a single Dogfish and it was well hidden in amongst the rocks so we couldn’t even get a photo of it. After about 20mins we turned around and slowly ascended the slope on the way back to the exit point (clearly marked by the concrete blocks) for our safety stop before exiting.


The second dives of the day were much the same as the first with Alistair and Micah descending down to 30m on the slope to find an unusual gathering of gnomes at the bottom! I’m sure they weren’t there last year! On our dive, Gordon and I followed almost the same profile as the first but didn’t stay at 26m for as long and spent more time at around 15m on the slope where we found a couple of nice nudibranchs (Tritonia lineata & Limacia clavigera). Neither buddy pair spotted any Dogfish on the second dives. Perhaps we were just a bit too late this year.


Although disappointed at the lack of Dogfish the day wasn’t a total bust as this is still an interesting dive with a great variety of life to see.

For more pictures click here or go to the Gallery

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Club Merchandise

Well, this is the moment you have all been waiting for, the release of the 2014 DSAC clothing range! Over the last few months week’s days a team of designers have been working on this year’s summer and winter range. We now present our summer t-shirts and winter hoodies in a variety of eye catching and aspirational colours!

Colour is fundamental to everyday life, from traffic lights to milk carton labels in the supermarket and we have taken the philosophy to this range of practical outdoor clothing for the discerning club member. Inspiration has come from the environment we play in with ‘battleship grey’ for wreck addicts to the truly wonderful ‘sandy sand’ for those shore junkies! We have also added ‘Technical Black’ with an inspired grey logo to allow those who don’t want to stand out to stand out!

PLEASE ORDER NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT, the first 200 orders will receive a discount!! The RRP for this bespoke clothing line is £500 per clothing item BUT for 12 months only this has been reduced to an amazing £15 for a t-shirt or £25 a hoody. Want one of each? No problem! You can purchase a t-shirt AND hoody for the knockdown price of £40, a whopping £960 DISCOUNT on the RRP!!

Don’t be a geek get some chic!!!!! Buy a hoodie, or t-shirt, or both today to finally become a member of the cool kids!

Collection from Ancrum only!







hoodie g

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Heather Island, Oban 18/01/14

After an early start, Callum, Ken, and I made our way over to Oban to meet up with Dave, Lewis, and Robbie who had spent the night in Oban after travelling over with the club boat (Tay Explorer). Once at Puffin Dive Centre it didn’t take long to get our kit organised and launch the boat so we were out on the water by 10:30.

Our plan for the day was to do a couple of dives around Heather Island with some training included. We decided to start our first dive at the south east point of the island where there was a gentle slope then head north up the island with the slope on our left.

Dave, Callum, and Robbie went in together with Robbie successfully completing his final Ocean Diver lesson (OO5). Ken, Lewis, and I went in together and after completing mask clearing and AS Ascents from 15m for Ken’s DO6 we continued with a dive, exploring a mix of sand/shell slope, vertical rock faces and impressive large boulders.

There is a huge variety of life at this site, with numerous feather stars, different squirts and various sponges covering the rock faces. In-between all of this were sea loch anemones, camouflaged spider crabs, edible crabs, purple sunstars, and nudibranchs (Flabellina browni and Diaphorodoris luteocinta). We were a bit unsure what the underwater conditions were going to be like given the recent weather but it did not disappoint, visibility was not far off 10m and ambient light penetrating down to around 20m. After travelling about half the length of the island it was time to surface so I sent up my DSMB and after a safety stop we surfaced with a total time of 43mins.

Our surface interval was spent back at Puffin where we could sit indoors in their planning room. Unfortunately the stove wasn’t lit so it was just in cold in there as it was outside, still it was nice to have a seat inside.

After a decent surface interval we were soon back out at Heather Island for our 2nd dive. This time our plan was to enter at the north east end of the island  and head south with the slope/wall on our right.

On our dive, with Ken leading as part of his Dive Leader training, we kept within 20m and followed the steep slope then vertical rock wall along to the large cave opening. Again there were plenty of feather stars, various squirts, and sponges covering the rock faces. Just south of the gloomy looking cave opening the wall has a thick covering of large peacock worms with white cluster anemones filling the rock spaces in-between.

Past the cave opening the vertical wall continues before you come to an old lobster pot with line and buoy still attached, the buoy sitting at about 15m and the line covered in yellow rimmed squirts and peacock worms. Just after this the wall shrinks away into a sandy slope. This is where we surfaced with a max depth of 20m and total time of 25mins. Another great dive!

Robbie/Lewis and Dave/Callum reported good 2nd dives too. Dave and Callum explored along the bottom of wall this time at 30-40m and interestingly found numerous phosphorescent and tall sea pens.

Once everyone was safely back on board we made the short trip back to Puffin to recover the boat and after the mandatory look around the well stocked shop we all headed for home.

Luckily although it was cold the weather stayed fair all day with only a short shower when we were packing up. With the boat staying in Oban for the summer we will have lots more great diving to look forward too. A great winter’s day diving.

For more photos go to the Gallery page or here.


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First Dives of 2014. Twin Piers, Loch Long

Over the last few years we have ventured out on the 2nd of January for the first dives of the New Year and 2014 was no different.

The A-Frames at Loch Long has been our usual for the last couple of years but this year we decided to try the Twin Piers. This site is also on Loch Long but for some reason no one in the club had dived it before so we thought it would be nice to try something different.

The site is easily identified as just south of the old Torpedo Testing Station the remains of two concrete sections of an old pier that give this site its name sit just off shore. Access to the shore is through the old pier entrance with the help of a ladder that someone has kindly fixed in place, and parking can be found on the grass verge slightly down the road where there is space for at least 4 cars.

We all arrived onsite at about 09:30 to find we had the place to ourselves so after a wonder down to the entry point and a quick site brief we all started getting our kit organised. Joe and I were on shore cover duty first so everyone else set off on their first dive. The remaining buddy pairings were Dave/Robbie/Lewis, Callum/Ken, and Gordon/Steven.

On the first dive Joe and I (and everyone else) followed the directions recommended on Finstrokes and other online sources. The vis was fairly poor in the shallows, which was to be expected given the amount of recent heavy rain, but it did start to clear up below 6m. From the piers we headed east across the slope down to about 17m where we then turned to head up the loch keeping the slope on our left. Soon enough came across the remains of the small wreck that sits upside down on the seabed here. Not much is left of the wreck, only the decking, a few ribs and other rotting bits of wood, all with a covering of sea loch anemones, squirts, peacock worms and sponges.

Not far past the wreck we found the rocky reef and spent a short time exploring here at about 20m before it was time to turn around. The reef itself was really nice, with a mixture of large and small boulders all with a good covering of life. On the way back, keeping the slope on our right, we passed the wreck again and continued down the loch slowly ascending to about 9m. The location of each pier is clearly marked as on the slope below each one is a covering of empty mussel shells and common starfish, so after a chilly safety stop at the bottom of the piers we surfaced with a total dive time of 43mins.

Everyone else had reported good first dives too, with Dave and Robbie completing the Ocean Diver training they had planned while Gordon and Steven found one of the resident congers on the reef, which Gordon managed to get a few nice photos of.

The second dives were carried out in the same order as the first with a few of the buddy pairs opting to explore to the right of the piers. Ken and Callum followed the slope down to about 30m but reported a barren slope of nothing so Joe and I decided to head to the reef again to try and find some congers.

We got to the reef a bit quicker this time so had more time to have a good look around, and soon enough we came across a huge conger eel under a pile of large boulders, Joe even went around the back and could see its tail through another gap. There was also a lot of fish life around on the reef with numerous juvenile cod, ballan wrasse, leopard spotted gobies, and a sleeping rock cook wrasse which only slowly drifted off after a small prod to check if it was dead. After about 15mins of looking around the reef we turned back towards the piers and endured another freezing safety stop in the freshwater layer under the pier before swimming up to the ladder to exit.


A couple of nice dives at an interesting new site was a good way to start off 2014.

For more photos go to the gallery page.


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Drishaig Reef, Loch Fyne 17/11/13

Back in November Ken, Alistair, Steven, and I ventured over to Loch Fyne to try out the dive at “Drishaig Reef” The dive site description on Finstrokes looked interesting and had some good reviews so we were looking forward to an interesting dive at a new site.

We all arrived on site early and although cold it was dry and a fairly bright day. The path down to the shore was quite steep so we had be quite careful climbing down with our kit, soon enough we were all organised then Alistair and I were off on our first dive.

Heading down the steep slope in reasonable vis we quickly reached 25m and came across a few nice fireworks anemones, once we had taken plenty of photos we turned right on a bearing of 240° and found the rocky reef. Although it is quite a small reef here with spaced out rocks there was loads of life to be found, with sea loch anemones, peacock worms, a good variety of squirts, and sponges clinging to each rock. There were also loads of long-clawed squat lobsters about and a few brown crabs.

We pottered around here taking a few more photos for a while before slowly working our way up the slope back towards the shore, passing an old pipe on the way at about 9m which was covered in clumps of sea squirts. After our safety stop we surfaced from a very enjoyable dive with a total time of 45mins.

Following our surface interval Steven and I went in for our dive and followed pretty much the same profile apart from only going to 20m, which is all that is really needed to see the rocky reef. We saw much of the same of life as the first dive and also another large fireworks anemone.

After some lunch Alistair, Ken, and Steven headed in for the last dive of the day and once they had explored the reef for a while they practiced some DSMB deployment which was somewhat successful.

Although only a small reef this was an interesting dive site with loads of live so was certainly worth trying.

For more photos click here or go to the gallery.

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BSAC try dives circa 1960

Dundee Sub Aqua Club is affiliated with the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC). BSAC is 60 years old and we very much believe in the philosophy of its origins.

Below is an early promotional video for Try Dives which we are currently running. The video was produced by BSAC and gives you an idea of how the club operates……………..sort of!!!!!!!

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