The weekend of 21st/22nd June was a busy one for the club, as well as a boathandling training weekend planned in Oban there was also a shore dive planned for the Saturday up at Rosehearty. Unfortunately the weather put a stop to the dive on the Moray coast but as is always the case when planning dives on the east we had a backup plan to head to the west coast. Dave, Justin, Micah, and I were going to head over to Loch Leven for a shore dive but as there was 4 of us and the forecast looked good Dave offered to take his boat over to Oban.
It was an early start and following a bit of confusion about meeting at the Green Welly we all met up at Puffin Dive Centre. While getting ready we were able to catch up with a few of the others who were on the boathandling weekend (some more worse for wear than others).
Our plan for the day was to dive Bach Island first then head down to Insh Island for a second dive on slack water.
It was a short trip round to Bach Island from Puffin in flat calm conditions, it didn’t take long to find the wall off the south-east corner of the island on the sounder and send Justin and Micah in on their first dive. Experiencing a slight current they headed north and made their way round almost halfway round the island missing the wall unfortunately but still reporting a good dive with kelp forests containing lots of life.
Dave and I went in second at the same point but this time headed south and descended straight down onto a wall with huge overhangs and covered in life. Large plumose anemones and soft corals were hanging over the tops of the overhangs and in the sheltered crevices were numerous species of sea squirts and sponges including carpets of the gooseberry sea squirt (Dendrodoa grossularia). There were also large numbers of feather stars, bryozoans, hydroids, and loads of Janolus cristatus & Polycera faeroensis nudibranchs.
We reached the bottom of the wall at 28m before turning around and following it along at about 20m back to the entry point where after a total dive time of 49mins we surfaced.
It was back to Puffin for lunch and fills before heading down to Insh Island for the second dives. There were a couple of spots we wanted to check that looked interesting on charts and in other dive reports, one was at the south-west point of the island but unfortunately there was a bit of a swell coming right onto this side so we gave that a miss.
The other spot was at the north-east of the island where, while looking for the wall we happened to spot an unusual looking house on the island so decided to tie up the boat and go for a look.
After a wee exploration of the island it was back to looking for the wall on the sounder, failing to find it and with time getting on we decided to return to Bach Island for our second dive. Justin and Micah were in first again, this time diving on the wall and enjoying a good dive. Dave and I went in after them and followed a similar profile to our first dive. As well as much of the same life seen on the first dive we also found a field of slender sea pens at the bottom of the wall and two massive brown crabs having a go at each other.
After our dives we got back to Puffin in time to catch up with everyone else before they went into Oban for a few pints. It didn’t take long to get the boat washed, gear packed, and on our way home after a great day’s diving and exploring!