Back in February four of us (Dave, Robbie, Callum, and I) made the trip west for a day’s diving in Loch Fyne. The plan was to dive a couple of sites; Dogfish Reef followed by Kenmore Point.
The club has visited Dogfish Reef at around this time of year a couple of times now (2013 & 2014) as, with the exception of last year, it is normally a sure thing to find large numbers of Small-spotted Catsharks (Dogfish). As well as the lure of sharks it is also a very interesting dive with plenty of other life.
Following a very early start and a great breakfast stop at Brambles in Inveraray we arrived early on site and had the place to ourselves. After a quick walk down to the shore to check out the entry we got our kit sorted and were soon on our way in.
Callum had very kindly lent me his GoPro for this dive to try and film some biofluoresence but I thought I’d rather just carry it around on standby mode and not film anything…oops! Nevertheless we had a good dive, following the rocky slope along to the left of the entry point and round the corner down to a maximum depth of 39.2m. Along the way the slope was covered in sea loch anemones (some quite large), peacock worm and parchment worm tubes, various sea squirts, sponges, spiny starfish, and red cushion stars.
After spending a bit of time around 38m we began to ascend slowly and make our way back along to the entry point. It wasn’t until we were back up at around 30m and reached the silty part of the slope in the corner of the bay that we started to come across the dogfish. Just the odd one at first then bundles of 4 or 5 were dotted about, most were quite timid and didn’t pay us any attention they just watched as we drifted slowly by.
Back onto the rock we continued our ascent as we made our way towards the exit point. At 9m I switched to my 50% mix which cut down my deco time slightly meaning we didn’t have to spend quite as long in the cold freshwater layer at 6m. Callum on the otherhand being on his CCR had no deco time at all. Surfacing with total time of 37mins, a great dive even though I messed up the GoPro filming.
Dave and Robbie had also enjoyed a good dive, they had planned on doing a sports diver lesson during their dive but decided to just have a pleasure dive in the end.
After surfacing into a heavy sleet/rain shower it was decided a hot lunch was in order so following a healthy chip butty at the Tearooms we made our way along to the site of our second dive of the day which was Kenmore point. Access to Kenmore is along a very bumpy track leading down from the Argyll Caravan Park, after a couple of miles along this track you reach Kenmore.
There is an access road to the houses and the shore here but at the request of the residents we parked at the top of this road, it is only a short walk down to the shore entry point and I’m sure the residents wouldn’t appreciate divers parking in their drives and getting changed etc.
The buddy pairs were the same for this dive and we entered in the bay on the north of the small headland with the aim of following the rocky walls around to the right of the entry point.
Callum and I entered the bay to find the visibility at <1m in the shallows but we carried on and this soon cleared once we were below 6m. Following the steep slope around the corner we soon hit the rocky reef which turned in steep drop offs which we followed to down to 30m. Although dark the visibility was reasonable at this depth and there was plenty of life to see on the walls, with lots of sea loch anemones, peacock worms, a variety of large solitary sea squirts, sponges, brachiopods, and lots of long-clawed squat lobster as ready to have a go as ever.
After spending 20mins going along the wall we turned to make our way back, slowly ascending as we went. On the way back Callum spotted a nice big horseman anemone and we also found a large male common dragonet. Back on the sand slope in the bay for our safety stop before surfacing from a very enjoyable dive with a total dive time of 45mins and max depth of 30.8m. Dave and Robbie decided to cut their dive short after encountering the poor vis in the shallows, along with problems with a computer and drysuit hose this was probably a sensible option. It was raining heavily when we surfaced again but thankfully this stopped long enough for us to get changed and packed away (it’s usually the other way around!).
A good day’s diving and a nice dive at another new site for us at Kenmore Point. There are still a number of alternative dives to explore here (including a gnome garden at 25m!) but I think visiting by boat would be an easier option.