Last Saturday saw a few members make the trip over to Loch Fyne to dive a site known as “Dogfish Reef”. The site consists of a steep rocky slope which at around 30m changes to mud/silt and continues down into the depths. There is also a concrete block mat that sits on the slope from 4m down to 26m (depending on the tide) which conveniently marks the entry/exit point for the dive. This site is well known for the numbers of dogfish (small-spotted catsharks) that can be found here, especially during February-March.
Although a bit dull and misty it was quite a pleasant day with little wind, this meant the surface of Loch Fyne was flat calm and looked very inviting. Once we were all on site and organised Callum and I headed in on the first dive. This was a planned deco dive to 35m so we followed the concrete block mat descending down the slope and quickly reached the end at about 27m, we then continued out over the mud bottom to our target depth of 35m. We didn’t stay at this depth for long, instead we made our way back towards the rock slope to up to 30m and headed along the slope east of the entry point for a while before turning back. By the time we got back to the bottom of the concrete block mat we had just gone into deco time so we slowly made our way up the blocks to our 5m stop.
The visibility on this dive was great, probably around 10m, with the ambient light even reaching down to 35m. The site certainly lived up to its name, below 25m there were dogfish everywhere, they were sitting out in the open and crammed into just about every nook and cranny in the rock slope. There was also plenty of other life to be seen, the number and size of the sea loch anemones here is quite something and they look spectacular covering the rocks when looking up the slope with the ambient light above you. We also came across a greater pipefish, dragonet, devonshire cup corals, spiny starfish, and a variety of different sponges and sea squirts.
After an hour surface interval Alistair and I went in for a dive but due to the profile of the first dive and relatively short surface interval we weren’t going to have much time at depth so we spent a large portion of the dive around 10m, only descending down to 25m for a short time. While we only came across a couple of dogfish on this dive there was a lot of other life to be found in the shallower depths and the good visibility and ambient light made this really enjoyable. This also gave Alistair another chance to practice deploying his “underwater bird table” which I’m not sure went completely to plan but was certainly interesting to see. Apart from the dogfish, other highlights included sunstars, red cushion stars, a variety of nudibranchs, and a large nudibranch (Pleurobranchus membranaceus) egg ribbon.
The last dive of the day was Callum and Alistair, they also chose to stick to shallower depths and explore further along the slope than we had done on the earlier dives, with a max depth of 18m they enjoyed a decent dive time of around 45mins and reported much of the same life as we had seen previously. There was a seal hanging about on the surface but it kept its distance from where they were diving.
This is a great dive site with a huge variety of life to be found at depth and in the shallows, and with the visibility we had it certainly makes the drive over from Dundee worthwhile.
For more photos visit the Gallery.