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.