First Dives of the New Year 02/01/13

On the 2nd of January Alistair, Callum, and I ventured over to Loch Long and a site called the “A-Frames”. The site gets its name from the remains of an old demolished jetty which consists of about 8 piles of concrete pillars which sit scattered on the sloping sea bed at depths ranging from 16-30m. There is one large pile forming an “A” shape at about 16m.

The gentle sloping seabed, shelter provided by the surrounding hills, large car park and easy shore access make it a popular dive site, as was evident on this day with the car park practically full by 11:30.

Callum and I were first in and we had a great dive, we went straight out from the shore down to 30m then came back up the slope exploring some of the concrete remains on the way back, including the large pile at about 16m. The visibility was about 5m in the shallows (maybe more) and although little ambient light was penetrating below 10m the visibility was still pretty good. The water temperature was a reasonable 10°C but the usual freshwater layer at the surface made our safety stop considerably colder.

Alistair and Callum followed a similar dive plan on their dive.

When the time came for Alistair and I to dive together the tide had come right in and was almost covering the bottom part of the  path down to the shore (if you have dived here before you will know that is pretty high!).

Our plan was similar to the previous dives apart from we were only going to 25m and hoping to spend more time exploring the shallower remains of the jetty. However, due to the high tide there were some strong currents going opposite directions at different depths which put us off course almost immediately. The visibility was greatly reduced on this dive as well making it very dark at depth. We still managed to come across a couple of the concrete remains and although we surfaced a bit further from the entry point than we may have liked we still had an enjoyable dive.

There was a lot of life to see on these dives. The old concrete pillars are covered in sea loch anemones, plumose anemones, dead man’s fingers (soft coral), impressive upside-down forests of peacock worms, yellow rimmed sea squirts, gas mantle squirts, feather stars and patrolling around them were large hermit crabs and velvet swimming crabs ready to nip you if you got too close! We also encountered squat lobsters, greater pipefish, a small spotted catshark and at least 5 different species of nudibranchs (sea slugs).

Overall we had a great day’s diving. A good start to the New Year.

More photos can be viewed here

JamesL

About JamesL

I was instantly hooked on diving after doing a Trydive with DSAC in Sep 2009 and have loved diving all over Scotland ever since. I have always had a keen interest in marine biology and more recently underwater photography which allows me to record and ID the huge variety of life to be found in Scottish waters. [latestdive user="jamesL"]
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