Kentallen Wall & River Orchy 13/07/13

A few of us from DSAC had visited this site for the first time back in March and found it to be a really interesting site, so I was keen to get back and dive it again along with Jan, Callum, and Veronica who were going to be diving it for the first time. After a week of weather that can only be described as scorchio, we were all keen to get out for a dive and thankfully the forecast was for a slightly cooler day which meant we weren’t going to be baking in our drysuits (well that was the theory anyway!).

 We all arrived on site at about 10:00 and after a briefing of the site to those that hadn’t dived here before and with Gill kindly offering to be shore cover the buddy pairs were ready to go. It wasn’t long after high tide so it was an easy entry down the slip. Callum and Jan were going in together armed with their GoPros and Veronica and I were going in together. Once in the water we were all aiming towards the wall on 310° as recommended in the dive guide, crossing the sand/mud slope the visibility wasn’t bad at about 5m in the shallows but improving as we went deeper.

Going over the slope there were pink-spotted sea cucumbers everywhere some being quite large, along with smaller and darker coloured Thyone sp. sea cucumbers.  Purple sunstars were quite frequent as well as common sunstars, unfortunately we had veered off course slightly (which may have been my fault) and by the time I had corrected our course and we were nearing the wall we had to turn back. Callum and Jan continued on a bit further but they too had to turn back before reaching the wall. It was a bit frustrating not reaching the wall on the first attempt, especially since we were so close to it, but we still had an enjoyable dive with total time of 29 mins and max depth on 19m.

After a decent surface interval and some lunch we were all ready to back in for our second dive. This time Callum and Jan went in front with Veronica and me slightly behind (maybe they didn’t want to rely on my navigating again!). Soon enough we were passing over the field of sea cucumbers and the point at which we turned back last time then shortly after we reached the wall. Veronica and I followed the wall down to 20m where we could see torch lights deeper below which meant Jan and Callum had made it this time too.

The wall was covered in yellow rimmed squirts, sea loch anemones, and peacock tube worms and looked fantastic in the good vis, torches were only really needed to add colour. we also found a Polycera faeroensis nudi and a couple of Flabellina lineata that were laying eggs on the wall. After a short stay on the wall we made our way up the rock face then back towards the pier on our reciprocal bearing, following a safety stop at the bottom of the pier we competed our dive with a total time of 30mins with the other surfacing shortly after us. This was a really nice dive with loads of life, Callum and Jan had also spotted a large fireworks anemone and a couple of phosphorescent sea pens.

 On the way home we decided to have a look at one of the dives on the River Orchy known as the Orchy Pools. It was easy enough to locate following the dive guide on Finstrokes. When we arrived the sun was out in full force so after identifying the easiest entry and exit point we kitted up (remembering to adjust weight for the fresh water) and quickly got in so weren’t cooking in our drysuits.

The river wasn’t flowing very fast so we had a bimble about for 17mins exploring the various bowls up to the waterfall and the interesting rock formations  before we made our way to the exit point. The water although clear was like tea so it was quite dark at the bottom on the pools in 6m. However none of us could believe the water temperature on our computers….21°C!!

 Overall a really nice summer day’s diving. The Kentallen wall is a great dive with a huge variety of life and different scenery, I’m sure we will be back to the Orchy soon as well to dive the pools again and try out the other site further down the river.

For more photos visit the gallery or here.

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