Back in July Alistair, Ken, Micah, Veronica, Steven and I made our way across to Loch Creran to a site known as Queenie reef, or 5th layby, or 13 steps……..whatever the site is called, it is known for it’s easy access and nice scenic reefs with lots of life so we were all looking forward to the day’s diving.
We all arrived on site by 10:30 to find, surprisingly, we had the site to ourselves. There are a number of dive options here, and each buddy pair (Veronica/myself, Steven/Alistair, Ken/Micah) all explored different routes on the first dive.
Veronica and I chose to follow the headland to the left of the entry point out which leads down to a nice rocky reef that is a couple of metres high at points. Once through the boot lace weed and moon jellies we soon found the start of the reef on the left, the reef itself is home to numerous long-clawed squat lobsters, sea loch anemones, many species of sea squirts, various sponges, spider crabs, and peacock worms.
After about 15mins we had reached 20m so turned around and moved up on top of the reef before following it back to shore. There was plenty to see on top of the reef as well with small beds of horse mussels and strange looking sponges sticking out of the rock, not forgetting the queen scallops that fly away like false teeth if disturbed. On the way back in we did get turned around by the current passing over the reef but a quick check of the compass soon rectified that. Ken and Micah also experienced a bit of a current as they had spend most of their dive further to the west on top of the reef.
Steven and Alistair also had a good first dive, heading out more to the middle of the loch were a gentle sand/mud slope eventually leads on to more rocky reefs.
For the second dives we all chose to take a different route again. Veronica and I aimed for the reefs out towards the middle of the loch to 20m again before turning right to head towards the boulder reef that runs parallel to the shore to the right of the entry point at about 6m. This was a really nice dive too, with loads more queen scallops flying about, more mussel beds, nice clusters of lightbulb sea squirts, and a few small serpulid clusters on the shallower reef. There were lots of moon jellies in the shallows again and one small lion’s mane that thought it would be fun to sit right in my path as I was swimming back to shore on the surface which resulted in a rather nippy lip!
Both pairs Ken/Micah and Steven/Alistair opted to explore the reef to the left of the entry this time and both had some really nice finds including phosphorescent sea pens and a thornback ray.
Queenie reef really does have a lot to offer with a few choices of dive and a great variety of life. A really nice day’s diving at a site that, for some reason, we don’t visit very often.