On Friday after work I undertook my first dive with the club. Having dived extensively in England and Ireland I am keen expand my dive experience to include plenty of sites in Scotland. Having undertaken a few East coast sea dives in Scotland I was excited to get out into a loch.
The plan was to undertake a couple of night dives as this easily accessible shore site.
After a relatively hassle free drive across both cars arrived at the same time. The site was already being dived by two other pairs of divers. A quick chat with them indicated that the visibility below 15m might not be great but not put off we kitted up and James and Callum set out for their first dive. It was dusk when they got into the water but it was not long before darkness fell and we could follow their progress from their torch light.
James and Callum returned and reported good visibility, plenty of life and with a description of how to find the best of the broken pier structure. So Alistair and I set off in a North Westerly direction and soon found some depth and some of the pier. The very impressive structure juts out of the seabed a few metres high and was covered with an amazing array of life including peacock fan worms, which were very tolerant to our presence, and seasquirts, which produced beautiful patterns under the torchlight. We also found an eel hiding under the structure.
A good while was spent exploring this structure before heading out to get a bit more depth, around 25m the pier wreckage seemed to be petering out so we turned and head back towards the shore. Between the pier sections the bottom is very silty and covered with a variety of crabs and plentiful squat lobsters. As we got into the shallows the seaweed became prominent and the industrial lights of the buildings behind the parked cars provided us with a guide to get back to the entry/exit point.
Both buddy pairs undertook a second dive. James and Callum managed to miss most of the pier structure on their second dive however spotted dogfish and gurnard so not all was lost. James was snapping away on his camera through out his dives – as you can see from the photographs illustrating this write up. They reported that a drift had picked up and bearing this in mind we got back into the water around 10pm for our second dive.
Our dive saw us spotting more of the pier structure, this time lower profile, broken up sections. Still packed with life and plenty to see we were easily entertained for another 40-minute dive. Conscious of the drift we took a more Westerly bearing on this dive and were able to surface at the end within an easy swim of the car park.
As a first dive in the Scottish Lochs I was impressed by this site not least for the easy of access from the shore, the convenient parking arrangements, the light that is provided by the industrialization in the area (no loosing kit in the dark), the depth that was reached without too arduous a swim, the abundant life and sizeable specimens we spotted on our two dives. The water was around eleven degrees but the air temperature made the kitting and de-kitting very civilalised even given the late hour.
Overall, an enjoyable couple of night dives, the visibility was more than sufficient to see as far as the torch light would allow and plenty to see along the way.