After sadly having to cancel the first trip due to adverse weather, 22 UBUC’ers eventually made their way up to Northumberland to once again meet ‘n greet all of the seals! Normally we only run this trip for 12 people but because of the demand we doubled it!
After a long drive up on Friday (one car took 10 hours to do the journey, with many stops on the way) to Budle Bay Bunkhouse, half of the group were up early (6am) on Saturday morning ready for the seals! Well, some were, others on the other hand were suffering due to lack of sleep from some very noisy snorers. We met Paul (from Farne Island Diving) at Beadnell Bay, where he launches his RIB, in the freezing cold (it was about 4 degrees in the air), and were heading out to sea by 7:45am. It was going to be a long day! The sea was flat and calm and would stay like that for the rest of the day, water temperature was 9 to 10 degrees.
After two dives out at the Farnes (involving lots of faff and much squeeling), the first group headed back and met the second group who were raring to go. We headed out once again for a second wave of divers, this time with Sophie actually diving after she forgot a drysuit hose for her drysuit… We did two short dives on the Big Harker, which is an enclosed bay that is devoid of much current. On the other hand, it also housed about 100+ seals that day, most of whom were very interested in us. Vis was 5m+. We were almost immediately ganged up upon by multiple seals as we entered the water, and they just kept coming throughout the dives.
The evening consisted of fish and chips (or pizza, or vegan alternatives) in the bunkhouse and some silly games, but we had to be up early the next morning again so there wasn’t too much bevving… We were up at 6am the next morning but sadly to discover that the weather forecast had been correct and that we had 40mph gales out on the sea. So no more diving for us, at least not at the Farnes. We decided instead to try heading up to St. Abbs in Scotland (of course, stopping off at the border to take some pictures and stick a UBUC sticker on the sign) and taking a look there, which is reckoned to be one of the best UK shore dives. Unfortunately it was blown out as well (well, you might have been able to get in if you’d had a helmet…). Damn and blast.Instead we headed for a nice coastal walk (it was still very sunny!) and a bit of scrambling along the cliffs. After that we realised we had a 7 hour drive back so hit the road, stopping off on the way for a lovely carvery and also some cake to celebrate Chris’ birthday. Almost all of us got back to Bristol by 7pm, cleaned the gear and then went our separate ways to immediately crash after a great but knackering weekend!