On the Friday 5th October, 9 UBUCers squished into two cars and headed off on the long drive North to the Farne Islands for the weekend!
After a cosy night in a shared bunk house we woke up nice and early (with no electricity) to get to the bay for 7:30. After only moderate faffing, we joined Paul on his rib to head off to the islands.
The sight we were greeted with was what seemed like hundreds cheeky seals all looking at us, as if they were desperate for us to join them in the water! Shaking with excitement (and perhaps the cold) we all hurried into the water to join the sea puppies.
The first dive was the deepest of the 4 over the weekend, with plenty of seals to spot! Although on this dive it seemed they were slightly more hesitant to play with us. After coming out the water, Paul blessed us with hot soup, tea and coffee to warm us through in preparation for the second dive.
The second dive on the Saturday was amazing! The seals were a lot more friendly, getting up to their normal mischief of nibbling on fins and getting their tummies tickled. One even chewed a hole in Jake’s gloves, and Chris was basically holding hands with another!
Finishing our second dive at around 1, we then ventured to the neighbouring seaside town of Seahouses to grab a pastry and have a wander after dropping off our cylinders to be refilled. Later in the evening (after some well needed naps) we headed to the nearby beach for an attempt at building a human pyramid and have a few bevs while the sun was setting. We then went to the local chippie, where everyone (except the poor veggies) tucked in to some well-deserved food. The veggies, however, struggled with eating and had to cook a pizza and spring rolls on a hob… which is harder than it sounds.
The following morning our lovely President, Lois, also joined us for the day to stay with Paul on the boat. The first dive of Sunday consisted of just sitting on the seabed while the seals eagerly swam up to us and played – many a tummy tickle was given out! Everyone managed a nice long dive, other than two divers (who will remain nameless!) who accidentally carried out a drift dive due to the changing current. This meant Paul had to come to the rescue to come collect them, but this still didn’t falter their moods.
The second dive of the day involved actively searching for the seals which was slightly odd! They were being a bit more mysterious this time and a lot fewer were seen. It was still a lovely dive though, with the conditions being almost ‘warm’ in comparison to what the weather was like at the surface. This meant the journey back to land was freezing with rain lashing down on us as well, meaning the wetsuit divers suffered a bit!
After finally drying off and packing up the cars, we headed for a well-deserved warm lunch before starting the drive back to Bristol.