Foreword – Chris
11 UBUC’ers headed down to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire for long weekend of awesome diving. Here’s what we got up to!
Saturday – Ollie
Not letting the rainy Pembrokeshire morning dampen our spirits, we set off for Martin’s Haven to launch the boats, which – somewhat surprisingly – turned out to be relatively faff free for a UBUC trip. On the water by 1100, sun starting to peak through the clouds, we headed to the dive site, spirits high. Our first dive of the day was Rye Rocks, a gentle but pretty dive with an easily accessible wall and a couple of seals playing about near the rocks. Visibility was a snotty but very respectable 6m with plenty of light to see the diverse marine life that Skomer has to offer. On low slacks, with almost no wind, this was the perfect introduction to boat diving for some of the newer club members, and the chance to swim with seals made it extra special.
After a relaxing lunch back at the launch site a few divers went off for shore bimbles while we waited for the next tide, some even squeezing some SD and DL lessons into the spare time. We saw several catsharks, barrel jellyfish and, of course, loads of wrasse and nudis!
We finished up the day with a beautiful dive on one of my favourite dive sites in Skomer: South Tusker Rock. But unlike previous trips, with an unnervingly long slack, and only a couple of minutes of frantic swimming to the sheltered face of the reef. The dead men’s fingers and vibrant jewel anemones which completely cover the rock make this a magical place to dive, and today was no exception; it was a brilliant end to a fantastic day’s diving. Tired and by now slightly sunburnt, we made our way back to the campsite, for some dinner, ciders and well-earned sleep.
Sunday – Rosie
Sunday in Skomer was awesome. After waking up to sunshine through our tents, we headed out in the boats. While waiting for slack time for the first dive of the day, the Garland Stone, there was time to walk/swim through a cave. By the Garland Stone there were plenty of seals hanging out on the surface. The dive was beautiful, with at least 6m vis and plenty of little creatures to keep our interests. It starts near the Garland stone on a rock outcrop North-East of the stone – you can pretty much see where the wall starts from the surface. We descended down the right (East) side of the wall, and ascended on the left (West). For some reason there are a load of dead mussels littering the left side.
After a quick lunch back at Martin’s Haven beach, we were back out. The aim was to find the wreck that apparently lurked in the Dead Eye Wreck site, but none of the 4 buddy pairs thoroughly exploring multiple potential sites fitting the description ‘3rd cave to the left of the rock’ could find it. One pair was greeted by a very playful seal for half the dive, but most just a lot of kelp. Overall little wind, gorgeous sun and plenty of puffins made the day enjoyable underwater, on the boat, on the beach and later for dinner and a pint in the local pub, before most of us headed back to Bristol.
Monday – Emily
With only three of us left we had a slow morning start attempting (unsuccessfully) to fit all the camping gear in the car. We headed out to Martins Haven for a final shore dive before setting off back to Bristol. After hearing of cat shark sightings, we decided to head over to the left side of the bay and were not disappointed. We managed to find over ten cat sharks as well as a nudibranch, lobster, huge spider crab and a star fish (that required a rather special signal). Despite the wind having picked up the vis was still around 4m although it did make the surface swim rather rough. After getting back to shore we packed up in record time and set off for the long journey home.