Dive 1: Kitted up & launched we headed for the James Eagan Layne but the sea had other ideas: becoming increasingly choppy with the wind whipping white crests off the waves. Tim wisely called it & we headed for the Mewstone but before we got there we decided to try the Glen Strathallan. A hardboat already there cheerfully told us the viz was good (8m+) so that clinched it. First wave was Chris H, Abhi & myself, there was quite a current & it took some effort to get to the shot before the descent. Going down it was very milky & I wondered if we’d been played but around 12m it started to clear & by the time we reached the boilers it was a good 8m plus as promised. Chris took the lead as we worked our way round the boilers & peered through the circular holes only to find two large bright blue conger eels peering back at us! Not only that but there was a third down one of the other holes – the dive was already memorable!
As we worked our way across the wreckage I noticed a large number of fish following Chris, attracted by the silt (& potential food) his passing disturbed. As an experiment I gently stirred up the bottom in front of me and soon had a very attentive audience of wrasse, bib & other fish – very entertaining!
As we continued our exploration I thought back to the last time I’d explored the Glen & what a contrast actually being able to see things was! Nearly an hour later we headed up with tales of congers & fish spectators for Tim & Jon to take their turn.
Since we had a late start we resolved to have a quick lunch & get back out but the best laid plans and all that! The sandwich van,normally near the top car park – whose creations I fondly remember from previous trips was absent so we tried the small cafe up the road but they were closed (it was ‘forces day’) while the Mountbatten centre was hosting a wedding & said they couldn’t do food! It was now gone 3 & we were desperate! Not to be defeated we put together a nutritious lunch of crisps, a chocolate bar & a cup of tea until they took pity & offered us cheesy chips – note to self: check catering arrangements before deciding not to bring sandwiches!
Dive 2: Since it was so late Tim opted to just cox & Jon offered to ensure the spare cylinders in for fills didn’t get locked in the shop overnight. My cylinder ended up with a nitrox fill (32%) due to getting mixed in with a huge order of other fills (for free!). Chris H, Abhi & I headed out for the Fort with Tim at the helm.