Perfect Pembroke (Jun’23)

After last years’ successful trip (after 2 years off due to COVID & awful weather) we just had to go back so we did!

Base camp established, Bounty set up with on-site pool!

We (Vicki, Bounty & I) came down on Thursday for some non-diving excursions to a variety of beaches, towns, castles etc.

St. Davids Cathedral, idyllic or what?

Speaking of idyllic – how about the busy beaches?

Carew castle (& Bounty)

The rest of the party (Chris H & Steve) came down on Friday evening while Colin unfortunately had to call it off due to other commitments.

Saturday: Dive 1 – Stack rocks

With an 09:00 ropes off we arrived at the docks in plenty of time, this visit the boat was outside the marina so it was a case of down the walkway to the pontoon & on to the boat. With capacity for 10 we were two down (including Colin) so that left plenty of space – even with 10 it would still be roomy.

Loading the boats (we’re on the red one)

The wind had been looking a little strong (better on Sunday) but we still motored on round to Skokholm to dive a well reviewed site – Stack Rocks while we sipped a very welcome cuppa to warm us up before the dive.

Not shortage of these guys – catshark/dogfish

With Geoff & Steve as buddies & Chris H & myself in we went & down to kelp & then headed south to a gravel bottom and then east along the reef


There was certainly no shortage of life here with what seemed like the UKs’ population of dogfish in residence along with plenty of big spider crabs with the odd yellow sponge & beautiful snakelocks anemones which isn’t to mention the fish & the small jelly fish that Chris H spotted

Saturday: Dive 2 – ‘Slate’ wreck

After pulling alongside the other boat (Celtic Discovery) near Skomer where people had been dropped by the shuttle to go bite/puffin watching – there were a lot circling in the skies were were offered drinks, bacon butties & choc chip rolls – that’ll do nicely!

Then back to near the first dive for the Slate wreck; the skipper explained the main wrecks are in the Haven (the Behar, Dakotian & Thor) & it is very tidal there. The Slate wreck is mostly stacks of slates

It was down to kelp & then south again to get deeper; there were surprisingly few fish but it got more interesting where the kelp stops & the reef hits the gravelly bottom with lots of big spider crabs crawling on the walls or sitting on the bottom in small groups.

As we moved along there were velvet swimming crabs hiding in the cracks & crannies & even a biggish lobster! Chris spotted a conger – just the eye & a little grey patch in a hole. All of this was in pretty good visibility (5/6m) but a bit milky with lots of particles in the water.

Visibility was ok, this might even be my buddy!

The creatures on this dive were mostly about hiding

Except for this guy who was front & centre – and mostly ‘armless 🙂

After pickup we unloaded the cylinders for fills then headed back in Steve’s car (leaving the rest of the kit left on the boat).

What we really came for!

Time for a shower & change then down to Broadhaven for a play on the beach with Bounty (he’d slept all day so Vicki had read – good to get out). Steve & Geoff had walked on the promise of a lift back & Chris had driven from Milford Haven for our evening meal in the Galleon – the same table as last year!. The meal & beer (Reverend James – nice & dark) were excellent & it seemed they were setting up for live music but we were all tired from the days’ activities –  though Steve was ready to stay & boogie the night away!

Sunday: Dive 3 – Rye rocks

It was much calmer today but there was some serious fog/sea mist – you could imagine the Flying Dutchman making an appearance! In fact we thought our boat was coming of the mist but it was a big old fishing boat popping in for some beers! (clearly they don’t know Wales shops opening hours on a Sunday morning!)

The first boat we saw

Ours duly appeared

Both Pembrokeshire Boat Charters vessels duly appeared & we carried our refills down & got ourselves set up; the other divers were amazed at some of Steves’ vintage & none the worse for it kit – if it ain’t broke…

Still misty up above, a little clearer down below

Hoping the mist would burn off later & considering it too dangerous to dive in the Haven (due to other water traffic) we headed back out to Skomer to dive the reef round Rye rocks. Instructions were north to go deeper, south back to the island. 45 minutes max dive time & blob up at the start (due to the currents & lack of surface visibility).

Jellyfish on our way down

The landscape between the kelp

This guy was happy enough to greet us as we emerged from the kelp

Chris took the blob & I took the photos though in the end this wasn’t much compared to yesterday; lots of kelp down to a sandy bottom for a while before finding ourselves back in the kelp & trying to find sandy patches to swim through. A few spider crabs watched our passage.

One of the other divers who was on a rebreather apparently spent his last 10 minutes communing with a seal – we didn’t spot any 🙁

Sunday: Dive 4: SS Dakotian

We tied up alongside the Celtic Discovery again for the surface interval but then realised we’d miss the slack if we didn’t get going!

We were plied with ham & cheese (or ham or cheese) rolls & choc chip cakes with hot drinks (have to admit I had 2 rolls – shame to waste them!) while hoping for the mist to clear (it did a little)

Chris demonstrating good trim while exploring the wreck

Conger waiting for his photo opportunity

No shortage of these guys again

We headed for the Dakotian, which seemed very popular (3 other boats on it) but below the surface you wouldn’t know it – she’s a pretty big wreck). Besides the vast quantities of rusting metal there was plenty of life including lots of crabs & a big shoal of mackerel on the way up.

Overdale on its way to collect us from the final dive

Heading back we had a nice chat with the other divers comparing diving tales before the inevitable unloading & goodbyes

Our roamings over the 2 days of diving

Later that afternoon we headed down to Broadhaven for a play with Bounty & it was very spooky in the mist – you could hardly see the town or sea

South Broadhaven beach on a non-misty day

The rest of the diving party (Chris H, Steve & Geoff) packed up & headed home while Vicki & I were to brave it out for another couple of nights – there were more beaches & castles to explore!

My thanks to my diving buddies for supporting the trip, I think we’ll do it again next year


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *