From time to time Clydebank members will tell you about their diving activities:
Bankies on the Rock
story: Gordon Anderson
photos: John Kerr
Someone who shall remain nameless thought it would be a good idea to organise a club boat trip to Loch Fyne on Sunday 13th of October 2019.
With five keen members Leigh Milne, John Kerr, Martin Keeley, John Morgan & Gordon Anderson interested, the wheels were put in motion and a plan quickly came together, to dive Stallion Rock & Adamís Reef.
The weather looked fair so alarm clocks were set and we converged in the darkness to set off for Loch Fyne with the club rib in tow.
The boat was expertly launched by John Kerr from Argyle Caravan park just north of the town of Inveraray and we motored the short distance to the first dive site of Stallion Rock.
Initially the water appeared quite dark and brown however once through the fresh water of the first couple meters visibility cleared and revealed visibility of around eight to ten meters. We couldnít believe it!!!
There was a fair amount of life on the wall with squat lobsters as far as the eye could see and we even managed to find a few of the bigger variety the Scottish Lobster.
Towards the bottom of the wall at around thirty meters there is a large crack running horizontally which was bursting with life, including some young Cuckoo Wrasse, Ling and Pollock.
First dives over we headed back to the caravan park for a quick spot of lunch and a check of the rugby score, however maybe the latter wasnít such a good idea.
For the second dive we headed back down the Loch to a site known locally within our club as Adamís Reef, named after the late and former member of our club Adam Curtis.
Again, we found the visibility to be excellent with a fair amount of life on the reef. John Kerr and Martin even managed to find a Dog fish and eagle-eyed Leigh spotted a Lobster hiding under a rock.
With the rain starting we quickly packed our gear away and recovered the boat, which proved slightly more challenging than first expected, however we put our heads together and made best use of our resources and over came the soft sandy beach and piles of sea weed.
Although late in the year for some we still managed to have a cracking couple of dives on sites that never fail to disappoint.
Thank you to John Kerr for towing and skippering the boat and also providing the photographs from the day.
Story & Photos: John Kerr
additional photos: Keith Waugh
It was the 4th of July and the Bankies were looking for something a little different, Conservation Bay (also known as ďSmugglers CoveĒ) Lochcarron was muted as a possibility that sparked the imagination. The celestial almanac was quickly dusted off, the ephemerides of the planets were reviewed and the runes were read. It was done we were all set for the weekend 7th/8th September, neap tides, slack water early afternoon and morning with the eternal hope of sunshine. Martin, Keith, Niall and the writer, the 4 intrepid Clydebank members with their respective partners in tow were off, Martin our fair weather talisman yet again true to form with the high pressure ridgeís arrival on the Friday ushering in the glorious blue skies and sunshine that had been hoped for. Rendezvous at the Lochcarron hotel 1400hrs, 180miles from the club hut was agreed as we made our own respective ways to our abode for the evening sustenance and refreshments that would follow. How far to the dive site was the cry, just down the road, 4.8 miles to be precise was the riposte from Keith. Camp was quickly established at the bay, the shore cover management team quietly chuckling at our antics as we kitted up and subsequent 100mtr walk to the beach in the heat, could this really be Scotland was the cry as the ladies gazed across the water to the strome islands with Plockton and Cuillins of Skye as the backdrop.
Conservation bay is located at the eastern end of Loch Carron in the Strome narrows, this being appointed as a Marine Protection Area (MPA) in May 2019 following the extensive damages to the famous flame shell sea bed by illegal scallop dredging in 2017. The loch is more than 100 metres deep and around a mile wide in places and at the narrows it shallows to less than 20-25 metres and is around a quarter of a mile wide, this resulting in serious rip tides as the water accelerates through the channel on the incoming and outgoing tides which in turn provides all that is good and great to the carpet of sponges, deadmans fingers and soft corals that cover the walls and sea bed which is the home of the little bivalve molluscís known as the flame shell. Itís a slack water dive option only, so with a high water of 1453hrs we dropped in, through the kelp and headed off down with our left shoulders to the wall as a loose four, passing both the plinth with plaque and the plaque mounted on the wall in memory of John Weston. Time flew past and before we knew it with 30 minutes past, it was time to turn and head back ensuring that we came out on the 60 minute mark. The dive didnít disappoint a little darker than memory from the past, most probably due to the amount of recent peaty rain run-off, but with a visibility of +10mtrs, 14 Deg sea water temperature; the Wrasse and Pollack;soft corals acting as cover for the squatties, (one of which Martin ended up on the receiving end of its wrath having wrongly thought he could just pick him up); a shy lobster and large edible crab in the vertical fissure in way of the discarded creels; some lovely butterfish, one of whom was using a sponge as a pillow to rest his weary head and the dog fish who conveniently dropped in to pose for the final camera shot of the dive, it truly was a delight. Bring it on again for 2020 was the cry as we headed back to the Lochcarron hotel for one or two libations and dinner, one option from the menu being a plate of squatties, who says revenge is best served cold (with a Marie Rose sauce) cried Martin as they were devoured, shells and all.
Conservation Bay in glorious sunshine
The "Management/Support" Team
without whom the whole trip would not have been possible!!!!!
Summer is here!??
Story: Keith Waugh
Photos: Graham McLachlan (GM)
John Kerr (JK)
Sunday 30th June dawned a typical Scottish summer day; grey and overcast with drizzle blowing in the south westerly wind. Dark clouds blew steadily across the sky. Nevertheless, a healthy group of Clydebank lunatics assembled at the club rooms at 8 oíclock to prepare the boat for a trip to Loch Fyne. This first club boat dive trip of the summer was suggested by John Kerr, who also offered to tow the boat up the road. The plan was to launch at the Argyll Caravan Park and head down loch to Stallion Rock and Kenmore Village south cliff face.
Arriving on site at around 0930, it was still blowing a bit and the drizzle was still drizzling, but as we rallied round to prepare the boat for launching, the rain stopped and we were able to change in to diving kit and keep dry!! A miracle indeed!
However, another group of around 10 divers from south of the border, were ready to depart for Stallion Rock, so we had to change our plans. It was decided that I would take the first group up to Kenmore south bay, drop them and all their kit for 2 dives on the shore and come back for the next group. We would head down to Adamís Reef for our first dive and then come back to Kenmore and change places with the first group!! Excellent!!
All went according to our new plan, though it did take a few minutes of careful observation of the shore and tree line to determine the exact location of Adamís Reef. Once located, we checked the bottom profile on the echo sounder, and sure enough, we were in the correct position.
In short order Martin Keeley, Ian Sinclair, Gerry Regan and myself were on the start of the cliff wall and dropping down the face to be confronted with a spectacular display of fanworms. On the way we came across Aurelia aurita jellyfish pulsating slowly through the dark green water, not unlike spaceships drifting in the vastness of space. Err-hum!! Coming back to reality! Gerry and I cruised along the bottom of the undercut wall at 32metres seeing the occasional Pollock but sadly not much more. The wall though, on our left shoulder, was covered in fanworms, soft corals, sponges, hydroids, anemones and various crabs, which looked all the more brilliant in the torch beams. To our right the sandy muddy bottom sloped steadily down and away from us to unknown further depths. Looking up we could see the wall towering above us in the green light, the top of the wall, at 10 metres, just about being visible. No stop bottom time was rapidly running out and as we were near the end of the wall in any case, we ascended to enter the next phase of the dive.
At around 15 metres depth we cruised back along the wall towards our start point, exploring the many fissures and undercut crevices. Again, an abundance of colourful still life but sadly not a great many fish. However, we did spot a Butterfish, which did not like my video light, and a few Ballan Wrasse.
So, time to head in to shore and our safety stop, before arriving back at the boat where Martin and Ian had just arrived in front of us.
Before departing we left a marker buoy on the shore, so that the other group of divers could find the site. Then it was back to Kenmore Village south bay for a lunch break with the midgies.
The other group, consisting of John Kerr, Neil Richardson and Graham McLachlan, were just finishing lunch when we arrived out of the misty drizzle. It didnít take them too long to load up the boat and off to see if they could find our marker buoy!!!
After our lunch and a suitable break, we couldnít stand the midgies any longer, so we kitted up for our 2nd dive along the south wall at Kenmore Village. Dropping down we could clearly see the rocky slope before us. As we progressed deeper the visibility became slightly improved at around 6-7metres. The face is similar to Adamís Reef, with crevices and small gullies but in this case the wall slopes off gently to around
40metres before plunging still further. I recall diving down that wall a few years back. However, we satisfied ourselves with a maximum of 25 metres and cruised slowly along the wall finding a few Pollock, Ballan Wrasse and the odd Norway Lobster. Towards the end of the dive we found a lovely Candy Striped flat worm and a reasonably sizes Eubranchus tricolor sea slug.
Back at the shore entry we didnít have to wait too long before John arrived with the boat to take us back to the Argyll Caravan park. His group had located our buoy and enjoyed a good dive. The drizzleobeyed our command to hold off whilst we changed out of dry suits before heading back down the road to Clydebank.
All agreed that it had been a very successful day, despite the midgies, the cloud, wind and rain! Well, you know what divers are like!!! They hate getting wet!