Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Trip Report: Eyemouth & St Abbs, 4-8 September 2023

Waves Shape
by trip organiser James H

Dive sites
Monday: West Hurker/Fast Castle
Tuesday: Anemone Gull/West Hurker/ Ebb Carrs, wreck of the Alfred Earlandsen
Wednesday: Glanmire, Skellies
Thursday: Black Carrs,  Glanmire, Breder Point
Friday: Black Carrs, Thrummy Carr

Many members will fondly remember Tony’s biannual trips to Eyemouth, which me and my dad Graham were privileged to join in 2017 and 2018. The area is famed for its biodiversity, with a huge range of wildlife including seals, fish, crabs and lobster that can be seen in large numbers unlike anywhere in the UK. For those not so keen on reefs and gullies there are a few wrecks, notably the Glanmire which lies in 30 metres of water and offers a very interesting experience for the wreck enthusiast and fish hugger alike. The entire area is an underwater photographer’s dream and the recreational depths and stunning vis have kept divers coming back year after year. After a trip to the nearby Farne islands last year, it was agreed at the club planning meeting that a return to Eyemouth was in order after a several year hiatus.

We booked with the operator Divestay, and had the comfortably appointed Home Arms guesthouse as our dive base. The hotel has an onsite compressor, courtyard kit area and drying room, with a van ferrying kit to and from the boat every day. The harbour is a five-minute walk from the guesthouse, especially useful for the rebreather divers making their early morning checks. Diving was conducted from the hardboat Wavedancer, which is equipped with all the usual refinements including a diver lift.

We booked five days diving, Monday to Friday, and travelled there and back at the weekends. The group arrived on Sunday, and we soon began sampling Eyemouth’s excellent culinary establishments, which on previous trips had been as much an attraction as the diving.

We were extremely lucky with the weather, with flat calm seas and generally good surface and underwater visibility. On previous trips we had been blown out at least once, but this time we were able to squeeze the full five days of diving in, despite the fog that descended on the area in the last few days.

The majority of the dives were scenic and we saw some amazing sea life by exploring the various gullies, including various species of crab and lobsters (including one with its newly hatched larvae). We also saw sea urchins, starfish and sun stars against a background of spectacular rocky scenery covered in dead men’s fingers (UK soft corals).

The skipper Billy had given us some very useful advice for finding the elusive Atlantic wolffish which is usually found at much greater depths: this involved focusing attention on rocky outcrops with an absence of Brittle Stars (because they make a tasty wolffish snack it seems). John in particular became proficient in this technique and became known as the “Wolffish Whisperer”, conjuring them up on a number of occasions, and photographing their toothy grins.

On the way back to the harbour on one occasion, following the report of a lobster pot wedged in a gully, community-spirited Bob stepped up (or down) to the challenge and rectified the situation.

The highlight of the trip for me must be the Glanmire wreck. Eyemouth is the resting place for a great number of ships, many of which lie in very deep water, but at 30m the Glanmire is accessible for most recreational divers. It is well broken up but the boilers, engine and prop are still solid. The wreck is a haven for pollack, wrasse, flatfish along with crabs and lobster. The boiler is home to numerous blennies which take refuge inside the boiler tubes. The bow is a short swim from the wreck, ideally requiring a jump line, but is well worth the detour as the ship’s large anchor stands proud of the seabed and is in remarkable condition. The bow has slumped onto its starboard side and here it is possible to see where the wreck collided with the seabed.

As well as the recreational diving, we managed to complete some Dive Leader training during the course of the week including mid-water DSMB deployment and DP2 Dive Management.

A fantastic week was had by all and there are already murmurings of arranging a follow up in 2024 so watch this space…

Check out the gallery of photos for this trip

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