Firth of Forth

After a very enjoyable weekends diving at St Abbs a small group of us continued up to Edinburgh in order to sample the delights of the Firth of Forth, speaking personally it is always enjoyable to dive somewhere different (such as the time I dived in Eight Acres and could actually see something).

Roy and Kirsteen kindly put four of us up on board their yacht, Bonhomme William, while Pete and Colin enjoyed the delights of a 1960’s décor B&B.

We were diving with Dive Bunker, Burntisland, Fife. Certainly a capable outfit with the most fantastic luxury of outside warm showers for washing down yourself and kit. Pete appreciated the 8 month old Neopolitan Mastiff dog that Mark (the owner of Dive Bunker) had with him, I’m not sure if this is because of Pete’s well known love of the canine species or because he’d found something that outshone him in the facial wrinkle department.

dog

Diving was from a RIB with a cabin on deck (lovely warm shelter if you’re there at a colder time of year), I’m glad we were warned that we needed to provide our own hot drinks as I’ve become too accustomed to the five star tourist treatment many skippers provide these days. Anyway what of the diving?; taking in to account even St Abbs visibility was significantly reduced this time (to about 6-8 metres max) it was sufficient in the Forth with variation from the first day at 2-4 metres to not much more than a metre on our last dive of the second day. That having been said I’ve always maintained there is something to be taken from every dive, over and above that overwhelming sense of relief at breathing fresh air on surfacing, and low visibility diving is a great encouragement to get in close and look for the small stuff.

On the first day we dived the Royal Archer, depth 30 metres, amazingly for once I recognised bits of the wreck including the tires and axles of a couple of trucks she was carrying when bombed. The second dive was a shallow scenic dive on Blae rock, festooned with a huge variety of anenomes as well as other squidgy stuff, there are cliffs with steep drop-offs but we couldn’t find anything other than a 150cm high boulder! Rust fever then descended on the group for the second day, I felt quite anxious and apprehensive (as Jan had decided to go shopping in Edinburgh, ably assisted by Kirsteen) but managed to distract myself with a leaking dry suit. The Ikea wreck was first (a flatpack of plates on the seabed), it had some crustacean life hidden in crevices along with some nudibranch and fishy things, the second dive was the one we were really looking forwards to though. HMS Campania was a Cunard liner converted at the start of WW1 to be the first navy ship to launch aircraft whilst underway, in 1918 she had a close encounter with a battleship after dragging her anchor and is now of interest both historically and in terms of the dive. Unfortunately the viz was extremely limited, my buddy and I spotted a couple of portholes but otherwise struggled to make much sense of the wreck, the other buddy pairs allege they found the gun.

In terms of diving somewhere new it certainly ticks the box, with better viz the Campania in particular would be a brilliant dive. Many of the wrecks are in the 30 metre or less range and viz can be poor so this is for experienced divers who are comfortable with such conditions. I’m interested in going back late in the year when the visibility is likely to be better (the warm cabin on board will be necessary then I suspect). A big thank you to Kirsteen for organising the trip, and to Roy for letting us stay onboard Bonhomme William, as ever as much fun was had après dive with the added bonus of Roy teaching us how to rig a genoa sail, hopefully he’ll test it before relying up on it!

 

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