Thanks to Ronnie Hurley, Tom McDonnell and Mike Hynes for participating and roping in friends and family to abseil Irelands tallest hotel last Saturday, all told we raised €1,502 for good causes Milford Hospice and Age Action. the video of Ronnies adventure is on my youtube channel
This Sunday we returned to the Atlantic after a prolonged wait for good weather. After making the most of training dives at the sheltered quarry site in Portroe for the last while, Sunday was an overload for the senses, I saw two conger eels, lobsters, dozens of wrasse, a shoal of baby cod and even a curious dogfish that butted into my torch. Everywhere there was loads to see. Drift dive with a swim through (no sign of Cathedral Cave) in the middle of the bay in Kilkee was followed by a fantastic dive at Diamond Rocks, that was worth waiting for.
The other highs the day included
Eimhear O’Brien aced her Club Diver test, setting the bar high for the rest of us.
Brian made the day look effortless getting the boat in with Dave Ryan before we got there and out again with Matt and Martin an hour after the rest of us had cleared off home. Its only easy if you know how, and the effort to make our day go smoother is much appreciated.
We’re spoiled having a boat. On a normal weekend, we step off the quay and it does all the work getting us to someplace interesting and then home again. This weekend, to get to the dive sites it took a bit more work. Hook Head was great fun and I learned loads, like
*how heavy all the gear is after a 400metre shuffle across grass, rocks and slippery seaweed.
*Martin does occasionally come up trumps in choosing a dive location, Wexford was great craic.
*If the local club offers you space in their boat, bite their hand off accepting it.
*Baby cuttlefish hovering and sandeels ambushing like arrows everywhere are brilliant to see on a night dive.
*It’s foolish to follow a huge seal into a dead end cave under the lighthouse to try getting it on camera, luckily I got away with it and it just watched us amused while me and Brian quietly and hastily backed out the narrow entrance. Be prepared to receive a well deserved slagging afterwards.
It was worth the mid week rush from Limerick for a post work dive at Middle Rock in Kilkee. It was worth braving the queasy bobbing boat waiting for the first stick of divers to resurface while Mike Orth optimistically tempted reluctant mackerel from a choppy sea with old feathers and one and a half rusty hooks. This dive was something special.
Our diving group comprised me and Mike, Brian O’Leary and Richie Ryan. After a customary ritual battle of torch superiority from our tribe elders Mike and Brian with accompanying obscene gestures we proceeded along with the shelf on our left heading south. The local sea life was obviously impressed with the lads display of torch one-upmanship because they turned out in force to greet us. It was beautiful, an illuminated wall of red with endless pockets of life among the endless sea caves and under the rocks, the air bubbles congealing under each rock shelf overhead like liquid silver mirrors glinting back at us. I lost count after three types of wrasse, four types of Blenny, squat lobsters, shrimp, conger eels (including one out in the open) Pollock and Mackerel. (That was €13 well spent on John Breen’s Sea Search wildlife book last week)
Thanks to Brian’s navigation we found the elusive Cathedral Cave rock formation. It comprises an almost circular hole in the shelf with an impressive arch at the entrance, again with loads of life and a massive conger eel in residence. I didn’t know this was a rare occasion until I saw Mike and Brian doing a giddy dance of joy in the middle of it. That alone was worth the trip. Today was the day Richie Ryan got his Leaving Cert results, he probably brought us good luck. The setting sun met us at the surface, looked like an orange spotlight from the underneath. We marked the location from the boat instruments on GPS so hopefully there’s a return to follow. I’m new at this but I reckon it doesn’t get much better than that, how much fun can you pack into a 40 mintues training dive?
Here’s the video, the light lets it down but we’ll just have to go back in the full daylight to see it again. Little Lens needs lots of light but the picture is only a shadow of the memories.