Shore Diving and Seasearch

Shore Dive Bridges and Doctors

I don’t know about you but sometimes I actually prefer a shore dive.  You watch the weather and the tides and when both line up perfectly with your schedule, it’s time to grab the gear and head for Kilkee. With no pressure of launching and recovering a boat, a shore dive can be a great way to ease back into the diving. 

Kilkee has a good few good spots.  Newfee is almost always available wether the tide is low or high. Its shallow and sheltered so any novice can take it on without anxeity. Doctors Rock and Myles Creek are more challenging and you be advised to get an experienced buddy to show you the way.  I was lucky to have Paul Doherty and Richard Roche around to show me the ropes recently.  We met in the carpark at Diamond Rocks Cafe about an hour before low tide. We planned to drop in about 15 mintues before the tide turned so we would be on the slack. Thanks to the two lads leading the way, we had no trouble navigating out to Doctors rock and safely back again.

 

This time of year there isnt a huge amount of fish life buzzing about, but the underwater structures are impressive. On our way in and out of the dive site we came across what my kids called “shrek ears”. Later on, when I sam these tiny mushroom shaped creatures again in The Bridges of Ross, I decided to ask John Breen what they were. After a few emails back and forth he had enough info to identify them as “Himanthalia Elongata”. John told me, “What you are seeing is the disc at the base. Later in the year, they will have long strands of growth and then are called Thong weed. When you are coming in for a dive at The Bridges, you have to swim through this for the last 20-50 meters.”  At the Bridges, myself and Paul saw a good bit more life one Wednesday evening after work. Paul shone his torch on a squat lobster for me early on as it clinged to the side of the reef. We spotted a good few Cuckoo Wrasse and Pollock on our swim out and on the way back at the very end Paul pointed out a Scorpion Fish.

 

From Shore Dive Bridges and Doctors

All this nature spotting has got me interested in looking for more, so I’ve decided to sign up to the Seasearch course being run in the Galway Aquarium on the 8th and 9th of May with Chris Wood.  Lectures are held on the Saturday in the Aquarium followed by two shore dives on Sunday at Coral strand, Carraroe, weather permitting. I plan to stay up Saturday night as well, so if anyone has any interest in joing me, give me a buzz. Places are limited in the course, but there are still a few spots left.  Once you have this course done, there is a Surveyors course targeted at people that want to take the techniques they learned inthe Observers course to the next level. There is a Surveyors course this year being run out of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Centre, Kilrush in August (14th and 15th). That course will be run jointly by Seasearch and the National Biodiversity Centre (Waterford).