St. Abbs, Scottish Borders (1st-2nd September 2012)
Accommodation:Home Arms Guest House
Skipper: Billy Aitchison, Wavedancer III
Dive sites: The Skellies, Tye’s Tunnel, Ebbs Carr, Alfred Earlsden, Cathedral Rock
Divers: Ross Peel, Martin Wilson, Georgie Stooke-Vaughan, Stuart Cuthbertson, Jack Whiteley, Christine Tait, Rory Welsh, Claudius Kerth, Dan Edgar.
Water conditions: Flat calm, vis range 2-6m. Temperatures around 16°C
Weather conditions: Sunny and warm, perfect
This was a really great trip! The diving was beautiful, as always around St. Abbs, with plenty of soft corals around this very scenic area. Plenty of crabs and lobsters about underwater, along with a good number of wrasse and other assorted fish. These pale into insignificance though because we had MINKE WHALES swimming around our boat! As usual, Eyemouth harbour also boased it’s usual grey seals. Everyone got at least 4 dives in over the weekend, and we managed to book the Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning slot so we got a lie in on day one, and back home nice and early.
The scenic diving around the skellies and Carrs was lovely as usual. Special mention must be given to 2 of the sites, specifically Tye’s Tunnel and Cathedral Rock. The Tunnel is exactly that: the boat pulls into a small inlet, and you jump in and swim to a certain crack in the wall. Just below the surface is a hole that you swim down head first, before entering a twisting dark tunnel that comes out into a stunning opening with the sun coming through an arch above the surface. Even with very little sea swell, there was still a good swell to push you through the tunnel. Cathedral Rock is probably the best known site in the area, but I’d never been. The rock poking above the waves gives no clue to the amzing double arch hidden below the surface; it was so big you could drive a 4×4 through it!
The new set-up that Divestay now have is really great, and it’s soon to be even better. Since the opening of the Home Arms Guest House about seven weeks ago, diving in Eyemouth is now like being on a big liveaboard boat. Gary and Zoe at the Home Arms are some of the most cordial hosts we’ve ever had, and their guest house has spacious ensuit rooms with a sea view, and provides a full English breakfast to all hungry divers. Gary will even drive your gear to the boat, and take your cylinders for filling at the end of each day, then deliver them back to the boat in the morning. They’re in the process of adding a lounge, a heated drying room, and a compressor too, so this already great guest house will soon be fully set up for divers all year round!
Billy’s new boat is somehow even better than his last one. A huge dive deck gives plenty of space for even SUSAC to faff around, and the twin diver lift takes the last bit of hard work out of diving from Wavedancer. The wheelhouse has a toilet, is cosy and large enough for 12 divers to warm up between dives in the colder months.
We’ll definitely be going to St. Abbs again next year, it was one of the best weekend dive trips I’ve been on this year!