Returning for the fifth consecutive year, the season opening trip to Loch Fyne has become something of an institution for members of the DMDC, where weather, diving and crack have always been good. But, there was a feeling this might be the last.
We aim for a 6 o’clock start from Scarborough with the intention of meeting the rest of the group at the camp site at lunch time (lunchtime of course being any time between 11.30 and 2.30 to avoid the possibility of being late!). With only a 30 minute delay for faffing we are definitely getting better at packing for these trips.
This is an area that definitely needs to be considered when combining two kit intensive sports into one, requiring discipline and careful planning. However, leaving your 7mm semi-dry top at home in favour of a 3mm paddling top may be taking discipline a little far (Yes, I mean you Rob!).
Once on our way it seemed the good weather forecast may have been a little optimistic with the East Coast wallowing in a familiar overcast and drizzly state.
Despite the unpromising start and our pessimistic frame of mind the weather gradually improved the further north and west we travelled. By the time we reached the camp site on the shores of Loch Fyne the sky was blue and the sun was beating down and the temperature gauge in the car was claiming 24 C! Oh what a surprise! Mr Cheeseball (aka K-Raft) and Dr Fish are already on or in the water, having been refused entry to the caravan. I suspect on the grounds of looking just a little too dodgy.
So with so much to do and so little time it’s straight in the water for a little training.
First off Si demonstrates his magical and definitely mystical anchoring system. Despite the best efforts of Rob’s reel to fuck it up, it seems secure enough to anchor a super tanker in a storm! Link to anchoring.
Next we try a few rescue drills:
From the shore this probably looked more like a viking burial ceremony (only short of a little bonfire) than the simulated rescue of an injured / distressed diver!
Yes your Malibu 2 Fat Boy is very stable, but, no you can't walk on bloody water only Darren can do that, so sit down.
Inevitably it all ends in a less than ceremonial dunking to end the day.
Margaritas and stuff. Nuff said!
The plan was to paddle down the loch and dive a popular site called Stallion Rock, which can be accessed from the shore, but is usually classed as a boat dive. However, due to the magnificent conditions progress was slow. This may seem odd, but the better the weather and the more you seem to bugger about looking at new things and checking out potential new sites. In Darren’s case a little extra time was required to cast a line to see if he could tempt any local residents.
When I say “we” bugger about, this does not include Rob who paddles with great purpose (like a Polaris missile or borg) until someone gives him a good reason to stop (usually eat, drink or dive are the only commands accepted).
We also had to make time to try and spread the yakdiving word to those shore diving the usual more accessible sites.
Once past Kenmore Point we started to track along Kenmore Cliffs that make up the shoreline from here to Stallion Rock. Presented with stretches of sheer vertical rock punctuated with small inaccessible bays, we decided there was little point continuing to our original destination. As the whole point of this yakdiving lark was to dive new sites if possible and judging by the number of RIBs speeding past us, our original site would be pretty crowded anyway.
What a decision! We found a bay offering the option of diving from the shore or directly from the kaysks. For some reason I chose to kit up and dive from a small outcrop of rock, which proved to be the least convenient option of all.
To be continued...
We are currently writing a trip report and dive guide for this section. In order to be able to keep up with our high standards of service, we need a little more time. Please stop by again. Thank you for your interest!