With Divefest out of the way and minimal diving taking place I began to fear that the Anglesey weekend was about to go the same way looking at projected wind and rain forecasts. As it turned out my fears were ill founded and the weekend just got better as it progressed.
We all arrived at Menai Bridge during the course of Friday and settled into the hotel apart from Richard Jill and Bethany who camped up in the camper van in the car park. The group consisted of ten divers, Chris and Kerrie, Vicki and Paul, Dennis Pridmore, Henry Standing, Graham Bowsher, Jude, Richard and myself, John Beer.
The charter company we were using was Quest Diving with the boat being an ex fisheries protection vessel called Protector, skippered by Scott Waterman. Richard Graham and I had the opportunity to meet with him on the Friday evening prior to the diving. He promised to be and was a very able and accommodating skipper for this weekend.
The diving commenced with meeting on the quay side at 8.30 on Saturday morning to load our kit on the boat. Following a safety briefing we set sail up the straits to the north of the island toward our first dive site.
First dive was on a wreck believed to be the Mermaid or otherwise known as The Boiler Wreck. The remains of this vessel lies in 25 metres of water and is covered in soft corals and plumose anemones. The most significant feature is of course the boiler, which is hard to miss and was abundantly covered in corals and anemones. Second dive took us back in shore to Puffin Island inhabited by— Puffins and under the water seals. Diving here was quite shallow but the primary interest was of course the seals. For me this was the most magical encounter I have ever had with seals. Chris and I had had a few encounters at distance with these creatures. We entered a gully and a seal attacked our fins. I turned myself about and spent an engaging time with a seal right in my face with Chris just behind me busy snapping away on his camera.
Day two saw a rotation of diving buddies as we headed south down the straits towards our first dive of that day. This was the wreck of the Kimya which lay in fairly shallow water. The big plus was that it was mostly intact and very discernible as a wreck. Vis was reasonably good an d an excellent dive was had by all. Second dive was a scenic reef dive on Frenchman’s Rock.
Our final days diving took us out to the north of the island again to dive the Mona a small steamship that sank around 1916. The stern is still visible. However the bow has been covered over by sand with just a section of frame being visible along with a winch. Second dive took us back onto Puffin Island where some of us dived again with seals whilst others explored the reef to the west of the seal colony.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed this weekend and hoped everyone else did as well. The diving was a little different to what I had expected but no less enjoyable. The whole group gelled well both during diving and a group off piste