Sheephaven Dive Notes

Sheephaven divers were able to dash out to sea last weekend in a brief lull in the weather, as the current conveyer belt of Atlantic depressions continues to roll over Ireland.

Saturday mornings dive, led by John Joe Rowland, was from Downings Pier with the initial intention of diving the nearby Werry Man rocks, but sea conditions on site were poor so an alternative dive site was across the bay in the lee of Horn Head was used instead.

The chosen dive site was mid-way between Killyhoey Beach and White Horse Rock with a maximum depth of 18 metres and a sea bed made up of a mixture of boulders, rock wall and sand.

There is a significant Kelp Forest in the shallower depths and it provides cover of shoals of juvenile Pollock, while under the boulders there are good numbers of Lobsters and Brown Crab.

Water temperature has begun to drop, down now to 12 degrees Celsius, while in-water visibility was quite poor for Donegal standards at no greater than a few metres at best.

Nonetheless the divers got a full forty minutes of a dive in an area that has a number of underwater pinnacles and gullies to explore.

It was clear on the passage out to the site and on the subsequent return back that there was some bad weather brewing up out to sea, as the swell was building up across Sheephaven Bay throughout the morning.

On Sunday morning the Sheephaven divers at PortnaBlagh were met by two former members who had returned to Ireland after living in America for many years.

Brothers Harry and Mick Allan had briefly resided in Donegal in the early 1980’s and took the opportunity at that time to take up Scuba diving with the recently formed Sheephaven SAC.

Fortunately on Sunday they were able to meet two of the Club’s founding members who are still actively involved, in the persons of Noel Brennan and Willie Sheridan.

The Allan Brothers had been staying in Arnolds Hotel in Dunfanaghy and took a moment before they left Donegal to reminisce with Noel and Willie about their experiences many years ago.

They have a family connection with Creeslough and Harry Allan had continued his contact with the sea by first being in the American Coastguard and subsequently fishing out from Oregon on the western seaboard of the USA.

For anyone who might have watched the Deadliest Catch on television to hear names such as Dutch Harbour followed by fishing for Crabs was more than a little interesting to say the least and when the crab fishing stops Harry turns his attention to another iconic fish species – the Albacore Tuna.

Unfortunately the time to talk to the Allan Brothers was much too short but for them to arrive at PortnaBlagh Pier on any given Sunday and find Noel and Willie still in the water after all these years no doubt impressed them – as it does all their Sheephaven club mates every weekend.