Sheephaven divers had a mixed week of diving activities last week, with some club members enjoying the warmth of the Mediterranean, while other club members were involved in a Coxswain test in Downings.
The Alicante dive party were the guests of club member Lee Downey and dived with Scuba Elx Dive Centre, who provided boat dives from Santa Pola to the nearby Marine Reserve, which is approximately 4 miles away.
There were two dives per day, with the deepest first to a maximum of 27 metres, followed by a shallower 10 metre dive later in the day, while maximum dive times of over 70 minutes were achieved.
In-water conditions was excellent, with calm seas and good visibility of up to 30 metres horizontally. Air temperature was at 27 degrees Celsius, while water temp was no lower than 24 degrees.
As would be expected in a Marine Reserve the flora and fauna was abundant and diverse with Gropers, Barracuda and the iconic Eagle Rays observed, but the most spectacular were the Octopus that had formed their own nests and closed of the opening with a barricade of stones.
The dive leaders chose different sites each day, while their RIB was sufficiently big enough to easily carry eight divers and their kit.
During the trip the Sheephaven divers chose to dive on normal air, although Nitrox is available and they reported a great week in the Mediterranean, with no strenuous diving.
Back home Paul Mc Cabe led a dive party from Downings that included divers from our neighbours in Donegal Bay SAC, one of whom – Peter Martin- used the morning to successfully pass his Coxswain Test.
Paul reports that they had a one stick dive at Pat Mc Gees thanks to Noel Brennan who provided dry coxswain duties on the day.
Maximum dive times of 40 minutes were recorded to depths of 22 metres, with a water temperature of 13 degrees Celsius.
Finally Sheephaven SAC has learned that Ireland is moving toward its first National Marine Planning Framework, which could bring the country to a place where we may have the opportunity to lobby for Marine Reserves similar to those of the Spanish coast mentioned earlier and in other countries.
The Government has published its intentions towards developing a National Marine Planning Framework in the form of a new Report setting out a description of the “as is” situation in terms of existing sectoral development and activities in Ireland’s maritime area.
This Report includes an identification of the future opportunities and constraints for each, and also a number of consultation questions or issues intended to prompt discussion and consideration amongst stakeholders.
A series of regional events will take place on the Baseline Report, introduced by the Minister, in Cork (October 19) and Dublin (October 23), and the first draft NMPF is intended to be published in mid-2019 for a further round of consultation.