Sheephaven Sac

Sheephaven divers enjoyed a spell of more settled weather last weekend and got diving in the protected waters of Mulroy Bay as a result, even though the effects of the recent northerly winds were still evident on the exposed dive sites around the coast.

Saturday mornings dive was at Pan Rock, in Broadwater Bay near Cranford pier and involved a single boat dive party operating in two sticks.

Maximum depth at this site can go off to over 30 meters, but is enjoyed at its best in shallower depths of no greater than 20 meters.

In-water conditions were good, with visibility at around 10 meters in the upper reaches of the water column, but very dark from 20 meters on wards.

Water temperature on this site varies rapidly depending on surface conditions; hence it cools here much more quickly than out at sea and on Saturday the temperature was less than 11 degrees Celsius – significantly cooler than of late elsewhere.

Sunday mornings dive was back up Mulroy Bay with one stick deployed at Campbell’s Bed, while the second stick returned to Pan Rock.

Surface conditions were good with fair weather but a northerly wind, which had blown out the preferred dive sites out at sea, hence the decision to return to Broadwater Bay.

Campbell’s Bed is a long submerged reef that runs in a generally north-south direction for nearly 200 meters and has a maximum depth at its southern end of over 25 meters and at its shallowest is only a foot or so from the surface and a bit of a hazard to shipping as a result.

Dive times of up to 35 minutes were recorded at Campbells Bed after which the dive party moved to Pan Rock were the second stick completed a 40 minute dive to no greater than 20 meters.

It was to nearby Lough Swilly that our club mate David Mc Gloin brought Marine Harvests’ newest work boat on Sunday, after its maiden voyage from its builders – the famous Tyrrells of Arklow.

The new vessel has been named Croi na Farriage – Heart of the Ocean – and it is a purpose built work station for Marine Harvest, she is built of steel, 15.5 m in length and has a displacement of 81 tonnes.

To facilitate her work she has twin 300 HP turbo diesel engines with direct shaft propulsion, two capstans and a deck crane with a 40 tonne workload.

Prior to leaving Arklow the vessel had to have her last certification, which was to ensure the accuracy of her compass, known as ‘boxing the compass’ – for which the services of a Master Marnier were required.

The person acquired for this task was Neil Miles from Co. Louth, who is the Captain of Robert Ballard’s ship the Nautilus, famous for finding the Titanic, among other adventures.

David, who has dived with Sheephaven SAC since he was a schoolboy, skippered Croi na Farriage on its passage to Rathmullan.  David is himself a qualified ships’ Master and his current maritime qualification authorising him to take charge of vessels up to 200 tonne displacement with a length of no greater than 24.5m and up to a distance of 150 miles of the coast.

David has over the last few years acquired a series of technical qualifications which will eventually allow him to become a Ships Master with unlimited range conditions, but he still remains a central team player when Sheephaven Search and Recovery is called out by the Coastguard in event of a water based tragedy.

Finally we wish to congratulate another dive colleague for their ‘nautical’ success – albeit with a very tenuous connection – when Robin Law was part of the cast of the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera ‘The Gondoliers’ last week in An Grainan. Robin had the role of Annibale and well done to all involved as it was a great night’s entertainment indeed.