Round up of Sheephaven SAC Diving

Sep 20 2014 Posted by Office Administraton

24th August 2014.

Sheephaven SAC’s Wednesday evening’s trainee dive was to Pan Rock. Dives was conducted to depths between 15 and 20 metres for around 30 minutes. Visibility was between 5 and 10 metres. During the weekend, weather conditions were near perfect on the way out from Burtonport Pier. The main feature of this site is a swim through that varies in depths from over 20 metres on the exposed side of the swim through to less than 9 metres on the inside, where it rises into the kelp line that dominates the sheltered areas of the island. Water visibility was outstanding and really made the dive, well over 10 metres horizontally and the surface was clearly visible at 20 metres. Sea life was dominated by shoals of juvenile Pollock which followed the divers throughout their 40 minute dive. However the most outstanding observation was when the divers were checked out by a large seal, rounding off a top class dive.

31st August 2014.

On Saturday morning, the destination was the Grotto on Aranmore where depths of up to 30 metres can be achieved and water visibility was at least 10 metres horizontally. While the Burtonport dive was underway another Sheephaven dive party put out from Downings to dive Skate Bay on the north side of Horn Head. This was one of the best dives of the year with the first divers falling through a shoal of mackerel, followed by observing numerous lobsters, Edible Crabs and Shrimps as well as the occasional Conger Eel. However the best was kept to last as on the return to Downings we came across a feeding juvenile Basking Shark, who stayed around long enough for the divers to get back into the water with him. After Saturday morning’s dual dives at the Grotto, Aranmore Island and Skate Bay, Horn Head Sheephaven divers were back in the water again on Sunday morning to the Black Hole. The dive was conducted in the very best of weather conditions with bright sunshine glittering on the clear waters off Ruthland Island. This site is littered with crockery fragments that occasionally produce a few gems of intact pottery that might be a rare insight into the history of the site going back to United Irishmen of 1798 and possibly long before that to the Spanish Armada in 1588.

7th September 2014.

Sheephaven SAC had a fabulous dive trip to Doolin Co. Clare last weekend, where we were hosted by Ennis SAC as a return for their visit to Sheephaven earlier in the year. During the weekend Burren SAC kindly provided us with boat cover for the dives. The diving was top class, with two dives on Saturday and another one on Sunday morning. In-water visibility on both the Saturday dives was excellent at greater than 10 metres horizontally, while Sunday was still good at between 5 and 7 metres. Both dives on Saturday were to 30 metres while Sundays dive was to 25 metres. The dive series started on a reef southeast of Inish Oirr, which is a short boat ride. Marine life was abundant and diverse, with species not normally observed at home present, possibly due to the limestone geology, such as Sea Fans and Crayfish. But the biggest thrill in the water was when Dusky the Dolphin checked us out at the pier in Inish Oirr. She came over to us at the pier steps as we landed to have her welcome recorded on video, which is posted on the Sheephaven Facebook page, Sheephaven SAC. For anyone listening to video you can clearly hear her clicking away as she communicated with us.

The second Saturday dive was to China’s Hole near to Doolin Pier, which is a horseshoe shaped dive site with a narrow enterance guarded by treacherous reefs on either side – a good dive site but needs to be only attempted on the very best of weather conditions.

Sunday mornings dive was to Bones Bay and while visibility was not just a clear as the previous dives it was more than adequate to observe the resident Crayfish on site.

As impressive as Dusky is, the Sunday trip to Doolin Cave or Pol an Ionain, after the dive ran a very close second. Here we took the opportunity to see the world’s heaviest free standing stalactite weighing in at over 10 tonnes and a length of at 24 feet. It holds the record for the second longest stalactite in the world, but is much heavier and denser than the other and is the longest stalactite in Europe.

The story of the caves discovery in 1952 by two teenagers M.J. Dickenson and Brian Varley who went exploring caves, is the stuff of legend. They conducted a 98 metre crawl for 2.5 hours though the narrowest of tunnels, with no opportunity to turn around and crawl back until the entered the biggest cave in Ireland. For anyone visiting the Burren region Doolin Cave is a must do event. The advice to anyone visiting the cave was to leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos and kill nothing but time is a sentiment made for divers. Thanks once again to the host clubs, Ennis and Burren SAC’s but most especially to John Joe Rowland who organised the weekend.

14th September 2014.

Saturday mornings dive was to the Laurentic in good sea conditions

The trainee dive was to the wreck of the Kalliopis at Tormore just off Melmore Head. Sea conditions were good. The two stick dive commenced on the wrecks boilers and from there followed the remains of the engine and prop shaft in a westerly direction.

Thanks once again to all the club members who led the dives, fuelled and towed boats and in doing so kept the diving moving smoothly throughout the weeks.

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