Sheephaven Diving

Jun 28 2015 Posted by Office Administraton

Sheephaven SAC dived Duncap Head Swim Through on Saturday morning and in doing so, took full advantage of a beautiful June morning.

Simon Henderson led the dive, which took the dive party to the shelter of Horn Head at 2015-06-20 Sheephaven SAC Saturday Morning Dive Party,   Downings, Co. Donegal (2)

Duncap Head and from there the two stick dive conducted dives of nearly 50 minutes and a maximum depth of 28 meters.

In-water conditions were excellent, with water temperature of over 11 degrees Celsius and
visibility of at least 10 meters horizontally and 20 meters vertically.

Unfortunately there was not a lot of fish life present, possibly as a result of the nesting birds present in the great colonies of Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills on the cliffs of Skate Bay just around the corner.
Proof of their hunting prowess was demonstrated when the divers were on their safety stop
and were buzzed repeatedly by Razorbills, which was quite a sight indeed.  A video of the
diving Razorbills is currently posted on the Sheephaven Facebook page, Sheephaven SAC.
Horn Head is a scientifically important seabird nesting site as it forms part of the Horn Head
to Fanad Head Special Area of Conservation. In 2006 there was estimated to be over 20,000
breeding seabirds on Horn Head alone, with Fulmar’s accounting for 2,000 pairs and
Kittiwakes nearly as many.  At that time there was estimated to be over 4,000 pairs of
Guillemots, 4,500 pairs of Razorbills and nearly 200 Puffins all of which are now currently
on the Amber endangered list.

Another important endangered bird species that is also present on Horn Head were 44 Clough
and preying on all of the above back then were 14 Peregrine Falcons.
Sunday was the longest day of the year and also Father Day’s but unfortunately it was not
helped by the weather, which eventually decided our diving activities on the morning.
Force 5 to 6 westerlies were forecasted and as Mevagh was cut off for the duration of the
rally we were back in PortnaBlagh joining Willie Sheridan and Eddie Mc Fadden, with Ryan
Ward leading the Sunday morning snorkel.
Most of the club member’s snorkelled out to the Golf Course while two dived the harbour.
For the divers surface to surface times of over 40 minutes were recorded to a maximum depth
of 4 meters.

Water temperature is increasing and in the harbour it was a cosy 12 degrees Celsius, while
visibility was also good at around 5 meters horizontally.
Good marine life was evident during the morning, with a number of seaweed species present
including kelps and the invasive Japweed.

A Giant Goby was observed along with Sea Hares, but argumentally the most important
species observed were the humble Sand Eels, which were present in good numbers.
Significantly the Sand Eels are an important food source for nesting seabirds along the local
coastline, especially the Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills observed on Saturday which
make Donegal their home.
It was great to see good numbers of Sand Eels, which hopefully will help the endangered
seabirds thrive. 2015-06-21 Sunday Morning Snorkellers, PortnaBlagh, Co.   Donegal (2)