Sheephaven SAC Dive Notes

Aug 14 2018 Posted by Office Administraton

Sheephaven diving continued at quite a pace again last week with club dives on Saturday and Sunday, while they also provided boat cover to the Garten Swimmers on Saturday morning.

The Saturday morning dive was from Burtonport with a return to the Stag Rocks, this time to explore the eastern side of the site.

The ebbing Spring tide set up a challenge to the divers with the current swirling back on itself at one point, but the divers changed their direction to get the best out of the conditions.

On the eastern side of the dive site at a depth of over 25 metres there was a long gully between overhanging rocks that gave a wonderful dive in its own right, with abundant fish life along with the smaller marine species such as a spectacular displays of Jewel Anemones.

Another marine species of particular note was the presence of Ross Coral, which has a hard structure and has the appearance of a hard coral but is not – it is otherwise known as Potato Crisp Bryozoan.

It is only really present in deeper pristine waters such as encountered off Horn Head and Tory Island and on this site in one location it is quite abundant.

Dive times of up to 40 minutes were recorded in very good in-water conditions, with water temperature still at 16 degrees Celsius and excellent horizontal visibility of well over 10 metres.

After the divers returned to Burtonport and carried out their mandatory two hour surface interval they conducted a second dive on a reef in Arranmore Sound, which goes from a depth of 10 metres to over 20 metres and extends for a distance of some hundreds of metres.

It is a good dive site with reasonable in-water visibility and definitely worth a visit when other sites are not available.

While the Burtonport dives were underway elsewhere Sheephaven SAC were delighted to be able to assist the Garten Swimmers when they hosted a swim in Garten Lake.

There were over 150 swimmers involved and a choice of three courses, with the longest course at.3.8 kilometres, similar to out at sea the in-water temperature was a very cosy 16 degrees Celsius.

The club provided one boat with divers to give safety cover in the event there was an in-water incident involving the participating swimmers.

Thankfully all went off without any problems and the Garten Swimmers, much to their credit, provided another showcase event for water based activities in Co. Donegal, well done to all involved.

Sunday morning’s club dive was back to Melmore Head, this time accompanied by visiting divers from Aughinish SAC in Co. Clare, where everyone was treated once again to the marvels of the resident flora and fauna that makes this a dive worth repeating time and time again.

Finally Sheephaven SAC have heard the sad news of the passing on Frans Valkenborghs, father of Patrick who has been associated with the club since it was founded over 40 years ago.

Frans Valkenborghs was one of two Belgian brothers who came to Donegal in the mid-1960s to develop the Veneer Factory, that had been built some years before to process the timber that had fallen in Ards Forestry as a result of the devastation of Hurricane Debbie in 1961.

Subsequently mahogany timber was imported from abroad and brought by road from Dublin and Belfast ports, where it was used to make veneer products from the factory outside Creeslough.

Frans married a local girl and they raised a family, until in the fullness to time the Veneer Factory eventually closed and they returned to Belgium. Frans Valkenborogh passed away in his 91st year, Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.