Yet another farnes excursion
Here we go again, the sixth time I’ve been to The Farne Islands, Northumberland, and it’s always been good a one…
The Islands come under the National trust and are known for there seals and sea birds colonies. After the summer we’ve had with the weather and cancelled diving trips we were all praying for a good three days diving. True to form Seahouses never let us down and we had a very good week there. It’s a long way up there past Newcastle/ Gateshead (Angel of the north) but well worth it when you arrive with the local atmosphere, good pubs and very nice locals (if you can understand them). We stayed at a excellent camping site and occupied five caravans with en-suite facilities including shower, toilet, T.V’s and DVD’s.
On the Friday everybody was arriving at all sorts of times and I thought I would be first there at two o’clock after a good pub lunch. Wrong, almost half were there already and all the caravan keys were already collected, who needs a organiser anyway. As always the first thing is to find out is which one is going to be the party caravan ? Everybody that was there seemed to be congregating in my van, which is not good news, especially for my gin bottle, with the rest of the crowd all held up just short of Newcastle following a smash-up on the A1M. After several drinks the majority of the crowd arrived and we proceeded to the village to try to find a café that could cope with seventeen people with no previous notice, NO Chance.
Saturday morning and everybody on time (8.30), at the right place and kit in orderly fashion, apart from one who had there kit delivered by DHL, there’s always one. This can’t be Kingston BSAC I thought ! 22 divers on the same boat is a recipe for Mayhem but all kit was kept tidy, stashed away neatly and all documentation done by my very able Marshals Paul and Jo.
First dive – Longstone Point and not that many seals about under water but lots on the rocks. The visibility was very good (10 metres plus at least) and not to cold.
Second dive was on Blue Tips, close-up to rocks almost touching, with a sheer wall under water and lots of seals all around, above and below. After diving and caravan drinks/swapping, we went out on the first of two organised meals to the Lodge, to be met by three other K&E members who were diving in the area, it’s a small diving world. This made our party over thirty-five and the staff coped very well for such a large loud party. On the way back we were invited into one of our caravans for a nightcap, only one though, this was the sensible caravan I thought.
With a bit more faff today, having to load Glad Tidings across another boat at the bottom of steps, but we finally got sorted even though one member had to climb hurriedly across other boats to catch our boat because he had forgot his socks, I thought yesterday was to good to be true, followed by the usual almost forgotten weight belts and un-zipped dry suits, no names mentioned.
First dive was Knivestone Point, a narrow gulley with guaranteed seals and a large anchor and chain leading to two big boilers and lots of wreckage (Abysymil), Steve’s favourite. Luckily there was no current on the outside of the gulley this time, not like last year, enabling us to see more of the wreck than I’ve seen before. Good dive. More seals in the afternoon dive, plus lobsters, starfish, white and soft orange dead mens fingers and lots of urchins everywhere on the rocks.
Gren was doing his underwater camera bit able assisted by Sarah, I’ve heard it came out very well. In the evening we had a group BBQ, thanks again to my assistants Jemil and Graham, it was a bit like feeding time at the chimp house. Followed by a game of very loud rounders, Julie’s bright idea, fuelled by lots of wine and beer and finished off with a domestic violence incident witnessed by two police officers, a J.P. and several children. After first aid was administered by over half the group and the blood had stopped flowing some of us went off to the Ship Inn to get over the shock.
Being bank holiday weekend everywhere was full so we had to drink in the garden which was a little chilly therefore we transferred to the local Wendy house over looking the harbour to finish our drinks, before retiring to the Shooner Inn, minus pool table, for the remainder of the evening .
Monday morning. Skipper William not happy, Danny his boat boy had called in sick, I didn’t like to tell him he was in the pub late the previous evening and had pulled a very nice female. The weather was still behaving and we decided to go and do the Abysymil again, with even more seals than yesterday but more current on the outer side pushing us off the wreckage.
In the afternoon we split into two groups and dived either end of a sheer wall, meeting in the middle supposedly. It was a very good test of buoyancy as we initially dropped into only two metres of water and kelp. No seals this time but lots of other sea life and holes to poke about in. Six dives completed , and most of us retired to ship inn for a long de-brief and to get in the mood for our planned meal that evening. Some set off for the long journey home but most stayed for a good meal and long night.
Tuesday morning and some had the long trek home but nearly half had decided to stay for the rest of the week in the caravans and to see some of the local Northumberian sights and make use of the site’s amenities, swimming pool, health spa, etc. One good day out was the visit to Alnwyck Castle where they filmed Harry Potter, Blackadder and Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Some also went off to Lindesfarne (holy island), Bamburgh Castle and the local sandy beach. Everybody seemed to enjoy the trip and can I Thank again my caravan goddess’s Sarah, Jackie, Helen, Gill and Mary. Also my Tank boy’s Gren and Rob. And lastly Jo and Paul for marshalling the boat so well.
Good crowd. Good week.