Just another manic Lundy
Brian Millar writes about the Kingston And Elmbridge Club Trip to Lundy in June 2021.
Lundy always makes an entrance. Sometimes it looms out of the mist like some magical island out of a storybook. Sometimes it shimmers in the heat haze like a mirage. Sometimes you just bang your head on it while you’re looking at a seal. This was the club’s second visit to the island, and it didn’t disappoint. We dived with Wild Frontier on their brand-new boat which picked us up from Ilfracombe and zipped us down the Bristol Channel where we picked up a few dolphins who played in the bow wave.
There was almost a flat calm both days, and it was perfect speedo and bikini weather, but alas, we are UK divers so we sweltered on deck in the mini-saunas of our dry suits until we jumped into the blissfully cool water.
Our first dive was in a cove with those Chuckle Brothers of the sea, the seals. Seals love to play games, though I found that on the first dive they were mainly playing hide and seek with an emphasis on the hiding bit. They seemed to want to hang out with Danny and Debbie, who got some amazing pictures – maybe they spotted Debbie’s camera. Everybody wants to be an influencer now.
In the afternoon we dived the MV Robert, a 1970s freighter that is still very intact. The Robert is a terrific wreck, an easy dive in about 25m maximum depth, covered in plumose anemones, candy-striped flatworms and nudibranchs, with lots of conger eels lurking in the pipework.
On Saturday evening some of us had a sensibly-socially-distanced curry in Ilfracombe, while others had fish and chips on the beach. This year it’s nice just to get out with friends anywhere, great food and a setting that wasn’t Southwest London was a bonus. Another highlight of Ilfracombe is the local BSAC who were brilliant about doing all our fills and whose facilities have left Jason with a serious case of compressor envy.
We began Sunday with more seals, including some really small pups whose mothers didn’t seem to mind them hanging out with strangers. You got a real sense of the diversity of life on Lundy; we were divebombed by oystercatchers that look like penguins that learned how to fly, and a big bird of prey circled above us on the updrafts. One day we really must go ashore. In the afternoon we dived the Carmine Filomena, an Italian steam-powered cargo ship that ran aground east of Rat Island. The wreck is only in about 10m, but is an absolute garden of waving kelp and shoals of wrasse and pollack. I love the rusty stuff, my buddy Emma loves the squidgy things, so we were both delighted.
Thanks to Debbie for organising and re-organising such a brilliant trip during a pandemic, and to Ilfracombe BSAC for filling so many cylinders on one of the hottest days of the year. Now we just have to buy Jason a bank like theirs…
Sign up sheets for next years trip will be available in the club from 5 August.