I will be trying to be there for 6pm at the latest. Weather forecast is fine, but the temperature is not that thrilling for August so bring plenty of layers (at least one more than you think you will need!) as the shore is exposed to whatever wind is blowing at the time. The shore here can be muddy in places so bring clothes and footwear that you don’t mind getting mucky.
I’m looking forward to seeing the shore here for the first time since the swim last year. You may be surprised at what can be seen.
The MCS had a stall at the Catch The Wind Kite Festival in Morecambe for the first time this year. The event had good weather, and there were a lot of people passing through, listening to music, or admiring the kites. We had quite a few people drop in on the stall, and I was pleased to see that many of the kites were marine themed, including an octopus and a pair of blue whales!
We are very grateful to the event organisers MoreMusic for providing us with space at this event, and to Kathy for enthusiastically manning our stand!
Above: Red (green and blue) herrings flying above the promenade at Morecambe during the kite festival, June 2015.
Above: A photo taken at the Roa Island Yacht club just before the swim on the 21st September 2014 (click for larger version).
On the 17th August we were unable to swim due to bad weather (see post), and we were worried when we arrived on the 21st that we would be unable to get away because of building work on the jetty, which meant that our intended access to the beach was blocked! Thankfully Roa Island Boating Club came to our rescue, allowing us to set off from their slip. One of our swimmers also started from the yacht club, extending the swim to just short of two miles, the others took a lift on the support boats and left as intended from close to the Lifeboat slip, and everyone made it to the Piel Island slipway without mishap.
Unlike our attempt in August, the weather was perfect, warm, with clear skies and almost mirror flat water. The visibility was also excellent – we could see the bottom without being able to reach touch it from the surface! A very pleasant day out for everyone, and a big thank you again to boat crews who patiently looked after the swimmers!
Due to bad weather over the weekend (with wind speeds gusting to over 50KPH), we were obliged to cancel our swim across the Piel channel, we are hoping to re-schedule this for the weekend of the 20th September.
If you would like to sponsor this event (proceeds to National MCS), please visit our ‘JustGiving’ site:
We are sorry to announce that Ron Crosby, a founder member of the Marine Conservation Society, and Chairman of the Lancashire Area Group for many years, passed away on Sunday evening (23rd June 2013) after a short illness.
He was a driving force behind the group for some years, and we will miss his enthusiasm, knowledge and unrivaled experience of diving in the UK. He was also active in a number of globally significant marine wildlife conservation projects, particularly that in the Chagos Islands.
Our thoughts are with his wife Rita, also a staunch supporter of the group, and his family.
We’ve got our new calendar online, covering September 2013 through to April 2014. As yet the Roa island dives are not in the calendar, but the first possibility is for Wednesday 19th June, meeting at about 19:30 BST. The weather is looking a little iffy for this with wind swinging round to the NW for Wednesday. Well get other dates online asap.
We have a possible trip to Lochaline in May 2014. This trip is usually for five nights with a mix of divers and non-divers, but to run this we really need 10 people (sleeping 2 or 4 to a room), and to get a good date we’ll need to book soon, so if you are interested please contact Barry!
A warm sunny evening and a low spring tide, the perfect conditions for exploring the shore. The venue, Roa Island with it’s boulder and muddy beach and a couple of man made structures providing addtional habitat types. The top of the beach is composed mainly of large boulders with barnacles, wracks and large patches of blue mussels. On the middle of the shore, shore crabs, edible periwinkles, and dog whelks with thousands of eggs were all very common and here three or four European oysters were recorded. The underside of the jetty provides homes for clumps of mussels, sea squirts, hermit crabs and at the seaward end of the jetty a couple of European cowries were spotted. Moving further down the shore and searching beneath the boulders revealed both broad and long clawed porcelain crabs, chitons and we were suprised to find common brittle stars, an animal no where near as common in the channel as it was some years ago. Other inhabitants of this lower part of the shore were grey top shells, butterfish, common stars and colourful patches of both green and orange sponge. In the shallow pools left by the tide the tubes of peacock worms stood upwards from the mud and tiny anemones were to be seen amongst the stones. As the tide reached it’s lowest point we were able to see peacock worms with extended tentacles collecting food passing by in the water. We had spent a couple of very enjoyable hours recording and photographing in excess of thirty different species of plant and animal on this very small area of shore. Many thanks to Lewis for organising the event.
Weather conditions for the site had been perfect for more than a week, so we travelled to Roa Island on Sunday 1st. April with high expectations of having a good interesting dive. Looking down on the water from the lifeboat gantry the conditions looked OK, so we kitted up and took the plunge. Much to our surprise after we had covered only a few metres from the shore the underwater visibility was no more than half a metre. It was quite light but there was very fine silt suspended in the water. As we progressed deeper it became more and more gloomy. At the deepest point (10.7m) in the middle of the channel it was completely dark and impossible to see anything. We swam slowly back up the slope to into shallower water, about (5m deep). here the bright sun penetrated the silty water a little more and the diverse marine life that we are used to seeing in the channel came into view. In the very small field of vision there were numerous species of crab, tiny anemones, sponges, common whelks, mussels and a small number of the beautiful hydroid, Tubulariaindivisa with tentacles extended. On returning to shore we discovered that dredging operations were being carried out in the Channel and had been for a number of days. This was the reason for the poor visibility and our far less than perfect dive. It was though the first of April !
Seven members of the group spent an interesting long weekend at the end of June in the very popular area around Oban. Weather conditions were quite mixed, but we did manage to avoid the showers. A number of dives took place including one on a rocky reef in the inner basin of Loch Creran, then north to the spectacular submarine wall in Loch Linnhe near Kentallon. We also made a visit to the littledived Loch Feochan just a few miles few miles south of Oban. The chart indicated that we could expect to see a lot of mud. The mud was part of the attraction, would we find sea pens and large anemones. From the easy access point, a lay-by right alongside the loch we swam over stones and pebbles covered with various green and brown seaweeds, then onto the gently sloping mud. There were occasional boulders covered with mussels, then at about four metres deep were dozens of the sea slug Philine aperta and the small almost transparent sacks of their eggs. Continuing down the slope to about six and a half metres below the surface where hundreds of sea pens Virgularia mirabilis covered the sea bed. This was only a quick look at a loch that I feel has much more to offer. Many thanks to Jo and Barry Kaye for organising a very enjoyable weekend.
A very successful trip to Lochaline on the West coast of Scotland was enjoyed by ten members of our group. General weather and sea conditions over the four days was on the whole very good. Based at the Old Post Office in Lochaline we were only a couple of hundred yards from the access point to a spectacular dive location, the Hotel Beach Wall. The dive starts off swimming down a very gentle slope of mainly white silica sand with occasional large boulders covered with kelp and sheltering shore crabs and sea stars etc. as the slope gets steeper tube anemones, Cerianthus lloydii in a variety of colours are very common. The sandy slope ends quite abruptly as we reach the top of the almost vertical wall which plunges down to a depth of more than one hundred metres. Just a few of the very common inhabitants on the wall are Tubularia with numerous nudibranchs, football sea squirts, squat lobsters, feather stars and sponges etc. We are also able to add a further two animals to our Group’s list of recordings for this dive site, a lumpsucker, Cyclopterus lumpus spotted on a couple of dives and a number of Brachiopods, (lamp shells) Terebratulina retusa. Dives also took place at Fiunary Rocks, a typical sea loch slope further West along the Sound of Mull and on the sea grass beds at Rubha-nan-So’rnagon in Loch Linnhe.
Most members of the party spent some time walking in the area, on the shores of Lochaline, to see the carved stones at Kiel and to the East side of the loch to the fossil burn where we were very lucky to see otters.
Many thanks to Jo and Barry for such a well organised trip.