Mull November 2022
Twelve members ventures north to Lochaline for a long weekend of diving in and around the Sound of Mull from the Gaelic Rose. The weather forecast was not ideal with some blustery winds forecast but at least there was no snow or ice mentioned!
For the early arrivals to Lochaline there was an extremely bumpy crossing to endure across the Corran Narrows as the wind blew up to a F5. The wind soon abated however and later arrivals though arriving in the dark had a calm crossing.
Saturday dawned fine and though the wind had dropped there was still a good breeze blowing. We headed out of the Loch and across the sound to the Rondo.
The steamship Rondo was wrecked in 1935 in the Sound of Mull. While sheltering from a storm, the steamship broke its anchor and drifted with the strong tide down the Sound of Mull, eventually being driven sideways across the small island of Dearg Sgir so hard that it was stranded.
For a while it was stuck on land but after extensive salvaging, including the removal of the hull and machinery, the balance of the craft was disturbed and the Rondo slid bow-first into the Sound of Mull.
The Rondo is a great wreck to dive to because of its condition and location. The bow now rests into the seabed on a slope, with the stern rising to just 6m below the surface.
We all dropped into the water, swam to the shot line and followed it down to the stern post. As previous we dropped down to about the 40m mark and slowly worked our way back up the wreck admiring the sea life living there. The visibility was not great and the day overcast so whilst enjoyable the dive was not a classic one. The water temperature was a mild 18C
The wind continued to blow as we headed north towards Tobermoray and into Loch Sunart where we dived on a wall along its southern coast just around the corner from Auliston Point. A nice drift along a wall and boulders at about 20m. Once again visibility was not great but plenty of sea life to admire.
Completing the dive, we headed back to Tobermoray for the night. Where we made a visit to the Mishnish once again. The village was very quiet as the main holiday season had ended.
Sunday saw us heading out of the port bright and early initially heading just around the corner to Bloody Bay. Wind and fetch up the Sound of Mull would have made this location difficult to dive so we headed right across a bouncy Sound into Loch Sunart again.
Our first dive was on a wall along the north shore near Port a Chamais east of Maclean’s Nose. A pleasant exploration at about 24m.
We spent a few hours drifting on the boat having lunch and playing cards before crossing the lock and diving on another wall on the Southern shore. A couple of Octopus were spotted on this dive which was nice and post dive we enjoyed watching a Sea Eagle flying around us and catching its supper.
We returned to Tobermoray once for to spend the night tied up on the moorings once again.
Four dives down and two more to go.
Monday was the best day weather wise, brighter and with less wind. We headed out early from the port and headed south to the which lies in protected waters out of the main tidal flow in 30 – 32 metres of water.
Always an interesting dive with lots of large fish making home there. Visibility however, was not great. The deck structures are almost completely collapsed although her four holds, engine room and raised forecastle still give a clear picture of her former layout. The holds are still full of coal but it is possible to descend into the engine room and some other areas below deck level.
The last dive was on Quarry Wall, almost opposite the Shuna off the east cost of Mull. Quite a brisk current flowing here so a nice drift across a varied sea beds. Lots of different Sea life to admire here too.
After this it was time to pack up have lunch and head south once more. Another great trip in fine diving territory.
Three days diving and six great sea dives.
Hopefully a return visit will be scheduled for 2023.