A long weekend trip to Oban and the Sound of Mull took place in early November.
Pot luck towards the end of the diving season we were blessed with good weather, light winds, calm waters and water temperatures in excess of 13 oC.
Eleven divers attended the meet on board the Gaelic Rose diving with a mixture of single cylinders, twin sets and re-breathers.
The Gaelic Rose is owned by Bob Jones. She is a wooden fishing vessel converted for diving charters and cruising around the West Coast of Scotland. The boat is 60ft long and capable of speeds up to 8Kts. She accommodates up to 12 persons with a crew of two. All dive gear is stored on the fore deck with accommodation below. A living space and galley are found behind the wheel house.
Underwater visibility was also quite good, probably about 10m, despite some rough weather earlier in the week. Six dives took place over three days in a variety of locations on walls and wrecks. As to be expected the underwater scenery was magnificent.
We all arrived at various times on the Friday meeting the boat on the Town Quay in Oban. After settling in and sorting the dive gear out it was time to relax with Fish and Chips and a few beers in the Oban Inn.
Our first dive on the Saturday morning was at Rubha Fiart just north of a magnificent stone bridge leading to the light house at the southern tip of the island of Lismore. Here we found a steep rocky wall leading down to about 20m before a sandy bottom sloped more gently deeper into the Loch. Divers chose how to explore the area in their pairs and enjoyed lots of life including on and around the rocks plus plenty of fish large and small.
We then cruised leisurely up the Sound of Mull towards Tobermory and our second dive site on the south east corner of Calve Island. Once again a scenic wall down to about 22m.
We spent the night moored alongside in Tobermory harbour and enjoyed a visit to the Mishnish after a hearty dinner and game of cards.
Saturday morning saw us heading north across the Sound of Mull and into Loch Sunart for another scenic wall extending once again down to 20m. Here we descended onto the remains of a slate barge and its cargo of roofing sates before exploring more rock walls and large boulders. Once again plenty of life.
After this dive we turned back south heading back down the sound towards Lochaline where we were going to stay overnight. On the way we stopped at Dearg Sgeir a rock outcrop towards the middle of the sound next to the light house. Here is the wreck of the Rondo which lies on a steep slope its stern at 6m, convenient for a safety stop and any deco, its bow at 50m. Following the shot line to the stern rudder post we entered the hollowed out hull of the ship and descended to our chosen depths before slowly returning to the surface whilst admiring the sea life the wreck now hosts.
After that dive it was supposed to be a quick dash to Lochaline however, this was dashed after a mayday call was received from a local fishing boat which had run hard aground on a reef and could not recover its scallop diver. We were close by and the skipper quickly picked up the diver and made an initial unsuccessful attempt to tow the boat off. Shortly after two life boats arrived one from Tobermory the other from Oban. One took over managing to pull the fishing boat clear and take it back to port.
Monday dawned bright and with a fairly early start we motored out into the Sound diving on another a wall at Poll Arinnis just north of Lochalain. Another wall to beyond 30m with diver pairs choosing their own routes to follow.
He final dive before returning to Oban was once again on the island of Lismore further north and west to our first dive towards Bernera Bay and offering a sandy bay to explore one way or another rock wall down to about 40m another. Graham and Oliver spotted an octopus on the wall to the south.