Bofin Dive Report June 23rd – June 30th, 2023

The CSAC Bofin 2023 advanced party of 17 travelled over to the island on the Friday 23rd June 11.30am Ferry. Their kit was loaded in 8 cargo cradles which were craned aboard Ferry Island Adventurer with our two larger club compressors. Pier/boat loading coordination with thanks to Fiona and Mark. The 3 RIBS were driven across to the island, Danu by myself and Mark, Molly by Luke and Sarah, and Bullit by Gerry and Shane, with some 24 cans petrol on board. We had 22 divers within our overall total trip group of circa 33.

Diving through the week was twice a day commencing on Friday 23rd pm. It was greatly assisted with much-appreciated dry coxing by Peter O’Dog, Luke, Garfield (and occasionally by me) in our two operational RIBs CSAC Danu and Gerry’s Bullit. Many thanks to Gerry for use of Bullit. Our 3rd RIB Molly, also on loan with thanks from Jean and Steve, to replace CSAC Lir which travelled to support Colins M3 tests in Valentia, was stood down from use at the hotel mooring due to concerns about an apparent engine problem on the initial trip over from Cleggan which later thankfully appeared to be resolved. We therefore had to progress diving each day with two very full boats. Briefs each day were 9.30am after breakfast and circa 3.30pm. To assist access to the north side dive sites we moved dive operations after a few days to the North Beach where Danu and Bullit were then moored. The hotel lent us one of their vans to use to transport diving bottles/gear back and forth ably driven by Shane. Bottle filling took place with the 2 CSAC larger compressors on a new site at the top of the beach as our usual compressor site was no longer available to us due to the construction there of Simon Murrays new house.

Our Bofin 23 dive logs record 10 dives completed to the following popular sites: Carrickfeogh, Sunfish Rock, Doonaheena, North Beach Cave and Friar Island. Diving was cancelled Tuesday 27th due to adverse weather conditions. And also, for half day Wednesday 28th to get Molly taken safely back by Luke to Cleggan for towing by Gerry to Dublin with boat cover support from Danu and Bullit, just in case! The south-westerly/westerly sector winds and associated swell which prevailed throughout the week limited our diving mainly to north island locations where 22 divers on site completed some 131 overall individual dives in generally good visibility.

The other classic sites including High Island Nose, Bouchail Rock, Maolaundubh, or Spotted Rock were not accessible on this trip. LDC Aine completed some of her required deep 40m dives with able assistance from the various Leading Instructors.

Murrays Doonmore Hotel was buzzing, with dining room full, great grub and good company. Murrays Bar was thronged as usual with great evening music, banter, and craic! Local musicians playing included Franci, Kevin, Marella and others. Also, Sarah’s Dad John with his guitar was a great addition to the music/singing over the weekend while he was there.

The annual island celebration of St Johns Eve Bonfire night was on Friday 23rd with representation by some late-night attendees from the Curragh Group.

The large CSAC group, including non-diving friends/relations who joined us for part/all of the trip included, Brian, Ken, Peggy, Joanne, Cathy, Maire, Rhona (and Lilly), Tom, Freddy, Peter O’Dog, Victoria and John Staunton. They were very active throughout the week cycling, walking, swimming/snorkelling at the various locations around the island. Lunches each day were usually taken in/outside the Doonmore. Evening dinner was circa 7/7.30pm with good grub and very enjoyable good company. This was followed by the usual later night marathon sessions and music in Murrays Bar. Some heard the Corncrakes again croaking around near the hotel and in parts of the island East end.

CSAC Bofin trip first timers (Bofin Virgins) were welcomed to the island including. Luke, Sarah S, Colm, Suzanne, Aine, Gavin and Maire.

Sarah kindly wrote the following piece about her first trip to Bofin for insertion in our report: “What can I say about my first experience of Bofin? It definitely won’t be my last. I now understand why this week of diving is a staple in so many calendars. The diving, even in challenging conditions is epic.

There’s a dive for everyone’s preferences, from deep to caves, dramatic walls and even the odd basking shark. If diving isn’t your bag (or if you fancy a day off) there’s swimming and snorkelling. The routine for the week runs like clockwork. Even though there’s no rota for jobs, everyone just does what needs to be done – it’s a fabulous display of teamwork and camaraderie (with just enough f***s to make the Gaffer proud). The days start with breakfast @ 8.15, then meet by the wall for dives at 9.30 and 3.00. Following by Wooly bear pints, dinner @7pm and sociables until the early hours, where you never know who will pick up a guitar, fiddle, tin whistle or sing. The week is really inclusive with family and friends joining for some or all of it and wholeheartedly welcomed by the group. We all love dive trips, and it has to be said that Bofin is special. If you suffer from FOMO be prepared for a distinct lack of sleep for the week. It’s hard to go to bed for fear of missing out on the craic and it’s impossible to sleep in for fear of missing the best dive ever! Roll on Bofin 2024!”

At the end of the week the balance of the group, compressors and kit departed Bofin Friday 30th on the usual 1pm Ferry. Danu with Mark and myself and Bullit with Luke and Sarah crossed for Cleggan mid-morning well ahead of the ferry in a sporting F5/6 westerly swell.

Many thanks again to all the group for your participation and support of another great CSAC Bofin week trip. The overall week ran smoothly with all getting involved as usual, with great diving and very enjoyable good company.

Particular thanks as always also to the following:

  • Dry Coxes: PO Dog, Luke, Garfield and boat getters/moorers.
  • Towers: Luke (Molly down and Bullit back to Louisburg, Gerry (Bullit down from Louisburg, Molly back Dublin), Sarah (Danu down/back), Neill (Compressors down/back.)
  • Very special thanks to both Luke and Sarah who both went in my view very much above and beyond the call of duty at every turn, including among other things the retrieving and towing of Molly up from Marty’s in Wicklow prior to the trip by Luke and the towing of Molly back down to Marty’s for storage after the trip by Sarah, also with able assistance from Shane, Jean and Marty.
  • Bofin 23 Trip Hon Treasurer: Particular thanks again as always to Fiona for money matters organizing/collecting dive fees, payments etc.
  • Doonmore Hotel: Andrew, Aileen, Donna, Alice, Megan, Ciaran and all the staff who looked after and fed us so very well as usual.
  • Bofin Ferry: Captains Pat and Dermot Concannon and crews of the Island Adventure Ferry with their crane facility which made it easier for loading/unloading compressors and dive gear in cradles etc.
  • Anyone else I have left out!

Please note in your diaries that a provisional booking has already been made with Andrew in the Doonmore for next year’s Bofin trip for Friday 21st to Friday 27th June 2024.

Note: Below is a link to some photos taken by myself and others on the trip: which I hope you enjoy.

Please feel free to add any of your own shots to this trip album.

Thanks again to you all for helping achieve another very enjoyable CSAC Bofin trip and best regards to all.

CSAC Bofin 2023 DO/Organiser