Looking forward to what’s to come, here’s a bit of what was last season.
Waterville was the club’s first weekend away last season – in August! A crew of 16 headed down to County Kerry on a Friday, with Colin, Jean, Steve, Gerry and Eugene towing boats and compressors, much to the appreciation everyone else. Everyone else, by the way, was Laura, Ciaran, Christina, Graham, Johan, Fiona, Sarah, Ka Lok, Kwan Yin, Tony and Chantal.
Colin, who organised the trip, had managed to secure brilliant accommodation in Lough Currane Homes, excellent dive sites and weather to die for. An impromptu dinner at An Corcan on Friday night, where the hospitable staff literally moved every other guest around in the restaurant to accommodate us, set the tone for the weekend.
There’s only one way to summarise the experience of the Northern Atlantic depths southwest of Ireland – cold water tropical diving. Amazing, plain and simple, with each dive more spectacular than the previous one. Clear waters, rich sea life, viz beyond 20 meters, enormous underwater scenery and abyss-like depths that would make anyone recognise their physical insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
We had two dives both Saturday and Sunday, with a grand finale at Skellig Michael on Monday. On Saturday morning we made our way to Knightstown harbour and set off to Doulus Head for a beautiful dive in what almost could be described as an enormous underwater version of Minecraft, (if this comparison is lost on some of you, Google is your friend!), with gigantic bottom plates, shifting depths and sea life every few meters.
After lunch, during which we learned how crafty locals were making a penny allowing children to play in the harbour waters unattended, while telling us how we can stay safe with tips that defied logic and science, we headed out for another memorable dive at the Birds – a name derived from the numerous birds pressing themselves up against the cliff walls, making them look like a band of mini penguins.
Sunday started out with a display of how to execute a Plan B – the tide was so low when we arrived at Portmagee, there was no way for the boats to get in the water without taking the towing vehicles with them. After only a few calls, we were on our way to Valencia harbour, where we took turns with the local ferries at the terminal to set off for the day.
Our first dive was at Puffin Island, a site with majestic underwater scenery, and where a huge and seemingly never ending mackerel shoal took (almost literally) our breaths away. After a well-deserved picnic-style lunch, we played a quick game of “find the Perdix” (thankfully the snazzy dive computer was indeed after a duck dive or two), before setting the course for our second dive of the day at the Bull Pinnacle, another tremendous dive.
CSAC’s first weekend away in 2020 ended with a fantastic dive at Skellig Michael on Monday, after which the crew slowly made their way back to Dublin. Many thanks to Colin for organising the trip, and the towing guys for doing the heavy lifting, enabling the dive weekend.