6 Go Wild on Mull
In late July 6 intrepid divers (and one spouse) from Mid Lancs Sub Aqua Club headed off to Mull for and expedition. We set off early on Saturday 20th and by late afternoon we were all settled in to the cottages we had rented and the boat (Little Mo) was sitting in the marina ready for the adventures to come.
Sunday morning started far earlier than any Sunday should. The weather was the type of weather that Scotland does so well – grey and drizzling!
We headed off to dive Auliston point and then Calve Island. Both were great scenic dives and the wall on the North West corner of Calve Island was particularly impressive.
Upon arriving back we had a training session on blending and using the compressors, which meant it was a very long day, made somewhat better by the excellent fish and chip from the award winning van at the end of the pier!
Monday was always going to be ambitious. We planned to motor all the way over to Coll and dive the Tapti and the General Consul. These were both high on our list of priorities for the week as our research had shown them to be extremely highly recommended as dive site. We cast off at 7:30 and were soon motoring out of the Sound of Mull and across to Coll. The weather was definitely in our favour and the crossing took a lot less time than we had thought. We refuelled in the bay near the ferry slipway and then headed south to the Tapti.
The dive on the Tapti was where the word of the week became awesome! It is a great wreck, remarkably still very much in tact considering where it is and some of the storms that must batter that stretch of coast. There was a lot of marine life to see and all the time we were watched by the local seals. After our last buddy pair had surfaced and just before we set off north to the General Consul, a minke whale surfaced within 10 metres of Little Mo.
We motored up to the General Consul, spotting dolphins on the way. The wreck was far more fragmented than the Tapti with the boilers being the main part still remaining, but even they are obscured by all the kelp. The journey back to Tobermory was even smoother than the outward journey. We arrived back after a round trip of about 56 miles. This long range outing went so well, we are now thinking how much further we could actually go. Cylinders were filled and a great meal enjoyed before a well – deserved early night.
Tuesday was to be a very different day. We planned to dive a wreck called the Aurania and then visit Langamull beach.
The trip out to the Aurania was far shorter than the epic journey of the previous day. The wreck was more a wreckage field rather than anything recognisable as once being a ship. The most striking feature is the twin boilers that sit on the seabed at about 18 meters. They are covered in marine life and also provide an opportunity for a swim through.
Langamull beach is one of the most picturesque in Britain. It is often in lists of places people do not think are in Britain! It is absolutely stunning and as the weather was in our favour, we anchored and had lunch there. The water is crystal clear and looking north we could see past the Small Isles to Skye with the Cuillin Ridge almost out of cloud!
Wednesday saw the weather start to change and this lead to a change of plans. We motored down the Sound to the Hispania, but very soon decided the conditions were not favourable and were looking as though they would get worse. We reverted to our back up plan, which involved heading into Loch Sunart.
We were looking to dive a pinnacle called Risga and after some searching we found it. There was a fairly strong current running, but if you kept in the lee of the pinnacle, it was not a problem. However, the dive itself was very disappointing. Risga had been quoted as a must do dive when we were researching our dive sites, but we found it covered in brittle stars and little else.
After the Risga, we headed west across the Sound to a cliff we had spotted the previous day with the hope it would continue underwater and make for a great cliff dive. It was not particularly a cliff, but it was a very pleasant scenic dive. We named the site Eagle Cliff as we spotted a White-Tailed Eagle. The forecast for Thursday was such that diving was not going to be possible. The weather was fine, but the wind had strengthened and was blowing straight up the Sound! This meant we had an evening off from blending and filling, so we enjoyed a great meal out.
Thursday was a non-diving day, but we used the time to investigate more of the Isle of Mull with a view to future visits. We wanted to see what other slipways were available. We had to return our O2 cylinder to the BOC depot and continued around the island to Fionnphort from where the ferry to Iona sails. This was again a stunning drive with a stunning destination.
Having seen that this was a distinct possibility, we continued round to the Ulva ferry. All the way round we were treated to some absolutely stunning scenery.
Friday was always planned as a one dive day to allow for retrieving Little Mo and packing up of all the kit. The weather had improved a little, but we limited our excursion to the wall on the North West side of Calve Island. Again a very pleasant dive. Whilst on the surface we saw seals, otters and dolphins.
The week was a great success and as I said before, the word of the week was awesome!
So Where next???
In 2015 Mid Lancs ventured to the Red Sea again, it’s the closest tropical waters to the UK and a fantastic destination for diving with a large selection of wrecks and reefs to visit.
We were lucky enough to stay on the Emperor Elite liveaboard and were well looked after by the crew and dive guides. More info on Emperor Divers can be found in this link
As long as you’re not too bothered by cold water, Iceland has some incredible scenic dives. The underwater photos are from a location called Silfra. It’s a fissure between continents, one side being the North American plate, the other is the Eurasian plate. There aren’t many places in the world where you can dive between continents!
The much awaited trip to Shetland finally came around in June 2014, there are still photos and videos being sorted but here are a few to begin with. You can’t get much further north in the UK than the Shetlands, and it involved a drive to Aberdeen and then a 14 hour ferry crossing to Lerwick.
A fantastic week was had by all aboard the rather excellent MV Valkyrie
Gigha is a small Scottish Island that sits between the mainland and Islay. This was a real expedition for the club, there are no dive facilities on the island, in fact, there is only a shop and a pub! The island is 7 miles long and about 1.5 miles wide. Everything we needed had to be transported to the island with us, this included all of our equipment, spares, a boat and the two club compressors to fill cylinders with.
It was hard work but very rewarding for all
Egypt is the closest tropical waters to the UK, and the red sea is a place frequently visited for diving. There is a huge number of wrecks and some fantastic wildlife.
Scapa Flow is situated in the Orkney Islands, off the North cost of Scotland. It’s one of the best places to dive in the UK, and often features in the top ten dive sites in the world. There are a number of World War One battleships resting on the bottom along with various other wrecks