Picture of By Tom Ingram

By Tom Ingram

16th September 2023

As we made our way up in the sunshine towards the wonderful Northumberland coastline and over the Scottish border to the stunning little seaside village of St Abbs, my excitement was rising as I knew how rich in marine life this area was, mainly due to it being a mostly protected area. Having charted the boat for the first three days, our ROT for our first day was a slightly early 8:30am but with reports of cracking viz and the weather being so good this wasn’t a problem.  

The beauty of St Abbs is you don’t have to go far for great diving and our first dive was on Black Carr which is just across the bay towards the towering cliffs.  This was a dive around large boulders covered in deadman’s fingers, friendly wrasse following your every move, brittle stars waving in the current and a incredible amount of crustaceans which gos to show what a marine protected zone can achieve! Viz was pretty good too!! 66 minutes 20metre 13 degrees 10-12 m viz

After a cup of tea and another short ride up the coast line watching out for the top side wildlife we got to our second dive site of the day the SS Odense or Peanut wreck as it’s fondly known.  Before the dive we had been told of a very large shark sighting a few days before right by the boilers of the wreck, but me and my buddy Glen unfortunately didn’t see any sign of this. As we returned to the boat though we were met with very excited cry’s of ‘there’s a basking shark’.

As we watch the shark circling as it fed it came within metres of our unsuspecting divers who were still on their way up. Basking sharks are a very rare sighting in this area so it was a fantastic experience to see it.  Not only did the onlookers on board get to see the basking shark, they also saw a minke whale and the resting seals on the rocks. Goes to show you never know what might turn up? 61 minutes 17metres 14 degrees 10 metres viz

That evening we all gathered for a group meal at heathers restaurant at Eyemouth Golf Club which has an outstanding view all across Eyemouth and up the coast.

Sunday we woke to another fine day and our dive site today was going to be the awesome anemone gullies, which is one of my favourite sites I’ve dived.  As advertised it is a series of gullies covered in life which start in about 15 metres and run gently down to 30 metres in places. Everywhere you looked there were so many crabs or lobsters hiding on the reef, schools of fish would buzz us as we went through the gullies. We had a flat fish on the top of the wall so well camouflaged I was pleased to see it, but as we came up and over the final gully we came across a field of brittle stars covering the sea floor and I new what this meant, possible Wolf fish!! I didn’t go far and out of the corner of my eye I saw a grey head sticking out of a hole in the reef and to my delight there they were, two amazing wolf fish!  They have to be the best looking fish ever!!  Myself and Glen spent the rest of our dive with them which was fantastic!  Adam and Clare also saw an octopus on their dive much to their delight. 

56 minutes 20 metres 14 degrees 15 metres viz

The afternoon dive was on Thrumie Carr.  Another lovely reef dive. We had lions mane jellyfish, Nudibranchs, flat fish, schools of fish and even a couple of cod which I don’t see that often.  Another Extremely relaxing hours dive. 60 minutes 16 metres 15 degrees 10 metres viz

The evening meal was in Oblo in Eyemouth, a nice Italian on the harbour front.

For day three Peter suggested Ebb Carr which was his favourite last year.  Again it’s a reef within a stones throw of the harbour but another site bursting with life.  The area of reef consists of gullies and boulders which hide some wreckage and boilers, while further off the main reef the boulder field gives way to areas of gravel and low lying ledges housing loads of critters.  We spotted the elusive angler fish, on the reef wall which is always a treat, but my favourite bit of this dive were the squadrons of shrimp hiding under the ledges out by the gravel areas. I just didn’t want to leave ! So good! 

62 minutes 17 metres 14 degrees 15 metres viz

As we were heading to our next dive as if on cue the dolphins arrived and we followed them up the coast watching in delight as they went about their business.

Unfortunately the pinnacle we we’re heading for was not able to be dived as the wind had got up enough to make it a no go, so we headed back to calmer waters to our next location of white heugh.  My aim on this dive was to point out some really cool creatures called skellies to Glen as he hadn’t seen them before.  It wasn’t long before I had found them on a particular piece of weed.  They are the most evil looking creatures but due to there size, unless you new where to look you wouldn’t know they were there!

63 minutes 20 metres 14 degrees 10 metres viz 

Our evening meal was in the New Inn in coldingham. A charming little pub with excellent food.

Unfortunately for us even though the weather was excellent the wind had turned to the east which meant the final day was a no go.  This meant a few could leave earlier to get on the road for home while the few who were left made the most of a free day enjoying what the area has to offer top side, which is also fantastic.  

Overall another successful trip with great diving, laughs and fantastic memories.  I for one will definitely be returning!