Anglesey - 28th - 30th June 2024

Phil had checked the trailer and prepped Top Cat the previous weekend, which meant that he could pick up the boat and tow it to Anglesey on Friday evening after work. The weather forecast was marginal with Force 3 gusting 4 South Westerly winds on Saturday and North Westerlies on Sunday. We decided to chance it.

Saturday the 29th June

We gathered in the car park at Trearddur Bay at 7.45am. Top Cat was loaded and launched for the hour-plus trip, to dive The Caernarfon Bay Light Vessel. The journey was decidedly lumpy as we had wind over tide. We reached the site and agreed that it was diveable. Following a careful search, the wreck was shotted. Given that it is the size of a badminton court the shot placement was spot on (well done, Phil). The water temperature was 14 C and the viz around 3m as the plankton bloom was in full swing. Dive time was 35 minutes as the plan was a 30% nitrox, no deco dive.

The Light Vessel lies at 34m on a fine sandy seabed. Good buoyancy and careful, minimal finning are essential. The shot was right in the middle of the wreck therefore it could be seen from both sides. For such a small site the marine life was plentiful. The sand was home to Dragonets. Mark spotted a Weaver Fish which moved quickly away from his torch light to bury itself in the sand. Every structure was covered in Plumose Anemones. Saithe and juvenile Pollack sheltered from the current. We spotted at least 8 Conger Eels, one of which was free swimming, several large lobsters, four of which were out and moving around the centre of the wreck, Edible and Velvet Swimming Crabs, and a personal favourite, a Tompot Blenny. Mark attached a lifting bag to the shot before we made our ascent. A Compass Jellyfish drifted in the current just before we stopped at 6m. The shot was recovered before we headed back for a quick break.

We decided to check out The Beacons in the hope that the lee side would offer some shelter from the wind and swell. As it didn’t, we abandoned the dive and returned to Trearddur Bay, to recover and remove our kit from Top Cat. Phil refuelled the boat before going back to the caravan site.

Later that evening we planned what to do on Sunday.

Sunday the 30th June

Another early start at 7.40am to load and launch the boat. In preparation for the weekend in Bridlington, Phil switched the fuel on Top Cat to an external source in order to check it was working correctly.    

The winds were north westerly but at least the rain had stopped. The plan was to head towards South Stack to scan and search the area where The Ocean Gain, a fishing trawler, sank in 1988. A possible site worthy of further exploration was located, a large rocky pinnacle with its top at 34m and the seabed at 39m. As the tides and currents in this area are extremely strong, it is only possible to explore it on a high-water neaps slack window. Hopefully we will be able to find a suitable day before the end of the season, to do this.

We headed back to dive Pinnacle B, a site that Phil and I first visited in August 2021. It was located, shotted and we waited for the tide to ease. It is never completely slack and there is always a surge over the top but once on the sheltered side of the pinnacle it is a very enjoyable dive.

It was covered in Elegant and Plumose Anemones. Large Dahlia and patches of Jewel Anemones added splashes of colour. A shoal of Pollack swam effortlessly in the current. We spotted Finger Sponge, Hornwrack, Ross Coral, clusters of Club Sea Squirts, Herringbone and Antennae Hydroids, many of which were covered in spirals of nudibranch eggs. Velvet Swimming Crabs scuttled along the many ledges. Common, Sunstar and Bloody Henry Starfish were on every rocky surface. Best finds were a large Nursehound, several Small Spotted Catshark, large Spider Crabs and a Violet Sea Slug.  

We motored back to Trearddur Bay to de-kit the boat ready for the return journey. Phil towed Top Cat back to the club house. He flushed the engine, and we cleaned the boat ready for the next outing. A very late finish but a successful weekend, despite the challenging sea conditions. Thanks to Mark and Anna for being great buddies.

– Pat & Phil