May 2002, Waterworld, near Castlegregory
All but one of the dives were on the Magharee Islands. The water was a balmy 9 to 10°C.
Day 1; Two dives on Inishtooskert.
Quite a bit of swell to contend with, but visibility was 10 to 15m. Both dives on fascinating rock formations caused by the action of rocks rolling around on the rocky bottom. Not many fish, but lots of lobsters, spider and edible crabs.
Day 2; Gurrig Island and Inishtooskert.
A day of 'disasters'. Clive's DV disintegrated before the first dive. Gurrig Island was similar to yesterday's dives, but the swell was strong. This made Pete and Fiona's attempts at photography 'interesting'!
The afternoon dive was made close to the island, and started with Pete leaving the end of his drysuit zip slightly open at the start of a threesome dive with David and a local diver called Tom. It ended with Pete being shot to the surface in a gulley, Tom losing David and ascending independently. David however performed a textbook ascent under a DSMB.
Five of us went horse riding in the afternoon. The horse owner obviously thought we looked incompetent, because he insisted on walking in front to lead 3 of us, which rather spoilt the whole effect!
Day 3; Illaunimuil and Illaunabarnagh.
First dive was poor - Pete counted a total of 4 wrasse, 2 spider crabs, 2 jellyfish and 2 starfish during the whole dive. However, this was made up for by the second dive. Illaunabarnagh translates to Isle of Fledglings, and is some way from the Magharee Islands. It is notable for the seal colony. Everyone saw seals - Clive and Pete had a particularly good dive, especially in the cave where one particular seal wanted its tummy rubbed, and had a good grope of their legs.
Day 4; Inishtooskert and Gurrig Island.
Swell reducing. Pleasant dives in the unusual rock formations. Pete and Clive missed the 'letterbox' swimthrough! Spent the evening at a local bar, with live music from guitars and squeezebox (and republican tunes!)
Day 5; The Reef and Gurrig Island.
Good start to the day with Clive ripping a cuff seal. Luckily, he was able to borrow a suit from the cox. Unluckily, it had a different inflation valve, and he was forced to 'air-share' inflation hoses with his buddy - it worked! The dive was good - an isolated vertical cliff with plenty of marine life. Visibility very good, at least 15m. The site at Gurrig Island was excellent as well - long, stone-filled gulleys, undercut walls, shoals of pollack.
Overall this was a good start-of-season trip. The diving was good, though perhaps not as varied as we normally aim for. However, it certainly had its good points. The hospitality, accommodation and food at Waterworld was extremely good, and the Guinness and Paddy's whisky at the local helped as well.
The team; Fiona Bowles, Ian Blair, Peter Plume, David and Janet Wright, Clive Shipley and (not diving) Hils Strickland