The fun of diving into waters new is an journey like no different. 9 scuba divers from Sheephaven SAC converged within the early hours at Ballycastle harbour eager to expertise what the Causeway Coast needed to provide.
The dive transient offered by our Dive Officer of the Day, Ryan Ward, recognized the S.S. Lochgarry and the North Wall of Rathlin Island because the goal dive websites for the day. A mixture of expertise within the group yielded a mix of anxious pleasure as soon as the ropes have been solid off and the constitution boat set its course for Rathlin.
Located six miles off the coast of Antrim, Rathlin Island holds a particular place within the hearts of divers. Acknowledged for its outstanding array of habitats and excessive species range, Rathlin has earned the excellence of being a chosen European Particular Space of Conservation. This recognition is owed to the island’s rocky reefs and submerged sea caves, which function thriving havens for an abundance of marine life.
The island’s reef habitats are characterised by the imposing limestone and basalt cliffs of the north wall, in addition to the
boulder-strewn areas alongside its east and south coasts. Caves, usually discovered at depths starting from 0 to 60 meters, add an additional layer of intrigue to Rathlin’s underwater panorama. The geological composition of Rathlin Island reveals an enchanting story of its formation.
The decrease rock strata, consisting of cretaceous limestone, kind layered steps upon which the island stands. Over time, basalt was laid over these limestone beds in a collection of volcanic eruptions, shaping a lot of the island’s present terrain above sea degree. The tidal power within the waters surrounding Ballycastle and Rathlin Island poses a substantial problem to divers, necessitating meticulous planning to make sure secure dives might be undertaken.
The power of the tides accentuates the necessity for utmost warning and experience when exploring these websites – entry to native information is vital to making sure the dives might be performed safely, and for the Sheephaven occasion this want was crammed by the skilled skipper aboard Aquaholics V.
One of many crown jewels awaiting divers close to Rathlin Island is the Lochgarry wreck. Resting within the crystal-clear waters, this submerged treasure has lengthy enticed diving fans with its wealthy historical past and teeming marine life. Constructed in 1898, the Lochgarry boasted spectacular dimensions, measuring 265 toes in size, 34 toes in beam, and with a draught of 16 toes.
In 1942, the vessel met an unlucky destiny, straying off target and working aground on rocks southeast of Rathlin Island. The Lochgarry performed an important function in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of British and French troops from the seashores of
Dunkirk in 1940. At this time, she lies upright on the seabed at a most depth of 35 meters, attracting a plethora of fish species, together with ling, pollack, and wrasse.
The superstructure of the vessel, adorned with sponges, anemones, and nudibranchs, presents a charming sight to divers. Black and white tiles seen on the deck and the big chain within the maintain, positioned by the Royal Navy to stop the removing of arms, are defining options of the S.S. Lochgarry; in all presenting a powerful providing to fulfill the pursuits of all divers within the group.
Rathlin Island second dive
After a short floor interval on the harbour on Rathlin Island, the group set off for the second dive. The North Wall of Rathlin Island is famend for its dramatic underwater cliffs, providing a breath-taking and awe-inspiring expertise for these daring sufficient to make the leap. This dive offered an immersive encounter with an abundance of marine life.
Beginning within the shallows at roughly 7 meters, divers navigated to the highest of the wall over a forest of kep and thoroughly descended to the utmost depth agreed inside their buddy pairs, dictated by their expertise and luxury ranges for the location in query. The wall, densely populated with corals, sponges, anemones, and sea squirts, captivated divers with its vibrant show.
Shoals of fish, expertly maneuvering by way of the currents diverted by rocky outcrops, added to the attract of this charming dive web site. The wall in locations can attain depths of 200 m and so requires glorious buoyancy management and consciousness to dive safely with the changeable up, down and sidewards currents skilled on the web site.
Whereas aboard the constitution, divers have been handled to the luxurious sight of the island’s avian inhabitants. Puffins, guillemots, and razorbills graced the environment by the hundreds. A specific spotlight was the Rathlin West Lighthouse nestled in opposition to the cliffs of Crockantirrive.
Emitting a strong sign that shines 23 nautical miles out to sea, this lighthouse stands as a beacon of security for mariners navigating our coast. Distinctive in its building, the sunshine is situated on the base of the lighthouse itself, supposed to make sure visibility even in dense, low-lying fog that usually shrouds the island.
Again on dry land focus rapidly turned to the Membership’s golf fundraiser which befell on June sixteenth after weeks of cautious preparation by Sheephaven’s devoted fundraising workforce led by Darragh McGowan. An exceptional response from many native and nationwide companies and people resulted in a really profitable occasion which raised much-needed funds for Sheephaven’s volunteer Search and Restoration Unit.
Sheephaven’s SAR unit supplies an necessary civic perform, and its membership members, who’re educated to a nationwide customary, give their time and companies voluntarily, typically at a second’s discover and generally for a lot of days at a time. The membership’s Search and Restoration Unit assists the Gardaí, Malin Head Coast Guard, the RNLI, in addition to different voluntary and neighborhood teams all through the North Area.
The occasion in Dunfanaghy, which was a primary for Sheephaven, attracted avid golfers and devoted supporters all desperate to contribute, and the generosity and enthusiasm for this occasion was really excellent.
Sheephaven Sub Aqua Membership get pleasure from superb dive at Rathlin was final modified: June twenty first, 2023 by