As white-water kayakers of old, Neil and I had spent time on that most mythical of Scottish play waves, the magical Falls of Lora … Formed by a huge tidal race flowing over a shallow reef and through the Connel bridge near Oban it was a place to surf , cartwheel and shit your pants in the huge whirlies below when you blew off the wave 😀
So when Neil rang me regarding exploring what lay beneath this beast I jumped at the chance . Shane Wasik, diver, skipper, conservationist, lover of Haribo and the man behind both Basking Shark Scotland and Dive-Oban was running a weekend based on a special tide giving the slack needed to safely navigate the channel , a perfect time to explore…. we were on it !! Our good friend Alan Dorricott was also in for the ride so it was sure to be a great time , especially as he makes a cracking video too.
Shane’s company is based out of Dunstaffnage marina near Oban. It’s a nice and quiet, and a location with all the facilities you will need on-site . His Boat the CearBan is a little beauty too! Just enough room and with its powerful engines and fast hull it handles the rough seas easily and slides comfortably through the waves en-route to the dive-site .. So after an early R.O. of 7.30 am we were headed in the direction of the falls to catch the first of the slack tides. A beautiful morning and with a great mix of friendly divers onboard, the day was starting out perfectly.
Upon arriving we discussed a dive plan and I was quickly suited and booted before rolling backwards into the North Atlantic sea … a balmy 8 degrees froze my lips and soon I was descending into the dark. The first dive saw us follow a deepening ravine to a depth of 30m . It was different from what I had imagined but there were many unusual parts to explore on this large reef. Subsequent dives took us further out into the middle and ended up with us drifting in the current under the bridge much to the amusement of Neil who had probably been there before clinging to his kayak 😀
After a couple of long dives it was now getting late and we needed to head back to the Marina to prepare for the night dive. First we hit the Marina Pub for grub, a diver marches on his stomach 😉 . Inside we bumped into the larger than life Claire Simpson who was along for the night dive with her long suffering dive buddy Steve 😀 . We enjoyed a few laughs before heading out again in total darkness under a magnificently clear sky to dive the wreck of the SS.Breda ….
On these night dives Shane has several humongously bright flood lights that he hangs from under the hull of the Cearban which illuminate the bow section of the wreck .. its very very cool . If I am honest , deeper diving in Scotland is very akin to night diving , 30+ metres and below is often pitch black but it was definitely cool to be doing this with a starry sky and at a safe depth. Kitting up went smooth considering I couldn’t see half my kit and soon we went in. It’s a great wreck in the daylight and during the night , not deep if you stay high on the deck but a respectable 28m to the prop if you want to head down ! On this occasion there was a massive Moray eel looking out at us . The wreck is incredibly intact and very close to port making it a west coast classic and a pleasure to dive. Magic !! and the sky was so clear it looked like you could just grab a few stars to take home ! <3 As usual, all too soon the fun was over and we headed back to port around 10pm.
The next day started well with a later R.O. courtesy of the clocks changing and the tides going the opposite way 😀 Another fantastic dive on the falls. we spent an hour following what felt like a huge deep wall across the channel . Made better with stunning viz and low currents with 33 m bottom. Later that day we returned in daylight to revisit the Breda. The conditions were good , sun high in the sky and Alan and I headed to the prop to see the big Moray from the night before. He was gone !! only a large Pollack looking at us this time. A superb final dive topping off the amazing time we had all had …. Check out Alan’s excellent video of our weekend below
Many thanks to everyone, especially Alan, Neil and Shane for making it one to remember . I really need to get up North more often. 😀