NORTH NORFOLK DIVERS DIVING HOLIDAY TO IRELAND 27 JUNE - 4 JULY 2014
A club diving trip was arranged for a weeks' diving in West Cork, South West Ireland as due to the nature of its coastline and number of islands we would be able to dive without too much fear of the weather being against us allowing somewhere to shelter.
The diving and accommodation was booked with John Kearney of Baltimore Diving Centre out of Baltimore and seven members drove with all the equipment, crossing the Irish Sea by Stenaline from Holyhead to Dublin. It was late in the evening and after a long but not unpleasant drive, we arrived at our destination and found our self- catering accommodation above the dive centre to be far better than we could have imagined with the bonus of picturesque views from the lounge on the top floor.
The following morning, we met up with another member of our team who was already in Ireland and John briefed us on the weather and the plan for the week, our only " who would like to do " being the Fastnet Rock which is famous for the Fastnet Yacht Race and infamous for the tragedy in 1979, when a freak storm hit the race launching the biggest ever rescue operation in peacetime and the loss of 15 lives and dozens of yachts.
John also told us what to do ashore, where to go and recommended some restraunts and bars, the Sibin being the favourite for us all as well as the locals.
The weather was good for the first couple of days and our first dive was a dive off Doineen pier followed by a number of rib dives out of Baltimore harbour before the weather started to deteriorate.
An early start to the day was then planned to dive the Fastnet. The weather was much as John promised with the wind picking all the time up but an excellent dive and another one to tick off. From there we ran into a Clear Island harbour for lunch ( the sea food chowder is a must ) and a tour of the Island. We visited the museum, saw the plaque to those who those who lost their lives in the race and were also told by a local that we had missed seeing basking sharks in the bay by one day. I guess that you cant have it all. The second dive followed in the shelter of Quarantine Island.
Our penultimate dive of the trip was on the Kowloon Bridge and it was pretty choppy out there but again good visibility. Our last dive was Loch Hyne which was a slow and shallow drift at the end of the flood into the Loch followed by a rapid exit on the ebb. There was a profusion of marine life and we were also joined by a playful seal, a brilliant dive to finish.
The day and holiday was however marred as while on our last dive, John who is head of the West Cork underwater search and rescue team was called to search for a missing diver on the nearby U260 German submarine. After swiftly removing our kit from his rib and assisting where we could, John headed off to the site with his colleagues. The sad news that reached us at the end of the day was that two divers had been recovered but both had lost their lives.
Our last day was one of packing and sightseeing before an early morning start back to the ferry and home.
We had an excellent time in Ireland, everyone was most helpful and friendly and John, the best host and most knowledgeable and experienced dive operator one could ever hope for.
Dives in order were
Doineen Pier - Alondra - Trafraska Bay - Fastnet Rock - Quarantine Isand - Crab Rock (Sherkin Island) - Kowloon Bridge - Loch Hyne.
John Kearney and Baltimore Diving Centre can be contacted as follows;
Website - baltimorediving.com
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Address - Baltimore Diving Centre, Harbour Drive, Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland.