SHEEPHAVEN divers got the best out the first week of August with boat dives on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, while the snorkelers were out in force on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning.
The boat dives focused on a return to Duncap Head at the beginning of the week and then a super set of dives at the Frenchmans Rock, which is a thirty minute run over to Melmore Head from Portnablagh.
Sea conditions on Tuesday morning were near perfect at the Frenchmans, with slack water, outstanding horizontal visibility at well over 15 metres and in-water temperatures of 14 degrees Celsius.
It is a site of excellent marine diversity, with large kelp forests in shallower depths and a wide range of hydroids, anemones and sponges at the deeper depths, while the large fish life species and shellfish are well represented also.
In addition to marine life the Frenchman is the site of the wreck of the Gaelic, a 127ft iron barquentine that was taking sand from Ards to England when it ran aground and sank in the 1952.
All that remains of the wreck today is her engine and some metal work, but it makes for a good dive nonetheless, maximum depth on the site is 27 metres and it usually allows for dive times up to 40 minutes.
The dive was that good it was done again on Friday morning and was equally as good even though the ebbing tide made for a ground swell at the wreck site, but this time the divers were accompanied by a pod of Spinner Dolphins who put a bit of show to the delight of everyone.
The weather conditions deteriorated over the weekend but the divers still got into the water on Sunday morning by seeking the shelter of Horn Head and got to explore the caves at Carnabarton Head.
These are a series of interconnecting caves and passageways that run through the headland and when sea conditions allow can easily keep divers occupied for 30 minutes or more.
Outside the caves the divers had a special treat with the first sighting this summer of a Sunfish, which was just as curious about the divers as they were about it.
To see one up close underwater is very unusual indeed and this one hung around for a while to the great delight of the divers involved.
On Sunday the Sheephaven 50/50 Lottery was drawn and Owen Curran was the lucky winner, once again the Club wishes to acknowledge the huge work by Eileen Coll in keeping the lottery running from week to week, all the proceeds from which are to fund the Sheephaven Search and Recovery Unit.
A very busy week of diving indeed and quite possibly as good as it gets.