A trip to Rough Island for Sheephaven SAC

Another busy week for Sheephaven divers

A trip to Rough Island for Sheephaven SAC

Kevin Boylan and Kiaran Mc Glynn, 'roughing it' at Mulroy Bay.

Sheephaven divers continued with their autumn programme of activities with Kevin Boylan and his companions conducting a series of dives last week.

Starting on Wednesday, the divers were in the water in Portnablagh for a dive that has a maximum depth of 10 metres and if visibility allows can produce good sightings of fish and lobster. With the weather up until last week predominately from the south, ensuring that the sea bed didn’t get too stirred up, divers could expect to be able to see 10 metres or more horizontally around the reefs and harbour.

Generally a tour of the Portnablagh dive site takes about 40 minutes and it is a dive that allows for easy access and consequently a favourite for local divers.

On Friday the divers conducted another shore dive, this time at the Mulroy Bay - North Water location near Massmount, which also has the benefit of good access from the road to the site, with the permission of the landowner along the shoreline.

In the winter Masmount is a favourite dive site, when all other sites are unavailable due to weather and sea conditions.
The marine flora and fauna of the Massmount site are quite different to PortnaBlagh, with few big fish and only the occasional lobster. The dominant marine life that features at the site are sponges and sea squirts, along with some smaller fish species such as gobies and blennies.

On Saturday morning, in addition to a dive at Campbell's Bed, Sheephaven divers provided assistance to An Taisce when they conducted an inspection of their island in Broadwater Bay to view the progress of the reintroduction of native flora species last year.

Rough Island had been given to An Taisce some years ago and at the time it was planted with Sitka spruce trees for commercial logging. After they were eventually cleared, An Taisce decided to replant the island with native species in a manner most likely to be similar to how nature would progressed, if left alone.

This was done by throwing the seeds into the wind across the island and letting propagation take place where the seeds fell. Saturday morning's visit was to determine how successfully this process had begun and Sheephaven's role was to provide transportation to the island, which they were only too happy to be involved with. Hopefully the results of the visit will be made available in due course.

While the An Taisce people were doing their thing, the divers got on Campbell’s Bed nearby. It is a reef that extends from Keerykeel towards the Third Narrows and varies in depth from three metres to over 25 metres.

The sea bed at this location is a very fine powdery silt, which if disturbed will obscure any effective visibility for the following divers, so buoyancy control is at a premium. Other than that this is good dive site in most weather conditions.

It was the weather that dominated Sunday morning’s decision to conduct another shore dive from Massmount, with a windy morning in advance of Hurricane Ophelia sufficient to prevent a boat dive, even up Mulroy Bay. All in all a busy week of diving for Sheephaven divers.

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