I used to be fascinated by weather forecasting 1971 to 2001 and tried to be a good as I could.
All because of Scuba Diving. In 1975 I became the diving Officer for our Branch. I was only in post for 4 months and had to hand over to another chap as sent to work up in Washington for 9 months. Thatís how I discovered the Farnes.
As I also became an Instructor. Boat officer and running dives I had to watch the weather forecast in the week prior to a planned dive. Shipping forecast and observation in those days.
The biggest problem is knowing when to call off a proposed dive on the Farnes ( Farnes can be a killer if weather turns)
One because of the danger and two the cost if we got up to Beadnell and Could not launch. There could be up to 15-20 of us.
This happened on one occasion due to a big storm off Norway in which the reflected wave action headed straight down to the N E coast. The reflected wave action is similar to you bouncing a ball comes in from one direction and off in another.
There were 12 of us that day with another 6 due the following day. We were able to stop the other 6 travelling as we went and discussed the conditions with the fishermen in Seahouses.
One vivid memory is that we were out on the outer Farnes, Knivestone on first dive and had moved to what we called the Blue Caps an location to the west of the Longstone ends for the second dive. Both shallow so DC time minor.
As I had been first down To secure the anchor, I was first up. Followed by the second pair then in went the third pair who had been on standby.
As we waited for the last pair to surface I noticed that there were quite a few fishing boats heading back to Seahouses.
I thought about it for another 15 mins and discussed it with another of the experienced divers. We decided that the fishermen knew something that we did not know so we signalled to the last pair to surface which fortunately did after 5 mins.
We headed back for Beadnell but the sea got up and I had to make a run for it taking over from the lad who was doing the Coxon job. it got to the point at one stage that I considered ditching the heavy dive gear, weight belts first then maybe the cylinders. Everything was got ready with a marker bouy to mark the dropping spot for retrieval later of the gear.
It was run in the troughs and then crest the oncoming wave trying to make Sea room ( go out to sea). To be able to round Beadnell point.
It took a long while to get back and fuel could have been a problem but we had topped up the tank before setting off back.
That type of problem is a regular occurrence on the Farnes. Itís just that the wind can swing a few degrees and if the flood tide or ebb is a bit stronger up rises the Sea.
Even on a flat calm day I have seen a rise of 4-6Ē between us going out to the outer Farnes as we cross where the flood tide passing between the Inner Farne and the coast.
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