At the end of July, four club members checked out the new restricted diving at Stoney Cove. As a result of lessening of lockdown restrictions the dive site is now open to a maximum of 50 divers and 20 swimmers per day. All divers must now be a member of Stoney Cove and must book online in advance; well in advance as tickets sell out very quickly. On the plus side divers get to park waterside, so not too far to lug kit, which was just as well as we picked the 3rd hottest day on record for our visit.
I arrived shortly after the others at about 10:15 and secured the last parking space in the car park. Changing rooms are shut, so everyone kitted up at their cars. Once kitted up, getting wet became the priority as we all began to wither in sun. Alan went solo for the first dive in order test out his twinset, his mission (that ultimately proved futile) to find the aeroplane in the west corner of the lake. Paul, Martyn and myself chose to take trip to the Stanegarth, a much easier proposition as there is a handy marker buoy you can take a bearing of before you set off!
The visibility in the shallows was quite poor but improved greatly once we dropped off the ledge down to 20m. We passed the remains of a land rover on the way and arrived at the Stanegarth much quicker than I expected. We spent a short time exploring the insides of the wreck before starting the journey back to shore. Taking a different bearing back we came upon the Wessex helicopter remains before heading to the shallows and Nessie in the archways under the pub. Attempts to photograph Paul riding the Loch Ness monster were scuppered by the poor vis resulting in shadowy images of a plastic monster and an even more shadowy diver sitting on its back.
Leaving the archways, attempts to find the Nautilus in 1-2m vis proved equally pointless, so back to shore.
The hatch at the kitchen is still open for business, so after a combination of various meats in buns we were ready for our second journey into the depths of the quarry.
Although Alan had failed miserably to find the aeroplane in the west corner, he had seen various fish and a large pike on his journey and was eager to share his discoveries with the rest of us. So this time we set off as a foursome. It quickly became apparent that keeping a group of four together in the shallows with 1-2m vis was going to be tricky. Despite this our tenacious leader pursued his goal of finding the pike. Every time we came across a large clump of plant life, Alan sent me in to investigate. As my repeated searches proved pike-less I was beginning to think Alan’s pike was as real as the actual Loch Ness monster then there it was lying in a clump of vegetation.
Fish found, we did a U-turn heading back through the increasingly murky water, a drop down to 15m improved visibility but the consensus was that it was bloody cold, so we came back up to 6m shelf where the others promptly lost me. After meeting back up at the surface we returned to the shore, de-kitted then headed to Nemo’s for a couple of drinks before heading home.
Stoney Cove seemed to have made good arrangements for diving during the pandemic, the only issue is getting a ticket. It was great to be back in the water again after so long and good that dive sites will have some income again. Use them or lose them!