Friday, 5 August 2011

Jumping Jellyfish

So Nick and I have been checking the weather every Thursday for the 'throw the tent in the car and hook up the boat' report for what seems like forever when last week it came - 2 mile an hour offshore winds and glorious sunshine for three whole days.

The destination: camping at Shell Island in North Wales.
The objective: diving on the nearby reef  'Sarn Badrig'
The problem: full on stinking cold. Flippin typical.

So not to be out done by bad health and armed with more Beechams products than your local pharmacy off we went.  For those who dont know this part of Wales, Sarn Badrig is one of several shingle reefs extending many miles under the sea into Cardigan Bay on the west coast. The causeway is made of glacial deposits left by receding ice sheets at the end of the last ice age.

Sarn Badrig is not your usual british dive - its shallow to the point of being uncovered during a low sring tide, and usually calm, due to it being protected by the bay.  The water is also often surprising clear due to the sandy bottom.  This leads to it being an extremely heathy nursery reef and in the spring it is a breed ing place for all kinds of critters making a great dive for seeing unusual creatures.

Seal on boiler with Bardsey in the background

Unfortunately my ears were more clogged up than the M25 in the rush hour so I boat handled whilst Nick explored the wreckage scattered along the reef - three seals had made this boiler there home and were not pleased when we tied our boat to it.  When we left they resumed their position and posed for a photo - its not often you see a seal floating above the water!

So after Nicks diving we were heading back to shore when we came across a shoal of huge barrel jellyfish. (Rhizostoma jellyfish) Thrilled with the chance to snorkel with these giants I grabbed my camera and jumped overboard.  My day was made up!  These jellys were about 20 inches across, and a couple of feet long, many had tiny fish hiding in the tentacles.  I was even more delighted when my favorite, the patterned Compass jellyfish joined in on the action - taking a barrel jelly on for a fight. I got some great photos of the battle, after a few minutes the jellys clearly tired of combat, made up and peacefully wobbled away from each other. (or they may have just bumped into each other - you decide!)

So my weekend of none diving had finished with some real marine wildlife action after all.  If you are a fan of wobbly sealife then please have a look at my jellyfish jewellery. I am now wearing mine with pride - a great way to remember an enchanting afternoon swim.

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