Marine life gives Sheephaven members a dive to remember

Marine life gives Sheephaven members a dive to remember
Staff Reporter editorial@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Sheephaven divers had a remarkable dive at Melmore Head on Saturday morning, where the marine life put on a tremendous display that will make this dive one to remember for some time to come.

On the surface before the dive, club members were fortunate enough to encounter a sunfish that was clearly not one bit concerned about the presence of the dive boat.

Later, remarkably, it began to jump out of the water, four times in a series across the cove, looking like a large stone skipping across the surface. Then as the divers descended into the Melmore Head cave and chimney, another three sunfish went past, following each other in a line at a depth of 24 metres, another sight rarely witnessed by divers.

Elsewhere the entire dive site has been populated by large pollock, wrasse, shoals of juvenile pollock, bib and cod.

Then they came across a conger eel, badly wounded and barely alive. Goodness knows how this poor creature was hurt in this way, but unfortunately its future could not be good.

Finally, as the divers prepared to begin their ascent from the Melmore wreck they came across two lobsters squaring up to each other for a fight, until one backed down and left the scene to its rival.

Water temperature was just below 15 degrees Celsius, while in-water visibility was well over 10 metres at a depth of 25 metres. Dive times of nearly 55 minutes were recorded before all divers were recovered and the run back to Mevagh was completed.

Sunday was all about club members achieving the deserved recognition of their progress, with four club members successfully completing their Club Diver Test, while elsewhere another diver got their first dive on the Laurentic.

The four new Sheephaven Club Divers are Bernie Gallagher, Maureen Gallagher, Caroline McGee and Matthew McGonagle.

For these divers, in gaining their second star they get the recognition of the successful completion of a course that brought them from absolute beginners to accomplished divers, a course that opens the door to further grades and courses in the future.

Training Officer Anne Boyle led the two-boat dive party to Pat McGee's, where the Regional Dive Officer Gearoid McCarthy conducted the practical examination in two sticks.

Later, back in the clubhouse, the candidates completed the theory element of the test and in doing so were able to demonstrate that they have been properly trained to a satisfactory level to be awarded the Club Diver grade.

The CFT Club Diver, or two-star grades, has an international reputation through the CMAS Federation, or the World Underwater Federation, that will allow qualified divers access to dive organisations across the world. More importantly, it provides a sense of achievement to the recipient that will never be forgotten.

Sheephaven SAC is indebted to Gearoid for taking on the examination of four candidates in one day, definitely a job well done.

Pictured: Sheephaven SAC test is over, and the ascent commences.