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Scuba Diving in St Abbs, Scotland
Dive Site: Big Green Carr
Location: St Abbs, Scotland
Description: Shore dive
Depth: 3 - 17 metres (10 - 55 feet)
Visibility: 10 metres (30 feet)
Just on the outer edge of St. Abbs Harbour are a small group of rocks. Before the harbour was extended here these were outlying, and now the nearest one is set in the concrete of the wall. The small group a few metres offshore comprises of Broad Craig and Big Green Carr as the main rocks. All of these rocks have a connecting submarine ridge which confuses the hell out of divers (I know!). It is therefore important to take correct bearings before you dive!
The entry/exit for all the rocks is at the end of the harbour and care must be exercised. Time your entry/exit well and don't dive if the barriers are up or there is a lot of swell. Coming up to high tide should be avoided if possible as this creates ground swell. Directly out from these rocks lies Big Green Carr, a nice big lump lashed by water. Take a bearing on its leftmost side because the dive is straight out and back (the simplest route). As you enter the water much wrack and kelp is about and even in the clear water of the first 3m large pollack can be found. Look out for pipefish as well. A natural channel exists about 6m offshore, which should be noted and picked up (this will be needed for the return). The channel drops to 6-7m and the corner of BGC is picked up. Don't venture right or left, go straight on. The wall deepens to around 12m initially and here many holes avail themselves. Some years back on this corner was George, the 'friendly' Wolfish but he's not been seen for a long time.
The vertical north wall above is covered in a dense mass of orange and white deadman's fingers, along with a smattering of sponges. Many urchins are about grazing the algae on the horizontal rocks. Further on, the depth increases to its maximum at 17m where the east corner is. Currents can be present but if not, venture around the corner into a deep cut gully where enclaves of light bulb squirts and dahlia anemone beds can be found. The water column has many wrasse and sometimes fish shoals. If dived slowly many varieties of crabs will be spotted, and it's normal to see jellyfish at certain times of the year. Return is reciprocal.
For those more confident or familiar with the site, there are two more options depending on conditions:
1. As soon the eastern corner is found carry on out and eastwards. A further deeper submarine reef is encountered (and another further on) some 10m on. These don't break the surface but are more prolific in marine life and should only be attempted with good air consumption and conditions.
2. A round-robin, a complete circuit of Big Green Carr. However the trick is when to turn back in. The back of the rock is alive with many marine creatures and a small connecting ridge must be negotiated. Many divers either make the dive around Broad Craig or between the two; either way trust your compass bearing implicitly!
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