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Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Through HWSAC (your local BSAC club), you can enjoy the full range of club and training activities - including specialist skill development courses - as well as weekend dive trips, diving holidays and social activities.

Dive Tales

Croatia!!  Well why not – like to try a new place for diving. There were eight of us on this trip, led by Vicki, with Pete & Jane, Len & Rita, James & Eunice, and last but not least Clive.

The trip started well, everyone meeting at Gatwick at 7.30 am having got up at ‘silly O’clock’ to beat the traffic. A nice 2.5 hour flight (extra luggage allowance + excellent sandwiches + drinks courtesy of BA – and NO lost luggage) we were picked up by Steve who ran the dive centre we were heading for. Then followed a scenic tour in a mini bus and 15min ferry crossing which took us to one of the thousand islands off mainland Croatia, named Korcula.

We were taken to Steve and Jans house. We had the top floor of their house with a sitting room, bathroom and 6 bedrooms, basic but with everything you could want.  We were kept entertained by their 2 grandchildren who live with them Antonne and Tristen (very cute at 3 and 4 years old). Supper followed at the local bar ‘Pecco’s’ where excellent pizzas were ordered all round. This would be our breakfast haunt .  

The diving was based from the dive centre a 15min walk away. The spacious RIB was perfect. We dived the eastern end of the island of Korcula, mostly off small islands in the Peljesac channel running between Korcula and the Peljesac Peninsula, which is connected to the mainland.

Water temperature of 14-15°c and air temperature of 18-20°c made pleasant drysuit conditions similar to UK summer diving. With very small tidal range, currents were minimal, so diving was not tide dependent. This allowed us to have a leisurely breakfast before departing on Steve’s 7m RIB at around 10am each day. 

All the dives we did were on reefs which generally dropped off from 6m or so near the shore to 25-35m depending on the site. Some had significant walls but otherwise stepped off gradually with small overhangs where marine life hid. The substrate was mostly rock, limestone I think, with many hollows and holes that housed occupants such as octopus, cleaner shrimp, moray etc. There were also areas, some fairly large, of sea grass where we hoped to spot Seahorses which are apparently there, but not when we were!

Mostly the rock was swathed in a coating of algae (seaweed to some), with sponges of several varieties, hydroids, beautiful large red potato sea squirts, fan worms etc.. On one wall dive we were treated to a veritable forest of yellow sea fans which extended down to around 30m. In amongst all this benthic material were several nudibranch species, Jane’s favourite being Disco Doris (not the full correct name), a fairly large variety that feeds exclusively on a particular species of sponge and is coloured white with large brown spots.

Disco Doris!

Marine life, as you would expect from warmish water, tended towards tropical species with Chromis, Cardinals, Moray Eel, Rainbow Wrasse, Painted Comber and others I cannot identify, but also several species familiar to us in the UK, including Tompot Blenny, Scorpion Fish, Squat Lobster, Spider Crab, and Hermit Crab. The Yellow Triplefin we saw, although smaller, is strikingly similar to our own, quite rare, Black Faced Blenny.

One thing that surprised me a little was that there were no fish larger than about 30cm and no great aggregation of fish in shoals. Perhaps this is due to over fishing or maybe just the time of year.

We did a night dive on our second diving day, diving the same site that we did in the afternoon. The conditions were perfect with a flat sea and clear, moonlit sky. It was a reef between two small islands that started at 3m and gradually shelved so we were able to pick our depth. It was a special experience for Eunice as it was her first night dive. We all thoroughly enjoyed the dive but expected to see more ‘critters’ that were absent during the day.

Clive and the mine!

As we had squeezed in a night dive, we opted to do only one dive on our last diving day to allow us time to dry our kit in the sun. Steve offered to ‘guard’ it allowing half of us to explore the town and treat ourselves to a lovely locally made icecream, while the other half showered and beautified themselves ready for the evening. The beautified half then did the town bit. We say town - it was officially a City, but rather smaller than we would consider a city!! (although it did have a cathedral!) This was about a 30 minute walk away, very pretty and nice walk (although would have been improved for Eunice had she worn more appropriate footwear!)  

We set off back to the airport on Tuesday morning, driving through an interesting thunderstorm, whilst the hailstones battered the van.  Could have easily stayed longer than the weekend, but thats always the way!  

It should not go unsaid that congratulations are in order to Clive. He travelled on the same plane as the rest of us and brought all his kit with him this time! Well done Clive.

All in all a great time was had by all. I’m afraid no great stories, as everyone was very well behaved!
Thank you Vicki for organising everything so efficiently. Pity about the seahorses though!

Pete & Eunice

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