Day 13-Shore Dive

Posted on 25. Jul, 2006 by Greg Mossfeldt in East Coast

Today started much like yesterday. The weather didn't appear promising when we looked out from the hall but we decided to try and go out anyway. Conditions turned out to be worse than we initially thought; heavier fog, stronger wind, and the boat was rocking at the dock which is never a good sign. Despite all that we set out but it was soon apparent that things were not good. We were about half as far out as the day before when Captain Dave pointed at his radar scope to a bunch of new objects that were not on the screen yesterday. "Those are wave tops" he said, which meant that we were looking at waves around 9-10ft high. So back we went.

It had been decided yesterday that if we didn't get out on the boat then 5 of us would look at doing a shore dive just for fun or for practice for those that wanted to keep their skills sharp. As soon as the boat hit the dock those of us going to do the dive offloaded the gear necessary or converted to a singles configuration for the day's events.

Either Cranberry Cove or Paddy's Head was to be the site as they were close to Peggy's Cove and we could do the tourist thing after the dive. It had been 15 or 16 years since any of us had been to either site so a quick call was made to Diver's World to confirm the locations of the sites and we were off. It took around 45 minutes until Peggy's Cove was sighted so we kept our eye on the coast for Cranberry Cove. It was spotted but we could see most of the cove was boiling with the breakers coming in. Diving there would have been like diving in a washing machine so despite the fun that might offer we pushed on to Paddy's Head. We initially missed the turnoff as unknown to us the sign was hidden by trees so we had to do a quick u-turn and retrace our steps until we found the sign and turned down the small road. We came to one site that looked promising but I wanted to push on as I remembered there was a bridge at the actual dive site and there was none at the one we were at. Sure enough after a couple hundred yards we came to the proper area. This was confirmed by the fact there was already a small pickup parked there with tank racks in the back and diver's bubbles in the cove.

By this time the fog had cleared off and we had sunny skies. Paddy's Head is protected from the offshore winds so there was very little wave action going on. Entry was a couple of steps from the parking lot, down a small sandy beach and into the water. It doesn't get any easier. The dive itself was shallow, maxing out at 30' and averaging 15, and offered up lots of critters to see and play with. The bottom is mostly sand and rock with the definite highlight of the dive being the huge lobsters that were found there. These were 10-15 pounders with claws twice as big as a man's hand. Being so big it was no surprise that they also had an attitude to match with one of the monsters challenging Jeff Grimsom to a duel. Of course Jeff is no dummy and he declined.

After the dive we headed back towards Peggy's Cove and visited the Swissair Flight 111 memorial and also Peggy's Cove itself, which resembled an ant hill kicked over because of all the tourists swarming the rocks.

So while we didn't get to do the Athelviking, it was a nice change to do a simple, shallow shore dive and enjoy the critters.

Brian Nadwidny