The First Dive of the Year (for some)

Some divers continue to dive all year round come shine, rain or even snow! However, there are others of us who prefer to take a break over the winter months and resurface at the first signs of spring to get back into the water.

After a break from diving I am always keen to plan an easy dive with the aim to get wet and test out my kit. Loch Long is a perfect spot to do this for a number of reasons:

1. It is sheltered so you can always get in the water whatever the weather (as long as you check high and low tide) so no wasted trip.

2. Being sheltered means you can concentrate on just being in the water again without worrying about strong currents etc.

With this year in mind Sarah, Sands and I headed to Loch Long towards the end of March for our first dive of the year.

A common dive spot at Loch Long is Congar Alley where you can shore dive from a sandy beach. Last year (2013) Sarah and I chose Congar Alley as our first dive of the year in early March and had a great day.  However, diving at Congar Alley requires a walk along the road carrying your kit from the parking spaces to the beach, which can be a bit of a faff.

First dive of the year (March 2013) at Congar Alley, Loch Long.
A well deserved break after diving at Congar Alley, Loch Long (March 2013).

Therefore, in the interest of minimising faff on our first dive (an oxymoron perhaps) we decided to try out another site at Loh Long which is directly opposite the Pit Stop cafe and is easily accessible from the slip.

If you look out of the window at the Pit Stop Cafe you can see the remains of an old wooden pier. At high tide this makes for an interesting shallow dive with the likes of mussels attached to the wooden structure. Being shallow also makes it a perfect site to practice some rescue tows. Maybe not the most exciting dive in the world but what makes it a particularly appealing first dive site is that it is accessed easily from a beach at the bottom of short slip which is opposite a car park. No long walk carrying kit, hooray.

The old pier opposite The Pit Stop Cafe at Loch Long. A great training dive spot but only at high tide.
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