NARC in Action 2011

Haverfordwest River Clean March 12th

We are off and running for 2011 with a dip in the cold waters of the Cleddau. The sun was shinning as 14 eager NARC volunteers met in the centre of Haverforwest early on Sunday morning. Prams, scooters, ashtrays, traffic cones, 9 shopping trolleys, a cash register minus the cash and even a tourist information sign were found in a mornings dive. Our fund raising recived a boost with 1 of the trolleys still having a pound in the slot! A great effort by all in such cold water with Costa Coffee kindly supplying some hot drinks to ward off hypothermia! We are all looking forward to a busy clean-up season which will hopefully get warmer.

Skomer MNR April 30th

A blustery start at from Dale meant a delay in getting the teas out – the crucial start to proceedings! It soon calmed down as we rounded St Ann’s Head en route to Martin’s Haven. We managed to get all eight divers down who reciprocated by bringing up a reasonable haul – mainly dominated by angling related waste with approximately 70 weights, 150 hooks and plenty of line. Other finds included, bottles, cans, camera, batteries etc but we can happily report that waste levels appear to have reduced since last year. Then we nipped off to Skomer for lunch in one of the sunny bays where we got to check out the masses of guillemots and puffins that invade the island at this time of year.

We managed an afternoon dive to check a couple of popular spots for evidence of litter (but was primarily a reward for all the hard work put in by the NARC dive team). Early season buoyancy tribulations were the issue of the day with one diver, who shall of course remain nameless, spending five minutes struggling to descend after forgetting to put on his weight belt!

A great day as always with the benefit of an additional galley slave so hot drinks and biscuits were pretty much the order of the day. Then a well earned beer once back on dry land and fully unloaded. Thanks to everyone as always for their efforts. Roll on the next dive…

Stackpole June 11th

Beautiful day, calm seas and great company. Well, two out of three ain’t bad – we definitely need to work on the company! Great turnout today with ten divers showing up with a mass of gear which we loaded up in Dale (but more on that later). We motored round to Stackpole taking in some of the incredible geology along our stunning coastline – we even got a great view of St Govans Chapel.

Once at Stackpole we had the first dive of the day and managed an impressive haul including almost 200 weights, 4 fishing rods, hooks and line, cans, bottles and a BBQ. It’s a popular fishing location and it’s one of the reasons why NARC and the Pembrokeshire Federation of Angling Coaches have worked together to produce the angling tips leaflet which shows the structure of the coastline to help minimise the amount of lost tackle (there’s also a leaflet for Martins Haven).

We even managed to free three spider crabs entangled in old fishing line (ghost fishing). Our interesting find was an old copper nail used by boat builders. Our second dive was on the Iona, a wreck just round the corner, which proved interesting. Embarrassing fact of the day: we accidentally appropriated another diver’s gear while loading up at Dale – apologies to the diver in question.

Hobbs Point June 23rd

Our first visit of the year to the famous dive site of Hobbs Point saw a sunny evening and 10 volunteers on site eager to get in and see what items could be retrieved from this area of the Haven. 45 minutes later and we had weights, hooks, line, a knife, bottles, cans, tiles, glass, a lobster pot, plastics and metals into the skip.

Reasonable visibility gave us a chance to not only collect a number of non nautical items from the sea bed but also see how much there is left down there. Roll on the next visit to Hobbs!

Fishweek Milford Marina June 25th

Well the weather finally stopped us for the first time this season. Lots of rain in the days leading up to Fishweek made our planned dive in the marina impossible. No visibility left us with no choice but to postpone the Tesco trolley collecting until further notice. There are at least 7 in there!

Skomer MNR Aug 20th

Cloudy skies, August drizzle and a freshening wind were on the cards when we left Dale for a trip to Skomer MNR. We welcomed Radio 4 on board as well as our PR guru Meg who was joining us on the boat for the first time. Sadly she left her sea legs in Manchester and after a couple of hours bobbing up and down decided to feed the fish! She was not alone on the green face front as the wind and waves picked up throughout the morning.

On the red faced front were Dave (Chairman and founder of NARC) and Blaise (renowned marine biologist) who came up from the clean-up dive with NOTHING in their tray. They mentioned “that’s never happened before” and tried to blame the bad viz! Luckily the other 6 volunteers managed to collect over 50 weights, hundreds of hooks and spinners and metres of line some of which was snagged in the soft corals found within the MNR.

A big thanks to all the volunteers, Radio 4 for covering the day and Andy for spotting all our divers inbetween the waves! To listen to the Radio coverage click here

Hobbs Point Nov 5th

After a few cancellations due to the weather we thought we would try our luck and give Hobbs Point another go before the nights draw in any further and talking of night that’s exactly what it was like 12 metres down off the slip at Hobbs – in fact it was like a foggy night, dark with almost no visibility. We stumbled across a number of non-nautical items including bikes, a scooter, bottles, various bits of metal and managed to reunite an angler with a rod stand. The amount fly-tipped rubbish here creates a magnet for angling gear as the various items create snagging situations where we often find bits of rope and sack covered in monofilament.

The willingness of volunteers to keep coming back in these challenging conditions speak volumes about the members of NARC which is a good thing as there is still plenty of rubbish left to find here! Fingers crossed for some better viz and light next time so we can find it.

Skomer MNR Nov 6th

Bright and early on Sunday morning we convened on the Mackerel Stage at Milford Haven for a jaunt out to the waters around Skomer. It was a beautiful day (but don’t let onto Davey J who’d swapped to go on the Pembroke Dock dive instead, sucker). The morning’s diving was centred around Jack Sound – a couple of teams went in close to the shoreline which is popular for angling and is a known spot for associated litter. NARC with the help of the Pembrokeshire Federation of Angling Coaches has now put together guidance leaflets for anglers to advise about the underwater topography to minimise lost gear. Saves them money and minimises harm to the underwater wildlife so a win win scenario. To download the leaflet click here.

The other team went in near Tusker Rock to hunt for some ghost lobster pots. The lobster pots proved elusive this time as there is such a narrow dive window at this spot but the shoreline divers had more luck. Approximately 180 lead weights and a large quantity of fishing line were brought up. Newbie Annette even witnessed first hand exactly why NARC do what they do when Dave K cut free a dogfish that had become entangled in discarded fishing line. The fish lived to fight another day!

Lunch and cake (we are so civilised) followed in one of Skomer’s bays where we were lucky enough to be accompanied by seals.  A swift dive on the way back at Dale Fort saw about 30 more weights and other odds and ends brought up. We were then treated to a beautiful sunset as we headed up the Cleddau.