NARC in Action 2013

Long Mathew Point/Barafundle Ledges 06 April

The dedication/slight madness that seems to be thriving in NARC volunteers was evident again at a cold start to our 2103 clean-up campaign. Whilst the sane amongst us were donning hats and scarves 11 volunteers jumped on board Volsung and headed to South Pembs. The sun was shinning above the waves but that’s where any slight warmth ended. A 7 degree water temperature tested everyone’s dedication as did the 1 metre viz. However a new site was searched and 1 dive later saw 70 weights sent to the surface.

Next up came Barafundle ledges, a popular stretch for anglers near one of the most spectacular beaches in the country. With new kelp growth at a minimum very little line and lures were found. However an amazing haul of 450 angling weights found their way into our trays and onto the boat via lifting bags.  Thanks to Louie for heading up the recording effort. A curry and a few beers were needed to thaw out the troops!

Low Point/Wooltack Point 07 April

An early departure from Dale once again found the yellow ball in the sky doing its thing. It was a pretty rough trip as the wind whipped up the sea surface and the swell maxed out around St Annes Head. Low Point within  Skomer MNR was the first dive where 6 volunteers dropped in to locate 100 weights, bottles, a rod tip and small amounts of line. 

The second dive at Wooltack Point turned out be be a great dive. 2 metre viz and a fantastic dive site, 1 of our buddy pairs had trouble getting down due to ear issues so the team of 4 bagged 70 weights in an hour or so. A fantastic start to the year and a great effort by all including a new volunteer! Hopefully it’s warmer from here on in. I hope so, as I’m definately not brave enough until the water temp sees at least 13 degrees!! 

Folly Farm May 24th

NARC was delighted to be chosen as Folly Farm’s newest conservation partner. The Pembrokeshire based Zoo opened its brand new state of the art Penguin Coast on May 24th with the Minister Edwina Hart carrying out the formalities. We were in attendance for the opening where interpretation panels describing the work of NARC and the impacts of marine litter have been developed by Folly Farm. This exciting partnership will raise awareness of our efforts in trying to keep our undersea world litter free.

Stackpole Bioblitz May 25th

NARC were really pleased to be  involved in the fantastic Bioblitz event held at Stackpole Quay A fantastic weekend of recording species which is an annual UK event. 4 NARC volunteers were joined by 4 members of Ammanford Sub Aqua Club who not only got stuck in to record species and collect marine litter but also kindly provided the boat. 120 weights, line,hooks,cans,bottles, a rod piece and 1 entangled spider crab released. Add that to the underwater species found and recorded plus some sunshine equalled smiles all round. A big thanks to Rhi from the National Trust for her help in getting the boat and vehicle back online! 

Hobbs Point June 29th

8 volunteers  jumped into the murky waters off Hobbs Point to carry out the bi-annual (sometimes more!) clean-up at a site that seems to attract fly-tipping. This part of the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC is infamous for its bad viz and challenging conditions. Once again bad visibility played a huge part leaving our dive team requiring dedication, patience and batteries in the torches! A great effort saw lifting bags bring 6 lost lobster pots to the surface, a fishing rod, boat cable, bottles, cans and the obligatory scooter, handed back to a friendly kid. 2 shore crew were on hand to assist as were the Maritime Volunteer Service who kindly provided boat cover once again. 

Skomer MNR – Plastic Oceans July

We were really pleased to be involved with Plastic Oceans which is a global project looking at the impacts of plastic in our seas. David Jones joined 4 volunteers on a clean-up of Skomer MNR with a blue sky and good viz making things much brighter than our last clean-up dive. 30 plus weights, line, hooks, bottles and cans were bagged in a quick dive leaving David with an idea of what we do and hopefully a continuing relationship in the future. 

Wooltack Point July 18th

8 volunteers dived into waters of Skomer MNR and bagged 150 weights along with bottles, cans and line. We did have a couple of mishaps which include picking Nick and Helen up off the rocks who found more than they bargained for, an unknown slate wreck! Pretty good viz enabled the volunteers to spot a Bull huss and Octopus.

Strumble Head July 20th

9 volunteers boarded Wandrin Star for a sun filled day of clean-up diving in North Pembrokeshire. Our planned dive off Strumble Head ledges had to be changed due to the strong tide making it too risky to enter the water there. On our last visit to North Pembs a local fisherman told us he had lost a string of pots in a storm just South of the lighthouse so we decided to try and locate them and lessen the potential impact of ghost fishing. Some pretty good team work that involved search patterns and even Mark the skipper donning a dry suit and scuba to help, left us with 7 lobster pots and metres of rope on deck. A great team effort from 25 metres down.

Fishguard Breakwater and Pen Anglas July 21st

Another sunny morning departure from Fishguard with 10 volunteers eager to get stuck in on day 2 of our trip to North Pembs. After a fantastic dive on the wreck of the vendome as a thanks to all the recent hard work we split buddy teams to cover two sites. Three pairs went in on the Breakwater and two pairs on the ledges near Pen Anglas. We spread out to cover different, previously unexplored parts of the breakwater, two of which didn’t really throw up much in the way of marine litter. We always take this as a positive. The third spot however left us with an appetite to return next year. 51 weights, 80 hooks, 2 rod pieces, 3 plastic bottles, 2 glass bottles, cans and bit of plastic were bagged. We also filled half a sack of angling line which remains in the underwater environment for decades. 2 lots lobster pots were also retrieved releasing 4 trapped spider crabs. Pen Anglas proved a bit trickier with localised strong currents bringing one dive to an end after 9 minutes and the other buddy pair getting stung by jellyfish. Even with the very challenging conditions 19 weights, 25 hooks, line and a beer can were collected. We are determined to give Pen Anglas another go next year, hopefully without raging currents and Jellyfish! We were also happy to pass on the lobster pots to a local fisherman who will repair and recycle them for use again.

Skomer MNR July 28th

New volunteers joined some of the usual crew for another clean-up in Skomer MNR. Following on from reports given to the group by a previous dive session we managed to locate and lift 2 pots from East Hook and West Hook. We also bagged some lost diving equipment and from both sites approx 120 weights. 

Stackpole August 12th and Skomer MNR August 14th

NARC were chosen by BBC’s The One Show to be part of their Marine stories for 2013. This was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of marine litter and the work we do locally to try and help. Two days filming at Stackpole and Skomer hopefully gave the BBC team enough footage to highlight some of the impacts. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped pull this together and a big thanks to the super friendly BBC team who made our bit easy. Miranda and Dave made great clean-up buddy pair and we will make sure she gets a NARC T-shirt (in purple) as promised!

Low Point August 29th

On a trip back from the Langton Grange 7 volunteers dropped into the waters off Low Point. 88 weights, line, hooks, bottles, cans and various plastics were bagged in great viz. The image below demonstrates the impact that lost angling line can have on the some of the marine wildlife found in the Marine Reserve.

Hobbs Point Sept 1st

7 keen volunteers were joined by the MVS and the Water Ranger to get stuck into our usual dip at Hobbs. For the first time in years we could actually see, with the viz approaching 6 metres! 6 lobster pots, a trailer, batteries, weights, rubber, glass, cans, line and bottles were bagged and sent to the surface.  A site that just keeps on surprising us with the range and diversity of the litter we found here. 

Hobbs Point Sept 29th

With the mild summer weather continuing we decided to hit Hobbs point for the second time in a month. Even after our last visit there was still plenty to find. With 10 eager volunteers and help from the water ranger and Alistair from Rudders Boat Yard we got straight down to the business of finding underwater rubbish. With viz approaching 2 metres we could actually see we we were going which is not always the case at Hobbs! After 45 mins lifting bags were filled and sent to the surface and contained amongst other things: 30 weights, 11 bottles, cans, crab lines, a skate board, scooter, radio, shoes, half a bag of line, lead, a lobster pot, credit card, tesco card, car battery, radio, mobile phone, golf balls and 2 rod tips. We also managed to release an entangled spider crab. Not bad for a few hours work on a lazy Sunday!

Stackpole Quay 12 Oct

6 hardy souls endured a fairly rough trip out on Volsung extending our clean-up season into October. 188 weights, lines, spark plugs, cans and bottles were bagged at out final dive at Stackpole until next year. The fine weather has obviously seen a number of anglers at the site this year so we are looking forward to our next visit. 

Skomer MNR 13 Oct

The final dive of the 2013 saw us back in the reserve again. A wonderful lush day out the boat with 5 volunteers keen as mustard. A previous report of lost pots at Tusker Rock set us a challenge for the day. After 42 metres, 2 lifting bags and an amazing effort 5 pots were sent up from the depths for Sam the skipper to collect. Low point came next where 1 buddy pair broke our record and bagged an amazing 148 weights in 1 dive. This was added to the other volunteers which gave us a total of 246 with line, hooks, cans and bottles also recorded. This event was sponsored by the Crown Estate. A superb end to one of NARCs best ever years!