After Saturdays disappointing “dive” on the Kimya, I was keen to make the most of Sundays diving. Me and Dave had decided to head to Cloddfa’r-coed Quarry which we’d not dived together before. We knew there was more to explore in the quarry than we’d previously thought, and Dave was excited to see the ladder that I’d found on my last dive there. The quarry looks a lot like a lake from the surface, and is a popular walking spot.
Cloddfa’r-coed is a bit of a walk from the parking area and so in two trips we hauled the kit down. Given that the quarry is fairly deep we’d both be diving with stages and I was also bringing the camera (now with fixed housing) so the walk was a bit of a hassle. Dave’s folding sack truck made life a little easier but I think a dedicated dive trolley/wheelbarrow type thing would be perfect for this kind of dive.
Once everything was down by the water we got kitted up and prepared for the dive. For about 20 horizontal meters the quarry maxes out at between 1 and 2m deep and the bottom is covered in some sort of thick grass. Eventually the shallow section ends and the slope down appears abruptly, continuing all the way to the 46m bottom at a constant 45 degree angle. As we headed deeper the water got a bit siltier and it became incredibly dark. Due to the relatively featureless slope it feels as though you are descending for a long time before you reach your maximum depth.
At exactly 35.00m we stopped descending and had a look around the immediately visible area, although if I had been to the bottom I’d have told you that it was extremely silty and very dark, with nothing of particular interest to see – though I’d love to know if anyone has found anything notable down there or anywhere else in the quarry for that matter.
After a bit of time at our max depth we started swimming around the walls of the quarry, which towards the north side fade from a 45 degree slope to steep drops, more typical of other slate quarries in the area. I must have got a bit turned around because while I thought we were on the north side we had somehow ended up towards the east side and I think because of this we completely missed the ladder we were looking for. There were plenty features in the walls and the quarry seemed to take on a weird shape towards the south. I’d love to see a depth map of the place.
As we rounded towards the west side of the quarry, where we’d entered, our gas was reaching the planned end point and we ascended the last 10 or so meters to the shallow area and once we’d cleared all deco time I popped my head up to see where we were. We’d ended up fairly close to the exit point but it wasn’t the best navigation I’ve ever done.
After lugging the kit back to the car and getting changed out of the drysuits we headed around the corner to Llyn Nantlle thinking there was a public footpath to the lake. What we didn’t realise was that Llyn Nantlle was a fishing lake with access by permit only. We decided to have lunch where we’d parked near by and decide on another site, opting to look into getting a permit another time. The view was amazing at least, with mt. Snowdon clearly visible in the background.
Next try was going to be Llyn Llywelyn, coming in part two