The last few years I’ve been getting out and surfing the Cribbar with a few tight compadres (never alone thank you) and I have often wondered what is actually down there. I mean I know it’s a reef, Cribbar is Cornish for ploughed reef, and that there is a sudden change of depth – you can see that on a sea chart, or just watch the wave for a bit to know that – but what about those eerie stories of dark caves, wrecked boats with engines lodged in crevasses, sudden drop offs into the abyss? As much as I wait for the right day to go and surf it, I’ve been waiting for the right day to go and swim down there: flat, sunny, low tide at midday. Today was that day.
I floated a vague message with a promise of adventure to anyone with a face mask and spare hour or two to lure someone into coming along. Even when it’s flat, you don’t want to be out there on your own. After a few false leads, I hollered to my housemate Graham to see if he would be keen. Being an ‘up for it sort of chap’ I thought he would be, he was, he didn’t have a mask but didn’t seem to care. We loaded the van with two big surfboards so we could paddle out there and the mission was underway, stymied only briefly when I had to return home to get the Micro SD card for the GoPro (twat).
Using my line up spots (which I will never reveal on the internet, you can talk to me in person if you want to know) to put us directly over the spot where the wave breaks, we slipped off our boards and poked our heads into the water. God it was dark, but it was clear. We could see straight to the bottom. There it was staring back at us, the lurking beast they call the Cribbar. For a second or two I didn’t want to look to long at it, least I be turned to stone or something but as my eyes accustomed it started to look quite familiar. 30 seconds later Graham and I were down on the reef looking at giant spider crabs and swaying sea grasses.
We did a couple more dives before surfacing and resting on our boards to swap the mask about, much about with the GoPro etc…I should have kept an eye on my markers for we had drifted into the channel and on the next dive we were like ‘Christ it’s deeper than it seemed five minutes ago!’. Even at slack water, you get moved around quickly out there. You are continually working to hold station. Feeling suitably demystified but with the worst sinus pain thanks to a combo of a summer cold and hayfever, we decided to paddle back into Little Fistral.
Looking down, the sea floor was bright white and we noticed jellyfish drifting about. We stopped and filmed it for a while; I had the mask on so could see just how far the tentacles extended, Graham could not and was getting quite close. I figured no one had died from a jelly sting in the UK and since he was underwater and couldn’t hear me, I’d leave him to it. He later admitted he got stung on the nose but it was worth the shot in my opinion 🙂
It’s interesting to swim down to the Cribbar reef from a surfer’s perspective, personally I have found more dramatic underwater scenery around the granite gulleys of Little Fistral – that place is mental. If this weather keeps up and I get some Sinutab, I’ll go and grab some more footage and see if we can get a spider crab to latch on to Graham’s face, just like a facehugger in Alien.
Oh – and here’s a video so you can have a look around for yourself! Vimeo this time, had enough of YouTube stretching my videos widthways.