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  1. #11
    Custom Title Allowed! Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef's Avatar
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    7th October “This must be the only place on the planet with waterproof napkins” [Dolp

    Venturing into flatland near a full moon may be seen as somewhat foolish, but as Steve wanted to get back in after his broken elbow absence I called in the reinforcements in case the remake of “The Wicker Man” has given the locals some odd ideas. Claire joined in the fun from my part of the world, and a phone call from Caroline confirmed that she, Ken and Keith were on their way from Kent.

    Signing in at reception I referred to Caroline and the boys as “The C-Life Rabble” which went down about as well as most of my jokes, and I was press ganged into the buying of the first round of hot drinks. After a chat and Ken muttering darkly about revenge for the lump of granite I wedged in his twinset halo during the last half of the dive and the walk back to the cars last time we were at Stoney people wandered off to kit up. I decided to tidy up the table and found that one of the others hadn’t liked their hot chocolate that much and managed to throw half a cup of it over the table. Grabbing some napkins to mop it up was a mistake as they appear to be made out of oilskin. I think I will get a drysuit made out of them if I can, as they were extremely waterproof.

    Back at the car the Dolphin is given the once over. For this dive I decided to use the 50% jet rather than the 60%, although I was still using 40% in the tank. As hyper- rather than hypoxia is the usual problem for me, I usually go with the 60 jet, but at the shallower Guildy depths even breathing 40% ‘raw’ wouldn’t be a problem. I was also using a new scrubber material, 1-2.5mm rather than 2.5-5mm. I have heard that some find this a harder breathe, but last night at home it seemed OK and not noticeably different to the larger grains that I usually use. I haven’t used Drager Divesorb since my first two barrels ran out because the price of it is now well North of £100, and the 1-2.5mm stuff I got for £57.

    Predive checks complete I kit up and wander over to the next parking bay to find the others. Everyone other than Claire is diving on twins, so we look like we are either crap on air compared to her or sacrificing a non-techie to Poseidon [or Neptune, take your pick]. The big step is the only way in for me, so while Claire wanders down the ramp I am making a big splash. Caroline, Ken and Keith are off doing some practice drills, so we wave them goodbye and head down to the bus to start our meanderings around the lake. On the way down Steve and I bubble check, although if we would have seen anything in the green is up for debate.

    We stopped at a platform on the way down, allowing me to perform the YD ‘Mobile phone’ joke, to mild amusement from Steve, and a sad shake of the head from Claire and a ‘you’re mad’ sign. Claire and Steve swam through the lower deck while I did a 1 minute vO2 test by fining hard against the side of the upper deck. The ankle I sprained six months ago is still painful when fining hard, and the increase in vO2 was noted, although it rose slightly during the ‘recovery’ period of fining to the next target. I may have to ask the gym I go to permission to strap on the Dolphin and take it in to do a test on one of the exercise bikes for a really thorough check as I can’t really fin too hard or long until I get the gammy leg sorted out.

    Passing the lorry and car we reached the Provost, and having a look under the trestle it rests on revealed the first pike of the day. As the vis was a bit grim I ‘torched’ it for the others to see before we headed off to the wooden boat. Claire went wreck ferreting inside it, bumping into another pike in the forward cabin. She was looking at getting out of the front window, which was overly optimistic for her, thin though she is. I pointed back the way she had come, and to the right to a large hole, but she decided too wriggle out of the hole on the left, which I have to admit did rather impress me. Steve and I had bigger lumps on our backs than Claire, so we didn’t try going in. It’s not that we are of a larger calibre than Claire, honest.

    Off to the coach next, and a swim through the inside, where I was stalked by a pike that didn’t look like it was going to let me out of the back door. We were eye to eye for a while until I moved forwards and muscled it out of the way. As it was about the same length that Dry Suit Diver claims a part of his anatomy is, I won the fight, but if it were any bigger I wouldn’t have chanced my arm that way.

    Claire and Steve joined me, and as this is at the deeper end of the dive I was pondering the work of breathing [WOB] of the scrubber. It didn’t feel any different, but without a direct back-to-back comparison you can never really be sure. We are now 26 min into the dive, and my computer is set on 29% as a guess [sorry, I mean calculated loop fO2] although 31% would have been a more accurate setting for the percentage of O2 I was getting inside me. Following the rope up to 7m we come to the trailer mounted boat with the oh-so-funny poster on the back. This boat is home to a large number of perch, which got stared at for a bit by three weird fish before we made our way back around the lake. The vis had cleared up to about 7m at this point and we were on the hunt for pike. Around the sunken trees there were numerous pike stalking the perch fry. We saw truly giant examples almost a foot long, and the smallest was in the region of five inches. Weaving our way through the sunken trees [and once straight into one] we ran out of greenery and places for stalking pike to hide. We passed under the training area so I warned the others to watch their heads and we got back to the slope that Claire had used to get in to get out, 62 minutes after descending.

    The C-Life rabble emerged just after us and we dropped our kit on a bench. I took off the 5L to refill it from the 15L in the car and joined the others for a round of tea. Ken and Keith had been practicing shutdowns and stage drills under Caroline’s expert eye and seemed happy enough. A sausage sandwich was washed down with a hot chocolate and tall tales told of diving exploits.

    Claire was to lead Steve and me around for dive 2. For a change we were to head off the opposite way around the lake to have a look for any more life. Claire was made to walk the plank this time around, although I thought it would take a crowbar and kick up the arse to get her to jump. I had dropped a couple of kilos off the weightbelt this time around, and coupled with the dump valve problems, this led to me having a slower descent than usual. On the platform as a group of six I pulled the phone joke again to the amusement of no one. Caroline led off to the East with the boys in tow, Claire off to the West with me and Steve in her wake, Steve bleeding somewhat from a cut on his thumb from the scaffold pole he had injudiciously grabbed. To prevent shark attack I gave him my gloves to help control the bleeding.

    I had gone back to the 60% jet with the lower flow rate of 5.8 L/min as opposed to the 7.3 of the 50% jet for this dive, with the computer set to 25%, although again, although an average of 29% in the loop and a lowest recorded reading of 28% would allow 27% to have been used with a measure of conservatism. I tend to calculate the mix, jet and loop %O2 from a vO2 of 1.1, which allows a comfort factor when heavy work is involved [a vO2 of 1.26 was the post exercise peak on dive 1], but at greater depths this means I am usually bordering on hyperoxia.

    There is a square section of ductwork that lies in about 10m as you head West, and for many years I had meant to swim through it. One side has corroded, and I decided that now was my chance to bimble through it before it falls apart completely. Pushing the collapsing section to one side I wriggled in, then my wash pulled the flap on my legs, pinning me in. It was a simple matter to push it back and continue on, but then Steve blocked the exit. Claire hadn’t seen me enter the duct, so she couldn’t tell him to get out of the way, so a waving hand and the V sign to Steve got him to move. I could have just grabbed his leg I suppose, but he may have thought that a pike had got him.

    We carried on around briefly before Claire’s fin strap came undone, a problem soon sorted. There was a lack of life in this part of the lake, and at 27 minutes Claire turned us and led us up to 6m for the swim back. Even at this depth life was limited to small perch and a few larger roach. I found a large mussel shell that had a couple of creepy crawlies on it. One was a small many legged light brown thing about 5mm long; the other was light brown and resembled mobile snot. It could draw itself out to about 10-12mm long and then the back end caught up and then it was fatter and about 4mm long. Trying to show Steve was a bit of a problem as he is getting long sighted and trying to see something that small is a challenge.

    Finding a small pile of bricks on one of the platforms led to building a replica of Stonehenge out of bricks, Claire in charge of erection and Steve and I being the hod carriers. That used up the last few minutes of the dive that we had extended to 60 minutes and we surfaced again to a nice sunny day.

    Steve and Claire had both had enough diving for the day and were off home, so I joined Caroline, Ken and Keith for another one. Claire was a bit wet inside her suit from a dribbly neck seal and leaky boots, but Steve was fine, and despite the restricted movement in his elbow could kit up with no problems.

    The others had not seen any pike on their dive, so I offered to lead to the Skyvan and have a look with them. I managed to get Caroline and Ken [with a pair of 7L sidemounts in addition to his twinset] off the big drop, but Keith sidled in down the slope again. Congregating on a platform we sorted out running order out and I led off to the East at 13m, finding the Skyvan at 14m, with a diver vandalising it with his knife. We swam through the fuselage a couple of times and then went up to 6m for the swim back, finding a large pike on the way. Back in the trees there were numerous small pike hiding, some of them probably thinking ‘not you again’.

    Looking back to check on the group I nearly swam into a rather larger monster. This one looked about four feet long, although it was difficult to be sure with the tail disappearing into the weed. Giving it a wide berth [and getting my breathing back under control] I managed to kick Ken in the face for the third time during the dive. I get the feeling he was getting close enough to do something horrible to me in revenge for my past jokes.

    We got back to an empty training area that was full of perch fry. After watching them for a bit I signalled the others to surface and got out myself. I waited a while, and then the bubbles moved off. A staff member was watching me, and must have thought that I was solo, so I stuck my head back under the water and managed to grab the attention of Caroline who got the group together and up.

    Caroline had found a leak from the tank/valve O ring after we surfaced, but as the tanks have just been O2 cleaned, Kent Diving will be having them back to try again. Ken bought cake for us all after we had tidied up and was last seen exiting stage left, pursued by a flock of geese.

    Well, over the six months since I sprained my ankle I have managed a total of 22 dives, and I had done 28 in the three months leading up to my injury. I dive all through the winter, and I hope that next year I can actually get a salty one in.

    DIVE DATA

    Dive 1

    19.5 m
    62 min
    vO2= 0.81

    SI: 1:48

    Dive 2

    16.5 m
    60 min
    vO2= 0.60

    SI: 1:38

    Dive 3

    16.2 m
    37 min
    vO2= 0.78

  2. #12
    Custom Title Allowed! Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef's Avatar
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    14th October “This IS plan B. Plan A was to be in the pub” [Dolphin dives 56&57].

    Off to Stoney on a Saturday? Yes if it’s the weekend of the dive show. I had arranged to meet Frankie Price and MSD Keith who is also known as Keith for a frolic. Frankie was helping out on a course so would only pop in for one dive, and Keith wanted to try out his new Dolphin configuration. On the drive up I was able to see how much the front lights were robbed of power when the front demister was used-somewhat disconcerting to see the power drop quite that much. Stoney was ‘Busy weekday busy’ in that the car park didn’t fill up until later in the day, which was good for Keith as he thought that the opening times were the same as they are mid week. This meant that I had to wander around the car park looking for my blind date in a K reg van. At ten to eight I had given up and asked the threesome two cars down if I could join them for a foursome when up popped Keith.

    After chucking Keith my Oxygauge for a trial he said that he would have to get a nitrox fill. Err, this is the weekend, they don’t do them! I had brought a spare tank of 40% up with me though in case he wanted to have a play on my rig, so we could use that for dive two if needed. After discussing a detailed dive plan [‘if your ears are OK we’ll wander off to 20m, OK?’] we kitted up and dropped in at the step.

    The first step was to drop to 4m and have a slow descent to check out Keith’s ears. I was trying out a second hand Custom Divers torch that weighed more than the weightbelt I was wearing, and I was still in the reserve drysuit with a cuff dump as I have not stretched my new neck seal sufficiently yet. Keith gave sufficient OK’s so we made our way down the road to 20m, with Keith making notes of his pO2 and depth for the vO2 calculations. At 20m, Keith was still happy, so I asked if he fancied 25m, but his gas supply was getting below his comfort levels so we came back up the road and wall to 6m. As the suit I was diving was the same one that had given me dumping troubles before I motioned to Keith that the valve was problematical using the trusty British ‘almost an OK signal’, with exaggerated elbow movement. Three minute stop completed we surfaced and did a weight check. Keith was able to dump 3kg, and I was able to dump both the weightbelt [4kg] and the torch [probably more!]. With over 200 bar left in the tanks it wasn’t much of a check, and I was wearing the summer gear of a set of thermals, a Weezle Compact and a membrane. In really cold [5 deg or colder] or when trimix diving I will be in a Weezle extreme with thermals and some Xerotherm stuff. To be honest though, the Xerotherms I have [£140 quid] on their own are only about as good as two sets of Damart thermals [£30]. As I can usually feel the zip on a long deco I add a thicker layer on my torso, either the Xerotherms or a sweatshirt, so more weight is needed then.

    The surface interval was spent getting intimate with a hot chocolate and soss sarnie, and leering at the young ladies clad in semi’s. I’m wondering how long it will take for Stoney to decide I need a restraining order-or bromide in my drinks. After some meticulous dive planning of ‘fancy the helicopter, Stanegarth and coach?’ I left Keith to change his jet over to the 50% one to use with the 40% tank I had lent him. A bit of jiggery-pokery was needed to fit the 5L onto his rig, and the knob was repositioned so that he was able to reach it easily. I ditched the weighs, but kept the torch for dive two.

    At the ramp Keith had the cable ties fail on his 5L bailout clamp, so he dropped it off and popped up to his car for some more. The previously mentioned young ladies had all gone out of my sight so I had to make do with a laugh when one diver exclaimed loudly that she was a Madam. I did ask what the going rate was in a moment of channelling the spirit of Todd from Scrubs. I also put a bid in on the kit of an injured diver who was dragged from the water, but they were only doing rescue drills, so that was off. The arrival back of Keith stopped my flirting, and I gave him a hand to reattach his rogue tank.

    That done we dropped in, and after Keith caught his breath we dropped to the 6m ledge and made our way deeper. It was unusual to see the helicopter deserted, and even more so to find no one on the Stanegarth. A diversion to the South and we swam around the Mini before returning to the Stanegarth and having a swim around it. As I was about to lead to the coach, Keith pointed along the anchor chain. I thought he was wanting to turn the dive, so we headed along it until we found four cable ties, when Keith pointed West, to go to the coach.

    Once there, I led back to the Stanegarth and showed Keith the relationship between the two. That done we headed back along the chain, with a pause to show Keith the ‘D’ shackle that joins the two sections. On the way back up the cliff I played a game of ‘hand my buddy a rock and see how long they will swim around with it for’ before doing a bit of underwater litter picking. Another 3 min stop saw us nice and safe for the swim back to the step and a surface.

    A dekit later and we hit the pub for some tall tales of derring do, as is compulsory on all dive trips.

    DIVE DATA

    Dive 1

    21.3 m
    25 min

    SI: 2h 40 min

    Dive 2

    21.3 m
    32 min

  3. #13
    Custom Title Allowed! Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef's Avatar
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    15th December "Do I look like your mum?" [Dolphin Dives 59-61]

    Having to use a day’s holiday before the end of the year meant a re-acquaintance with open circuit decompression at Chepstow-right up until the point where I managed to break my wing. So, it's off to Stoney for a bit of 30m+ on the Dolphin, with 70% as an open circuit deco mix in a sideslung 7L. Steve wasn't too unhappy with the change around as it meant a bit less driving and a longer lay in bed. Arriving at 0755, I still didn't manage to be first in the queue, Steve and MSD Keith having beaten me to the tape. A chat and mickey take was ruined by the demand for the £8 to get in for the splash. Sexydivebuddy [Leslie] was there as well, having dragged a buddy along for the day, and who fell for the mattabooboo joke on cue. There was a panic for a while as said buddy had lost a lot of regs. A couple of manic phone calls to the hotel where the party the night before followed, and they turned up in the bar, safe and sound. I imagine that an amount of falling down water was consumed the night before. Keith was joined by Alex who was having a couple of dives on his Vision equipped YBOD that he had just bought.

    It was to be the first time I used a camera with the Drager, so diving with an experienced buddy was essential. Once in the pre dive checks on the Dolphin revealed a refreshing lack of scrubber dust getting into the mouth, and the positive and negative checks passed with flying colours. A bit of a boo boo on the camera front though as I had managed to leave the flash on, draining the batteries on the MM2. That was soon sorted and the 7L and camera joined Steve’s pair of 10L sidemounts on the bus stop. Clambering into the Dolphin and staggering down to the bus stop I joined Steve and we launched ourselves in the lack of grace that is the tech divers lot. For this dive I was using 40% through the 60% jet [5.8 L/min flow rate] to drop the loop fO2 to the mid twenties, which would both optimise the gas and have a low enough pO2 for the pit.

    Dropping to 6m I swapped the suit gas from the 3L of the Drager to the 7L sidemount as we bubble checked and headed down the road. At 20m the right hand route was followed to the BOP and pole, then onwards to the rope that leads to the deep box. Steve and I went either side of the rope, admiring the somewhat spectacular vis with the box being visible from 25m. A quick bimble around the box and a couple of piccys later we headed up the West side of the pit to 20m and followed the wall on the Cessna ledge. I took the opportunity of 10m+ vis to swim away from the wall a bit and mimed to Steve 'look at the vis' by shading my eyes and moving my hands apart to show a large distance. Steve replied by pointing towards the aircraft. He thought I was saying that I couldn't see the way. The lack of miming ability explains why I am chosen last for 'charades' at parties.


    Once at the plane I took a quick snap and then led the way to the barge across the silt. Normally there are crayfish tracks, but there were none to be seen on this dive. The vis from half way to the narrowboat allowed it to be seen one way with the Cessna still in view the other. We were 35 minutes into the dive at this point, and the water temperature of 9 degrees was getting slightly noticeable. We made our way to the Transit van and then back to the North East corner of the ledge where it drops into the pit. Staying at 20m makes for less of a swim back than beginning the ascent too soon and having to follow the extended curve near the shop. Of course you need the gas on your back to do this safely. With Steve lugging along a total of 44 litres of gas in his twin 12L with a pair of 10L sidemounts and me with a total of 15 litres, but on a rebreather we had plenty to play with. The swim back over the top of the pit is a touch on the dull side, and the other side of the 20m shelf is always a welcome sight. Passing the BOP and pole we were soon at the road and on our way back up the road to 12m where we gas switched to our deco mixes. I was on 71% from the left hand mounted 7L and Steve on 64% which was mounted on his right.

    The gas switch was done smoothly by thinking ahead and getting everything ready. At 18m I was deploying the deco stage hose and hanging it over my arm, at 15 the rebreather gas was turned off as the loop is flushed to leave a loop fO2 in excess of 32%. This would provide a bail out that would not turn hypoxic in the event that there was a problem with the deco gas and the 21% bailout gas in the 3L. If both failed plan 'C' would be to go back onto the loop and then turn the loop supply gas back on after hitting the loop. With a semi closed rebreather leaving the gas on is a waste and the bubbling out from the over pressure valve gets to be an annoyance. It's important not to drain the loop as it's the last option in the event of some excitement with the gas supply, and until the loop gas is turned on the gas in the loop is being breathed. As the pO2 for any given loop fO2 drops with decreasing depth it is my practice to loop flush as the gas is turned off to ensure that the loop gas has the highest fO2 possible. As I had a loop mix of over 26% my decompression was marginally less than Steve’s, and when I switched to 71% it was another couple of minutes less. However Steve's back up computer is air only and committed us to 11 minutes once I had cleared. One thing not planned for was running into a pike heading down the road, but I scowled at it and then hid behind Steve. As I had a few shots left on the luddite film camera we wandered aimlessly around the 6m ledge to fire them off.


    I really need to change my aftershave as I was acting as a lure to just about every fish in the cove. First it was the roach that started to crowd me, and then the perch joined the party. This had happened on the previous Wednesday when I was diving with Keith, which I put down to being on the rebreather, however I was on OC deco this time. The fish completely ignored Steve and worked their way closer and closer in to me, getting to within eighteen inches. I was wondering if Ro had been rubbing fish food into my drysuit when she fitted a new neckseal for me a couple of weeks previously. Battering my way through the scaly blighters I was able to see Leslie dropping into the depths with her buddy in hot pursuit. Deco over Steve began to head towards the shore, and after 70 minutes in the water I was about ready to jump out and seek a bit of warmth. We clambered out at the step and hauled ourselves back up to the cars, just as Keith and Alex were getting in.

    Dropping the kit off we headed down for a hot chocolate and a chat about mutual diving acquaintances. Steve broke out his cheese and marmite sarnies, which made me think he was pregnant. I had to decline his offer of a bite as I will eat cheese or marmite, but not the two together. Comparing notes on planned dives killed the time until Leslie emerged in time to ponce a chemical handwarmer. We had a chance to discuss the smashing of the gnome garden under the 36m box, the removal of the memorial plaque and the dumping into the pit of the cairn near the coach as examples of general dickhead behaviour on the part of some of the less intelligent members of the diving world. A chomp on a banana later saw Keith and Alex emerging after a 45 minute splash around. Leslie wandered up a while later with her buddy after a wander to look for the APC now it has been moved from the 6m ledge to the 20m level. The five of us were surrounding Steve in an attempt to assimilate him into the YD massive.


    After an hour and a half Steve and I kitted up for round two. As I am moderately paranoid about water and electronic gear I put the housing for my digital camera in my thigh pocket with a load of kitchen towel inside to check for leaks before filling it with my camera. The bus stop was used as the entry point again, Steve sitting down to fit his sidemounts and flopping into the water gracefully as I gassed, gauged and gagged before getting in. The 6m ledge hitting me full on controlled my descent. Memo to self-even connecting the drysuit hose inflator is no use if the deco mix is turned off when you are using it for suit inflation. The road was followed to 12m where we dropped over the edge to the blockhouse, which was visible as soon as we began our descent. This time the descent was a bit smoother than the first part of the dive and a crash into the blockhouse was avoided. The swim to the coach was used to check the camera housing was waterproof and wouldn't leak when the controls were in use. As we hit the pit on dive one I had to leave it on the shore as the housing is only rated to 30m. At the coach we turned left to the Stanegarth that was pretty much visible from the coach. Steve grabbed a Santa hat he found on the bottom and wore it for a while before handing it to me to carry back to shore. We passed the Stanegarth and headed South to the Mini and skirted around a silt cloud. Back under the blunt end of the tug we headed over to the Wessex via the climbing frame. There was a Tweety Pie strapped to one of the uprights of the frame, so it looks like the Blonde Mafia are getting in some winter practice before a summer of enforcing the code.

    From the helicopter we hit the white van before ascending to the 6m level to off gas. Both Steve and I stayed on our bottom mix as we were on a non deco dive and completed the 3 min stop. We headed back to the step and out for another tea. Steve always manages to get upright wearing four tanks easier than I can wearing two, so I will have to start kicking his fins back into the water after we get out. Another hot chocolate was drunk on the surface interval and I swapped tanks on the Dolphin. More tall tales of diving were exchanged and Leslie scrounged another handwarmer to defrost her mitts. Her buddy was made of sterner stuff and didn't need defrosting, although there may have been a bit of medicinal antifreeze still traveling around the circulatory system. Keith and Alex wandered off for their second dive after a bit. Steve and I had to wait out a while longer. I dried the housing for the digital camera and broke out the fag papers. Housings usually need a bit of a defogging, and a tip from a dive trip to Ireland a few years ago resulted in a conversation concerning the cleaning of O rings. Kitchen roll or [worse] tissue paper can leave dust on the O rings so the French chap I was talking to used fag papers, a hint I have been using ever since. Steve lost his spidge hat to a group of divers a few cars down, one of whom was fully rigged out as Santa.

    Steve decided that 4 tanks were a bit excessive for a 6m dive, so he dropped his sidemounts off. He also put on a total of 10kg of lead-for a twinset! For some reason Steve needs a lot of weight to sink, which is unusual as he is not a big bloke. I imagine that his bones are made of polystyrene rather than calcium. Alex and Keith were just emerging at this point after their second dive. The divers dressed up in their festive clobber were jumping in just before us and we saw them on the 6m ledge-with their BC inflator hoses disconnected. We spent a little time looking for a bunch of drowned reindeer, so venison was off the menu for later. As we hadn't already discussed the location of the APC with Leslie at this point Steve and I were on a search for it on the 6m ledge, getting as far as the 4m blockhouse before turning back. I was pleasantly unharrassed by the fish this dive, so if Ro had glued fish flakes to my suit they had all washed off at this point. We wandered back looking down to see a couple of divers at about 18m ascending from the white van. It's a shame that vis is like this only in winter, but hey ho, if it was this good all the time us British divers wouldn't appreciate the vis when we get it. Of course good vis and a warm water temperature going hand in hand would be nice in the UK more than four days of the year, all of which I usually end up working. We dekitted and joined the others in the pub, except for Alex who was off early. No hot food was available, so I wolfed down a healthily large piece of apple crumble. Steve's exit was preceded by Keith, leaving just the three of us to drink coffee until dark, which is not too late in the middle of December.

    Dive Data:

    Dive 1

    32.9m
    70 min
    vO2 = 0.95

    SI 1 h 35 min

    Dive 2

    21.3m
    33 min
    vO2 = 0.96

    SI 1 h 32 min

    Dive 3

    8.2m
    30 min

  4. #14
    Custom Title Allowed! Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef's Avatar
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    24th December "You need to go on a dive trip with lots of slappers" [Dolphin dives 61

    Since some muppets decided to wreck the gnome garden under the hydrobox, Sexydivebuddy [Leslie], Yippeediver [Lee] and I hatched a plan to replace them in a secret location hopefully easy enough to find for the more responsible diver but not the tosser element. Meeting up at 0600 we went over the plan of attack again. After the gates opened we headed down the car park and a pre dive coffee while we waited on the others to arrive and the sun to come up. Chris and James arrived in a big van to make up the fivesome and Leslie opened up the collection of gnomes that she had bought at the local pound shop. I made first grab for the reindeer in the 'Playboy' pose and scribbled my name on it as Lee chose one and strapped it to his stage.

    Lee and I were to act as the scouting element for a suitable place to deposit the collection of lawn ornaments with Lee, and Leslie, Chris and James were to be the heavy cargo lift section of the group. As James and Chris are fairly new divers Leslie was concerned about the non deco times that would be run with a dive to the pit. So a cunning plan was hatched that would see Lee and I surface swimming to the coach and firing up a DSMB when we hit the bottom. At this point the others would follow us and use the line as a reference. Lee and I were to drop strobes on clipweights to mark the descent point on the edge of the pit, the bottom of the pit, and the location for the new gnome garden. As we didn't know where we would be able to drop the gnomes we were prepared to search both North and South in the pit, which the delay in the others dropping in would give us a chance to find somewhere decent before the others joined us. On ascent the second team would collect the strobes and SMB and reel on the return as Lee and I were planning to be long gone by then. Chris had a problem with a dribbly cylinder O ring that appeared to be from his knob rather than the one that seals against the reg, but we had a spare 15L floating about so that was swapped over. As we were doing this, a sodding great Chelsea Tractor lubes up and squeezes in the space next to me, as it was obviously a better space than the 30 or so others that were available.,

    As I was to be carrying a load of kit in with me I had decided to wrap some tinsel around the hose loops on the Dolphin to give the appearance of a Christmas tree and very festive it looked too. The rest of the group kitted up and Lee and I started to motor for the transit cross points as the others started to get in. A quick OK later and we dropped rapidly into the depths of the 20m ledge as I got the DSMB out of its hidey-hole and ready for lift off. As I was carrying over 4kg of extra kit the roof of the coach was found by my knees as I was desperately trying to slow my descent, which was to be an example of how my buoyancy would go for the part of the dive until I had dropped off the strobes on their weights. The sending up of the first blob followed a bubble check on the coach. The pit was quickly reached and the first strobe turned on and deposited, then we dropped on the second descent into the deepest part of the lake. We descended as vertically as the wall allowed and then the second of my strobes was dropped to mark where we hoped to meet the cargo carriers when they got deep. We found a suitable place for the garden and Lee dropped his strobe to mark it, followed by the gnome he had brought in with him. We turned back and ascended to the view of the underside of some divers arsing about with the shallow strobe. Righty ho, words need to be said. Of course, words were needed for Lee whose mask mounted torch was shining straight in my eyes every time he looked at me. I did give a clear signal that he should turn the damn thing off; although he may have thought that I was offering to cut his head off with a crayfish claw.

    On closer inspection it was the rest of the group who had decided to move the reel from the coach and were having trouble securing it. Why they were doing this was beyond me as the line was to be collected on the return leg, not the outbound one. At least fisticuffs were not called for. I grabbed Leslie and pointed her in the right direction as she passed and then Lee and I were free to swim back the coach. From there it is the done thing to visit the Stanegarth and then the Wessex on the way back to the 6m ledge. So, we headed to the Stanegarth, passing on its starboard side and then wandered our way to the Wessex via the climbing frame. Of course, the Wessex pretty much resembles the climbing frame these days. When I began diving the clamshell engine covers were still in place and the skin of the helicopter and tyres were intact. These days it looks like just the structural frame is held together with a few bits of thin alloy. The engine doors are long gone now, but I can't imagine that Margaret would have let anyone get them out to put over their mantelpiece.

    At the bottom of the cliff it was time for Jaws to make his appearance, so distracting Lee by making the shark fin sign and pointing off into a random distance to distract him, Jaws was waved in his face when he looked back. The chortling sound of an open circuit diver accompanied the voices in my head during the slow wander up the cliff. I indicated "shark" again as I saw a medium pike above us, but Lee thought I was up to something again up to the point where I shone my torch on the fish. A beady eye was cast in our direction and then back to the perch above that the pike was stalking. A second or two later there was a perch trying to break the sound barrier as it legged, or rather finned, from the pike which had to forego a tasty snack. We saw the pike make a second grab for a late breakfast as we passed it, again missing.

    Back on the 6m level we swam around for a bit to off gas and stirred up the bottom to see how many fish we could attract, the answer being a lot. As I was using my right arm to stir the bottom, my computer was below 6m and stopped registering the advisory stop but the swim back to the exit allowed it to clear. Again, the moron brigade has been in the water and the stone with the word 'EXIT' scratched on it and the arrow pointing to the step has been scratched flat. It must be really fulfilling to some divers that the high point of their year is a broken gnome, a bit of a helicopter recovered from the worlds safest dive site and scratching the writing off the stone to stop people having a chuckle at the end of every dive. Never mind though, people that moronic will probably end up bent through not being able to work their computer and end up not being able to dive again-we can hope.

    Back up top I show a couple of kids that were gathered around the exit that I had been attacked by a rubber shark and as we head back to the cars we see a DSMB with my name on it heading to the ladders, so Leslie must be leading her young men back to the ladder. Rather than waiting for them we went up to drop the twinset, rebreather and stages off at the car and then went back down to help the others who were clambering up the ladder. James was a bit soggy as his neckseal leaked a bit, and in water that is eight degrees that is an uncomfortable feeling. After dekitting we played pass-the-kit-to-the-rightful-owner with Chris swapping his 15L for the one he had borrowed, me getting my SMB and reel back, and a discussion about the strobes.

    "Err, it's like this", is a conversation opener that doesn't bode well. One strobe had been left in the pit, one had been lost and one made its way back to the surface-one of mine. Lee and I were to go on another scouting run then. A couple of other divers that Lee knew had seen the one by the gnomes and one of their group was going to bring it back but was told not to, so one was in the pit-hopefully. Leslie provided a box of choccy biscuits and a couple of us wandered down to the food hatch where Lee set about sexually harassing the young lady serving. I asked if his chat up line would be 'Can I help you with your homework'. It wasn't his day though as his twin ponytail Santa hat made a little girl in the queue say 'You're a girl' before belching 'thank you and goodnight'-pretty good for a seven year old [well that's my guess of her age]. Food got, and the bromide placed in Lee's tea we head back up to Have Words with the other three about the strobes, and Leslie took the chance to berate the diver that moved the DSMB for not listening to the dive plan. I got Lee to help rewrap the reel that we had used to mark the coach for the others and agony aunt Leslie to advise Chris to go on a diving trip so he could get lucky with a lady of negotiable virtue. YD threads were discussed to the amusement of everyone except James who hasn't joined yet. He was also sitting out dive two as he was rather soggy and there were cheeseburgers to be had at the hatch.

    After an hour and a half had passed by we kitted up again. We were getting in more or less together with Lee and I intending to make 12 knots to the pit, with Leslie and Chris retracing their steps to look for the strobe. I checked Lee's torch angle before we got in, and it was on dipped beam rather than full with foglights on, so that was a bit more pleasant. We headed to the 20m blockhouse and then the coach where we crossed behind a red arrows dive team leaving a silt trail behind them. I was avoiding this as the lack of encumbrance of all the extra gear made my buoyancy a bit better. The pit was next and I signaled that we should move away from where we first descended and then double back to increase our chances of locating the strobes. As we hit 25m Lee saw one flashing away merrily and we followed its light to the gnome garden. We had a look around and headed back up where we bumped into Leslie and Chris, Leslie resplendent in her flashing dildo strobe. We went around and through the coach to reach the Stanegarth where I took Lee along the chain to show him the D shackle that joins the two lengths together. From there we headed to the two landrovers and the helicopter where I initiated Lee into the ancient art of underwater see saws. A quick trip to the white van and up the cliff it was. Finding a large rock that I feigned interest in before giving it to Lee let me play 'how long will my buddy lug a rock around for', the answer being 'not very long'. I will have to stop mentioning my japes on the trip reports. The bottom was stirred to feed the fish and as we swam for the exit Leslie and Chris began staking us again, and we all got out together.

    One strobe wasn't found, although it may be floaty and somewhere on the surface of the lake. We dekitted and Lee headed to the toilet. We waited a while and then decided to meet him in the pub, where he was found scoffing a plate of food. He must have heard the 'last one to the bar gets them in' comment and decided not to be in the chair. Declining the offer of ice in my drink we sat around chatting and I took the chance to amend Chris' log of the second dive to show that he hadn't found my strobe. As it was in my impenetrable scrawl I would be well away before he would be able to read it. A productive day was had by all, the new gnome garden was placed, and as Leslie said, for a bunch that had not dived together before it went very well.

    Apart from the strobe.

    Dive data

    34.4m
    38 min
    vO2 0.93

    SI 1h 50 min.

    34.4m
    44 min
    vO2 0.90

  5. #15
    Custom Title Allowed! Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef's Avatar
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    27th December "Your food is locked in your car, next to your woolly hat. And keys."

    Caroline from C-Life had a list of instructions from Serena who owns the school for a set of techy skills to be filmed and a deco station to be trialed, so off we trog to Stoney for a post Xmas play. A visit to the newly installed gnome garden was planned for dive one, with dive two for the deployment of the station and filming, three for some more filming and removal of the station and dives four and five for buoyancy checks and kit fettling. I wanted to get a couple of photos of the gnomes so the luddite 35mm camera was in use again. Stoney was really busy, probably because people needed a break from the family after a couple of days of enforced friendliness. Caroline parked opposite in the double spaces as I was checking the Dolphin.

    Ritchie popped up to say hello and be informed of the location of the gnomes. He was diving with Alex who wanted to log some more time on his Inspiration, and was prepared for a long day. I told him how to find the gnomes and made him take the sacred blood oath ["Bloody well tell me Freeflow or I'll do you"] that he wouldn't reveal where they were. After the directions were given Caroline and I jumped in at the bus stop for dive one. A bubble check was completed at 6m then we headed off to the cockpit and descended to 12m down the road before dropping over to the blockhouse, which was visible from 14m. A bearing of 210 sees you to the coach from here; although I have dived this site so many times I rarely need a compass. By the way, that is not a boast; it's admitting that I need a life. At the coach we then followed the markers to the gnomes, and it was pleasant to see them unmolested, although it was only three days ago that they were dropped in, and for two of those the site has been closed. I took a few pictures and then we ascended to 22m and made our way back to the road. We traveled in a generally upward direction as I looked for a suitable anchorage point for the deco station. A quick wander around the 6m level to off gas and then we clambered out at the step.

    After dropping the gear off and the consumption of a sausage sandwich we had a look at the deco station. We spread it out over half the car park and rolled it up from the 9m level to the two buoys and secured the bundle with some line. I then ran a chain stitch into the connecting line and dug the weights from under the car. For this exercise I had brought up some old weights from a barbell and I dropped them in the water with the deco station. Once again my faith in my fellow diver was reduced when one of the weights went missing ten minutes after I had placed it in the water next to the station. I suppose that it was a little shiny and some idiot thought it would look nice on the mantelpiece. Caroline then did the all time classic of locking her car keys in the car. The boot slammed shut to a dismayed cry of 'My car keys are in there'. That's good then. We were kitted so we went in the water to rig the station. We had planned to aim for the cockpit, but Caroline took off towards the Cessna ledge before coming back. Video camera at the ready the rope was untied and the station rolled down to it's full glory, then the downline was attached and dropped, the chain stitch unraveling nicely before the weight was attached and the station moved into position. We then went off for a swim to the coach, Stanegarth and helicopter before heading back via the landrover to the road. The visibility allowed the equipment to be seen from 18m and as Caroline's keys needed rescuing we rescued the station with the aid of a DSMB and plonked it near the bus stop for recovery once we had dropped the gear at the cars in case the third dive was out of the question.

    We lugged the gear to the cars and dropped the various contraptions for breathing under water on the floor. Leaving Caroline with the phone I went and collected the collection of plastic pipes, rope and buoys. I had some funny looks as I dragged to up to the car, but I replied that I was trying out the new sport of underwater pole vault. Caroline had called Saab, who were a bit crap. Their 'service' was to offer to come out for £99 and possibly not be able to do anything. I sent her up to the shop to see if she could get any plastic banding for an old trick to get into cars that I was shown when I looked the keys in the family V reg Austin Allegro. Unfortunately these modern cars are a bit more secure and all I achieved was the lifting of the lock mushrooms. Caroline was then off to the toilet as I told the chaps in the next car that she had locked the keys in her previous car. Unfortunately Caroline hadn't left yet and heard me grassing her up and gave me an indignant bollocking. I had my revenge by timing my approach to her car with a crowbar with her return from powdering her nose. I must say that when the keys were locked in the BMW that Caroline used to have they came out and got her in with no trouble, so draw your own conclusions about the customer service of BMW versus Saab. Further calls were made to the garage and Autoglass to find out the cheapest option, getting the 'recovery' people out or knocking in the back window, then another instructor for C-Life was called, and he was prepared to haul the spare keys up from Kent to get Caroline back in. Caroline then decided she needed a copy of 'Diver' and grabbed the crowbar from the boot to apply it to my wallet so she could go spending while I sat by the phone waiting for the key bitch to call to confirm pick up.

    Dive three was to be a search for the APC now it has been moved to the 20m level. On the Xmas eve dive with some of the YD Massive Leslie went and got some directions-150 degrees from the blunt end of the Stanegarth or carry on past the white van near the helicopter. We decided to carry on past the van, the vis allowing for a wide area to be searched for something as large as an armoured vehicle. The step was used as the entry point and we quickly dropped to 6m and began the finning to the drop.

    The broken pipe that is the direction arrow to the helicopter was passed as we headed down the cliff, passing the tail of the Wessex on the way to the van. This too was left behind as we travelled the perimeter of the 20m level staying 8-10, from the cliff and being able to see the same distance the other way. We carried on trogging along admiring the empty plain as Caroline did her stretching exercises in preparation for her starring role in ‘Caroline Does Shutdowns’. A bank of silt is the usual indicator of something of interest as poor buoyancy control from divers stirs up the bottom.

    Unfortunately this time the cloud of silt was just that and only hid more silt, so I signalled to Caroline to head back and hit 6m for the filming as we did our stop. Skirting the silt I managed to lose Caroline, so I went right hand down a bit looking for her, and ascending to look over the top of the silt for her bubbles. Unfortunately Caroline breathes like a fish, and I couldn’t find a bubble trail. I was just about to ascend when up she pops, later saying that she was next to me, although I think that a game of hide-behind-my-buddy was being played. We didn’t find the APC and as Caroline was getting too cold to want to play with the video camera so we bubbled away at 6m on the swim back before surfacing again at the step.
    Caroline took the chance to get cold but ever the gentleman, Alex was there with hot tea. We were still waiting for Simon, so Caroline decamped to the changing rooms to defrost a bit, returning after half an hour or so to ponce my spare clothes so she looked partly respectable for a trip to the pub.

    We managed to wedge all of Caroline’s gear in my car, with the exception of the trapeze. Caroline put on the socks from my spare clothes bag and we wandered down to the pub to get in the warm. Under the delusion that a] she is the reincarnation of Queen Elizabeth the First and b] I am a gentleman, she insisted that I give her a piggyback over the damp patches in the car park. For maximum embarrassment I carried her all the way into the bar before dropping her down. Drinks and grub ordered a sit by the fire was called for. I told Ray Caroline's tale of woe when he made the day even better: the pub was closing and not open in the evening. The staff were waiting to close the pub while we were sat there waiting for Simon-who had been held up on the M25 and was still traveling. Another frantic phone call was made to Simon who was just passing junction 15A of the M1 and bearing any problems should be on site in 45 minutes. The news put Ray's mind at rest, but not as much as it did Caroline's. Caroline said it was her round so could I get the drinks in. A coffee and hot chocolate later I carried Caroline back up to the cars as Simon arrives to what appears to be a bride being carried across the threshold of the car park at Stoney. So at last Caroline can get off home, arriving after five hours of travel. I feel smug as I get back after 40 minutes.

    Dive data:

    Dive 1

    34.4m
    27 min

    SI: 1h 10 min

    Dive 2

    21.3 m
    28 min

    SI: 1 h 50 min

    Dive 3

    21.0 m
    37 min

  6. #16
    Custom Title Allowed! Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef has a brilliant future Freef's Avatar
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    31st December "You’re only supposed to put a notch in the bedpost when there is someo

    The Last Gasp of 2006 was [yet] another trip to Stoney, which is convenient enough for most of my regular buddies to get to, and the irregular ones as well. Of the roll call of this years more-or-less willing victims Claire is currently in hibernation, Caroline is still living down the repeated locking her car keys in the boot, Steve was elsewhere, as was Barry, Ro decided that if I dragged her into the water this time of year she would kill me, and Terry and Karen stayed ‘dahn sarf’. YD occasionals Scuba Sue and Frankie Price weren’t available either, so the YD trip was made up of Leslie [Sexydivebuddy], hubby Mal, Tiggerbiker, Lee [Yipeediver] and Alex. Also there were Ian@1904 and his buddies, and late arrivals at the Scuba Diving Ball were Derek [Ratcliffe] and Spacehopper who was on an excursion from China. There was another diver present but as they are in Witness Protection from the Blonde Mafia they cannot be named.

    After a drive up in the dark I set up the Dolphin with the aid of the rechargeable light I got from Screw-Fix a while ago, and it’s worth it’s weight in plastic and glass. Then there was enough time to harass one of the staff about the early closing time and the entry fee. We could only dive from 0700-1200, so I suggested that we should only pay £6 instead of £8. The lad I was talking to suggested that I speak to Margaret about that. I decided to shut up. All the checks completed I chatted to a few of the other early morning arrivals before the gates opened and we were let loose in the bottom car park. I managed to grab the place next to the bus stop entry for an easy walk down and checked the state of the tide. It looked like a spring as the water was nearly to the level of the bus stop, and was lapping over the ‘quayside’ under the pub.

    Leslie was showing off her Submatix mCCR. They have now got CE approval for the CCR version, and it is pretty much the same as the SCR that I had a look at when I was at the dive show a couple of years ago. I thought that the nested counterlungs were a bit odd, and as I had already trained on the Dolphin I opted for that instead.

    Ian@1904 arrived with his buddies and proceeded to try to tan himself with the rechargeable fluorescent light I was using. I think he has been diving with Derek too many times and some of the madness is rubbing off.


    The plan was to split the group in two for the dives. Those that were pit qualified were to head off to the hydrobox to see if any gnomes had survived the arsehole element, and if so to safely transplant them to a place where they could run free and live the lives that gnomes should be able to without the fear of a couple of tossers who want to smash them up. Alex and I were paired up for the dive, although we were to dive in a group of four with Lee and ‘X’. Lee was to lead the way. His dive plan was to go to the ‘box via the road, circle it clockwise and then head off to the gnome garden. I was to be team photographer with my luddite 35mm MM2 and Alex was to plant another gnome from the remains of Leslies collection. A ‘meet at the bus stop’ time of 0800 was set, which allowed Alex and I to pre-breathe our respective scrubbers and ‘X’ to put on several dozen layers to keep out the cold.

    At the appointed time we dropped in with all the grace of an invalid walrus. Alex and I did a bubble check on each other as Lee led off to the pit with ‘X’. The others had some seriously bright torches on, despite it being clear enough to see with no artificial light. We dropped past 18m and followed the road further down past the pan pipes and soon we were at 30m and heading off to the right and the hydrobox. The visibility was in excess of 10m, even without torches and we were on the box easily enough. I decided to circle anticlockwise to catch Lee and the rest as they came around, but after a quick look under the ‘box, Lee saw the wreckage of the gnomes previously planted and headed off to the garden. My pO2 was rather high in the pit, and the bypass was triggering a lot on the Dolphin, which later turned out to be caused by a slightly trapped counterlung.

    I soon caught up with Alex and we followed the lights of the other pair into the distance. After a swim that seemed longer than it should and the appropriate change of depth we were at the garden and the others dropped gnomes as I took some pictures. The existing gnomes were still in place and after planting theirs Lee and ‘X’ began to head back. Alex and I had a little longer then set course for the bus. The Stanegarth was next where Alex had a rebreather buoyancy moment as he ran through some drills. We were well into deco at this point so we headed back along the chain towards the cliff.

    After we came across the anchor we began to head up the cliff, with Alex stopping at 15m for a 2 minute microbubble stop as indicated by his VR3. Stop done I switched to my OC deco mix and we slowly ascended the wall. Pausing again I indicated to Alex that he needed to move as there were some divers coming his way, but he got the hint when Mal backed into him as he escorted Leslie down the cliff on her Submatix, followed by Tiggerbiker.

    When we were at 10m we were back on the road and ascended to the cockpit for out deco stop of five minutes. We both took the chance to practice our buoyancy and Alex did a flush to 100% O2 in his loop. I was starting to get a little chilled at this point, wearing my Xerotherms and Weezle Compact, so for the longer dives I will soon be looking at the Extreme over a layer of thermals and the lobster mitts over the 5mm five-finger ones that I currently use. We had a nice slow ascent to the step where I did the landing craft manoeuvre to get out.

    Back at the cars we reunite with Lee and a very chilly ‘X’ whose drysuit was a bit wet. They had been out of the water for about ten minutes and dekitted while we struggled up with various rebreathers, stages, cameras and assorted junk. After a while Leslie and co returned and I confronted Mal with the phrase ‘Oi you, you kicked my buddy in the head’, but he didn’t seem overly threatened by my manly physique. Bragging was being done by one of the group that he needed a chainsaw to put enough notches in his bedpost until it was pointed out that there has to be more than one person in the bed when nocturnal jollies are being undertaken for it to count. I passed around the chocolate donuts, and most people passed them up, leaving more for me.

    Coffee was drunk, tall takes were told and mickey was taken in equal measures. Alex impressed us all with his finest bone china tea set which made our battered tin mugs look battered and tinny. He also made himself a set of very posh sandwiches while the rest of us tucked into the junk food we had brought along. It was a rare occasion today and I didn’t visit the food hatch, although Lee was off there like a shot in case the young lady he chats up was in there again. I had to recharge the Dolphin’s cylinder and the sidemount for dive two, and once again the decanting whip came into its own.

    Time began to knock on so I attempted to round up the group for dive two, planned in water time of 1100. At ten to some of the group were still faffing so Alex and I wandered down to the water. We gave them ten minutes, then another five before we decided that we should get in and get the skills practiced that Alex wanted to get a bit more familiar with.

    The usual course of blockhouse and coach was followed to begin with, then it was off to the Stanegarth where I showed Alex the grille that is the marker for the swim to the Mini. Another group had asked me where the Mini was while w had our surface interval, and by the silt around the location it looks like they found it.

    A quick circumnavigate of the car and we made our way back to the blunt end of the tug then on to the helicopter. No dive with a new buddy would have been complete without Jaws making an appearance, so after suitably distracting Alex he was waved in my buddies face. We saw two more divers whom I menaced with the 5” rubber shark before we began our ascent of the wall, stopping every 3m to allow Alex to check his buoyancy on simulated deco stops on the wall.

    Back at 6m we fed the fish by stirring up the bottom for a while. Alex’s torch was bright enough to start poaching them while they swam, but rather than eat cooked perch it was time to decamp to the pub for a warm one. I had some scoff, and after a while ‘X’ decided to order some as well, but the place was closing as it wasn’t open in the evening, and the best they could do was cheesy chips.

    A few of the old lags asked if Caroline had got her keys locked in the car again, but I didn’t know as she wasn’t with us. Lee was airing the thought that he might turn gay if men were ‘less trouble’ than women to get along with. The inevitable stony silence was relieved by my food arriving, which was soon demolished.

    A nice days diving to round off the year, we all had a good giggle, gnomes were planted and currently unmolested and we all wandered off fed and watered. The vis was good at 10m in the pit and on dive on the whole of the Stanegarth could be seen from the stern, but the vis went down a bit on dive two. The water is still 8 degrees from surface to pit, and it won’t be long before it drops a bit more. I only managed 69 dives this year, all inland after spraining my ankle at the end of March. I’ve also managed to only get into five different sites, Stoney, Vobster, Guildy, Capernwray and Wastwater. July was completely dive free for a change, but hopefully 2007 will see me in the briny.

    Dive Data:

    Dive 1
    34.7 m
    55 min

    SI: 2 h 4 min

    Dive 2
    21.3 m
    38 min
    vO2= 1.22

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