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Becky's Lundy Trip - August 2003

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This weekend had been planned for months and we were all very excited about diving somewhere new. We were all going to stay over at Becky's parents' house from Friday evening to Monday morning. Those of us who went were:

Becky (obviously)
Rob "Tonto" Smith
Dave "Chunderboy" Smallman
Sarah Hopewell
Emily
Nick
Max
Gordy
Emma
Robin "Cherryboy" White
Scary Ben
me

Friday the 22nd
I was going to drive down with Emily, but she had to drive as well, so I had the pleasure of Sarah Hopewell's company instead and Emily had the pleasure of Scary Ben's company. I was a little bit late leaving home (Bird was on holiday, so I couldn't leave the washing up for her to do over the weekend). As I finished packing up the hire car, Darren and Joanne turned up. They were leaving their car at my place while they went to Greece for a week. Unfortunately, it wasn't until then that Darren realised that I could've borrowed their car instead of hiring one - never mind!

I made it to Bath in pretty good time (I'd practised opening the windows before I set off, so that I wouldn't get stuck going over Bathampton toll bridge). Gordy and Sarah were at the stores (Gordy played with the car's windscreen wipers while Sarah and I loaded her stuff into the car - he ought to get out more!). Leaving the store keys inside the store, so that Gordy could lock up, Sarah and I headed off towards Lundy. As we were waiting for our fish 'n' chips at TFC (Traditional Fish and Chips, not The Fat Controller), Sarah's phone rang - it was Max. Unfortunately, Gordy has his own set of keys, didn't realise that Sarah had left the communal set inside, and locked them inside. Max wasn't very happy to turn up at Security and find that the keys weren't there. Fortunately, Gordy was still in Bath, so went back up to the university. An easy mistake to make in my opinion, but I don't expect that Sarah was very popular for a couple of minutes!

Yet again I managed to miss the turning to Glastonbury and headed down to the A303. I must've driven that route a hundred times, but have got it wrong every time this year (it's all RichB's fault). I gave Sarah my road map, which didn't impress her very much. It's about 10 years old and falling apart - she had to spend the first 10 minutes putting the pages in the right order. Anyway, she managed it and we got back to the M5. We even managed to get off at the right junction. According to Sarah, it was only about 8 miles before we had to turn off onto another road. After about 15 miles, she looked again at the RAC directions and realised that it was 8 miles, followed by another 25. I was getting worried that we wouldn't make it by closing time. The others were heading off to Tesco to get some food for the next day, so we put our order in.

We found Becky's parents' house quite easily (Sarah had been there before), but the others were still at Tesco. Becky's mum let us in and we waited for the others to turn up. By this time, I was beginning to feel tired and quite out of it - I'd even forgotten about Becky's dog. It was brilliant - all Becky had to do was say "Dead Ants", and he would roll onto his back and waive his paws in the air. I'd been looking forward to that for ages. Anyway, 2 cans of Stella and a quick look at Nick's underwater camera and we went off to bed (Emily had been asleep for ages having had a heavy night the night before).

Saturday the 23rd
Cooking the breakfast was much easier on a cooker than when we're camping, so I was happy to cook for everybody (well, the meat eaters anyway - I couldn't cope with any of that vegetarian malarkey). I think Emily was still feeling a little rough because she didn't offer to cook. Cooking the eggs was a little bit difficult with very little oil, but I just about managed to make them look and taste reasonable. Plenty of black pudding for Nick, Max and me, because nobody else would touch the stuff.

We arrived at Clovelly in good time and started to unpack the cars. There wasn't much space to gimmer around, so we had to get unpacked and out of the way as quickly as we could. With all the kit unloaded, we had to drive back up the hill, park the cars, and then walk down again. Half way down, I realised that I'd left my phone switched on and sat on the dashboard, so I ran back up the hill. That was a big mistake - by the time I'd got back down to the bottom, I felt ready to pass out. The skipper was ferrying our dive kit out to his boat in a little rowing boat. Nick already had his rebreather on his back, so walked out to the boat. The skipper had a go at him and made him walk back to the shore. Poor Nick!

Lundy is about a 90-minute boat ride away from Clovelly, so we settled in for a long journey. Fortunately, the long journey gave me time to recover from my earlier exertions and join ChunderBoy on his 69th dive. The boat wasn't the most diver-friendly boat, but we managed to kit up OK. As I was sat on the side of the boat ready to go in, the skipper starting playing with my hoses to get me more streamlined. He clipped various hoses into clips (I had always wondered what those little clips were for). Any more of this kit configuration malarkey and people will think I'm taking the sport seriously. The only problem was - I couldn't find any of the kit when I wanted it!

Anyway, Dave and I dived The Robert. It's quite a small wreck and fairly intact. We had such a laugh during the dive. We bumped into Gordy and Emma, so I gave Gordy a big hug. At least I thought it was Gordy - it turned out to be Cherryboy. I realised this when I turned round to hug Emma and saw Scary Ben instead - making it very clear that I wasn't to hug him. Aaaaaggggghhhhh! I felt violated! We swam off and bumped into Emily and Sarah (more hugging). We spent about 5 minutes at one end of the wreck seeing who could get his dive computer deeper (it ended up being a draw), saw loads of fish, did several underwater dead-ants, climbed up the side of the wreck, did the Titanic pose at the sharp end of the boat, and generally tarted around. I even kissed Dave during the deco' stop (don't tell SarahT).

Getting back in the boat wasn't easy - we got told off for taking off our fins, so had to climb back in the boat with our fins on. Still, the skipper was always on hand to help us in. We then moored in a bay and us oldies drank tea while the youngsters snorkelled with the seals. We headed further along the coast for our second dive. After joining Chunderboy on his 69th dive, I had a totty dive with Sarah. To be honest, it wasn't the best dive in the world, but we had a giggle anyway. There was quite a bit to see during the first part of the dive, but then we ended up following kelp. I was convinced that if we kept going, we'd see some seals eventually. On and on we went, seeing more and more kelp. After about 15 minutes, it was getting a little bit much. Just as I was about to put up the SMB (yes, I actually used it on this dive), we were joined by 2 seals. They didn't actually touch us, but they both came fairly close.

Everybody else had a similar dive, but not everybody got the seals at the end. We then settled down for the long journey back to port. Although not very diver friendly, the boat had one big advantage - it had a compressor on board. We didn't even need to unload the cylinders - everything stayed on board. All we had to do was walk back up that hill. Another argument with the skipper about leaving stuff on the boat and taking it off. Nick got told off for putting the rebreathers in the cabin and Robin got told off for taking his reg. set off the boat.

We then headed back to Becky's parents' house for a BBQ. I'd overdone it with my cooking of breakfast and walking up the hill twice, so took it easy. Thanks to all those who cooked stuff on the barbeque. We had a game of pass the parcel (with Robin's presents wrapped up inside). Amazingly enough Emily's plan worked and it stopped on Robin at the right time for both presents. For those of you who don't know, I'd bought him a copy of "6 Reasons to Stay a Virgin" and American Steve had bought him a fridge magnet that said, "No sex on the premises" when we were in Florida.

A few of us headed over to the pub for a couple of pints. It was fairly empty, didn't have any totty, had pokiness playing pool, and didn't serve Stella. We only stayed for two pints because we were all quite tired. There was a party on in the village hall, but we just headed back to Becky's parents' place. As I was nodding off to sleep, the music got a bit better - The Birdy Song and A-ga-doo amongst others. The sad thing was, I have a copy of the tape that they were playing and I knew that Music Man was going to be played soon after. Unfortunately, I'd fallen asleep before it was played. Fortunately, Nick and Max didn't wake up to see me doing the actions to The Birdy Song and A-ga-doo.

Sunday the 24th
Another fairly leisurely breakfast (no black pudding left) before we headed back to Clovelly. We parked the cars and then walked down the hill. The boat was moored in the same place as the previous day, and we were ferried out to it. Ben was doing some of the rowing, but handed over to me for the journey back (because I was sat the right way around for rowing). He soon took over again, when I managed to show how useless I was.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse, so we headed along the north Cornwall coast instead of going to Lundy. We couldn't dive the wreck that the skipper suggested because we wouldn't make slack water, so headed towards the Thistlemore (sister ship of the Thistlegorm that Scary, Ian and I had dived in the Red Sea in January). Another totty dive for me (with Sarah again).

Unfortunately, the Thistlemore didn't have any of the motorbikes, Landrovers, steam trains, guns, or plane parts that the Thistlegorm had, but it was still a good dive. The skipper mentioned something about coming back up the shot, but I had different ideas. On my second totty dive of the weekend, we just swam around and looked around the wreck and saw loads of fish. I was quite well behaved - maybe that's because I've grown more mature recently, or because there weren't any sea cucumbers on the wreck. When Sarah got low on air (she was using a 12 litre cylinder), she pointed to her gauge to let me know. I pointed in a particular direction and off we went. Sarah was under the impression that I knew where we were and how to get back to the shot. Not a chance, there was a bit of the wreck that we hadn't seen yet and I wanted to have a look before we surfaced! Time for the SMB again.

The boat was still as difficult to get into as it was yesterday (I wasn't the only one who'd had problem - we'd spent most of the previous night in the pub discussing how much of a gimmer the skipper was). Still, he had tea waiting for us for when we surfaced.

After my two totty dives, I was relegated to diving with Ben (not that I have a problem diving with Ben - it's just that he's not totty). At least he wasn't wearing his "dry"-suit, so he'd be able to get off the bottom. It was a fairly scenic dive at the start, but got a bit toss towards the end. We saw Rob and Becky and did a mass "dead-ants" session. Ben then tried to get a crab to do dead-ants, but it wasn't having it. We swam around for a bit, had a bit of a giggle and went off in search of some sea cucumbers (we didn't find any). After a while, Ben was feeling a bit cold and the dive had gone on long enough, so we sent up the SMB. As Ben took the SMB out of his pocket, I saw a knife on the seabed. I dashed for it, but Ben beat me to it. I suppose it was only fair that he got to keep it, since he'd only just dropped it out of his pocket. It's just not fair - I'll end up having to buy one soon.

On the way back, the skipper offered us a third dive of the day. It was only going to be a short dive because we were doing it on almost empty tanks (don't tell the D.O.). I was up for it, as was Becky. Brilliant, I got another tottydive in. The skipper didn't really know what the dive was, but he said that it was good. He said that some people thought that it was an old harbour. There were supposed to be loads of holes in the seabed and loads of little sea-creatures. We saw loads of holes throughout the dive, and some big ones (ooh-err) at one point, but didn't see many little sea-creatures. Becky and I both got confused by our gauges - we realised that the red area started at 40bar and not 50bar. We ended up surfacing with 10bar less than we thought - oops! Gordy and Emma also dived it and Gordy wasn't impressed at all.

We got back into the harbour and there was some regatta thing going on. Loads of people getting in the way, loads of pokiness in a raft race, but there was a totty lifeboat bird. There was even less space to park the cars than there was on the Saturday and we actually had to unload the kit today. We got a trolley and forced our way past all the gimmers (there was some nice totty around though). We made a nice compact pile of all our kit and were told that we were only allowed one car down at a time. We were going to have to make camp at the top of the hill. Gordy was up with Emma's car first (top man) and the rest of us followed to pick up our cars. Cherryboy was the next person down, followed again by Gordy who was ready for another trip. I was then ready to go down once Gordy had come back up and was waiting in the car. I thought that I saw Nick go past in his motor - I tooted my horn to try to warn him that Gordy was down there, but he carried on driving. Either it wasn't Nick (all cars look the same to me), or it was Nick and he knew better. I waited for Gordy to come back up and headed on down. It was Nick that had driven past and he was there loading up. Unfortunately, Nick didn't know better (he was just being cheeky, I guess) and I got told off by the guvna for bringing two cars down!

We gimmered around a bit at the top of the hill and went back to Becky's parents' place for my birthday meal (except for Gordy and Emma who went back to Bath for a bit of slap 'n' tickle). It turned out that we'd been to the wrong pub the previous night, so Becky took us to the better pub for my meal. The pub was busy, served Stella, and was full of totty. Unfortunately, it couldn't cope with feeding 10 more people who hadn't booked a table. We went to the other pub, which was almost empty. I asked the landlord whether he could feed 10 people, and he said that he could. I ordered 2 pints of Kronenburg and Ben asked for a jug of water and 10 glasses. The landlord then "went off on one" - whinging about people coming into the pub and only drinking water. What a cheek - we were going to spend the best part of a hundred quid in the pub and he was complaining about a jug or two of water. No wonder his pub was almost empty. Anyway, I gave a pound to the RNLI to shut him up. To be fair to him, he did apologise to Becky and CherryBoy later on, but he never apologised to me.

Some of the guys went off to play pool (I couldn't be bothered, so I just stayed near the bar). Robin told us all about his new job (is he really paid to sit around on motorways?). After a couple of pints, we headed back to Becky's parents' place and had a few stubbies. We had several rounds of "Shag, Marry or push off a cliff" - in between questioning me about my love life (Becky even asked how many women I'd slept with - I'm not quite sure, but I've slept with more women than Robin's done dives this year!). Emily wasn't impressed with how easy some of the options were ("That's not fair - can't you remember the hard ones you gave me last week?", she said). Anyway, by about 11:30, we were all knackered and we went to sleep.

Monday the 24th
We spent most of the morning eating breakfast, drinking tea, and tidying up. Emily made me promise to mention that she took over cooking breakfast fairly early on and I wasn't allowed to claim credit for it.

Sarah and I headed off up the motorway towards Bristol (I didn't get lost this time and Sarah knew how long each stretch of the journey was going to be). I was dropping Sarah off at Bristol Templemeads because I was then going to help Emily move some of her stuff from Bristol to Bath (Robin had been persuaded to take Ben back to Bath). There was quite a bit of totty on the motorway and Sarah got to see the statue on the M5 near Glastonbury.

At Emily's, we packed most of her stuff into the two cars and headed off to Bath. We unpacked it all into her new house, went up to the University to wash Sarah's dive kit down and then headed back to Bristol. I met Emily's totty housemate and their landlord before we went out for a curry. The curry house was closed, so we went into the pub next door. What a pity I was driving - it did Stella and I had to drink Coke. The curry was worth waiting for - not the best Matar Panneer in the world, but definitely not the worst.

I headed back home fairly early, making sure that I'd arrive before last orders. Some gits on the motorway had an accident, which blocked one of the lanes. What really slowed things down were the gimmers who slowed down to have a look. I was behind some gimmer who was doing about 15mph, when the road was totally clear in front of him. He then stayed in the middle lane when the slow lane had been cleared.

I did get back home before the off-license had closed and got a 6-pack of Stella. My totty neighbour walked passed again while I was unpacking the car - unfortunately, she wasn't wearing her Hooters uniform this time.

Ben's got some pictures from the weekend - I'm sure there are more to come.

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Created on: 24 Aug 2003. Modified on: 24 Aug 2003.
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