Emily's Plymouth Trip
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It all happened a couple of weeks ago when Emily said that she wanted to organise a diving trip. The first weekend that we were both free was the 13th to the 15th of June, so Emily sent an e-mail out to the club to see who was interested. Those who replied were:
Rich "Nark" Bloomfield
This made a nice full boatload of 6 divers. Max wanted to practice finding wrecks and suggested that Emily marshalled the Saturday and I marshalled the Sunday. It all seemed like a fairly easy plan.
Friday the 13th
After picking my cylinders from being tested at Slough Scuba (£16.50 for a visual test, if you fancy a good deal), I headed off to meet the others in Bath. An accident between Langley and Slough and "shear weight of traffic" at Reading held me up (I'm sure these gimmers do it deliberately when I use the roads), but I arrived in time to finish packing the boat and also to meet Chunder Boy's twin brother - a scary sight if ever I saw one. Nic also walked past, a little bit the worse for wear after being in the pub for 3 hours, but still looking sweet and VERY sexy. Pity she wasn't coming with us, but then I still had Emily to perve at. I wonder whether Nic's into older men....
We all left at the same time, but Nick and Max had to turn back at the Globe roundbabout to get Nick's "wooly bear". We all made pretty good time down to Brixton (without Ben and Gordy to mis-direct us, we weren't going to end up in Brixham by mistake). Having said that, Rich and I were talking so much that we missed Mark's favourite pub (the Pound Inn) and ended up on the A303.
Rich and I got to the campsite in good time and, after being chased around the campsite by the owner, found that the others weren't there. Mark and Emily had both tents, so we had no choice apart from going to the pub (after apologising to the owner, of course). A hard life, I'm sure you'll agree! We'd only got half way through our first pints when they arrived. We had a couple more (but they'd run out of pork scratchings - Emily and I were not impressed) before heading back to the campsite to put the tents up.
Nick and Max had already pitched their tent by the time we got back from the pub, so we put up the tents very quietly (at least our version of quietly anyway) and went to sleep (even the traditional game of breasts didn't keep us awake for long).
Saturday the 14th
As Emily had planned for us to be on the slip at 8 o'clock, we had a bit of an early start. Enough time for a cup of tea and the traditional egg sarnie before we left (yet again, Emily abstained from the eggs - asking for trouble if you ask me). We were launching the boat from the Mountbatten Centre (where we had chartered a boat from on Ian Collins's weekend). What a brilliant deal - the public slipway was free, but for £10 between the 6 of us, we moored the boat overnight. Paying that gave us use of the showers and the car park. The only thing that I missed was Cat and her two mates getting changed in the car park. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the diving. The plan was for Nick and Max to drive to Bovi with the 2nd cylinders and we would pick them up on the way out to the Persier. I didn't really understand why we did it, but we did anyway.
Launching and loading the boat with only 4 people was a bad idea. With Mark parking his car and trailer, me packing the boat and sorting out the engine, and Emily holding the boat, poor Rich was left to move all 6 sets of kit down the slipway - nice one Narkboy. I was quite impressed with myself - I even remembered that we needed the kill cord to start the boat. Something that I was to forget the next 2 times that it was needed! While we're on the subject of a kill cord, the club ought to invest in a spare so that anybody remaining in the boat can pick up the cox.
After trying to go the wrong way out of the harbour (I was coxing, but the others didn't correct me), we headed over to Bovi to pick up Nick and Max. Bovi has definitely seen better days. The slip was a mess and, apparently, the toilets were worse. Anyway, after lots of car gimmering, we left Bovi and headed to the Persier. I had a rough idea where to go, but there was no chance of getting lost because Max kept an eye on our position using her little handheld GPS. When we got close, Nick pointed out the transits and Max set about finding the wreck. After a couple of minutes, Nick got frustrated and took over (after all his car gimmering, we didn't have time to gimmer any more) and in went the shot.
The Persier had the potential to be a brilliant dive and we were all excited. Unfortunately, Max was a little too excited and ended up dropping Emily and me in a different county from the shot (she'd obviously been taking lessons from Queenie). Back in the boat for another attempt (I was almost nimble getting into the boat). On our 2nd attempt, Emily's octopus free-flowed on the way down. It didn't stop until she had 70 bar left. Worried that I wouldn't beat Scary to 300 dives, I offered Emily my octopus. Understandably, she wasn't having any of it, so we surfaced. I still think that a short 17m dive should count.
After that, we headed back to Bovi to change cylinders and have lunch. Not only was it a bit messy, but there was lots of pokiness jumping into the water - none hurt itself though.
After a rest, we headed out to dive a wreck that is in the middle of a busy boating channel - that was fun for the coxes. Nick and Max went in first, followed by Mark and Rich. Emily and I stayed on the boat and shouted obscenities at the boats that ignored the "divers down" A-flag and just kept on going at full speed. Nick and Max managed to find the wreck, and tied an SMB to it so that Emily and I could find it as well (unfortunately, Mark and Rich had already gone down by this point - far too keen). There were some big boilers on the boat, which we swam into, but didn't get very far. The current was beginning to be a bit too much like hard work, so we let it take us off the wreck and into a kelp forest. Still, we had a giggle with starfish and sea urchins.
A quick govern back to Bovi to drop Nick and Max off and then the rest of us headed back to Mountbatten (again, problems finding the entrance - Mark was coxing this time, but we weren't much help in directing him either). Much easier than getting the boat out of the water - £10 well spent in my book. I'm not sure if I'll be allowed to use the showers again though. All I did was try talking to the guys in the shower (you know, to be friendly, I offered one of them some of my shower gel) and they made their excuses and left fairly quickly.
Mark and I stopped off at the chippy to get fish 'n' chips for everybody. Unfortunately, we got confused with Nick and Max's order (two large fish and one large chips - it can't be that difficult surely!) and ended up getting fish 'n' chips for 8 people instead of 6. We ended up giving one portion to the campsite owner (in a way, an apology for making her chase us round the campsite on the previous evening). After planning the next day's diving and trying to figure out how to get everybody and everybody's kit up to Scapa Flow in September, we retired to the pub (except Nick, who was tired). I can't have been feeling to well either because I was missing out on innuendoes and wanted to leave the pub before I'd even had 2 pints (I left half a pint in the pub). Poor Emily, she tried her trick of whittering on so that I can't fall asleep before her and keep her awake with my snoring and I just passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Sunday the 15th
Today was my turn to sort things out. Unfortunately, I had still planned an early start, but at least that meant an early finish. With 6 of us to load the boat, and with the boat being moored, we got under way fairly quickly (except for trying to start the boat without the kill cord) and even managed to go the right way out of the harbour. No gimmering around at Bovi, just straight out to the Elk. It was another beautiful day and we got there fairly quickly. Nick was much less stressed about finding the wreck today and got Max ploughing up and down the transit time after time. After what seemed like ages, he realised that the reason that we couldn't find anything using the Echo sounder was that he was using the wrong white house as a transit (at least he wasn't using sheep this time).
We then lined up with the right white house and found the wreck on the first pass. By this time, the tide was beginning to turn and we went in. Emily had had enough of diving with me, so Rich got the pleasure of my company. We really enjoyed it. I think it was the first time that Rich, Mark, Emily and I had dived The Elk, so we were all excited. It's not a particularly big wreck, but there's plenty to see (we found a UK800 battery, but, unfortunately, no torch to go with it - my jaminess must be wearing off). Nick and Max went in last and had a nice dive, and the current wasn't too bad once the tide had turned.
After a rest and lunch back at Mountbatten, we headed off to do the old favourite - the James Egan Layne. Rich and I didn't do Mark and Scary's high-board diving trick, but we really did delve around inside the wreck. I must've dived the JEL a dozen times at least, but I enjoy it every time. While we were waiting for Nick and Max to finish their dive, a boatload of totty appeared, closely followed by a boatload of hunks, so we were all happy. A tiny mistake when we picked up Nick and Max (it won't happen again) before we headed back for shore. Everything was running quite smoothly - we even managed to get the boat out of the water quickly.
We then headed back to Bath via the campsite and washed all the dive kit down. Mark invited Emily and me back to his place for pizza (the bird at Pizza Kitchen had great cleavage - thanks due to Mark for getting her to write out a receipt; she leant forward loads then!) before we headed back home.
Thanks everybody for a brilliant weekend:
* Mark for towing the boat and wearing out 5th gear,
* Rich "Nark" Bloomfield for carrying all the kit on the Saturday,
* Narkboy (again) for putting up with me in his car on the trips to and from Plymouth - the man's a Saint,
* Nick and Max for finding the wrecks, and, last, but not least,
* Emily for organising the weekend.
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Created on: 15 Jun 2003. Modified on: 15 Jun 2003.
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