Totty Roads

Portland May 2004 - Trip II

GingerCherry
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Emily and I had booked on some charters for this weekend. Unfortunately, she had a really bad cold, and couldn't come. Mark Vowles was already down at Portland diving with Rob and Dave, so he took Emily's place on the Sunday and Monday.

Saturday the 29th
I got to National Car Rental as it opened at 8am, picked up the car, and drove home. I was going to drive to Chepstow to pick up my new twin-set. All excited, I packed up the car while my hard eggs were boiling (we were booked on an 07:20 charter on Sunday morning, so there was going to be no fried egg cooking time). I was just about to leave, when I realised that I had to do the washing up after Bird had cooked all the bacon that was about to go off.

After packing, I popped into Slough Scuba to collect some bits and pieces, and off I went. There was a football match in Cardiff (the First Division Play Offs apparently) and the A303 was shut in both directions, so it took me ages to get from Slough to the Severn Bridge. Confession time - I'd left my trusty water bottle at home, so had to buy a bottle of water from a service station - I don't think I'll ever get over the shock.

Anyway, I arrived at Chepstow, and Neil looked after me very well, fitted the harness around me, set my regulators up so that they were easy to get to, and gave me some excellent advice.

Anyway, with my new dive kit safely stowed in the motor, I headed off to Portland (avoiding the A303, of course). It took ages, but I just as Mark, Rob, and Dave were finishing their drinks. We all headed over to my motor, so that I could show off my new purchase. Mark and I then headed off the Chesil Cove, so that I could try it out. He stayed on the shore, as I dived Chesil Cove with a twin-set and a stage cylinder. I must've looked even more of a plonker than the previous weekend, when I dived it with Gordy, and I wore a 15-litre, a pony, and a stage cylinder.

Walking with a twin-set and a stage cylinder was surprisingly easy. Despite getting knocked about by the surge of the water, I managed to get my fins on and into the water. I got down to 6m, everything seemed OK, so I swam back to the shore. Getting out was hard work, and walking back up the beach with my kit on was hard work. Anyway, we got all my kit back into the car, and headed off to the chippy. Because of the 07:20 start, we were going to camp at Tom's Campsite in Swanage, but thought that we ought to make sure that we had some food before it was too late. We eventually got to the campsite at 22:30, only to find that it was full. As I pointed out to Mark, we had two choices. Drive around for an hour or two looking for an open campsite, and end up sleeping in the car, or park the cars now, go to the pub while it was still open, and then sleep in the cars. Mark agreed with the pub option.

We got to the pub, and discovered that it did Stella. I had to draw the line at two pints, because I had to be sober enough to drive at 6am. We had a surprisingly good night's kip in Mark's car, and saved ourselves a few quid as well.

Sunday the 30th
After sleeping in the car, we were ready for a fairly quick get-away (after sneakingly using the campsite toilets). After having been in the car all day yesterday, the hard boiled eggs were quite tasty (although I couldn't persuade Mark, who was feeling a little rough).

We got to Swanage Pier in plenty of time to get everything on the boat, and ready to dive. As we pulled away, the skipper said "It'll take me 17 minutes to get there, I want you kitted up by the time we get there". I don't think so, Mark agreed to wait until we got there before we started kitting up. Even with my twin-set, I felt a little bit under-kitted compared with some of the others (LardBoy from last weekend was on the boat).

I can't remember much about the dive itself. I didn't manage to get deeper than Mark, I tried reaching the manifold, but could only just touch it, and we swam part into the wreck, but then decided against it. Getting back on the boat was hard work (a combination of a twin-set, stage cylinder, old-man bones, and a toss ladder). I'm just glad that I'd been breathing Nitrox-50 from 15m to the surface.

As we were de-kitting, we were entertained by watching LardBoy being dragged in by two of his mates. He sat breathing Nitrox for about 10 minutes, to be on the safe side. The oil filter on the boat broke down on the way back, so we had to wait for ages while the skipper fixed it. I was beginning to feel a little rough and had a headache. I didn't think that it was a bend, but it did cross my mind.

Back on shore, we loaded the kit into the cars, and headed off to get some breakfast. We then went for a wander along the seaside (our next dive wasn't until 16:30). We wasted money in the arcades, had some ice-cream, bought some naughty postcards, and avoided all the pokeyness. Don't tell anybody, but I thought about finding a Chandler's to buy some clips!!!

After plenty of gimmering, we left Swanage, and headed off towards Portland. After some cheesy chips (the work experience kid was back serving) and a look around the dive shops, we loaded our kit onto Top Gun. Maybe a twin-set was a bit excessive for the Landing Craft, but it was good practice. Mark knocked a crab of its perch, and sent it crashing down to the bottom. I attacked a fish with my squirty guvna. We then went off in search off swim-throughs. I found a likely candidate, but let Mark go first. He kept on bashing his pony on the exit, so gave up and swam backwards out. I went through with my twin-set and didn't bash the sides once. He was p*ss*d off, but manage it the second time (ooh-err missus).

It was my third dive on the twin-set, so was getting a little low on air. We got back to the shot, and headed back up to TopGun. I just love the Landing Craft and Bombarden Unit.

When we got to Bagwell Farm, the guvna hadn't picked up the message that I left asking for a space for one tent. Fortunately, she had one pitch free, so we got that (right next to the bar). After gimmering around for a bit, we headed off for a bite to eat. We ordered the last of the curry, and had a pint or two. Fancying a change (and avoiding putting loads of money into the Slap Tarrant machine), I suggested trying the Victoria Inn (I hadn't been for years), so we headed across the field. What a result - the pub served Stella, so we propped up the bar there until closing time.

Monday the 31st
We weren't diving until 1pm, so didn't need to set an alarm. I heard a loud bang at about 8 o'clock, but went back to sleep thinking that it was Mark's air-bed exploding again. It turned out that it was somebody's gas canister exploding (the ambulance kind of gave it away when I eventually surfaced).

Off to the Red Barn for breakfast. We had a quick play on the Slap Tarrant machine, so that we had enough money for car parking at Portland.

Just enough time for cheesy chips before we got on board Maverick.This time they didn't have a contract skipper, and the lift was working. We went out to the Alex von Guvna, and found it was already shotted. We waited around for about 45 minutes for slack, and then dived it. Andy (the skipper) asked me whether we'd dislodge the shot that was already there, so that he could take it. We went down the shot, but almost lost it when we swam off to look at a conga (which I didn't see anyway). We found the shotline again, and found it attached to a shot the size of Cat's tits. I lifted it, and got dragged along by the current - excellent fun! Found a few swim throughs, and Maverick's shot.

Mark and I were slightly naughty guvnas, we dived for 53 minutes, when our dive time was supposed to be 50 minutes. The reason for our slightly longer dive time, was that Andy had asked us not to come up the shot, but to use SMBs. Just as I thought it was time to put up the SMB, we came upon Maverick's shot, so had to swim away from it. Anyway, I did make sure that we were close to 3m, so that Andy could see us from the surface. I used the SMB on this dive as well - strange things are afoot.

STOP PRESS: Scary's Gone Straight
Headline in the Mail on Sunday that we saw while we were having a cuppa after our second dive.

Nothing much to report about the journey back home, but when I got home, I noticed that our next door neighbour's windows were all open. I expected to be greeted by the sounds of passion (his missus is one hell of a screamer), but it was all quiet, so I assumed that she hadn't stayed the night.

Unloading the kit was hard work, especially carrying the twin-set up to the 2nd floor, so that I could wash it down. Still, it all keeps me fit.

Tuesday the 1st
As I walked out of the door, I saw my next door neighbour turning around towards the house. I turned around to see what he was looking at, and saw his missus dangling her jubblies out of the window.

Footnote:
Cherryboy's just told me that it's the Bombardment Unit, not the Bombarden Unit. I think he's got a point, but I'm not going to change my other trip reports.

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Created on: 01 Apr 2004. Modified on: 12 Sep 2004.
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