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Billy's Deep Falmouth Trip - August 2005

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While talking to Tamsin about the previous weekend (which she and Sal couldn't do), she mentioned that they were free on the first two weekends in August. I said we'd go for a bit of 50m action during the first weekend. Initially, it was going to be Rich, Dindin, Scary, Gordy, Emma, and me. However, Rich had forgotten to tell me that Chris was coming, and Dindin dropped out, still leaving us with a nice even number.

Tamsin had given me the numbers of three campsites. Unfortunately, one was full, one only took bookings in weekly multiples, and one only took bookings for 3 or more days. I was getting slightly worried, but one of them gave me the number of The Meadows (opens in new window). I called up, and the guvna said that it wouldn't be a problem, and booked us in. Tamsin said that he was a funny bloke, although we should make sure that he doesn't try to swap his tractor for one of our cars. I can see it now - turning up at National Car Rental in Slough with a tractor!

The currents are quite strong around the 50m wreck (the Eastfield, which stands 8m proud of the bottom), so it was important to get slack. We had a choice between diving at 07:30 and 13:30. I decided on the second slack. It did mean that our second dive would have to be quite late, in order to have a decent surface interval, but it did mean a lie-in and plenty of gimmering time.

The slack times for Sunday would be a bit later, but the later slack still seemed attractive. Sal said that we'd be able to get breakfast in a café by the harbour, so it seemed to be the way forward.

Friday 5th August
I called up Bernard (the owner of The Meadows), to check that we were booked in OK, and he didn't know anything about it. Oooops. Fortunately, he still had space, so we were sorted. Today was my boss's last day before going on holiday for two weeks, so it didn't take much persuading for him to let me leave early (because, of course, it meant that he could leave early as well). So, I made it to Bath in good time, and picked up Scary. The sun was shining, and there was plenty of totty on the M4, as well as in Bath. We had a free upgrade to a higher class of car for the weekend, so I knew that Scary wasn't likely to moan about the car. He reckoned it would take about 3.5 hours from Bath, and said he'd drive the first stretch. He told me that we weren't allowed to play the car spotting game - good idea, that silly game needed to be stopped once and for all.

There wasn't much traffic reported on the M4/M5, so we took the motorway route. As we got onto the M5, the traffic slowed to about 20 mph. This lasted for about 30 minutes, until we got past what was holding up the traffic. "What was holding up the traffic?", I hear you ask. Well, a car full of totty had a burst tyre, and all the blokes driving past were slowing down to perve at them all bending over. We definitely had an eye-full as we drove past. As usual, we changed drivers at Collumpton Services, and had a quick MacDonald's while we were waiting. As usual, the MacDonald's was full of fat common people. The woman who served us really had no idea. I ordered two Big Mac™ meals (one with Coke and one with a milkshake), and she asked for £6.73. I was just about to hand over a tenner when I said "That's wrong". She said "No, it's not". I said "Yes it is. We've ordered two items, and you've asked for an odd amount". She looked very confused, and said "The milkshake's 30p extra". I really couldn't face explaining basic GCSE Maths to somebody working in MacDonald's, so just handed over Scary's money. Before you start complaining about my "Common People" comment, it's got nothing to do with class - just how people behave.

On the way down, Scary suggested doing the non-tidal 35m dive, followed by the non-tidal 20m dive, instead of doing a 50m dive at 13:30, followed by another dive. I had to admit that it made more sense.

Rich and Chris were already at The Meadows when we were eating our food - they'd been met by Burnard (he pronounced his name differently, so it needs a different spelling) saying "Hello. I'm Burnard. Sorry, but I'm Cornish". We got there, and were also met by Burnard - he seemed like a nice bloke, and he hated children, so discourage families from his site. Excellent! I parked the motor, so that there was space in front of it, ready for us to pitch my tent when we got back from the pub. As we were leaving to walk to the pub (Rich and Chris were already there), Gordy and Emma turned up, and Gordy plonked their tent right in front of our motor. Imagine the whinging if the tables had been turned....

Anyway, after a walk through the forrest, we all met at the pub, and had a fairly relaxed evening. There was a carnival in town, so everywhere was fairly busy. The electricity in the pub kept on tripping out, while I was at the bar, so it took ages for me to be served. Still, it gave me time to chat to the totty next to me. I can't remember much about what we talked about, but I do remember Rich mentioning that the valve on Rich's cylinder (bought from GoDive) was falling apart. I suggested that instead of bad-mouthing GoDive, he contact somebody there, and get it sorted. Sal and Tamsin joined us later on in the evening, and we discussed the plans for tomorrow. Everybody agreed with Scary's suggestion, so we agreed to meet at Sal's dive shop at about 9am (with Chris's empty cylinders).

Sal and Tamsin gave us a lift back to the campsite, and I set about putting up our tent (with Chris's help) while Scary blew up the airbed. Obviously Scary's airbed is bigger than mine, because it only fitted inside the tent by forcing the tent poles to stand at an angle. We squeezed into the tent (it really is a small tent, but still in good condition for something about the same age as Emma), and Scary being taller than me had his head and feet squeezed up against the sides of the tent. He really wasn't happy!

Saturday 6th August
I woke up to the sound of gas burning, and dived out of the tent. Expecting to be eating in caffs, Scary and I had only brought mugs. Still, we could have a quick cuppa before heading off to Sal's (thanks Rich and Chris). Despite not having had any beer on Thursday night, drinking about 4 litres of water on Friday, and only having 3 pints on Friday night, I was surprised to be quite dehydrated in the morning. Better drink plenty of water.

Rich, Chris, Scary, and I left Gordy and Emma cooking sausages, while we went off to meet Sal. We had a look at some charts, and agreed that Sal's suggestions sound good (after all, he does know the area much better than we do). He drew us a map, showing where we should meet him, and where Jamie's café is.

Off we went, through windy cobbled streets, to get to the harbour. We parked right next to where Sal was going to moor, and went off for breakfast. Jamie saw us alright, and the surely-not-legal waitress totty served us well, including plenty of OJ to rehydrate ourselves. The café had lots of film pictures, slightly doctored to include "pastie" somewhere in the title. Talking about which, we stopped off via the pastie shop to get some lunch (one of the kids serving was so proud that he had every copy of Now That's What I Call Music from the first CD to the latest CD. Oh how proud his parents must be.

I had a few bits of kit to put onto my wing, but, fortunately, we had plenty of gimmering time. While I was gimmering, Gordy walked past, not in his drysuit yet, and said to Emma, "It's OK. I've got enough time for a wee, Billy's not in his suit yet". Well, that sounded like a challenge, if ever I heard one. I stopped gimmering, put on my wetsuit, and loaded my kit onto the boat. I was sat there, ready to go, before Gordy had even got back from the toilets. We left a while later, after Gordy had eventually got ready. Obviously, we had to crack a few submarine and sinking the boat gags as we were loading up.

It didn't take long to get out to the dive-site. We were diving the Gw######## Rock (sorry, I don't know its name). The trace on the echo sounder looked promising, so we kitted up. In my non-gimmering mode, I just got kitted up efficiently, and without any help. Scary and I had to deal with the anchor, so had to go down the shot last. My twin-set was getting uncomfortable, so I just went in anyway, and waited in the water for Gordy to finish gimmering around and kit-up. Once Gordy and Emma had gone down, Scary and I followed them. They were taking the descent too slowly for my liking, so I overtook them, and waited for Scary at the bottom of the shot. Scary stuck some air in the lift bag, and off we went.

I had followed Gordy and Emma's lead, and was diving without gloves. My hands did get a bit cold, but it was nice being able to actually feel things underwater. The sea cucumbers were frigid, and the sea urchins hurt! Still, it was a good guven, and I even used the SMB. Back on the boat, we headed over to the Hera for our second dive (it was a ship like the Cutty Sark, that lies near Gull Rock). We had our pasties for lunch, Sal told us amusing stories about being in the forces, I told my infamous shower story, and Gordy tried (unsuccessfully) to pee off the back of the boat.

After a decent surface interval, we started kitting up for the next dive. I say "we", because Gordy wasn't kitting up. Poor lad - he was waiting for us all to jump in, before he tried to pee again. It's just a pity that Emma didn't realise why he wasn't kitting up. Anyway, it was a good dive, with quite a few swim throughs. There was one that I almost got through, but couldn't quite manage it. I was going to take my kit off to get through, but couldn't be arsed to explain to Scary what I was going to do. We all got back on the boat safely, and headed back to the harbour.

Back on dry land, Scary asked to be unzipped, only to be told that it was already open! Fortunately, Sal had a spare dry-suit that he offered to lend to Scary. We packed the kit up in the motors, and headed back to Sal's gaff to get our cylinders filled. Time for a quick cuppa and a shower at the campsite, before we went off to the pub. Scary and I got there first, to find out that the lounge side didn't open until 18:30, so we took our Cokes outside. It started to rain a little bit, which annoyed Scary, because he'd left his undersuit drying on the car.

The food was pretty tasty, and we graduated onto beer after the first round of soft drinks. We all stayed for 3 pints, and Scary and I stayed for a 4th. Things I remember from the pub:
* Emma saying "Isn't it convenient that 10m = 1bar?". I replied "Not really, it's all due to the SI units. 1kg is a measure of weight, based on water. The metre is an SI unit, and the bar is an SI unit. Everything works together really well like that.". You can probably imagine the shock at such a sensible answer, and can probably also imagine how long the conversation carried on for.....
* Emma asking Gordy, "Why is all my kit second hand, and all your kit brand new?".
* Rich ranting on about something, and when Chris tried to interrupt him, he said "Stop interrupting, rant girl!".
* When talking about parking in Rivers Street, Rich saying "Yes, Rivers Street. Reminds me of Beirut" (despite never having been to Beirut).
* There being a little Cherryboy in the pub.
* Discussing Scary's potential new car, Rich grouped the whole human race into 4 groups (ignoring the fact that I didn't actually fit into any of them!).
* Back onto Chris's pony-cylinder, I said that they really ought to complain to GoDive. "That doesn't matter", I said. "Yes it does", said Rich (hoping that if he said it with confidence, he would be believed, despite not having a clue what he was talking about). "No, it doesn't", I said (thinking "stop now, it's beginning to sound like a panto").

[I've just realised that Rich seems to take the brunt of my comments about the evening in the pub. I'm sure other people said some stupid things, but I just can't remember them].

As the other left, Gordy said "Have you got a torch?". "No", I said, "Have you got a spare?". "Yes", he said, "I lent it to you last night". Oh, I am such a stupid old gimmer. Scary and I then had to put our life in our hands, and walk back in the dark. We didn't dare go through the forest, so went along the road. That was scary in itself, but we made it. After more whinging about the size of my tent, we went to sleep. Scary got a wet head and wet feet, because he is too tall for my tent. He decided that he'd be buying his own tent.

Sunday 7th August
Chris had kindly bought some breakfast material on the way to the pub last night, and Gordy and Emma had some spare sausages. Excellent, we needed food before we started on our 50m dive. We got to the key in good time, and Tamsin arrived with a van full of cylinders. We got kitted up, and on the boat with minimal fannying about, and headed off to the dive-site. As we left the harbour, one of the engines conked out, and wouldn't restart. Unfortunately, we had too much kit for just one engine to cope with, so we had to go back to the harbour. Obviously we were all disappointed, and Sal was obviously very apologetic, but these things happen. There was no point in getting upset, we just packed all the kit into the cars (Gordy last, as he had been all weekend), and went for some breakfast at a waterside hotel. The woman who served us breakfast had a low-cut top, and cracking norks. I was in love.

Back to the campsite to take down the now dry tents, then to Sal's gaff to pay the bill, and then back off towards the M5. The totty on the A30 was excellent (not quite as good as the broken down car full from Friday, but still pretty good). Unfortunately, TottyRoads(opens in new window) only covers motorways at the moment, so I can't register the A30. On the M5, I had a quick sleep while Scary was driving. We stopped for a drink at Collumpton. Seeing the queue of fat common people at MacDonald's, we decided to get some drinks from the petrol station. I'd forgotten how much totty there always is at this petrol station. Today was no exception - the place was full with totty. I came out of the shop part with a massive grin on my face.

Back in Bath, we had time for a quick cuppa, before meeting Mark and Colleen for a quick pint at Lambretta's (I was on Coke, of course, since I had to drive back home). While in the bar, I was stood next to a man who was a prime candidate for going on GingerCherry(opens in new window), but I didn't have my camera with me. The journey back home was fairly uneventful, except for a woman at a service station, whose T-shirt said "Look at these puppies".

Two quotes of the weekend:
Gordy: Looking at the water marks on the rocks, and forgetting that he wasn't in a quarry, said "It obviously hasn't rained much recently".
Me: In answer to Emma asking me whether I minded being single, I said "No, because I can sleep with any woman I want to". It wasn't meant to sound like it did - honest.

Updates:
15/08/2005: Rich still hasn't complained to GoDive!

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Created on: 08 Aug 2005. Modified on: 15 Aug 2005.
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