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Dave's Trip to Chepstow

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(written in the Moon and Spoon while waiting for bird)

Rodney had been trying to organise a day in Chepstow, followed by a day at Plymouth. I was interested, because of the Sunday on the coast. (just heard a bloke on the table next to me say "You are either a worrier, or you are a worrier. He's a worrier" - top logic), but still came along when the weather changed the plans to two days at Chepstow. I was up for doing one deep dive each day. I had no intention on doing too many Trimix dives at Chepstow (waste of money in my book), but fancied giving it a go once.

Friday
I wasn't going to travel west until Saturday morning, so, after dropping the hire car off at home, Bird and I went to check out her future local curry house (The Prince of India, next to Slough Scuba). The service and food were both excellent,. Although I still prefer the familiarity of The India, I was very impressed with being offered the choice of chick peas or garden peas in the Matter Panneer. Bird was cat sitting, so got the bus back home, and settled down with a few Stellas to watch the week's episodes of Casualty @ Holby City,

Saturday
A bit of a late start meant that I arrived at Chepstow later than I intended, but I wasn't going to dive until midday, so it didn't really matter. I chose the totty booth at the Severn Bridge, and headed off to Chepstow with a smile on my face. I parked up (no totty collecting money), and went to get two teas (one for me, and one for Dindin, who was down at the quarry's edge, marshalling). Just the, I saw Tonto and Chunderboy pull up. They would have got there earlier, but they went across the wrong bridge (Chunderboy, who had been to Chepstow before) told Rob to ignore the signs to Chepstow, and take the other bridge. Tonto (who hadn't been before) reluctantly did what Chunderboy suggested.

I got another cuppa, and, after finishing my bacon and egg sarnie, we headed down to the quarry (forgetting about a tea for Dindin - sorry). The guys were still kitting up as we got there. Fortunately, I had arrived just in time to hear Dave say, about a minute after jumping in, "My feet are a bit cold, maybe I should have done the zips on my boots up". Obviously, I couldn't resist saying "Rodney, you plonker".

About 30 minutes later, the guys surfaced, and complained about the visibility. Dindin and I were going to go down to 65m, so I wasn't happy about the visibility being pants at 20m. Anyway, we had more tea while Tonto and Chunderboy went in (Rob came out to tell us about the sudden temperature drop at about 25m), and then Dindin and I went in for a bit of 65m action. Because much fewer people dive to 65m, the visibility was excellent. We had an almost perfect dive profile, except for two problems I had on the ascent. The first one involved me getting air in my legs, and having to dump air. The second one involved me getting cramp, and going up a bit (not too far, or too fast though).

We surfaced about an hour after we'd first gone in, and were helped up the ladders. The others got a second dive in, Dindin and I left our cylinders overnight, I left my motor overnight, and we headed back to Bath. Dindin and I planned our 72m dive on the way back - I think I even forgot to play the "who gets into the country/country first" game.

Sam was at Flat9 when we got back. It was nice to see her, especially since she had taken pictures of the cheerleaders at the rugby for me.

(to be continued, empty glass just been picked up by sexy new totty barmaid, and got to meet Bird in 8 minutes).

(being continued, Bird's just called to say she's running late, and I have a fresh pint)

(just heard a bloke ask for salt 'n' vinegar crisps, when he was told that they had none, he just said "Oh, I meant cheese 'n' onion, I just want ones in blue packet")

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, back at Flat9. Oh no, up at the university,. meeting Rianna, and checking that she had all her kit sorted.

After showering, we headed off to meet everybody in Lambretta's. There were a lot of people there, including a bloke who I'd never met before (Ollie). A bit later on, we were joined by some top totty, who I'd never met before (Dannielle), who had a nice tight top on that said "When I'm good, I'm good. When I'm bad, I'm very good".

We headed off to the curry house by the river, where I'd booked a table for 15. We settled in for some more beer (not too much for Dindin or me) and some good curry. I was sat opposite Holly and Emily, and next to SarahT. The food and conversation were good. I do remember one conversation about trademarks being used as household names. Hoover is the obvious one, quite a few others were mentioned, and Vowles then piped up with "sticky back plastic" - gimmer.

Dindin, shouting from the other end of the table, asked whether I was on my fourth pint. I told him that I was. "Excellent", he said, "that means I can have another". Emma told him off, saying that he shouldn't follow my example. She had a very good point - having 4 or more pints the day before a 72m dive was a bad idea, even if we weren't diving until the afternoon.

When we got outside the restaurant, Ollie suggested going back to his. I said "Yes, let's go to Wide Boy's place". He said, "You're only allowed to come back if you stop calling me Wide Boy". OK! We went back to his gaff, but Dindin and I were good, and only drank tea (I'd only actually had 3.5 pints, because WideBoy Ollie had drunk half of mine in Lambretta's.

After the tea, we left Ollie's gaff, and went back to Flat9. A good night's kip was required, to prepare for the next day.

Sunday
Remembering that the clocks had autumned back, Dindin woke me up with a cuppa at the right time. We picked up Dave on the way up to the university. We got there early (to fill Dindin's 15-litre cylinder) to find Rianna already there. She had forgotten that the clocks were autumning back.

We didn't bother filling the cylinder, and headed off to Chepstow (with Dindin apologising to Reana for me having to get into every country/country first). The weather looked a bit pants, when we were driving into Wales (Dindin didn't pick a totty booth), but we could see some blue sky in the distance. It was raining too much for a collecting guvna on the gate, so we parked up and went into the shop. As I was about to pay, I realised that, despite having taken 50 quid out of the cashpoint (sorry, cash machine - Cashpoint being a trademark that I had forgotten to mention the previous night), I had no money. I was not impressed to realise that I had probably left it in the cash machine. We tried calling the university security office, and the sports hall, but got no answer. I called Emily, and left a message asking her to check, and Rianna sent a mate of hers a text message to ask him/her to check. Both Emily and Rianna's mate checked, but found no cash. Roena's mate did see a security guvna walking around though.

Anyway, I went over to tell the filling gunva what mix we needed (we'd decided on 18/30, since 18/35 would give us a long deco stop, and cost even more). Unfortunately, the filling guvna had filled them with air, because we'd left them without asking for a particular mix. We had to wait for him to empty the twin-sets and fill them again. We also had to re-plan our dive, because the woman in the shop said that the deep shot was at 80m, not 72m. Sensibly, Dindin said that he wasn't happy doing 80m.

(to be continued, Bird's just arrived in Slough).

We had to pay for our fills before diving. This seemed reasonable, but when I realised that one Trimix fill cost 47, I almost passed out. Dindin was up for doing lots of dives to explore the bottom of Chepstow, but I think I'll be spending my 50 quids on something else.

The weather was beginning to get worse, so we left Dave and Rianna in the dry, and went off down to the quarry's edge. I asked one of the guys down there how deep the deep shot was at, and he told us that it was 72m (74m max), so our original plan was back on. It took what seemed like forever to get to the bottom of the shot, but we got there eventually. There wasn't much to see down there, except for a gnome, and a petrol can. I went off to swim a bit deeper, but Dindin wasn't having any of it, and we swam along the quarry wall for a bit. I got a bit concerned that I couldn't dump air out of my dry-suit when we were at the bottom. This worried be until I realised that there was no air in my drysuit. Things felt a lot more comfortable when I let some air out of my wing, and put some into my suit. I knew I'd have some nice cuff-dump marks on my forearm later.

The slow ascent up the face of the quarry (including a deep-stop at about 50m) was a nice ascent. There were no problems on the ascent, and we had a perfect dive profile. 75 minutes later, we surfaced, to find Dave and Rianna waiting for us, with blue skies overhead. Who's the Daddy? (As somebody pointed out on the Saturday, if you have to ask, then it's not you). I'm really glad that we did that dive, but at 50 quid a time, I don't think I'll be doing it very often.

After some food, some tea, and another long wait for fills, Dave, Rianna, and I were ready to go diving. I had planned on being back in Bath to go to the cinema with Bird, but ended up diving with Dave and Rianna instead. At least I got a totty dive. Rianna had never dived in the UK before, so was going to be in for a treat. The plan was to swim over to the training platforms, and descend. If Rianna was happy, then Dave was going to lead us around all the sights that Chepstow has to offer. Rianna had a few problems with her ears, but, apart from that, it all went to plan. Having already done a serious dive, I did the dive using Nitrox50. I was going to be flying to Edinburgh on Monday evening, but VPlanner had given me about 5 hours no-fly time when we planned the dive, and my VR3 said about the same when I left Chepstow (after tea and cake, of course).

I headed straight back home, leaving the others to drive back to Bath. I stopped at a services on the way back, for a quick kip, and turned my phone on. There was a text message from Dave - "We got into Wales first", it said.

Cheers everybody for a great weekend.

Billy; 09/11/05.

PS: The cuff-dump marks are still there. Surely that can't be good.

10/11/05: I've just been filling in my logbook, and have noticed that I have now clocked over 11 days underwater. I totalled 11 days underwater while at 57.6m on our way back up from 72m. If I'd realised, I might have stayed at 72m for another 5 minutes. OK, maybe not!

12/11/05: Schwingboy has just e-mailed a saying that I thought deserved a wider audience:
The peculiar legal system in the US means that decompression is regarded as "...being considered akin to wandering down the middle of the M4 at 6.30PM on a Friday evening singing 'Flower of Scotland' and waving a bunch of petunias around your head" (Jason Sheppard, 1997). Sounds like a good plan to me!

28/11/05: Just looked at the maths for the Trimix fill (35% He):
24litre x 240bar x 35% x 2p/litre = 40.32
+ 2 (fixed price for the O2)
+ 5 (fixed price for the air)
+ 8 (7-litre cylinder - Nitrox50)
Total: 55.32

17/01/06: Got my fifty quid back from the bank. [Censored text put back in again].

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Created on: 09 Nov 2005. Modified on: 17 Jan 2006.
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