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Dave's Portland Trip - September 2005

GingerCherry
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I can't remember back as far as when this little trip started, but Chairman Dave decided to organise a trip to Weymouth. There were 11 of us on the trip:
Dave "Rodney" Foo
Scary
James
Mel
Gordy
Emma
Rob
Zoe
Rich
Chris
me

I had persuaded Scary to join me on a 50m submarine, and then the M2 at 30m. As time got closer, he wimped out, so we changed onto a 28m dive (Scary was happy with the reverse profile instead). Please read the disclaimer at the end.

Thursday 22nd September
I had a couple of bits and pieces to buy from Slough Scuba, so I popped in there after work. As I walked in, I was impressed to see that there was some totty trying to get Gary and Paul to put an advert in the Yellow Pages. I caused entertainment for the guys there, when I opened up my rucksack, to pull out my stage cylinder - the bus drivers don't like carrying compressed air, so I had to hide the cylinder. Fortunately, there was enough room in my rucksack to fit the stage cylinder and my dry-suit, which had just had its seals replaced.

Friday 23rd September
Zoe had very kindly offered to pick me up, and give me a lift to Weymouth. After finishing work in London, she had to get a train to Guildford, load up her car, and then drive to my place. I was in the office on my own, because my boss had stayed at home with a hangover. Having got in early, and not had time for lunch, I decided that I deserved to finish a bit early. That gave me time for a bit of tidying up at home (I didn't want too much washing up to do on Sunday night), and a quick check of whatever e-mails about this weekend had been flying around throughout the day. I can't remember, but there was probably an epic from General Vowlas about the stores.

Zoe turned up in her nice new car (I can't remember what type it is, but it had a nice smiley face looking bonnet), and we loaded all my kit into her car. As well as looking pretty, it has plenty of space to store dive-kit. There wasn't too much traffic on the way down there, so we reckoned we'd make last-orders. Unfortunately, we discovered that the A31 had been closed, so we had to make a detour into Poole. I don't know what had happened to the roads, but they didn't look anything like they were shown on the map! Needless to say, we didn't make it for last orders. Fortunately, the Aquasplash Hotel was still serving, so we managed to get a few in. Scary (saying that he'd been in the pub since 6pm, and drunk 9 pints) didn't need any more, but it didn't stop him trying! Still, it was me that knocked a pint flying, after only having had a few sips.

Saturday 24th September
Some mad guys had signed up for two dives on the M2 today, with the first leaving port at 06:30. Although we got woken up at 05:30, we still got to lie in bed, and shout abuse at the nutters who were leaving. Rob and Zoe had decided to come with Scary, and me, so that left Dave, James, and Mel who were the early birds. Rob, Zoe, Scary and I still had a fairly early start - we were leaving at 07:30. About an hour later, I got up, keen to make sure that I had caffeine and lard to start the day. Unfortunately, there was no fried egg action, but the sausages were great.

With all my kit on the boat, it was 07:20, and I still had to put my contact lenses in, have a dump, and put my dry-suit on. Scary said that the skipper was complaining a bit, so I had to rush. The looks I got from the others on the boat, when I walked down with my light blue shorts, tucked-in T-shirt, and dry-suit in a laundry bag! A quick look around the boat revealed some nice totty, but I think that I had ruined any possible chances with my un-stylish entrance!

I can't remember the proper name of the wreck, but its shortened name is "The Benni". Scary was at one end of the boat, and I was at the other, and I wanted to get his attention:
Me: S#####m.
Scary: You can't say that in public.
Me: Sorry, t###face.

Oh how people must love meeting us for the first time.

Anyway, we swam to the shot, and down we went. I can't remember much about the dive itself, apart from Scary seemed to spend the whole dive whittering on about taking my weight-belt off. I just tried to ignore him, but, about 35 minutes into the dive, he just wouldn't shut up. After about 5 minutes of trying to signal to me, I suddenly realised that he reckoned that he couldn't hold a deco-stop, and wanted my weight-belt. Not only did he steal my weight-belt, but I had to use the SMB. Without my comfort weight, I found it quite difficult to hold my stop, but we got to the surface OK. Back on board the boat for some perving and chicken soup.

It was a good 4 hours before we had to leave for the M2, so that gave us plenty of time to drink tea, eat cheesy chips, and look around the dive shops. As we were eating, Rich and Chris turned up. It seemed that they had neglected to tell anybody apart from Gordy that they were coming (and we all know how reliable Gordy is). There were only 10 bunks in the room, but, fortunately, they had brought their camping stuff. I hate to admit it, but it was a nice surprise. Discussing the reverse profile that some of us were doing, I mentioned the Suunto "Increased Gradient Gas Model" (or whatever it's called). Rich whittered on about my body not knowing that I was wearing a Suunto computer, but I really couldn't be bothered to argue with him.

Gordy and Emma joined us, just in time to get cylinders filled before the M2 dive. They had arrived late, because of a big argument before they left Bristol (very unlike Emma and Gordy to argue). Although the weather was a bit choppy, the M2 didn't fail to impress. Even the top of the M2 was deeper than the previous dive, so we just ignored the depth and went to the bottom, to avoid the current. After a while, I saw sense, and stayed shallower, looking down on Scary swimming along. We saw the two shagging congas that Mel had mentioned earlier, and then surfaced (Scary using the SMB, of course).

Back on board the boat, it had got choppier, so I asked Rich to tie my twin-set to the boat. It seemed to hold OK. Unfortunately, Emma had problems with her kit, and it fell over. I was on the other side of the boat, so couldn't help, and Gordy was busy. It came to one of the other divers to save her set, and he leapt to her aid. Emma hadn't even realised that he only had one leg. On the way back, Emma referred to her father as "Father Garrat", so Rich and I had a sing-song about his seven sons. Oh how we laughed! Finished writing on train from Reading to Bristol; 15/10/05

Back on dry land, we unloaded our kit, put cylinders in to be filled, and tarted up ready for a night out in Weymouth. Emma jumped into the shower at the same time as me (separate showers, but I still reckon that she wanted a bit of Dickson Love Train action). Gordy came in to grope Emma, and almost tried the shower that I was in. HELP!

After that, Gordy was standing around, waiting for someone to go to the bar with. It wasn't until I joined him, that I realised that it was because he didn't have enough money for a pint! We had a few beers in the hotel bar, while we were waiting for the others to get changed, and the taxi to turn up. We were served by the same scary barmaid as last night, but she said that she'd be closing early, because she wanted a bit of live music action in the pub opposite. Scary whittered on about YawningDogs.com (obviously a ploy to impress some totty or other - there's always an ulterior motive with that dodgy guvna).

Gordy and Emma got a lift with Rich, who followed the rest of us, driven by a mad taxi driver, who seemed to consider the rules of the road to be for other people's benefit, not his own.

He dropped us outside the Balti House, and we were told that it could accommodate all of us, but spread across 2 tables. It seemed like a good deal to me. Looking at the menu, I couldn't resist going for the Tikka Masala, which was cooked in the Chef's own special sauce. Normally I wouldn't bother, but the chef was called Brian, so I couldn't resist!

After a top curry, we headed off to find a pub in town. We found a nice looking pub, and sat outside. We only stayed for the one drink, but were tempted to stay for more when a Hen Party of angels walked in. Walking through the high street looking for a taxi, we realised that Weymouth was full of drunk scary people. Heading back to Portland seemed like a good idea.

Back at Portland, some of us fancied checking out the live music, but Gordon must have been feeling his age, because he wanted a quieter pub. Far enough, so we went into the Breakwater Hotel, which I knew would serve Stella. People gradually went to bed, leaving only Gordy, Mel, Rob, and me, left at the end of the night. I can't remember much more about the night, but there was blood outside the pub, and we saw some fool with a Nitrox spare-wheel cover.

The hotel bar was still open, so we had a game of pool, and a final sneaky pint.

Sunday
No need to get up too early, since we weren't diving until 2pm. Plenty of time to drink tea, eat lard, and gimmer around. Turning my phone on, I remembered that Emma had put Cherryboy's sister as a wallpaper on my phone. Still, it could have been worse - it could have been Cherryboy himself. Gordy, who had been gimmering with my phone in the pub, seemed to have left all the settings as they were.

The weather had taken a turn for the worse, and our dive had been brought closer to shore, so we got the same dive as yesterday. Rob and Zoe's dive had been cancelled, so they swapped with Gordy and Emma, who went home early. As we were sat upstairs eating cheesy chips, someone's phone started ringing with that annoying Nokia ring tone. Just as I was about to complain about ring tones, I realised that it was my phone. Time for a rude message on Gordy's voicemail! Talking about mobiles, I'm in the mobile-free carriage of a First Great Western train, and nobody's mobile has rung yet.....

I can't remember too much about the dive itself, but I do remember that Scary didn't steal my weightbelt this time. Fortunately really, because I didn't have it with me!

We all headed off back home, with Zoe kindly going via Slough, to drop my kit and me off. She's a top lass, and a formidable opponent in the Passion Wagon game (I think I won 10:12).

Monday
Got e-mail from Gordy. It seems that it was Emma who changed my ring-tone. Still, at least it wasn't as annoying as her Scotland the Brave one.

Thursday
While on the phone to a customer, my phone bleeped, and I had a diary reminder that it was Gordy's birthday. Time for an abusive message to Emma (although it turned out to have been Gordy interfering with my mobile this time). Anyway, I found the "delete all diary elements" function on the phone, and vowed to never let Gordy or Emma use my phone or new Tungsten T5 PDA again.

Thanks Dave for sorting out a top weekend.

PS: Spoke too late - some idiot's phone just went off, and it kept ringing, because he slept through it. I'll just slap him if it goes off again.

DISCLAIMER. Cherryboy has rightly pointed out that parts of this trip report don't show an excellent example about how to dive:
1) Weightbelt removal.
Not something that I would recommend. However, I did have just enough weight on my back (twin-set and V weights) to safely hold a stop. Scary on the other hand, did not. I wouldn't want to try this again.

2) Reverse profiles.
Although there are arguments that diving deepest first should not be a cast iron rule, I'm not suggesting that everybody should try it. There were only a few metres between our first and second dives, but it's still breaking the rules.

3) Drinking.
Yes, we did drink a lot over the weekend. However, all the boys who were drinking on Friday night drank plenty of water, and we had plenty of time on Sunday morning to sober up, and re-hydrate.

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Created on: 13 Oct 2005. Modified on: 24 Oct 2005.
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