Plymouth - August 2006
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Our initial plan had been to go to Penzance for the bank holiday weekend. We were going to take one of the Bath Student Union boats, and one of the Bradford on Avon club boats. Unfortunately, we found out tonight that the Bradford-on-Avon guys wanted to be back by early evening on Sunday. This was OK with me, but I didn't want to go all the way to Penzance for 1½ days' diving. Gordy, who had previously been up for weekend trips to Penzance, agreed with me (there's a first time for everything), and apparently had a bit of a sulk (surely not!). We changed our plan to dive from Plymouth, and I arranged with Dannie and Dave to dive with them on Monday. Dave Smallman had organised a break-away trip to Plymouth that weekend, so there were going to be lots of us there. There wasn't enough room in the Brixton campsite for all of us, but Emma found us an alternative venue (Briar Hill Farm in Newton Ferrers).
When I had thought we were going to Penzance, I had arranged to take the afternoon off work. I decided that I fancied getting to Plymouth early, and I deserved an afternoon off, so I still left at midday. Having gone out for beers with Gimmer the previous night, I hadn't had time to pack all my stuff, but it didn't take too long before I was on the M4. There was talk on the radio about an accident at J18, so I came off at J17, and drove through Chippenham. There was also talk about an accident at J6, but I'd managed to miss that one. I got to Bath, and was pleased to see that Emily had already taken her dive kit all the way downstairs (unlike that dodgy Dimdin and Scary, who always got me to help carry it in and out of the lift).
We made pretty good progress down there, but knew that Rich and Chris were ahead of us, from their text message ("We're on the devon expressway. Toot toot.") at 18:18. Newton Ferrers is only a few miles east of Brixton, so we weren't too far away from Bovvie. After putting Emily's tent up (well, she put the tent up, while I unpacked the car, and inflated the air-bed), we headed off to the pub. As we were leaving, Skimmer and Sarah arrived. I'd never met Sarah before, but I hadn't seen Skimmer for years. It was nice to see him again, and I'd even taken all my old log books, so that I could get him to sign some old dives. They didn't need a hand with their tent, so Emily and I went off to the pub. Rich and Chris were there, with two other Bradford-on-Avon guys. The bird (Tracy) was very attractive, and fairly well stacked. The bloke was loud and drunk (I don't mean that in a bad way, he seemed like a nice bloke). If I remember correctly, his name was Tim, but I was paying more attention to the totty! Anyway, the food was good, and there was some top quality totty barmaids. The owner of the campsite joined us for a few beers. It was a nice evening, but there were too many people smoking for my liking.
We got up in time for tea and breakfast. Emily is a top lass, not only did she do the shopping, not only did she cook the breakfast, but she remembered to bring me a birthday card. Gimmer had also given me a card, which he told me I wasn't allowed to open until Saturday morning. Both cards had some nice quality totty on the front. As Dimdin would say - "I approve".
Emily and I drove to Bovie, while Tim kindly towed the BoA boat to launch it at Manhatten. That gave me time to drink tea, and gimmer with my kit. Danny was holding the fort when we arrived. It was nice to see him again, but I was hoping for some totty to be working later. The sea didn't look too rough from a distance, but there were some waves breaking when they hit the breakwater (surprise, surprise!). Danny suggested that the Persier would be OK, because it would be more sheltered. The BoA boat holds 8 divers comfortably, so we decided we'd give it a go with 9. We got all the kit on board (I was single-cylinder Billy for the weekend), and off we went. Considering the conditions, it wasn't too choppy, and we made fairly good time. When we got there, the GPS stopped working, and nobody could remember the transits. Another boat turned up, whose skipper reckoned that the GPS signals had been scrambled because of the Navy Day in Plymouth. We weren't convinced, and he couldn't find the wreck either. Eventually, another boat turned up, dropped a shot, and we all started getting divers ready.
The first four divers started kitting up. Skimmer took so long gimmering around, he made me look quick. Me chatting away, giving him jip, can't have helped matters. When the first four were ready, we realised that the boat had filled up quite a bit with water, with only about an inch of tubes over the water. Chris shouted "Quick. Let's bail. Use masks and mask boxes". Without really thinking, I grabbed Sarah's mask, and started to bail. It didn't take me long to realise that we needed something a bit bigger than a mask! We had to lose some weight, so chucked the four divers overboard (even though we weren't near the shot). There was a big builder's bucket, and Ben did an excellent job of being Chief Bailer. We eventually got most of the water out of the boat, the automatic bailer started working again, and we picked up our stranded divers. Once we'd done that, we had to decide what to do. I was up for giving it another go, but realised that Chris wasn't very happy at all, so suggested that we go back to Bovvie. We all agreed, so off we went.
For our second dive of the day, we stayed closer to Bovvie, and did a drift dive. Emily got a totty dive with Tracy, and I got to dive with Skimmer. Somehow, despite none of us finning, we managed to end up going at 90 degrees to each other. I used the SMB on this dive, because I wanted to check my emergency one still worked. It did, although I still prefer using a proper reel.
I'd checked out the showers before we left in the morning, and they seemed better than those at Brixton. Emily and I went straight back to the campsite, rather than showering in Bovvie as I would have wanted to do if we'd been camping in Brixton. Chris had gone via Morrison's, and bought some Pimms and Stella for my birthday. She's a top lass, far too good for that dodgy Bloomfield character! We'd arranged to meet Mel and James in the pub (they'd just got back from their honeymoon), and the guys from the Brixton campsite joined us as well. Gordy and Emma arrived later. The Brixton guys had bought me a cake, and drawn some breasts on it with ice cream. Rob had suggested just bringing the cake, and getting the girls to flash me, but they went with the icing norks, instead!
Back at the campsite, I wasn't quite ready for bed, so joined Tim and Tracy on the BoA boat for a night-cap. All in all, it had been a lovely birthday.
Emily took a bit longer getting up this morning, so there was a risk that I might have to cook my own breakfast. Fortunately, she didn't take too long. My discovery for the day was that picking up a piece of bacon that has only just come out of the frying pan is not a good idea. It's now 5th September, and I've still got the burn mark. It's my own fault - I didn't want to interrupt my tea-drinking, and bacon and egg eating, by running my burn under a cold tap!
This time, we decided to take Bath Tub, as well as the BoA boat. We were diving the Elk, and Gordy had got the transits off Danny. When we got there, there were several boats there already, and somebody had already dropped a shot. Job done! I was diving with Emily. It was a good dive, but I really wasn't happy at any point during the dive. Something just didn't seem right with my kit. I realised that the groin strap wasn't done up, but it seemed to be more than that. Anyway, when we started to swim off the wreck, I decided that I wanted to go up, so got Emily to use the SMB.
Back on Bath Tub, Gordy and Emma started kitting up. When Emma turned her air on, we could hear air escaping. It turned out to be her high-pressure hose, so we borrowed some tools from the other boat, and I started swapping it with my high-pressure hose. Gordy made a sly comment about letting me use a spanner, which I thought was rather uncalled for - I thought I did a good job. At least they got to dive.
The BoA guys headed back to Bovvie, while Emily and I stayed around, and waited for Gordy and Emma to surface. They had a good dive as well, and my handiwork [Is "handiwork" the correct spelling? OpenOffice seems to prefer it to "handywork"] had lasted the dive, but Gordy still didn't take his comment back! We headed back to Bovvie for some more tea and a diver burger.
Danny suggested doing Panther Shoal as our second dive, so off we went. CENSORED. It didn't take long to get there, and Emily and I jumped in. Once she had told me off for finning too fast (using my new-found finning technique), it was a right little treasure-hunt dive. Well, at least it was for Emily. She would find something, give it to me, I would open up my pouch, put her treasure in, shut the pouch again, and look up, only to see her with another bit of treasure. My favourite bit was some beer treasure. Back on the boat, the conversation got very rude, and very sexual - I blame it all on Gordy. CENSORED.
After the BoA guys had left (unfortunately, despite Emily finding out that Tracy was single, I didn't get around to asking her out), there was going to be only Emily and me left at the campsite, but Gordy and Emma decided that we had the right idea in staying another night. Emily said she was happy to drive to Brixton, so we went to the Foxhound for dinner (the others had cancelled their plans for a night dive, so were also there). The barmaid serving the food was fairly well-stacked, but, unfortunately, not as well stacked as the landlord's daughter. It was a nice evening, but we all left fairly early.
I woke up in the middle of the night, and my good knee was giving me a lot of jip. I got back to sleep, but it was still giving me jip in the morning. I could walk OK, but if it hurt when I was just lying in bed, I decided that going diving was a silly idea. We'd run out of bacon, so sausage and egg sarnies were the order of the day. My knee didn't feel any better after driving to Bovvie, so I decided not to dive. I was quite disappointed, because Blue Raider was going to the Persier, but it just wasn't worth risking. Emily got to dive with SarahH, so it was all OK (except I missed out on a totty dive). Still, I got to drink tea, and chat to Danny and Dave's mate Mark. Danny got called away to fix Gabriel's car, so left Mark and me in charge.
While I was waiting for the others to come back, I chatted to Nic, wrote up my dive logs, and saw a ginger beer clay pot. It seemed that Emily had found some ginger beer treasure, not proper beer treasure. The others seemed to have had a great dive, and Emily brought Sarah back in one piece, which was good.
Emily offered to drive back to Bath. It was what I needed - all that sitting around drinking tea had knackered me out, so I needed a kip! When I woke up, we started playing the Mini game. It was fairly evenly matched, until I mentioned "boyfriend", and Emily went all giggly and girly, and couldn't concentrate. Whenever it looked like Emily might win, I just said "boyfriend", and she lost concentration! She tried to fight back, by saying "totty", but it didn't work - I always think about totty, so saying "totty" didn't make any difference! I dropped Emily off in Bath, had a quick cuppa, and then drove back to Slough, via Reading. CENSORED.
It had been a lovely weekend. Thanks everybody for making it fun, and an extra special thanks to everybody who made my birthday evening so special.
Thanks to Bird, Cherryboy, and Jon Hyde for their happy birthday text messages. Also, Cherryboy sent me a flash text message (I still don't really understand what a flash text message is, but it wasn't possible to save it to read later), saying that he'd just heard Billy Don't be a Hero.
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Created on: 04 Sep 2006. Modified on: 10 Sep 2006.
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