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Danny and Dave 2007 Trip 4

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Postponed from 17th-19th August, this weekend was our final Rich and Chris weekend for 2007. Those of us who went were:

During the week, I'd been looking into easy ways of dropping extra air down to a diver who has run out of decompression gas. The easiest way that I could find was to have a cylinder attached to two bits of rope. The first bit (9m long) is attached to a buoy, so that the cylinder floats at about the depth that the diver would switch onto Nitrox80. The second bit of rope (a few metres long) is attached to a hula hoop. The hula hoop is dropped over the top of the divers' SMB, and the cylinder is then dropped in. The hula hoop lands on the divers, and the divers then follow the rope to the cylinder. Job done.

In a rare show of forward planning, I got a text message from Rich at 17:09 on Thursday. It said, "I haven't texted you to say its on because I presume you trust my legendary organizing ability. But in case you didn't ... Its on. Rich". I did think about correcting his grammar, but couldn't be bothered.

Friday 12th October

During the day, I got a text message from Rob. It said, "Hi billy - i've got a favour to ask. If your on your twins this weekend, can i borrow one of your singles? 15 i guess. Will definately be worth at least a beer and a cup of tea!". Despite his poor grammar and spelling (which, of course, I corrected), I replied to say that I'd put a 15-litre cylinder in the car.

Since I'd worked hard all week, I left work early at about 14:45, and walked, via the recycling bins, to the car hire place. Having done our shopping already, I didn't need to buy any emergency scotch eggs on the way there. Although the totty was there, I ended up being served by FastTrackBoy, who was actually showing signs of becoming slightly competent! I popped into Slough Scuba to collect my drysuit that had been sent back to Northern Divers, and to buy some new gloves.

I didn't have TomTom with me, but, fortunately, there were no delays eastbound on the M4. I'd packed all my bags while waiting for Maffy last night, but my dive kit was still in the cupboard-under-the-stairs. It didn't take me long to load up the car, but was shocked to find Gordy's pants still with my dive kit! The only suitable hula hoop type device that I could find was a coat hanger, so I put a coat hanger in the car, and headed off to collect Dindin. This diving later on in the year is no good - it was dark by the time I got to Bath at half-six.

I couldn't find a parking space, so just parked on double-yellow lines, since we were loading up the car. I saw Sam waiving through the window when I arrived - it's always nice to see her. Dindin and I loaded up the car - Sam would normally have helped, but she was getting ready to go out with Jo. The advantage of that was that I had too gorgeous women to perve at! I explained my plan to Dindin and Sam, and Dindin found a metal wet-suit hanger that we could use instead. This had the advantage of being able to float without having an extra weight attached to it. It had the disadvantage of rusting. Just as we finished loading the car up, we saw a car reversing out of a parking space, so I quickly parked the car, and we had a quick cuppa before leaving. We also had a quick look on t'internet, to see how much some new regs would be - Dindin reckoned 200 from a website in Germany.

There was no traffic to avoid, so the TomTom wasn't much use, but it was nice to have an accurate idea when we were going to arrive. Bird called while we were travelling down, but didn't leave a message, so I didn't call her straight back. Chris called us just before we got onto the Devon Expressway, so, as tradition dictates, we shouted "Toot toot". When we arrived, Dindin said that they were camped on the left. There were no tents on the left-hand side, but there were two tents, a car, and a Land Rover on the right-hand side. Dindin said that it wasn't Chris's Land Rover, but we put the tent up there, because we couldn't see any other Land Rovers. We then went to meet Rich, Chris, and Rob at The Foxhound. There was karaoke on in one side of the pub, so we found them propping up the bar in the other side. Three pints later, we headed back to the campsite. The guvna had taken out one of the urinals since we were there a few weeks ago. This really confused me, and I almost ended up peeing in the sink!

We weren't diving until about 10 o'clock, so we had a bit of a lie in. Without Gordy to mess things up, we set alarms for the correct time!

Saturday 13th October

Waking up early meant we had plenty of time for tea and bacon, but, as before, Dindin didn't let me use my teapot. For all his winging, pant-leaving, faults, at least the ginger one let me use my tea-pot! Anyway, top marks to Dindin for cooking breakfast.

We got to Bovie in time to drink more tea, and sort dive kit out. We were only going to be diving the Persier, so there was no need for both stages, although there was potential for a long dive, so we each took one stage. The weather was good, so it didn't take too long to get out there. If I remember rightly, there was already a shot there, so we could dive as soon as we got there. The shot was right next to the boilers, so we swam around them for a bit, and then swam off to investigate further.

It wasn't long before I found a shot the size of Cat's tits, which I wanted to recover. My plan was to tie an SMB to the shot, let it off, and then ascend the shot to get a lifting bag from Danny. We did this, but there seemed to be quite a bit of current flowing as we ascended, so I got a bit worried about getting back down again. Danny didn't have a lifting bag, but, fortunately, somebody on the boat did. We went back down without any problems, and I handed the lifting bad to Dindin to tie onto the shot. Being the size of Cat's tits, it took a lot of air to lift up to the surface! We then ascended using my SMB, and got back onto the boat. Controversially, we didn't bend my Suunto. I then discovered that Dindin's plan was to tie all but one of our six SMBs to the shot, and try to lift it. That would have been a much better idea, because we could have continued our dive. Oh well!

During the break between dives, Dindin and I went off to to buy some rope, and a buoy. I didn't reckon we'd get to QAB during the break, but we would get to Manhattan, where there was bound to be a chandler's shop. There was, so we bought what was technically a fender, and some rope. I do like shops like this, only this kind of shop would allow a bloke be taking the wall by the front door apart, while customers walked past.

Back at Bovie, we had time for another cuppa before getting back on the boat. While I was sorting out kit, somebody turned up in a taxi, so I asked the taxi driver how much a fare to Plymouth was, and he said it would be a tenner. It sounded promising. We had a cracking dive on the JEL, with so many swim-throughs that I'd never found before. The JEL is a fantastic dive. I've dived it dozens of times, but it's different every time. Back on dry land, I was amused to see a woman who'd only just got out of the water walking around with make-up on. She had been on her drysuit training course, and didn't like her floaty feet.

The others were up for a curry. Rich had spent most of the day trying to persuade me to drive into Plymouth, but, with the price of a taxi, there was no way I was going to drive. As usual, Dindin and I were going to go back to the campsite via Manhattan, to have a shower. Just as we were about to leave, Danny asked us to give his son and his son's mate a lift back to Brixton. I'm always happy to do Danny and Dave a favour, but wasn't sure about this. Not only would we have to shower at the campsite, but we'd have to talk to children on the way back! I wasn't sure what to talk about, so asked him about school and GCSEs. I also mentioned that I was going to try a magic short-cut. When he realised what I meant, he said that it was no good, but showed us another one, which was brilliant. It was well worth missing out on showers at Manhattan and talking to children on our way back! Now that we have shown Rich and Chris what we thought was the best way to Bovie, we'd found a better route. We'll have to keep that quiet!

Back at the campsite, there was a kid with the warden, whose father is a taxi driver. The kid gave me the number of the taxi firm, so I called that one instead. It was like pulling teeth - I had to give exact directions to the campsite. By the time I'd finished, I was naked in the shower, still making the booking! When I got out of the shower, Rich and Chris had got back (thanks to them for buying food), and Rich reminded me that Chris has said she would drive. I then called the taxi firm, and cancelled the taxi. Fortunately, that phone call was much easier.

We had a quick cuppa before getting into the back of Chris's Landrover. If I was driving myself, I would have got into town without a problem. Unfortunately, I didn't seem able to give directions very well. Between Rob and me, we managed to direct Chris OK. By this point, I was getting a bit of jip for booking a curry for 8PM, when the England rugby team was playing the French rugby team in one of the World Cup semi-finals! We had time for a quick pint in The Navy, before it was time to eat. This made things worse, because we had a table in the pub, with an excellent view of the TV, and had to walk out just as the match started. This didn't bother me, but it did bother the others.

I was surprised to find that the curry house was busy, and we'd have to wait for ten minutes. I said we'd come back in 30 minutes, so that the others could watch the first-half. While they were watching it, I just surfed the web. For some reason, I really couldn't be bothered to watch the rugby. Anyway, we went back to the curry house once we'd finished our drinks, and had an excellent meal. Rob criticised us for drinking draught lager, and still reckoned we were silly when I pointed out how much more expensive bottled lager is. Oh well, I'll teach him eventually! Rich kept us all informed of the score with a combination of WAP and text messages.

Back at the campsite (thanks to Chris for driving), I wasn't really ready to go to bed. Unfortunately, nobody else fancied a sneaky pint at the Foxhound, so I called it a night as well.

Sunday 14th October

Still no need to get up early, but it's impossible not to get up early when one is camping. We had to wait for Rob before we could start cooking, because he had all the food in his car. My turn to cook today, since I doubted Dindin would trust me to take his tent down on my own! Anyway, I got to use my tea pot today. Rich, Chris, and Rob left before us, but this didn't matter, because we had our new short-cut to take. We arrived at Bovie to find Rich, Chris, and Rob already there. Not only that, but the PADI dive club was there, taking up so much space that we couldn't park by the water's edge.

I quite fancied the Rose Hill for our first dive, but there were other divers on the boat who weren't qualified to dive deeper than 30m, so we went to the Persier again. Not long into the dive, Dindin found a swim-through. It looked quite tight, but he swam off, and managed to get through. I then gave it a go, but didn't manage to get very far. I tried wriggling a bit, but still couldn't get through. I wasn't going to let Dindin get through when I couldn't, but eventually, I had to give up, and started to go backwards. Unfortunately, I couldn't get back either. I tried forwards and backwards several times, but was well and truly stuck. I started to think that I was going to die. I stopped wriggling, and composed myself. I knew that if I panicked, then I would die, so I had to stay calm. I decided that if I got out alive, we would go to the surface straight away.

While I was composing myself, Dindin had swum back to the start of the swim-through. He got quite scared, because I wasn't moving, and he couldn't see any bubbles. He then grabbed my fins and started pulling. I was so stuck that there was no way that I could get to my stage cylinder, so just had to hope for the best. As Dindin pulled, air rose to my feet, so I had to really push hard to keep them off the "ceiling". Dindin continued pulling, and, with broken bits of wreck falling onto me all the time, I eventually got out. I looked at Dindin, and heard him say. "What were you doing?". I shook his hand to say thank-you, and went off in search of another swim-through!

As we started swimming, I could feel my muscles begin to start aching. Presumably, it was something to do with the adrenalin not flowing any more, but I'm no expert. It wasn't long before we found another swim-through, so in I went. I got to the end, but the exit looked a bit tight. I gave it a go, but I got stuck again. I knew I'd get through if I took my stage off, but wasn't feeling very adventurous. I therefore swam back out of the entrance, without any problems. We swam around a bit more, but I didn't really want to go into too much deco, so we surfaced without bending the Suunto again.

So that we could get away early, we decided that we would go out on the next wave. All we had to do was Chris had to change one of her tanks over (Rob didn't dive the second dive). I took the opportunity to have a quick jimmy (some horrible person had had a poo in the urinals). Unfortunately, I held up proceedings by going for a quick cuppa. I took the cups onto the boat, but I really shouldn't have got any tea at all, because we needed to go back out quickly, because it was low water. The thing was, I had forgotten that Chris had another tank in the car, I thought that she actually needed to get a full. What a silly old fool. I would have been back on the boat more quickly, but Danny's older son (who was serving) had been out on the beer last night, and was taking ages to do anything.

Anyway, I eventually got back on the boat (sorry for being a gimmer), and we headed out to the dive site. I can't remember what we dived, because it wasn't a wreck, but we had a good one. I didn't think about it at the time, but, having not bent the Suunto, taking two VR3s on a 20m dive was a bit silly.

Back on shore, we had lunch (thanks again to Rich and Chris for doing the shopping), and then called it a day. It was a fairly uneventful journey back, but Sam and Jo were there when we got back. I told Sam that she ought to make Dindin promise to bring me back alive, as well as the other way around! I actually think that getting stuck in the Persier has ended up being a really good thing - it has reminded me that I'm not invincible, has reminded me that 30m is actually still quite deep, and will stop me going through really really small swim-throughs for a while.

Thanks to Rich and Chris for organising the weekend (not that there was that much to organise), and to Dindin for saving my life.

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Created on: 17 Oct 2007. Modified on: 28 Oct 2007.
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