Danny and Dave 2007 Trip 1
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I managed to leave work a little early today, and also got a car with SatNav. This saved having to bother with getting directions to Rodney's work, and also saved Rodney directing me along the narrowest country lanes known to man. I still got stuck in traffic going into Henley on Thames, but it didn't take me as long as it did last time. The SatNav gave us perfect directions, but I ignored it at a roundabout, so it took me back along something the width of a footpath. Still, it got us to the M4 quickly. The traffic wasn't too bad on the M4, so we got to Bath in good time. Rodney had to sort out his dive kit, so I dropped him off at Scary's gaff, and went to pick Emily up. Emily was looking as gorgeous as always. We loaded her stuff into the car, and Rodney was ready with his kit when we got back to Scary's gaff. Without Dindin's expert assistance, we only just managed to get all three of us, and all our kit, into the car. It was a good job that Emily and Rodney only had one cylinder each, we would never have got all the stuff in otherwise!
We didn't get caught up in much traffic on the way to Brixton, and the SatNav agreed with the way I wanted to drive, once it had realised that I wasn't going to be going along the M4. We stopped at the usual fish 'n' chip shop for dinner, and continued on our journey. I was convinced we'd arrive by closing time, but Emily wasn't sure. We ended up betting the princely sum of 50p on this. Thanks to Rodney for sitting cross-legged on the back seat, with his drysuit getting him wet. Thanks also to Rodney for e-mailing me the BBC article on SatNav when he had nothing else to do at work during the next week.
I decided to take a risk, and not change drivers at Collumpton. It did risk somebody getting bent, but I knew that we might not arrive by closing time if Emily drove the rest of the way. She's a good driver, but sensibly sticks to the speed limit. I decided that it was a risk worth taking in order to win my 50p bet!
We arrived at the campsite at about 22:45, and managed to get to the pub before 11. It turned out that the pub's open until midnight, so there wasn't really any rush. Everybody was quite tired, but Gordy was up for a few more beers. Rich stayed for one more, but everybody else headed back. Gordy and I eventually got back to the campsite at about 00:30. As we arrived at the campsite, I got a text message from Rodney telling me that the car keys were in his shoe. Gordy went to bed while I was having a jimmy, and I then realised that there was no room in Zoe's tent, and nobody to help me putting my tent up. I didn't rate my chances of putting it up on my own in the dark, so I had no choice, but to sleep in the car. I moved everything on the back seat over to the passenger's side (Rodney had decanted all his stuff into Olly's car, because they were diving at 9AM), moved the back of the driver's seat as far back as it would go, wrapped up warm, and went to sleep.
I actually ended up having an excellent night's sleep, but thought it made sense to put my tent up. Chris came back from the toilets having paid for the camping. I didn't realise that she intended to divide tent-by-tent, rather than per person. If I'd known I was going to have to pay £14, then I would have continued sleeping in the car. Zoe hadn't had time to do any shopping, but, fortunately, I had enough food to share with her, as well as Emily.
We weren't diving until 10:30, but I wanted to get to Bovi with plenty of tea-drinking, and gimmering time, just in case I had problems with my new drysuit. I was going to dive with Zoe and Emily, but Emily wasn't very happy with diving, so I decided that diving as a 3-some would be a bad idea, so I dived with Gordy and Emma instead. We dived the Persier from Danny and Dave's big new rib. I followed Gordy through a swim-through, and didn't get stuck. Gordy's suit leaked, so he wanted to finish early. I managed to annoy him by leaving my VR3 on trimix, resulting in a longer decompression stop! Back on the boat, I realised that I'd lost my new SMB. I couldn't believe it, it was its first time in the sea, it had never been used, and I managed to lose it.
Gordy didn't want to dive in a wet drysuit, so, after a burger, and plenty of tea, I got to dive with Emma on her own. Wow! We dived Hill Sea Point. I can't remember much about the dive, because I had a headache for most of it. After a while, I just got fed-up with it, and we went up. On the ascent, my VR3 told me to switch to 70%, so I did. As soon as I told the VR3 that I'd switched, it panicked, because the PPO2 was about 1.9! Ooops. I soon switched back again. Gimmeration! Back on the boat, I realised that when I changed my Nitrox36 VR3 gas to Nitrox70, I forgot to change the MOD. I won't be making that mistake again. Back on the boat, as soon as I pulled my neck seal away from my neck, I felt better, and my face turned back to the colour it's supposed to.
I don't like the showers at the campsite, so went over to Manhattan for a shower. Before I left, Dave told me that we weren't diving until late, but that Rodney and Olly were diving at 9AM. I laughed as I thought about telling Rodney and Olly the good news. I was shocked to find that the showers at Manhattan now cost £2, instead of £1. Knowing that the code was unlikely to change over the weekend, I paid my quid, and had a good shower. I went back via Morrisons, to get some Stella, and some eggs. I couldn't find the eggs, so asked a fairly well-stacked woman where the are. She didn't know either, but gave me a lovely smile. As I was wondering around the store, I couldn't decide whether I should have asked her out, or not (she wasn't wearing a wedding ring, but did have a child with her). As I was queueing, I saw her at the back of another queue. I went to join that queue instead, but some gimmer got there before me. I gave up, and put my things on the conveyor belt. I turned round to see the gimmer standing behind me, and nobody standing behind the totty. Oh well!
She was still queueing when I had paid, so I wasted a bit of time buying Emily a girly mag, but the totty was still queueing. I decided to give up trying to get a date, and drove back to the campsite. While I was driving back, Dave called, to tell me that Olly and Rodney were still diving at 9AM, but the rest of them were diving at 8AM! Emily was pleased with her magazine, and I went up to the chippy with Nick and Max to get dinner for the girls. Before going to the pub, Rich and I put my neck seal over the top of one of my stages, to try to stretch it a little bit.
The pub was nice until some gimmers on the next table started smoking. I opened the door, but one of them closed it straight away. Oh well! Roll on 1st July. We started discussing a big trip next year, with Gordon telling me what I had to organise! I was convinced that Zimbabwe had a coastline that we could dive from, but Zoe checked it out, and Rich was right - no coastline. Still, there was no way that we would want to go to Zimbabwe anyway. Back at the campsite, I had a nice comfy blow-up bed to sleep on.
I didn't have as good a night's sleep in my tent, as I did in the car. What a waste of 14 quid! Gordy wasn't going to be diving today, so I was going to get two more totty dives. It was raining when I woke up, so I stayed in bed a bit longer, and then we went for breakfast at Bovi. It stopped raining by the time we got there, and Mel and James turned up with their dogs, so Emma was happy for the day.
Without my morning egg, I was a bit worried that I might have problems (especially since we didn't change drivers at Collumpton), but was sure that Emma would look after me. Neither Gordy, or James, were diving, so I got to dive with Mel and Emma. It was quite choppy at Bovi, so we lowered the kit into the boat from the quayside. When I say "we", I mean Dave, helped by Rich. I didn't fancy climbing down the ladder, so joined Mel, Emma, and Olly in using the steps. Our first dive was in the Barn Pool. I can't remember much about it, but I followed the girls around, and found a dive torch. Dave didn't want to stop at Bovi, so Rich and Emma swam to the shore to collect their cars, and then collected us all from Manhattan.
Back at Bovi, I rushed to the cafe to get some emergency egg action, just to be safe. One diver burger, half a cheesy chips, and several cups of tea later, I was ready for another double-totty dive. This time, we dived Western Kings. Emma and Mel had to spend the whole dive stopping and waiting for me to catch up. For some reason, I was gimmering around more than normal. Still, I was happy!
I drove back to Manhattan to have a quick shower. While I was showering, a bloke walked into the shower still wearing his wetsuit, because he was really cold. He seemed to be struggling to get out of it, so I offered him a hand. He looked a bit uncomfortable, and then declined. I then realised that I was standing there, naked and soapy, and had offered to help undress a bloke. No wonder he looked uncomfortable! When I had collected the hire car on Friday, there had been a small stone chip on the windscreen. This had gradually grown into a crack that was more than a third across the windscreen. I called the RAC (from a phonebox, because it was an 0800 number), and the bloke who answered said that they could get somebody to fix it, but I'd have to wait until Wednesday. He assured me that it was still legal, and wouldn't fall out, or shatter. I wasn't impressed, but didn't have the energy to call up National Car Rental to get a replacement car.
Everybody was quite tired, so we went to the Foxhound at 6PM, but it didn't start serving food until 7PM. Still, the landlady was dressed in her Sunday best, and was showing a fair bit of cleavage. The food, as usual, was good, and I was even tempted by a bit of dessert action (Kinky Chocolate).
I wasn't sure that I wanted to do a second dive, because my first organic delivery was going to be on my doorstep all day. Emma said that there wouldn't be a delivery on a bank holiday. This worried me, because there was no milk in the fridge, and I was relying on the delivery so that I could have a cuppa when I got home. Our first dive was going to be the Main (one of my favourite dives), but the weather was against us, and we dived the Rose Hill instead. This was in about 30m of water, so was OK for everybody on the trip. It was fairly choppy on the way out. Most people sheltered in the wheelhouse, but a few of us stayed sitting on the tubes. With my back to the spray, I felt quite comfortable. I heard Dave say something about being 2 miles away, and then fell asleep. The next thing I knew, was it was time to kit up. I managed to get everything on myself, except for my 11-litre stage, which Dave helped me with. I was getting a fair bit of jip for taking two stages, but I felt happy.
I was diving with Gordy and Emma again (Gordy had fixed his drysuit). We swam to the shot, and went straight down. At about 10m, we landed on the wreck. I was amazed - I didn't remember the Rose Hill rising 20m off the bottom. Anyway, we swam to the edge of the wreck, and descended further. We got to the sandy bottom at 20m. I was really confused, but carried on the dive. I saw Gordy go through a swim-through. He struggled a bit, so I then followed him, to show him how it's done. Unfortunately, he didn't have the two stages that I had, and I ended up stuck with one stage out of the swim-through, and one in. I couldn't go forward, and I couldn't go back. Gordy and Emma eventually managed to get both my stages off me, and I got through the hole. Ooops!
The more I swam around the wreck the more familiar it seemed. Back on Ellipse, I said, "That was bigger, shallower, and more like the JEL than I remember the Rose Hill being". I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard Dave tell everybody that we were no longer going to do the Rose Hill, but that we were going to do the JEL instead!
After lunch, we had our final dive of the weekend. I have to confess that I can't remember what it was! Before leaving, I gave Dave a copy of Olly's naughty video (Danny had been pestering him all day, to make sure that I gave them a copy). When Emily realised what we were doing, she walked off in disgust to play with Woody!
My tent was dry by the time we got back to the campsite, so we took it down, packed it away, and headed back to Bath. We stopped for a pasty at the pasty-on-roof petrol station, but it didn't do nice pasties any more. We changed drivers there, but probably won't do it again, because it's not the nicest junction to get back onto the A38 again, so probably not the best time to drive a car for the first time.
I dropped Emily off at her flat, and then drove back home. As I was unloading the car, my neighbour (who's a peeler) walked past on his way back from the pub, and said that it was a nice car for a hire car. I told him about the crack on the windscreen, and he said that it definitely wasn't legal. Oh dear, I think I can feel a letter of complaint coming on! Fortunately, my organic delivery had been delivered, so there was milk for my tea, and my breakfast.
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Created on: 03 Jun 2007. Modified on: 03 Jun 2007.
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