Newquay Diving (August 2008)

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Having worked quite late last night, I decided that I could justify leaving work at 2PM. At the car hire place, I was served by AssistantFastTrackBoy. I gave him my Zoom membership card, and he asked me what my name is. The fool, it was written on my card! I then asked him what happens if the car is stolen, and he said that I'd lose my deposit. I'd already guessed that, but I wanted to know what to do. He said that I should contact the police. I'd already figured that one out as well, so FastTrackBoy came over to help. He'd obviously managed to improve his intelligence, because he could talk to me, and chew gum at the same time! Anyway, I was told that if the car is stolen, I don't get a replacement, unless I pay for Mastercover.

I'd been "upgraded" to a saloon car, but I didn't really mind, because it was a diesel, and I only had to fit my dive kit in it. What did bother me was that it smelled of cigarette smoke, and there was an empty cigarette packet in the ashtray. Back at home, I loaded my dive kit into the car, and then had a quick cuppa. Being impatient, I'd turned my PC on without leaving the windows open to cool the room down, and it crashed before I got around to using it. I really ought to fit new fans. I shut my eyes for ten minutes, and then started driving to Newquay. It was going to be a long drive, because I wasn't picking up Rodders in Reading, or Dindin in Bath, so had to drive all the way on my own. Despite not having had an early night last night, I wasn't too tired, and I got all the way to Collumpton, before my hunger got the better of me. The traffic was clear all the way, and, for some reason, there was a mass exodus from the West Country, and the M5 was very slow northbound.

I decided to buy a MacDonald's, because it would be cheap, and easy, but there were at least 20 people queuing, and there was no way I was going to wait for a MacDonald's burger. I had a quick jimmy (I was busting, because I'd drunk 2 litres of water since leaving home), and bought some sandwiches (one for today, and one for on the boat tomorrow). I'd hoped to get a pastie for tomorrow, but W H Smith didn't have any, but it did have special offers on Mars bars and Pringles. I quickly ate a sandwich, and then drove off. It wasn't until I'd driven for about ten minutes before I realised that I'd forgotten to change drivers at Collumpton. Oh dear. This was bound to result in a bend!

I'd forgotten about TomTom not knowing the route of the new A30, so got fairly confused when it put me in the middle of a field, and continuously recalculated my route. I stopped and had a quick look at the Google Map that I'd printed out earlier, and found out what road I needed to take, and continued on my journey. Once I'd turned off the A30, TomTom seemed happier, and directed me directly to Atlantic Diver. It's actually a house in a residential area, but with an A-flag on the front showing it's something to do with diving. Not wanting to disturb the owners, I walked around the back, but there was nobody there. I then rang the doorbell, and a bird came to the door. I introduced myself, and she said she'd get her dad.

Mum came to the door, showed me around, and gave me the choice between the snoring and non-snoring room. I didn't want to share with snorers, but couldn't really ask to go in the non-snorers' room. Mum went to get a key, and told me that I could park blocking the driveway. She also told me where the others had gone to dinner, so I went to join them (leaving Chris and his missus to sort out what was causing the alarm in the compressor room). I called Dave (the bloke who I'd been in touch with during the week), and he said that they'd just finished, so I met them half-way. I hoped they'd be up for a pint, but we headed back to Atlantic Diver (which did have Stella in the fridge). After analysing their fills (and breathing off them to make sure that the fills hadn't been affected by the smoke that set off the smoke alarm), and loading the cylinders into Dave's motor, we settled down for a few drinks.

Chris joined us for a bit, but then continued sorting out the compressor. Unfortunately, it would be out of action for a few days while he got the manufacturers to sort out the problem. Just to be sure, Chris asked those sleeping in the "Wendy House" to move into the other two rooms, so that there was a boys' room, and a girls' room. Unfortunately, two South Sea boys had gone into town on the pull, and were expecting to sleep in what had become the girls' room. Dave and I waited up to prevent them from stumbling into the wrong room. They seemed fairly sober when they arrived, but maybe that was just the three bottles of Stella that I'd had impairing my judgement! We then went to sleep, and were almost driven back by the noise of the snoring!

Saturday 30th

Breakfast was at 07:45 (I'd asked for a Full English the night before), and I got up at about 7 o'clock. The plan was to load the boat at 08:30, when there was still water in the harbour, but we wouldn't actually still be leaving until 11:30. Dave had offered to take my kit down, and suggested that kitting it up before we got there would be a good idea. I did this while drinking my tea, and finished just in time to have my breakfast. Once I'd finished, I went for more tea, but only one person joined me. I had to move my car before anybody else could go, so I took my bag from the room, put it in the boot, and then parked just up the road. I then got into Dave's car with my tea, and belted up. The other tea drinker (Steve) was also on the back seat, but had thrown his tea away! Shocking behaviour! [to be continued....]

I tried to pay attention to the way we were driving to the harbour, but I'm useless at remembering routes. To be honest, I was just glad that I wasn't going to have to do lots of reversing at Newquay harbour. We didn't have long to load the boat up before there wasn't enough water in the harbour. We quickly unloaded and loaded everything that we could, and then went to wonder around town for a few hours. Dezzy arrived a bit late, and had to blag a lift from another boat onto the boat we were diving from. I had been a bit worried that he wouldn't turn up at all, because Charlie and he were staying somewhere else, so I hadn't seen them last night. Apart from visiting a supermarket, and a café I can't remember what else we did. When it was time to get back on the boat, we got on at a different spot. This spot is just OK for getting people onto a boat, but there's no way it could have been used for loading kit.

For a place well-known for surfing, I was surprised how flat the sea was. I don't think I've ever been out on water that was this flat before. I sat down by my dive-kit, and fell asleep. I woke up as we arrived at the dive site, but couldn't actually believe that we had got there, because we hadn't been bounced around at all. We had plenty of time to kit up (thanks to those who helped me kit up), but Dezzy made the mistake of getting kitted up before me, so had to stand around with his kit on his back while I finished kitting up. Anyway, we jumped into the water, and went down the shotline.

Dezzy always has a particular plan when diving wrecks. Since I generally have no plans, I was happy to simply go wherever he wanted to go. It wasn't the biggest wreck ever, but I still quite enjoyed it. The two things I remember about the dive were Dezzy pointing to the propeller, and explaining what it was (he really must think I'm an idiot), and Dezzy freeing a crab that was caught in a fishing line (so that's what net-cutters are for!). I spent the first half of the dive feeling confused - not only was I at 40m, and not narked, but my VR3 didn't seem to be clocking up enough decompression. It was after about 20 minutes that I remembered that I had Nitrox27 as back-gas, and not air!

We had planned to come back up the shotline, but the current was fairly strong, so we used an SMB instead. Knowing that Dezzy wouldn't want to hang around while I did my deep stops, I put up my SMB at the first deep stop. By the time I'd gimmered around putting up my SMB, Dezzy was nowhere to be seen, so I did the rest of my ascent on my own. Dezzy wasn't on the boat when I surfaced, but he surfaced soon after I'd got on the boat. Back on shore, we quickly loaded the cylinders into Dave's car and Chris's car, so that they could get them filled, while the rest of us went back to Atlantic Diver. We left Steve waiting for his wife and kids, but his wife had his mobile phone as well as hers, so he had no way of contacting us. I gave him Atlantic Diver's business card, so he had a number to ring if he needed to.

Unfortunately, I messed up when I went for a shower - I didn't realise that the women went in first, and then the men went in. Since they were separate showers, I just went in. Fortunately, it didn't end up being embarrassing! Once I'd freshened up, I settled down to have a cuppa, and start writing my trip report. I would have written up my dive log, but Slough Scuba still hasn't got any new ones. The boys arrived back with the cylinders, so I put some money in the pot, and took them over some cold beers.

After a few more bottles, we walked to the sea, and down a long flight of stairs, to a restaurant (Kahuna Restaurant). We had a quick drink outside, before heading inside to eat. Charlie (who wasn't diving) had had a nice day cycling, and was planning to go to the Eden Project tomorrow, so I suggested that she buys a few bottles of Eden beer. I can't remember much about the food or the service, but I don't remember being disappointed. After making sure that Dezzy knew what time he had to arrive the next day, we walked back to Atlantic Diver, and called it a night soon afterwards (I was up for another beer, but, fortunately, nobody else was).

Sunday 31st

We had to get up an hour later than yesterday, which gave us plenty of time to drink tea and eat breakfast. Since all the cylinders were still in the vehicles from yesterday, we didn't have much loading up to do either. Not wanting to leave my tea mug in Dave's car again, I left it behind today (and threw some tea away!). The plan was the same as yesterday (load up the boat, and then hang around town), but this time Dezzy turned up on time, so helped load the boat. Steve was already there, but assured us that he hadn't spent the night sleeping on the pier. With the boat loaded, I found an ice-cream shop, and settled down to watch the harbour, and make some phone calls.

We left earlier than we actually had to, which meant that Chris could take things really slowly, and not spend too much money on diesel. Once we got there, there was still plenty of time, so some of the guys started fishing. I slowly got ready, making sure that Dezzy wouldn't have to spend ages standing with his cylinders on his back. We got into the water, and went down the shot-line. Today's wreck was bigger than yesterday's, with much more to see. Unfortunately, I can't remember the names of either of the two wrecks. This time, we came back up the shot-line, so there was no gimmering around with SMBs until we got to about 10m, when we let go of the shotline. Dezzy and I ended up having to do about the same decompression as each other, so surfaced at the same time.

Dave kindly put my kit into his car, and dropped it off at Atlantic Diver before he and Dezzy went off to meet some bloke who said he could fill the cylinders for them. I got a lift back again, and then loaded all my dive kit into the hire car. After settling up my bills, I started driving back home. Fairly soon, I found out how to use the on-board computer, and set it to show the total distance to an empty tank. This total distance was about 10 miles greater than the distance that TomTom showed me as the total distance home. There were quite a few accidents that TomTom had to avoid, but the total distance home was almost always less than the distance to an empty tank. Avoiding the accident on the M5 took me along the A303 and up the M3. I pulled off the M3, and drove through Ascot and Windsor. I then realised that the on-board computer had changed its mind (presumably because I was travelling at a less economical speed). In Windsor, it changed from 5 miles to an empty tank to 0 miles to an empty tank! TomTom could tell me the nearest petrol station, but it couldn't tell me the nearest open petrol station. I decided that the safest bet was the Tesco garage near work. TomTom took me a route that I had never driven along before, so I got more and more concerned. As I got closer, I realised that it was a diesel car, and this meant that running out of fuel would be even worse than if it was a petrol car. I made it to the petrol station. The car's tank held 55 litres, and I filled up with 54.77 litres. Ouch!

Back at home, I unloaded the car, and had an early night. The others were going to be diving tomorrow as well, but my boss said he might take the day off, so I had to be in the office.


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Created on: 30 Aug 2008. Modified on: 25 Sep 2008.
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