Pembroke (12th-14th June)
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Since it was going to be a long drive to Pembroke, Rodney had said he'd get insured on the car for the weekend. On Thursday afternoon, I had a quick look at the National Car Rental website, and found out that I could upgrade to the next class up and pay less than what I'd been quoted over the phone. If Rodney had already taken his driving license in, I wouldn't bother, but if he hadn't then I'd make the booking online and cancel the one I'd made over the phone. I called him, but he didn't answer. Without voicemail, I had to resort to sending a text message. Unfortunately, he misunderstood my text message, because he called me later on to say that he'd just taken his license into National Car Rental - as a wise man once said, "Rodney, you plonker!". I tried calling up to get a discount, but the bloke I spoke to refused.
Anyway, I picked up the hire car, and the bloke kindly offered to add Rodney for no extra charge. He also assured me that the Vectra wouldn't bleep like the Insignia had bleeped last weekend! Half way home, I saw a warning on the dashboard that was a car with a spanner through it. I thought it just meant that the car was due to be serviced, but called up National Car Rental just to be sure. The bloke I spoke to agreed, but once I finished speaking to him, I looked in the manual, and found out that it was the equivalent of the Windows BSOD. I called National Car Rental back. The bloke had been thinking about it some more, and said that I ought to bring it back to swap it for a new one.
Fortunately, I'd left work quite early, so had time to mess around. I loaded up the Vectra, and drove back to National Car Rental. I was then handed the keys to, you've guessed it, an Insignia! Anyway, I swapped all my dive kit over, and drove to Rodney's gaff. All the gimmering hadn't actually taken that long, and I arrived at Rodney's gaff before he got home from work. I therefore parked in a side road and had a quick kip. A few minutes after I turned to engine off, I was woken up by the stupid car making a strange noise.
I went back to sleep, and was woken up by Rodney ringing me. I drove back to his house, and we loaded up the car. Before we set off, I showed him how to use the cruise control, so that he didn't have to figure it out while doing 80mph along the M4. The radio had been warning about traffic on the Severn Bridge, but TomTom avoided it by taking us on the other bridge. It was a fairly uneventful journey, but it was made easier by sharing the driving. I drove the last bit, and we found the others at the far side of the campsite. I stopped, and Rob pointed out that I'd actually have to park, and not just leave it there! I read the text message from Rich that he's sent earlier - it said "Dim tootllanybyvi"!
I moved the car a little bit, allowing plenty of space to move it tomorrow. Rodney then put up the tent. He didn't want any help, but did get confused with the little roof bit. It was smaller than last week's tent, and didn't have a flysheet. Let's hope it doesn't rain. Rich and Chris turned up soon afterwards, and pitched their tent so that it was more difficult for us to move the car. Oh well, with their big tent, at least Rodney and I had somewhere to sleep if it rained!
Rob reckoned that the nearest pub that we'd driven past was at least a few miles away. Not believing the distance, Rodney, Rich, Richard and I were up for walking to it. About 12 minutes later we arrived at the Rose and Willow. It wasn't the best pub in the world, but it did the job. Thanks to Rodney's mate Richard for getting the first round in. When I was at the bar, the landlady stood behind me and put her hands on my back. I assumed she wanted me to move out of the way, but carried on putting her hands there once I'd moved. Anyway, we had another round, and then walked back to the campsite.
I was sleeping on the other side of Rodney from the door, so woke him up when I got up to make breakfast. I'd remembered to bring my camping chair, so Rodney "I don't need a camping chair" Foo had somewhere to sit. The first thing I did was go for a jimmy, and I got confused when I saw signs in a foreign language. I'd forgotten we were in Wales. Once I'd remembered that, I noticed a misuse of the apostrophe sign (in English).
Rob gave us basic directions and off we went. Rodney was driving, so I didn't have to do any reversing. It was further than we expected, but we arrived with plenty of gimmering time. The boat was a fair trek from the car park, so I decided to carry all my kit (including weight belt and stage cylinder) in one go. I certainly won't be doing that again! The skipper arrived, along with a kid who was there to help. The skipper was great, but the kid, although very helpful, was a young whippersnapper, and deserved
a clip several clips round the ear!
Not knowing our ability, the skipper wanted to take us on fairly shallow dives today. If I'd known this, I wouldn't have carried my stage cylinder, but never mind. Richard joined Rodney and me to dive the Dakotian. We tried a few swim-throughs, but Richard didn't seem very keen at first. I found a pretty good one, and the others followed. I got out, and found that my SMB was missing. Richard came out next, carrying my SMB. Top man. We swam around a bit more, but, when my VR3 wanted me to do a decompression stop on a 20m dive, I decided it was time to surface. I would have used the SMB, but Richard hadn't given it back to me, so I couldn't. Excellent!
As well as pasties for our lunch, I'd bought wine gums and Orange Clubs for everyone on the boat. After a 2-hour surface interval, we dived the Beehar. The slack was the same as the previous wreck, so we had to dive this with some current. There wasn't actually that much current, but there was lots and lots of surge. After about 20 minutes, I'd have enough, and said to Rodney that I wanted to surface, but Richard and he should carry on. He wanted to surface too, so up we went. I must have been keen, because I offered to use the SMB.
Back on dry land, we loaded the empty cylinders into a trolley, and dropped them off at the end of the quay. After getting changed out of our suits, there was time for a cuppa and some ice-cream before heading back to the campsite. The totty who had served me this morning had been joined by more totty, so I was happy. I didn't want a factory-made ice-cream, but they'd stopped serving food. Fortunately, the totty said she'd serve me a
desert dessert, and, a bit later, she brought out a lovely looking ice-cream. All the others decided to have one next time! [11/7/09 19:00. To be continued. I'm on my way back from the Sillies and we're due to arrive in Penzance in about 10 minutes.]
Leaving Rob and Nic in charge of finding somewhere to eat, we drove back to the campsite, got showered, and laughed at Rodney trying to fly his kite. The chef at the pub we'd eaten at last night had run away, so Rob and Nic had booked at table at the restaurant at the marina where we'd launched from. While we were gimmering around, Richard went for a drive around to see what other pubs he could find, and found a promising one (The Jolly Sailor). He said that it wasn't that busy when he was there, but that it looked as if it might get busy later. He wasn't wrong - by the time we got there, there we no seats left inside, and only one table left outside. Still, the beer and food were pretty good (although Olly's and Megan's got a bit cold, because they'd been given the wrong order number). Thanks to Richard for finding the pub, and to Chris and Nic for driving to the pub. Once we'd finished eating, Chris drove back to the campsite and walked to the pub. I'd been in Rob's car, and Nic drove straight to the Rose and Willow. The landlady was over-friendly again tonight - perhaps they needed some new blood in the neighbourhood! Either that or she wanted a new chef.
The skipper was happy that we were all competent divers, so was happy to take us out to dive The Lucy. It was a bit of a trek, but it's a comfortable enough boat, so that wasn't a problem. He's a pretty interesting bloke to chat to too, which made the journey better. Richard decided that he didn't fancy diving with Rodney and me, so dived with Rob and Nic instead. To be fair, I don't blame him, we were likely to be down a long time! The slack window was pretty long today, but I still made the effort to get kitted up reasonably quickly. We'd been warned that the inside of the wreck was pretty silty, so we were very careful not to kick up the silt. Amusingly, the empty part of my console where my Prodigy dive computer should be collected a nice amount of silt. It was a cracking wreck, but a little bit smaller than I had hoped for. Our maximum depth was 38.7m and we got back to the shot after about 25 minutes. My Suunto Vyper wanted me to do 21 minutes of decompression, but my VR3 (which knows about gas switching) had different ideas. Hopefully Rodney's Suunto computer (which also knows about gas switching) would have different ideas too. By the time we'd done my deep stops, my Vyper wanted me to do 30 minutes of decompression. There's really something wrong with Rodney's computer (or there's something wrong with Rodney, I'm not sure!) because his computer wanted him to do more than that, and he'd switched to Nitrox32! Amusingly, the divers that passed us on the shotline on their way down while we were ascending finished their dive, passed us again, and were back on their boat and we were still doing our stops! Once I'd done all the decompression that my VR3 wanted me to do, Rodney switched to my Nitrox80, and cut his decompression requirements down. Even with that, we only missed 7 minutes' worth of stops according to my Vyper. Rodney's really going to have to get his computer sorted out if we're going to do more deep diving.
After a reasonable surface interval, we dived next to the Lucy. Being a nature reserve, there was lots of wildlife. I hadn't been prepared for Rodney to spend ages taking pictures. At one point, he was so slow that a crab overtook him! Still, I just swam around looking at things, and then went back to find him exactly where I'd left him! It was another long journey back to dry land, but we'd had two really good dives, so didn't mind. There was no time for another ice-cream when we got back - we paid our bills, loaded up the cars, and settled down for a long drive back.
While playing with the cruise control on the way back, Rodney said, "Wouldn't it be good if the car changed gear for you as well". Mmmmm - like an automatic car you mean? Definitely a candidate for Twat of the Day.
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Created on: 14 Jun 2009. Modified on: 23 Aug 2009.
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