Plymouth - April 2009
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After arriving back at Heathrow at 06:30 on Wednesday morning, and going to work, going out with Sarah on Wednesday evening, and going out with Bird on Thursday evening, I was pretty knackered when I started driving to Plymouth. I stopped at a service station on the M4 for a quick break, and called Danny. He said that I was in room A, the light was on, and the key was in the door. I said I'd be arriving at about 10:30, but he said they'd be well gone by then. Just to be safe, I "changed drivers" at Collumpton, and then carried on my journey.
I arrived, and drove straight to the edge of the harbour, ready for diving. It was pretty dark walking back up to the rooms, so I considered driving back up, but didn't want to reverse in the dark. The light was on in the first room, but I couldn't open the door. I then looked inside, and saw somebody's bags there. Ooops. I went to open the next room, when the occupant of the first room came out, and said. "Were you supposed to be in room A?". I told him I was, and he said that he was supposed to be in room H, but couldn't find it, so used room A instead! I told him where room H is, but said that I was happy to share. Fortunately, just before leaving home, I'd chucked a sleeping bag in the car, because he'd already made himself comfortable in my bed! Anyway, he made me cuppa, and chatted to me, so I was happy. It turned out that he was our skipper for the weekend. He had to get up earlier than me, and I was really tired, so we called it a night fairly early. I remember being impressed with his mini digital TV, but was less impressed that the only thing he could get was a film about dwarves boxing!
Olly had kindly sorted us out on waves 2 and 4 today. Gerry's boat was at Mountbatten, as were the people on the 1st wave. The plan was for him to drop them off at Bovvie when he collected us, and then drop them back at Mountbatten after the 3rd wave. I was feeling refreshed after a decent night's kip, and went down for breakfast. The lack of fried eggs was a bit worrying, but I'd had an emergency scotch egg on my way to the car hire place yesterday, so it would be OK. Having a relatively healthy breakfast of cornflakes, toast and tea seemed like a nice start to the day. Not realising that Dave had set out a Billy No Mates space on a table on its own, I sat down at a table with three other places laid out.
The other people joined me soon afterwards - a couple doing the Sea Search course and their daughter. They seemed nice and friendly, but the daughter was a bit tired, because she hadn't had a good night's sleep. The reason for this was because there wasn't a pillow on her bed. I managed to keep my mouth shut when I remembered that Gerry had "borrowed" a pillow from room B! Olly and Megan had stayed in Exeter, and were driving down this morning. Ollie (who lives in Oxford) was also driving down this morning. The others were only diving today. I'd arranged to dive tomorrow, and hoped I'd manage to persuade the others to do so as well.
I looked at my phone to see what the time was, and saw a text message from Ollie asking if there was time for tea. There's always time for tea. Olly and Megan turned up soon afterwards, and we all started gimmering around with kit. I wasn't sure how much weight I needed with a 12-litre cylinder and a pony, so put a few extra pounds in my pouch just incase. We were all ready to go on time, but Gerry was nowhere to be seen, and he wasn't answering his phone. He eventually arrived about 45 minutes late. Apparently the guys on the first wave had arrived about half-an-hour late, and gimmered around quite a bit.
Anyway, we got on the boat and headed out to the Persier. I managed to get kitted up fairly quickly (well, quickly for me, Ollie had to wait for me to get ready). I had just enough weight to descend, but would have been more comfortable with a bit more weight. After a while, I realised that we hadn't had a very good dive brief. I had no idea how many dives Ollie had done, and also no idea whether he would want to do a decompression stop or not! Since I could only stay on the bottom with almost no air in my jacket and suit, I decided that a deco stop would be a bad idea. I obviously needed to find a better place to attach my SMB reel to, because I couldn't unclip it, so Ollie had to use the SMB.
During my ascent, I found that I was putting lots of air into my jacket, but it wasn't inflating very much. Ollie obviously had similar weight problems to me, because he was unable to hold our safety stop at 6m, and continued going to the surface (all-be-it slowly). I stayed at 6m for a bit, and then followed him to the surface. On the boat on the way back, I checked out my suit inflate, and it seemed to work OK. Back at Bovvie, we had a diver burger (so that I could have my "pre-dive" fried egg). We were ready for our next dive on time, but Gerry hadn't managed to make up any time with the 3rd wave, so we left late again. Apparently, he'd agreed a later time with me, but I must have forgotten this straight away, because I didn't share this information with Olly, Megan, and Ollie. My memory certainly is getting worse. Still, I did remember one of Ollie's Bristol mates inviting us to the Mussel Inn. I also tried persuading Olly to stay for tomorrow - Megan was up for it, but Olly was taking some persuading. Fortunately, Ollie was up for it, so I had a dive buddy.
Anyway, we headed out to the JEL for our second dive. There was some top totty on board the boat that Dave had kindly introduced me to earlier. Unfortunately, she was engaged ("unfortunately" was her description, not mine!), but still nice enough to chat to. I dived with Ollie again. We jumped in, and I immediately felt cold and wet. This was more than a little leak, so we swam straight back to the boat, and got back in. It seemed that my zip was open about an inch. Ollie's Bristol mate had done up my zip before I got on the boat, and had said "do you want to check it", and I did, so it must have somehow come undone between then and me jumping in the water. I was surprised that I didn't feel it, but it can't be helped.
Back on dry land, I hung my suit up to dry, but Danny and Dave wanted to leave on time, so I didn't have time to put newspaper into the feet. Hopefully it would dry enough so that I didn't have to wear my semi-dry suit in the morning. We had time for a quick shower before leaving to go to the Mussel Inn. I got the shower attachment from another room, but the shower was so pants that I was better off having a shallow bath. We had a really nice evening with Ollie's Bristol mates - thanks for the lift and the invite.
Being on the second wave, there was no reason to get up to early, but I'd got over my lack of sleep during the week, and got up fairly early. My suit wasn't particularly dry, so I hung it in the sun to dry it a bit more, and it dried enough to wear it (even though I started off with wet feet). Yet again, things were delayed by the first wave gimmering around. This time I was a bit more annoyed because if I made it back home in time, I'd have a t'internet date. When they eventually arrived back, I discussed with Jerry the possibility of combining the 3rd and 4th waves, and he said it would be OK.
This time, we went off to the Scylla. I checked my wing inflate on the way out, and it still didn't seem to work correctly. It inflated when I pressed the inflate button, but didn't continue inflating when I kept the button depressed. This didn't really matter, because I could just press it several times in quick succession. As we got to the deck, I signalled to Ollie that we should go further down. With more weight, this wasn't a problem, but stopping descending was, because my wing inflate had stopped working completely! Fortunately, I can use my suit for buoyancy, so continued the dive. I led first of all, but Ollie felt more comfortable towards the end of the dive, and led for a bit. The ascent using my suit for buoyancy wasn't ideal, but it was OK.
Jerry had to collect the others from Mountbatten (they'd ignored the plan to be dropped off at Bovvie just to be even more annoying!), but this gave us time for a cuppa and a bite to eat. It also gave me time to change the low-pressure hoses over, so that my wing would inflate properly. We dived one of the scenic dives, and I was amazed how slowly the other divers kitted up. They made me look super efficient, which is really saying something. No wonder they'd delayed Gerry before!
Anyway, Ollie and I jumped in last, and had a pretty good dive. For the first dive this weekend, all my kit worked OK and I had the correct weight. Job done!
Chatting to the more experienced diver of the other lot, it turned out that she's into similar diving to me, lives in Swindon, and is looking for a new dive buddy. How I didn't pick up on her subtle hints that she wanted my phone number, I'll never know!
Anyway, back on dry land, we had some more tea, packed up the cars, and then left. About half-way, I was feeling tired, so stopped for a kip. This was going to delay my arrival back home, but still gave me just enough time to unload the heavy things from the car, and have a shave and shower before going out for my t'internet date.
Thanks everyone for a top weekend.
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Created on: 23 May 2009. Modified on: 07 Jun 2009.
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