Plymouth (26th - 28th June 2009)
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Those on the trip this weekend were:
Rob sent me a text message saying that he'd arrive at 5PM, and he rang my doorbell at 16:59. Not bad timing. We loaded my dive kit into his car straight away. Rob's car was quite full, so there was no way that he and Nic would be able to take me and my kit to Penzance next weekend. Fortunately, he reckoned he would be able to take my kit. Once we'd loaded up the car, we drove to Slough Scuba to collect Rodney's stage cylinder. When Gary asked where we were going this weekend, he said that he'd be diving with Discovery Divers next week, and wanted to know what we thought. I assured him that he wouldn't be disappointed.
We then drove to Rodney's gaff. He'd borrowed a large car from work that would take all three of us and our dive kit, so we transferred our kit into Rodney's motor. I bought some beer from the grocery shop opposite Rodney's house. There was a special offer on Stella 4 - 4 cans for the price of 3. When I looked at the description on the till, I saw it said "4 can's for 3". I almost put them back on the shelf! With all the kit in the car, we set off. Rodney got to the end of the road, and SatNav told him to turn left. He ignored this, and turned right. Shortly after he turned, I said, "Rodders. You know we need to go west, don't you". "No", he replied, "do we?". As I said to Rich in a text message later on - "Criminal Mastermind, my arse". In a classic Father Garret moment, Rich was unable to reply to this text message, so Chris had to reply on his behalf!
The traffic was fairly heavy for most of the way, but it was flowing the whole time. Apart from a brief stop at Burger King (actually stopping to eat, rather than eating in the car is the way forward), we made pretty good time. This was until SatNav took us off the M5 at J26. As Rob pointed out, maybe it was taking us onto the A38 earlier. This made sense, until SatNav took us back onto the M5 at J27! Olly, Megan, Rich and Chris were already there, and Suzie arrived soon after we did. We opened the Stella 4, and chatted at the end of the pier. After a few beers, we went back to the rooms, and I put the kettle on. Danny came in to say hello soon after that. He said that he remembered chatting to someone from Slough Scuba, but that the person he spoke to didn't know me. I realised the confusion - the guys in Slough Scuba know me as Rob, not Billy! Anyway, once we'd finished our tea, we called it a night. Being a nice lad, I didn't go to sleep straight away, so that the others could get to sleep before I started snoring. It wasn't long before Rodney started snoring!
I'd suggested to Suzie that she set an alarm for 07:30. She'd warned me that her alarm sounded horrible, but I didn't appreciate how horrible until this morning. This, coupled with the fact that it took her ages to turn it off, meant that I had no problems waking up! Leaving the others sleeping, I got up, and went to unload the car. I took all the cylinders out of the car, and then carried over my twin-set and my stage cylinder. Carrying the twin-set in one hand is OK for a short distance, but I felt pretty knackered by the time I put it down next to the air bank. Anyway, it was then time for breakfast. I was pleased to see that Fruit and Fibre was now on offer - even though it was Morrison's and not Kellogg's. We weren't due to leave until 10:30, so we had enough time for a leisurely breakfast and a few cups of tea. I took the twin-set and stage cylinder back to the car separately. The lack of a breakfast fried egg wasn't a major concern, because I'd made some hard-boiled eggs before Rob arrived yesterday (thanks to Delia Smith for letting me know how long to boil them for!).
Rob's drysuit hadn't been returned from having its zip replaced, so he borrowed my faithful Jim Cam. We knew he'd get a bit wet, but not as wet as if he'd borrowed my semi-dry suit. This meant lending him my spare dry-suit inflate that I keep on my stage regs. Hopefully I wouldn't need this over the weekend. We had hoped to be diving on Danny and Dave's new hardboat, but the coding had been delayed, so we were diving from Eclipse instead. We were joined by John and Sarah who I'd met in the Red Sea in February. There was talk of diving the Elk, but we ended up diving the Rosehill instead (at least I think that's what we dived, because my memory is getting worse). Danny always gets the prop caught in the shot at the Elk, so it's a good job we didn't dive it today! I was supposed to be diving with Rob, but since Rodney came at the last minute (ooh-err), I dived with Rodney, and Rob got a totty dive. As we arrived at the dive site, John and Sarah were already in their rebreathers, so in they went. As expected, I was ready last. It was a cracking dive, but Rodney got a bit cold towards the end, because his drysuit was leaking. We had an easy ascent, because we got back to the shot. No need to argue about using the SMB (although I'd already agreed to use it because he gets water through his wrist seals when he uses the SMB).
Back on the boat, we had some more Clubs and wine gums (I'd been shopping on Thursday) along with the coffee that Danny kindly provided. Because there was the possibility of being out on the boat all day, I'd bought some pasties on Thursday, so we already had lunch sorted out. I'd bought Tesco pasties, which are much nicer than Gingsters pasties. Fortunately for Suzie, there were 4 in the pack, so she didn't have to buy a diver burger either (we obviously had time for a few cups of tea before we went out again). This time we went off to the JEL. Rob was still having a totty dive, so Rodney and I dived together again. It was another brilliant dive - I really enjoyed it, although, for some reason, I had absolutely no idea where I was for the whole dive. Rodney reckoned he saw a massive conga, but I couldn't see it. Towards the end of he dive, we saw Rich and Chris putting up an SMB, so we followed them to the surface.
Rodney and Megan had kindly offered to drive into Plymouth so that we could go for a curry. Since we weren't in a hurry, we went to the Himalayan Spice. The service is always friendly, and the food is really good, but the service is usually really slow. This time, the service was actually pretty quick, although the waiter who took our orders got Rob's order wrong twice (getting confused between bhuna and biryani). Anyway, the food was as good as always. On the way back to Bovie, I navigated Rodney the short-cut that SatNav normally takes. I was surprised that I managed it after a few beers, and even Rich was impressed with the new route. Back at Bovie, we looked out at the view over the ocean, and checked out the stars and satellites (mostly American ones checking that we were telling the truth about what we were doing at Devonport!). After Danny and Dave got rid of two fisherman, we went to sleep. Feeling braver than me, Rob went to ask the noisy guvnas to turn their music down, and they turned it off straight away.
[2009-08-23: I've left finishing this trip report a little bit late, so can't remember much about what we got up to today.] I dived the Persier with Rodney in the morning. During the dive, I spotted a strange looking creature. I had no idea what it was, but pointed out to Rodney. He was impressed, because they're really rare. As usual, we had a cracking dive on the Persier. We started ascending after about 35 minutes. By the time we'd done my deep stops, my Suunto Vyper wanted me to do 30 minutes' worth of decompression. Fortunately, I had my VR3s and Nitrox80, so only did 15 minutes' worth. We would have done less, but Rodney's Suunto computer still doesn't work properly.
Jon didn't dive the second dive, so I dived with Sarah. I decided to be good, and started kitting up on the way out there, so that Sarah wouldn't have to sit around in her rebreather waiting for me. Rodney rightfully whinged that I don't do that when I'm diving with him! Anyway, the idea was to go searching for treasure. We didn't actually find any, but we had fun trying!
Rob had the front seat on the way back, which gave me the chance to have a bit of a kip before we got back home. Thanks to everybody for a brilliant weekend, and for Rodney and Rob for driving.
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Created on: 28 Jun 2009. Modified on: 23 Aug 2009.
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