The weather was as forecast. Clear, windless, warm and sunny. 9:00am on the morning that the clocks went back we were burbling out of Pwllheli harbour at 4mph on the starboard side of the channel next to the red buoys. For Mick, Robin, Irfon and Peter it was the first of the two practical sessions to be completed with Hugh as instructor. During the morning each was put through his paces with sheltered water low, medium and fast boat handling practice along with slow speed maneuvering; coming alongside and approaching shelving shore. All accomplished with aplomb and all making sure they were not the one to ram the buoy.
After lunch in front of the Harbour Master’s Office, it was over to the Hafan for the towing exercise and restricted area manoeuvering. Then it happened. Just as our Boat Officer completed the last 360 degree restricted area turn, the Honda clutch failed. Embarrassment. All the gear changes we had been doing had proved too much for it. However the donkey engine was quickly set up and as you can see from the last photograph we were soon on our way again and back to the slipway with Irfon steering from the back. An ideal exercise for a training session.
Back at Pendre we found that the cable connecting to the clutch lever had come loose. A bit of TLC from Peter and Irfon and the repair was done. It should hold until a proper clip is ordered. Finally our thanks to Andrew for his assistance with the towing part of the training it was a very useful experience.
An introductory session for those who took part in the try dive session was held in the leisure centre. The potential members were given an outline of BSAC and Club Organisation, the cost of kit, training and diving, and an indication on when and where the Ocean Diver training would be carried out this season. Hugh & David took the session and several old members of the Club were present to add their support.
A late season nice weekend gave an opportunity to dive rather than do the boat training practical as originally planned. Saturday night ‘s enthusiasm was followed by the reality of Sunday morning with three of the eight planned divers falling by the wayside due to various illnesses, with a further two wimps only wanting to do one dive.
Launching from Porth Colman we headed off for The Gwenfaen. Not having any bait we failed to catch the wreck so eventually just threw the anchor at it. Luckily we were not too far off and Hugh and Mick went in first, with David, Wyn and Peter in the second wave. Visibility was good and there is plenty to see with the boiler, engine pumps etc all clearly visible. David found a new type of cameleon fish that when you look in the hole first is a lobster but when you look again is a big conger! We returned to Porth Colman where Mick and Wyn departed for pressing social engagements. With only three left to dive in the afternoon Hugh volunteered to cox while David and Peter dived the reefs just off Porth Colman.
Two more try divers came along to try out the sport this evening. Robin and Mick did the instruction. Irfon had organised the kit and David did the overall organisation. Both try divers seemed to have enjoyed the experience.
A full house with all seven candidates present. David led off with ‘Owner & Driver Responsibilities’ and then Hugh followed up with Boat Handling Basics and then Voyage planning. Two teams were formed and each wrote a voyage plan having consulted the charts, three weather forecasts (all wrong as it happens) and the tides. Two very good voyage plans were produced. The first practical group for next Sunday was drawn and are Peter, Cathy, Wyn and Irfon. (This practical has now been postponed so that a dive can be had).
Try dive for seven newcomers. It went extremely well thanks to everybody giving a hand. It was an opportunity for Robin and Mick to do their first duties as Assistant Instuctors. Congratulations. The apres deifio at the Vic was very enjoyable with old members entertaining the newcomers with their well worn dive stories. Some of them even true.
The first evening of the course was held with Dewi, Irfon, Cathy, Wyn, Mick and Robin present. Hugh as chief instructor did the Boat and it’s equipment lecture and then David assistant instructor did the Boat Walk Around and a very entertaining getting knotted practical. Peter was unable to attend he was detained in Hungary.