Another sunny Sunday (can it last?) found 5 divers rendezvousing at the National Trust car park in Porthdinllaen. David swiftly purchased the parking tickets at a bargain price of £1.00 per car seconds before the attendant arrived for work – after which the price would have trebled. Then it was down to the slip where we found out that a £12.00 donation to Nefyn council was required before launching.
Tidal conditions were not suitable for diving the Gwenfaen so with Wilco Calderwood at the helm we took a north westerly passage out of Porthdinllaen and after initially locating a reef , dropped Irfon and Robin for a drift dive on a gravel seabed, with Robin surfacing after 40 minutes or so muttering something about brittle stars.
Next in were a threesome of David, Lee and Wyn. The drift was slightly faster than anticipated. Lee deployed his DSMB with David holding on the reel and ploughing a furrow with his knees to slow down, and Wyn finning in clouds of sediment trying to keep them in sight. Having sorted ourselves out, we had a pleasant drift over the varied seabed, first of shingle, then some boulders before coming across what seemed to be underwater sand dunes with numerous hermit crabs waiting for a meal on the lee side of the sand. Wyn’s ascent from 6m to the surface bought back fond memories to the training officer of past member Senior M Griffiths!
We anchored off Porthdinllaen for lunch then it was out to the danger marker for the second dive. Everyone agreed that this was an excellent dive site with improved visibility and plenty of life. Lobsters, crabs, pollack, wrasse, octopus and a conger were seen; and also numerous golf balls strewn across the seabed. Then it was back to Pendre to wash and keep the boat from where we reported to Holyhead coastguard our safe arrival back ashore at Porthdinllaen – oops!!!!!
A falling tide, a bit of a swell, poor viz., a forgotten pair of fins and a split dry suit boot. So perhaps we were fortunate to get any diving at all.
The fainthearted, Dewi, Irfon, Lee & Mickey, were soon driven from the water, while the more intrepid trainees and instructors persevered! Peter took Simon all the way to the end of the pier, holding hands it seems!
Having been abandoned by Lee, Carl swam around David & Ben in ever increasing circles until he disappeared …. in the gloom! Meanwhile Ben completed lesson OO2 in a very swelly 2 meters, while Hugh & Anja spent a very long time trying to sort out the weighting for Anja’s brand new drysuit. Neil & Gemma provided shore cover.
They came, they saw, they launched, they dived and they gave up !!! Hugh, David, Irfon and Robin made the effort to get kitted up and launch out of Porth Colmon in fairly gloomy but certainly diveable conditions. Having arrived at Dukey’s Reef with the owner present in Sparrowhawk, David and Irfon kitted up and Robin thoughtfully dropped them in a suspicious looking brown patch of water – one of many curious murky patches around on the day. Down they went and 10 minutes later up they came and said it was pointless to carry on. We turned around and called it a day.
The afternoon saw trainees Simon and Carl turn up for a shore dive at Porth Colmon . Carl having just received his new suit wanted to get weighted up before Wednesday’s dive. I received a letter of thanks from the British Lead Mining Corporation yesterday thanking us on our choice of trainees this year and announcing that their profits for this year have trebled ! Simon and Carl kitted up – Carl proceeded to fit as much lead as possible into his BC pouches and Simon who obviously has been watching shoplifters in Tesco’s, placed some amount of lead in every available pocket ! Irfon and Robin who were providing shore cover, watched in anticipation as David led them into the sea, but lost their fiver bet when Carl sank like the titanic ! Both trainees performed well in their lesson and returned safely with Carl proving that bright orange lead must be heavier than normal lead ( Ben and Gemma take note !).
A night of Firsts. The first open water dive for 5 of the Ocean Diver Trainees. Peter & Lee’s first time out as Instructors. The first time I can recall us mustering 5 Instructors for one session. And the first time for several years that the Criccieth reef has been calm, clear and full of life, at least when we have been there. Among the things seen were greater and snake pipefish, lobsters, large and small, a variety of crabs, large prawns, corkwing wrasse, sandeels and dogfish. All 5 trainees, Ben, Gemma, Janine, Simon and Carl carried out the exercises in Lesson 001, and all managed a swim along the reef. Carl found out that he has very light feet, needing two 1 kg. weights added to his ankle weights on each leg, and both Ben & Gemma confirmed that they are seriously buoyant, each needing 21 kg. of weights.
Robin kept Janine in for almost an hour even though the neck seal on her patched up drysuit was leaking badly. With the water temperature still at about 9 degrees that was an amazing feat of endurance which I doubt too many of us could have matched. Needless to say Janine didn’t hang around as she had no dry clothes to change into. Simon saw fish and crustaceans in their natural environment for the first time and immediately vowed to give up fishing for dogfish. A final first was a Trainee Ocean Diver (Gemma) doing a night dive for her first openwater dive! Now who was the Instructor? Mickey Duke provided shore cover and manfully, in view of his bad back, carted a tub of weights around for the trainees, while Dewi and Wyn went for a long dive without seemingly losing their bearings. Was that yet another first?
First dive of the Season and the club is breaking new ground by taking Wyn’s generous offer of launching from The Warren. We met at Castellmarch; Wyn, Robin, David, Hugh, Malcolm and Irfon were the divers and Neil came along with his launch for a try out. We were then taken by Land Rover and tractor on the short journey from Castellmarch to the beach at the Warren. Malcolm had brought along a bottles of Gin and Tonic so we wouldn’t stick out! After launching it was off to the St. Tuds to try and locate the site of the mystery object. A general area was set for the afternoon dive and then it was off to Hell’s Mouth for the morning’s dive. Along the way we were joined by the Duke and John.
First in at Trwyn Carreg y Tir were Irfon, David, Mike and John. They encountered a fairly strong current, very little life and worst of all poor viz, infact less than a couple of metres. Hugh and Wyn followed and last in were Robin and Malcolm. Malcolm was pleased with the dive purely because the first four had painted such a dark picture that it turned out better than what he had expected. What didn’t please him though was his leaking drysuit and he vowed that it would be on Ebay by Monday morning – trainees – you have been warned!
After lunch, the Duke and John left us and it was back to the St. Tuds to locate the mystery object. Upon arriving it was decided that there were too many pissed idiots at Chapel bay and that it would probably be too dangerous to dive the site. Irfon suggested Half Tide Rocks as he hadn’t dived there before and it was agreed. Irfon and David were again first in (the beauty of being dive organiser and marshal (or is that manager!?!)) followed by a threesome of Wyn, Hugh and Robin as Malcolm sat out. Many more critters in residence this time, especially on the wreck of The Timbo, Irfon and David were briefly joined by a grey Seal, but it decided not to play today. The viz was also greatly improved, about 8 metres. There was also some possible evidence that the surrounding area had been recently dredged for scallops. Let’s hope that we don’t come across more sites like this as the season progresses.
Back at the Warren we were met by Hywel and Tom who quickly and effortlessly retrieved the ribs and took us back to Castellmarch to de-kit and sample some of Helen’s fantastic cakes. Many thanks to Helen, Hywel and Tom for making the day glide without a hitch, oh and the sun also shone.
“Are you sleeping Hugh”?; “No just contemplating chest movement, Neil”. So started the first aid for divers session taken by Neil (chairman) ably supported on the projector and in the practical session by his wife Nikki. There was an excellent turn out of members and that was before Simon arrived. We were taken over the theory of Basic Life Support (BLS) and then the steps taken when coming upon a casualty. Finally it was hands on the Resusci-Annes. With DrAB quickly completed, the room was soon filled with the merry clicking of correctly compressed chests which sounded like the first round of a tiddley winks competion. The energetic way the trainees pulsed over their victims made them look like very active participants in a vampire movie.
Finally and all too soon came the recovery position practice. One group did have a bit of a problem with a rather floppy casualty which was then followed by one which was showing very obvious signs of rigor mortis. Anja and Carl however seemed to have better luck. Anja was heard to say, from the depths of a carpet tile, in a rather sleepy voice, that the recovery position was very comfortable, and looked quite settled for the night. Ignoring this rather obvious sign of consciousness from the casualty, Carl carried on until he had completed the positioning of her left leg leaving Anja spread-eagled on the floor like one who had just OD on a game of twister. Many thanks to David for organising, Neil and Nikki for running the event and for MCL for allowing us to use their facilities.
The dive leader trainees met at Tudor Lodge for the first three theory lessons in the dive leader training. Robin, Dewi, Wyn, Peter, Tim, Irfon with David as instructor.
The final session of the boat handling course was held in the sunny but windy waters of the sea off Pwllheli. Wyn, Irfon and Robin were the so called trainees, David, assistant instructor, and Hugh, instructor. The rib had been picked up from Dickies at 9am, thanks to Gemma who then went home to bed, and launched at the Harbour Master’s slip. The trainees went through their paces with anchoring, shot-lining, dropping and recovering divers and dealing with the old man overboard overboard routine. The session went very well in quite windy conditions and all were up to it. The practical complete the rib was taken back to Pendre for washing down and storing. Oh and we did conclude that you could recover a bald diver by grabbing his/her ears.