Marshall: Mike “I can do you a good deal on a semi dry” Duke. Organiser:Tim Dop. Seven of us gathered down at 9.00am to look at a rough and choppy sea…..the plan had been to dive the Bottle wreck but given the conditions this was clearly not going to be possible. The magnificent seven were Mike,Tim,Malcolm,Robin,Irfon, John “righty” & Peter. After a short deliberation on alternative dive sites it was decided to bite the bullet and launch the rib and head for Maen Mellt. First in Was Mike & John who decided to bail out of the rib early and drift down to the Mellt. Second in was Robin, Ifron & Peter followed shortly by Tim & Malcolm. Malcolm decided when kitting up that there was obviously too much weight in the rib so disposed of one of Mike’s Force Fins containing his diving mask…..ouch! and then made an attempt on John Wright’s cap containing his glasses. This could have something to do with John reference to Malcolm’s incredibly expensive lamp lookin like a table lamp. After a frosty few minutes normal service was resumed with the promise of a replacement from the Pendre Diving Shop.The vis was excellent when the sun appeared from behind the clouds and there were reports of congers, lobsters, crabs even a Cuckoo Wrasse (see pics).
The afternoon dive saw the arrival of Carl & Craig and the departure of John & Robin. As the rib was now running on fumes a short trip out to Porth Colmon reef saw Mike, Irfon & Craig in first. We then set off to find a shallower spot on the reef and dropped in Peter and Carl. On our potter around two smbs appeared on the surface one waving around. On their decent to the bottom Craig lost his buddies so waited a couple of minutes before surfacing. By all accounts he very much enjoyed his afternoon dive of 2 minutes. Once Irfon and mike had been retrieved, Malcolm & Tim went in again last. Again the visibility was pretty good but not as good as the morning dive.
Altogether a very good, relaxing and enjoyable days diving with plenty of humour and incident. If anyone should come across Mikes fin and mask on a future dive I do believe he offering a reward of a bowl of olives on the Egypt trip.
Tim. (Photos by Tim).
Wednesday arrived with the usual strong south-westerly’s, so it was back yet again to the shelter of Trefor Pier, which was possibly the only diveable spot on the peninsula that evening.. It proved worth it though as we eventually got Gemma back into the water to successfully test her regs. and dry suit, although by now her newly acquired, just tested, state of the art, 10 litre cylinder had mysteriously developed a defective main O ring below the valve! Club cylinder to the rescue. Despite having received a new made to measure dry suit she elected to stick with her modified original.
There was a good turnout, including Irfon & Simon, and Wyn & Peter, while Craig & Neil provided shore cover. The sea life was similar but somewhat less than of late. As Peter has moved to Carmel we hesitantly ventured back to the Rivals, to find that the advertised New Management had yet to improve the atmosphere of the place!
A 7.6 tide, SSW wind force 3-4 and no rain forcast. It had to be Caswenan. Sea Wasp was joined by Sparrow Hawk with Robin as acting marshall on his dive leader marshalling demonstration. Sea Wasp made for Caswenan with Irfon, David, Robin, Hugh and Wyn. Sparrow Hawk with Mike, Craig and Peter made for S tip of Bardsey. This was Robin planning at its best. Unfortunately there was too much in the form of a swell and waves over the Caswenan site and so Sea Wasp boat joined Sparrow Hawk on the southern tip. There was a bit of tide running but there were very interesting and deep gullies to explore. Peter and Wyn’s dive over to the SW side was absolutely ideal for Peter in that it was shallow and in lots of lovely kelp. Peter would have been happy to stay down for longer but Wyn sensibly called time out after 50 minutes.
Then it was back to Porth Colmon for lunch, change cylinders and meet up with Simon, Carl and Anja who were joining the group for the second dive. Surface interval over and we were off for the second part of the Robin plan, Maen Mellt on slack (which it was).
There was quite a bit more life on the Melt than on the previous dive and a good dive was had by all. Except that Carl got a bad shock when his attention was drawn to a rather large conger (probably the gobsmacked one in the photograph) within biting range of his crown jewels. He has now decided not to get a pee zip put into his suit.
Then it was back to Pendre for all to wash the boat down and put it away. Robin’s plans had gone very well, except that is for having left his sandwiches and stab jacket at home in the morning. (He needs a holiday). There was a problem with the petrol money. As far as we could tell everybody had paid, but the fund, after many, many recalculations, was short of £12. Anyway a good days divng was has by all and Robin had executed the marshalling exercise like a pro.
It was too rough for the boat so it was an early evening dive in the Menai Straits, with Carl, Anja and Craig seeing the Site for the first time. Robin, David & Mickey accompanied them while the dynamic duo of Dewi & Irfon led the way. Most stayed close to the cable but, surprisingly, it was not too crowded. Viz. was not bad and there was the usual carpet of dahlia anemones, one amazingly gorging on a quite big edible crab, of which there were also large numbers. How did the anemone catch the crab? The evening was pleasant enough to sit out at the Antelope.
With one forecast predicting winds in excess of force 5, you’d think eight people would find something better to do with their Sunday rather than grasp at a slim chance of venturing seaward; it may be the fact that the last rhib dive seemed like eons ago or we really are a sad bunch.
Sunday morning lived up to the expectations of all the other forecasts with relatively flat, calm seas and no rain (can you believe it?). Irfon, Wyn and David met at Pendre to prep Sea Wasp for the day’s diving, Malcolm made a brief appearance to inform us that he had ear ache and that he was withdrawing (from the days diving). Upon arriving at Porth Ysgaden, we were met by the other four saddos, Hugh, Dewi, Anja and Simon.
Our first dive was to be at (after being granted the owners permission in his absence) Duke’s reef. It would be a gentle drift as slack wasn’t predicted for another hour and a half. Since it’s always a shame to break up a winning, elite team (see last weeks quiz result), the Joneses a.k.a. Wyn, Dewi and Irfon were first in. Hugh was heard to say as they rolled off the side “If you go left you’ll find greater depth, if you go right you’ll go shallower”. Not being ones of ever refusing depth experience, the Joneses turned left and found depths in excess of 30m. After 29 minutes of bottom time and limited life, it was decided to ascend as the computers were showing a deco penalty of 6 minutes. Dewi’s and Irfon’s computers duly cleared after 6 and 7 minutes respectively, Wyn’s however was churning out numbers more akin with the lotto on Saturday evening. A further 10 minutes saw the trio joyfully breaking the surface.
A change of venue was called for the following four divers as the depths at Duke’s reef were slightly in excess of the qualifications of Anja and Simon. Dewi turned Sea Wasp and headed towards Maen Mellt. Hugh and Simon were first in, with Simon relishing his first real experience of rolling off the side of the rhib and freefalling to 15m – would that man ever stop grinning? Anja and David opted for the other side of the Maen and they were expertly dropped in by Dewi yards from the rock, well David was anyway as Anja had mistakenly thought that “ready” meant “I’ll be with you in few minutes after I’ve decided on which clip to fasten my torch onto” and decided to stay onboard. A quick adjustment saw the buddy pair reunited again. Both sets had a pleasant bimble around the Maen with both pairing surfacing almost simultaneously. On de-kitting, David proved why he will never be invited to join the Elite Jones’ team as he opened his pee zip whilst still in the water – Doh!!! Simon was still grinning after coming face to face with ‘proper’ conger eels and not the pithy, feeble effort that Irfon pointed out to him on the previous Wednesday’s dive at Trefor.
Lunchtime at Porth Ysgaden and it was ‘aurevoir’ to Simon and Anja and a dilemma for the quintet, would they risk a drenching and a battering by the forecasted heavy rains and winds or would they retire to the comforting arms of their loved ones? The saddos left Porth Ysgaden and headed towards the Coastguard lookout hut at Porthdinllaen. The triumphant Jones boys were first in only to be greeted by kelp, but through heading towards deeper waters, they were rewarded with a great dive with plenty of life and golf balls. Hugh and David were the last pair in, and Irfon generously informed them of the kelp bed and offered to drop them in further along. It was the first time that the true geniuses that the Jones boys are, had seen these two prolific divers diving as a buddy team – a combination of a 139 ¾ years of age, two bus passes, three plastic hips and a damp groin from a previous accident – a sight to behold.
On arrival back at Porthysgaden, it started to rain, but nowhere near what was forecasted. A few problems in retrieving Sea Wasp were quickly dealt with and she was returned to her berth at Pendre. A good days diving and proving that the age-old adage of ‘suck it and see’ holds true.
A brilliant evening organised by our Social Sec Lee at Taro Teg, Pwllheli. The quiz with 100 questions, several of them multipart, tested the parts which normal quizes don’t reach and the food also hit the spot. Questions like: What was the name of the TV news announcer that sat on a lesbian? Followed by; who translate the bible in to Welsh? What breadth! The members of the winning team with an disbelievably high score of 93 points were Dewi, Irfon, Wyn and Helen. Our congratulations to them naturally. An excellent night was had by all. Many thanks to Lee.
The evening found us yet again in the shelter of Trefor Pier in rather inclement conditions. Irfon & Simon, and Dewi & Robin, reported an abundance of lobsters, tompots & pipefish, while David &c Gemma were again forced to sit it out after Gemma’s first stage played up. We recovered at the Vic in Llithfaen, while Gemma decided whether to go home to the meal that Ben had burnt or to run in to Pwllheli for a takeaway.
At the appointed meeting hour, 6pm the boat was actually. The Dive Leader training candidates were Wyn, Peter and Irfon. Simon came along to be a casualty or another diver. David was there to assist in the rescues but not to dive. We were sheltered from the westerly wind but there was a bit of a swell which made it impossible to do the shore based rescue senarios outside the harbour. Wyn managed the first rescue from the boat in which Simon came up unconcious from a dive with Peter. The second senario was managed by Irfon in which Wyn was chopped up by the propellar as he waited to get into the boat. Then it was back to the harbour to the fresh (clean?) water to do the shore based senario managed by Peter in which Simon came up unconcious from a dive with Irfon. All the senarios went very well and many lessons were learnt: a manager is needed to oversee the rescue; it is very difficult for the manager not to involve him/herself in the rescue; it is important to get the boat deck clear and tidy quickly after divers have been recovered; the oxygen kit needed tidying up; and finally the old imponderable question: whose kit comes off first….. when doing a shore recovery? All in all a very worthwhile session.
Global warming has definitely arrived bringing with it floods, gales and low temperatures – just what you’d expect on the first day of July! So what do we do when the weather is like this – why go to Vivian of course!! The objective was clear – give Simon and Carl a bit more experience of depth, for Peter to give his dive leading demo to Hugh, for Wyn and Irfon to practice bondage techniques (sorry rescue holds) and to prove to the lord above that no matter what the weather we shall persevere!
And that is exactly what we did – Robin and Simon were the first in with Simon wanting to do things exactly as it were from the boat just in case we ever get out in the rib again! So we made a stride entry from the top platform and descended straight down to 18m. After a complete tour of the quarry it was time to put up the smb and ascend – however following a perfect deployment the smb fell apart completely so a further 10 minutes was spent collecting and putting back together the smb. Unfortunately we hadn’t realised the presence of Mike ‘Spielberg’ Duke and Carl ‘heavy breather’ Borum, who were filming the whole thing and hampering efforts by nicking bits and bobs! Anyway with smb reassembled Simon and Robin ascended – at the correct pace until 6 m where we floated above Irfon and Wyn and David who were practicing their emergency ascents. The result was a very rapid ascent by Robin and Simon to the surface as they got caught in their bubbles!
Peter took a very keen student on his first ocean water dive where Hugh was determined to reek as much havoc as Peter did during his demonstration! There are two types of Instructors – the nice, patient helpful and reassuring type – and Peter who told a nervous first time ocean diver to stop blubbering and get on with it !!