It was an awful day, much as forecast, and so provided the perfect opportunity to get some of the trainees into deeper water. Of the five who were ready, four turned out, Rhian,Lois, Brian & Jon, who were teamed up with Robin, David, Hugh & Peter, allowing for an ideal one on one introduction to the dark and gloomy waters of Vivian. I had half expected to hear the doom and gloom merchant announcing that “we’re doomed”, but thankfully he resisted what must have been a massive impulse.
All four did fine, completing the exercises of OO3, i.e. mask clearing and assisted ascent from 6m, although Rhian experienced a few problems equalizing and had forgotten to practice mask removal, “because I’ve been away on holiday!!!”. Lois seems to be a born dive leader, always shooting off ahead, while Brian found that he could avoid his Mickey Duke impersonations by taking off his ankle weights. Jon and Peter were just fine, as usual. While all that was going on Irfon and Anja were off in a dark corner practicing how to self release an SMB, with Anja claiming the harder fill. Poor Carl spent the evening running to and fro Porthmadog just to turn the TV on for their guests. Vivian though was a nightmare of midges which prompted some hasty tracks to be made to the water, with Hugh just about first in! Needless to say the debriefs, and possibly some of the briefings, were done afterwards in the pub. The midges were so bad that after completing the Ocean Diver exercises Peter stayed in to carry out the DO7 exercise, CBL from 15 metres plus a long tow with Rescue Breaths, with Irfon happily filling in as a second choice body, to complete his Dive Leader training. Congratulations to Peter and thanks to Irfon, although it must be said that a real casualty would have appreciated a little more alacrity in the lift and a little less up and over on the rescue breaths. So it was agreed that a bit more practice, when Dewi does his final DL exercises, would be in order.
With wind speeds of over 30mph it was felt even by those with dry dry suits that sea diving was not an option. So it was that Peter, Simon, Craig, Carl, Mike and Hugh made their way to Vivian Quarry for some training. Some of us got there on time. The last photographs shows someone who didn’t.
Peter had DO6 to complete for his dive leader qualification. It’s main elements were mask removal and replacement and AAS. A bit of mid water SMB deployment was put in to liven things up. All went very well except for one rampaging diver on a diver propulsion system who shot through our group, doing mask removal, like a bumble bee on steroids. We soon stopped that with an unbreakable fin hold. Simon, Craig and Mike did some exercises and also had a very useful time.
The day began with us all meeting at Aberdaron car park all wondering if we were going to get a dive or not as the usual bank holiday weather was upon us. We all set off in the club rib and the good old Sparrow Hawk off to see if we could dive Carreg Ddu. Once we arrived we aborted that idea as the current was running too fast. So we opted to do a drift dive just off the mainland.
The first two to drop in were Mike and John, then Wyn and Pete. I was transferred to the helm of Sparrow Hawk. After 30mins had past Mike and John surfaced with reports of a lot of marine life and even crustacea on their travels. We then turned our attention to Pete and Wyn who also reported at a lot of marine life. For some reason kelp was mentioned by one of the them ( hmmm i wonder which one). It was then David, Craig and Anja’s turn we also opted to do a drift dive.
After dropping in we dropped straight on to a large crustacean which was just standing there taking in the view of these divers taking a long look at it. We then carried on with the dive, also seeing lots of life, but by then the current had turned at some point so we went with it for a while then, we also ended the dive.
Then it was back to shore where we enjoyed a short lunch. The weather was deteriorating. We had sort of agreed to do a second dive. David (keen for a second dive) in the meantime decided to move the rib’s anchor to move the boat a bit further out to prevent it grounding on the ebbing tide. Off he went into the sea. It was when the water was up over his chest that the well meaning crew still munching their sarnies realised that his suit zip was still open. We shouted (really we did,) to warn him and he must of heard us for he turned towards us. How could we have known that at that very moment a large wave would rear up and take advantage of the open zip. In a second he was soaked. Hopes of a second dive receded so that sorted the rest of the day’s diving. As we began to pack away the heavens opened. We returned the rib to Pendre all clean and sorted and ready for the next weekend.
As tide and time were again against us it was worth a re-visit to the ‘rock’ at Gimblet. On Wednesday morning, after seeing crashing waves at the Abersoch beach on the Yacht club webcam, a report from ‘pramcam’ (Mrs boatofficer taking the little ones for a walk along the promenade at Cricieth), and a further report of big breaking waves at Gimblet at lunchtime by David Jones – the whole show was nearly cancelled. But luckily we held out and we were greeted by calm, near millpond seas in the evening.
There would be no training tonight, just straightforward diving for the pleasure of it, as well as boosting experience. The groupings were; Hugh, Rhian and Lois, David, Llyr and Brian, Peter and Jon, Carl, Craig and Anja and lastly Irfon and Dewi, who incidentally logged their 50th dive together – aww, isn’t that nice. Again plenty of life was seen by all, including pipefish, plenty of crustaceans, blennies, scallops and another orgy of dogfish – brings a new meaning to the term ‘dogging’ I suppose! Jon also found out that his compass has got a curved needle as he kept leading Peter off-course and they managed to leave the lovely kelp and find acres and hectares of sand!
Off gassing and moisturising was performed at the Vic – a good evening was had by all.
As you can see from the photographs a small coffer dam has been attached to the transom of the rib to stop the sea water coming in. Neil designed, built and fitted the dam and it really does look as so it will work perfectly. While the engine is down it takes its proper shape and when the engine is raised the elasticated neoprene is just pushed downwards. It all takes up very little space. The bilge is perfectly accessible but the present spare fuel tank will not fit under it. The only job left to do it to apply a silicone sealant to edges in contact with the transom. Many thanks to Neil for the really natty invention and for twice giving his time to go all the way over to Pendre from Penrhyndeudraeth after work to sort the matter out.
With the winds swinging to the Northeast it was logical to change the venue from Trefor to the more sheltered site of Porth Ysgaden. Upon arrival at Porth Ysgaden it proved to be the right decision as there were zillions of galloping white horses out to sea.
Mike provided shore cover as four trainees ventured out, some to complete OO2, others just for a confidence dive. Robin took Llyr and Jon for a bimble around the bay, Peter instructed Brian on OO2 for a repeat of the lesson they did two weeks ago, but this time with added viz, whilst David Billy Smart gave Rhian some ‘acrobatics’ lessons, which she performed with some style.
Irfon and Gemma paired up for the first time, they had a pleasant bimble around the bay with Irfon pointing out a pair of naughty spider crabs to Gemma, which she later confessed to thinking that it was just one large one! After 37 minutes they called it a day as Gemma got cold in her semi. Dewi and Ben stayed in a little longer and went a little deeper, with Ben confessing at the end of the dive that he had gotten cold in his semi also. Lastly there was the trio of Carl, Simon and Wyn, they also had a pleasant dive but lost visibility at the mouth of the bay. In the meantime Anna and Hugh turned up.
What was left to do? Well food and beers of course and as we finished de-kiting, Anja duly turned up with bbq in tow and within two shakes of a tompot’s tail it was lit and we were cooking. The coldness of the water was quickly forgotten as we chatted endlessly about past diving tales and experiences whilst munching on Argentinean beef burgers and minted New Zealand Lamburgers – sorry Wyn! Many thanks to Anja for providing the idea for a bbq in the first place and then for coming all the way from Port to cook for us.
A wonderful calm and sunny Sunday morning. At least above the water perfect diving conditions but below its was so different.
The plan was to dive the Gwynfaen and that was what 10 divers were able to do. Because low water was around 9.30 it meant a very early start meeting at Pendre at 7.00am (not a misprint). We eventually, after some trial and error and manpower, managed to launch the club rib. Two boats set off for Gwynfaen and with the aid of some technology a shot was deployed right on to the wreck (it punched a hole through some plating). On slack water Dukey & John, Wyn & Peter,Irfon & Robin, and David & Anja went in first. Shortly after a lifting bag appeared on the surface and on retrieving it discovered a a chunk of copper/brass rail…..hmmmm now who would have sent that up to the surface? The vis was reported as pretty poor though a varied amount of aquatic species and crustaceans were observed. Once the first wave of divers had been retrieved Tim & Hugh went in just as the current was starting to pick up.
The afternoon dive was a shallow one around the point of Porthdinllaen…..however with a willy shrinking 11 degrees water temperature and a distinct lack of sea life there were no extended dive times. Wyn & Peter did report though finding an octopus.
Lets hope that the good weather continues, the sea warms up and the vis improves.
It had to be the south side again as tides were again against us, but at least the sun was beaming down. A good mixture of new and old turned up at the old Yacht club for a seven o clock meet. But alas, we were beaten to it by half a dozen or so anglers, stretched out along the beach, enjoying the lightning show out in the bay. A quick rethink and reccy to the other side of the rock found two possible sites, one suitable for the new and another for the old.
David took Rhian and Tanya, whilst Llyr and Lois were expertly guided by Hugh and Robin instructed Anna on her first shore dive at the small beach towards the entrance to the harbour. Peter took Jon and Brian for a dive on the reef at the old lifeboat slip, and they were joined by the trio of Dewi, Wyn and Irfon. Shore cover was provided by Mike, Vi, Carl, Anja, Simon, Gemma, Ben and Craig – so at least one pair of eyes were watching each diving group!!
A fantastic amount of life was observed by all with old and new coming out having seen something for the first time. Amongst the weeds were snake and trumpet pipefish, wrasses (ballan and cuckoo), sand eels, whitebait, pollocks, sea basses, dogfish, brown crabs, juvenile spider crabs, lobsters, hundreds of hermit crabs, nudibranches, heart shaped echinoids, scallops and much, much more.
A fantastic nights diving, and to crown it all we were joined by Jackie Chan and the ‘muscles from Brussels’ for beers in the Vic afterwards.