Yesterday found me at Chepstow giving Tim Clements a hand with a Vobster IANTD Advanced Recreational Trimix course. Ably assisted by two of the Vobster staff, I had the unenviable delight of going diving whilst Tim swanned around at the dive show promoting some rebreather or other. (Actually it was the new Hollis unit.)
Just in case there was any confusion, I can definitely say that the water at Chepstow, although somewhat clearer than Vobster at the moment, was every bit as cold and two 50 minute dives was enough for me if not the poor students. Richard and Tom did a 40m and a 32m dive during the day despite the biting Easterly wind. I was glad to jump in the water to get out of it. (That bloody Easterly wind seems to be getting everywhere.)
I was equally ably assisted by my long suffering DM Chris who apart from being my DM most of the time, is also my official photographer. I gave clear instructions to take a few shots of the divers getting ready to dive, entry and exits etc. As you can see from the photo, as usual, my instructions were carried out to the letter and this is what she was photographing whilst I was being slowly anaesthetised in the water.
Apparently it’s a peregrine.
He must be a DIR peregrine as he is very minimalist with his equipment!
Oh well, that’s birds for you!
So far I think the sea seems to be winning and consequently we seem to have lost some of the office!
As you can see from the photo, the winter storms have taken their toll on the South side of the pier. There has been further damage further along at the end as well, so the end part of the pier is now closed to strollers but fortunately the lower boat deck landing stage is still open and accessible so as the Easterlies and North Easterlies give up divers will still be able to get out on the boats. If you have booked any dives though, check with your boat skippers because they will all get out if humanly possible. The pier itself should still be ok to dive, maybe be aware that there will be some new bits laying around on the sea bed.
Divers Down are still planning to be open over Easter and even if we can’t get out to dive no doubt we will be busy starting off the new season.
Fingers crossed that the weather improves soon and I’ll see some of you on the pier soon.
P.S. Nice vis!!
Chris and I braved Vobster last Friday, obviously still pretty chilly but at least the vis was a bit better.
As we descended to about 6m to do our bubble checks I managed to resist the temptation to pull my dry glove off its sealing ring in order to have freezing cold water flood the glove and also allow water inside the dry suit via the woollen glove under the suit seal.
Unfortunately the overwhelming desire to carry out this manoeuvre seemed to get the better of Chris and although her rebreather seemed to be bubble less, I did notice the odd bubble from her gloves as she tried even harder to pull it off! My half hearted attempt to re seal the glove was a complete waste of time and Chris was well ahead of me as she pulled her woollen gloves off allowing the cuff seal to do its job and prevent the icy water from shooting up her left arm.
Being the well prepared diver she is, she cooly took a spare wet suit glove out of her thigh cargo pocket and replaced the dry glove! I did see what looked like a small whimper but apart from that, off we went to take some fish photos.
If that had been me, I would have been back at the burger van before my hand got wet!
The rest of the dive was pretty uneventful and after about an hour we were back out drinking hot coffee.
Chris reckons on balance the dry glove was best but any glove must be better than none!
Fell for it yet again! ‘
There might be vis at Chesil’
the text message said. In retrospect maybe the comment of
‘You can see pebbles and everything’ should have warned me of the impending doom!
I wouldn’t say it was the worse vis I have ever had at Chesil in about 35 years of diving but I certainly don’t remember it ever being that bad!
I’m not saying it was bad but I couldn’t see my hands let alone my fins.
By the time we got to about 10m on the sand, the vis managed to deteriorate even more. Fortunately having my trusty compass we managed to find the before mentioned pebbles having followed Chris half way to the ‘Bill’. Apparently she thought I was going in that direction and she was following me.
Oh yes, and it was only 7C.
All in all a good time was had by all…….by anyone who stayed home on Friday. Maybe next time……