Henry Le Coz
Saturday, 5th September
Long journey, but all arrived safely, though John and Colin had a frightening hour or so when John's trailer shed a wheel on the motorway. Last to arrive were Pete and Libby, and despite Pete's protestations that all was well and dinner would be ready in only a couple of minutes, democracy prevailed and we all decamped to the pub to eat.
Sunday, 6th September
Pete was Dive Marshal and misunderstood the instructions for finding the wreck of SS Chadwick. As a result we dived (on slack) on HMS Vicinity again, about 30 yards round the corner from the Chadwick. However, it was a very scenic dive - lots of soft corals and dead mans fingers, many with a yellow tinge. After lunch, we went back to the site and tried to drift over the wreck. Janet and David saw a bit of wreckage, Colin and Bob went too deep as did John and David. Pete, Libby and Henry went in further upstream and drifted slowly without SMBs towards the wreck. Sod's Law as usual applied, and no sooner had they deployed an SMB than they hit the wreck. It looked very pretty, but time was up. During the ascent, Pete's SMB got hooked up on a lobster pot line, so he and Libby joined Henry - who had also decided to put a buoy up!
Monday, 7th September
Dive Marshal was Colin, and the chosen side was the Pinnacle in the bay opposite Stein. John was so organised that it makes you sick - he popped over to the site with Gordon to buoy it before the dive! Janet and David dived first, followed by Pete, Libby and Henry. Henry had been cold the day before, and had decided to wear a thick (and I mean THICK) extra pully. He had difficulty descending, and having reached the bottom, decided it was too difficult to stay there, so he returned to the surface after a 7 minute dive. P & L noticed his absence, but in textbook style (!) decided he couldn't be far and would be found again shortly…so they carried on! Meanwhile, back at the surface….Henry decided to descend again on the bubbles. He tucked 12lb of David Wrights weights in his stab, duckdived…and sent the lead hurtling towards the unsuspecting pair on the bottom. Fortunately the dive went without further incident! John tore off to Portree over lunch to buy a new wheel. Despite an idiot in the shop, he even managed to match the original mudguard. In the afternoon, Libby and David Ward had a pretty boring dive off the North end of Isay island, so everyone else dived off the South end. As John's boat arrived on site, Colin discovered that the only item of his own kit that he had with him was his knife, so his dive was entirely in borrowed kit. Scallops for starters!
Tuesday, 8th September
Dive Marshal was John, which made Colin and Bob wimp out. Dive site was out of the Stein bay, and along a bit. Weather was not very pleasant, but we all dived on or around the wall there. John nearly lost his Jabalex for the first time ('Throw the Jabalex in when I count to 3'. Splash!), and Henry's mask met an untimely end. However, the dive was good. Back to the house to find a roaring fire, made all the more cosy by the wind and rain outside! Libby and Henry decided to chill out for the afternoon, which left 5 wild-eyed fanatics to dive on Clett Island later. David, Janet and Pete had a pleasant dive on a boulder-strewn wall, whilst John and David bashed some sand looking for a reef. John's boat developed an interesting problem at this time…we couldn't stop the engine. This just proved to be an electrical plug that had fallen out. More scallops for starters, more excellent catering!
Wednesday, 9th September
Henry offered to be DM, and we trucked off north to find the wreck of the Nordhuk. Lovely launch site, boats ready, divers raring to go….when Pete remembered where he had left Bath Tub's keys…in the kitchen! David and Janet very kindly offered to drive back to get them, and did so in record time. John's boat went ahead to find the site, and Bath Tub arrived in time to see the first 3 divers kitting up. It was at this point that we lost the Jabalex for the second time. Unfortunately, neither the transits nor the current were exactly as predicted! We therefore dived round the corner in slack water and in hot sun. David Ward decided it was time he used his delayed SMB. Inflating it was easy, but on releasing it he found it was not attached to the reel. Ah well…. Second dive was on another island nearer the launch site, which featured a vertical wall reputed to go to 90m. Very interesting dive, but it was getting late by now and was dark and cold. Pete and John roared back over to the first dive site to retrieve the Jabalex form what was then very slack water! John's computer died, Bob dropped a 6lb weight and had buoyancy problems, and those in John's boat saw a whale. Catering was again up to an excellent standard, though all were impressed by Henry's foot high club sandwich.
Thursday, 10th September
Pete was DM again, and decided to do the Chadwick properly. First dive was therefore planned to be before slack, with second dive at slack. This was therefore also a relatively early day - just as well as the weather deteriorated dramatically during the afternoon. David and Janet dived on the buoy first, and though they reached the wreck they were beaten by the current and came up after a 6 minute dive. Colin and Bob then descended on the shot, but with an SMB inflated. This was hard work, and they let go to drift into the bay. Pete Libby and Henry went to drift over the wreck, but were able to tie the SMB off and explore (Yes, Libby, I was rather slow on the uptake!!!). John and David, having give the OK signals and barreled on down to 25m, also made the wreck, though they reported the current to be running well at the end of their dive. Everyone got on the wreck on the second dive during slack. Very, very pretty - lots of life and even some brass fittings to drool over. Colin got the fright of his life on this dive, and so did the seal he met coming in the opposite direction through a hole. The ride home was exciting too, with the increasing wind and swell. Unfortunately the tide was also very low at this time, which meant a wait to get the boats out. Libby joined John for a quick trip round the bay….John reported that she squealed, but then he was trying to take off at the time!
Friday, 11th September
Dive Marshal was Colin Pete Colin Pete Colin. The overall plan was to dive the drift through Kyle Rhea, but Henry wanted to go to the Port Napier, so the boats split for the first dive. Bath Tub went to the island near the old ferry route, giving David and Janet a pleasant drift down the north side and Pete and Libby a bottle and scallop grot down the south side. John went to the Port Napier, where Colin, Bob and Henry discovered just how silty the stern tubes can get. Final dive of the holidition/expoliday was Kyle Rhea. David and Janet had a fast drift, and got spat out at the end near the chain ferry, Colin and Bob and Henry aborted after Bob had dump problems and Henry disappeared, John and David went in at the lighthouse and drifted way past the ferry, leaving Pete and Libby to do a very controlled drift and normal ascent! Back to the pub for a blowout, and that was it!
Saturday, 12th September
Very pleasant day, with Henry leaving first in the Volvo with Bob and David (and the bridge tickets). All arrived home safely.
Thanks to everyone for joining in!