Dates: Summer 2010,
Lochaline is quite a long way away so getting up there took most of the first weekend with Steve, James and Craig staying in Glasgow with Simon M; Andy and Simon F towing Sea Horse via a rellie in Whitehaven and the rest of us stopping at Paul’s folks. Some of us were more fashionably late than others due to being too weak and pathetic to physically lift the over-efficiently packed crates of food to the car and having to find a man to help. The detour to the Lakes involved a legendary tea-slurping competition, a very late night, much appreciation of an adorable cat/dog combo and Clare breaking the loo. Sensibly Tom marshalled no diving on Sunday so after a yummy breakfast we were off, stopping off at Loch Lomond and Glencoe (and Glasgow for a siesta) en route before accidentally rendezvousing at the Corran Ferry with Steve and Orca.
There was much boat fixing and breaking (usually in that order). Poor Orca’s hull met with some rocks as her owner was recovering her for us to use. Despite Craig’s best efforts to fix her it became apparent that she was out of the equation. But not before Steve towed her all the way to Lochaline anyway, thus ensuring Ali’s excellent t-shirt design remained current. So it was down to Sea Horse and the valiant Sea Moose who, despite having waves in the floor (and the sides when she wasn’t pumped up properly), and Craig bursting the keel (twice), made it possible for everyone to go diving all of the time. Which most people did apart from Clare.
The diving was fantastic and the vis was pretty good. The wrecks were amazing and varied enough to all be interesting. The Hispania looked more beautiful than a lump of metal really aught, covered in plumrose anemones, tube worms and dead mans fingers. The Rondo, almost vertical, was dramatic and disorientating and good for safety stops. The Shuna was upright and intact but silty. The Breda was full of cool stuff (tyres, tiles, rubber, cans, glass, planes, gasmasks etc) and the Thesis (which Tom inevitably had to face in the end!) had loads of amazing swim-throughs lit through the ribs in the hull.
Unfortunately three people ran out of air which, although they were all fine, is obviously three people too many. So in future we all need to check our air more. And our buddy’s. Lots. Seriously.
Pretty much everyone went deeper than ever before. Most remarkably Paul and Luke who took days to plan and prepare for an extreme 91m dive on the Buitenzorg which worried everyone, especially as we listened to the Mayday calls over the VHF radio and the unfurling story of a lost diver just up the Sound. But after 2 hours (6 mins descent and 12 mins bottom time) they were back and fine. Except for Luke who was a bit clicky for a while.
Lots of people took fab pics (see FB), including Muhan’s seminal shot ‘not a nudi’. Ali and Mary eventually established that they did, in fact, have a video camera after all and once they’d corrected the buoyancy with lead from the Rondo, took lots of footage of buddy checks and descending the shot line. Lochaline :The Movie is currently in post-production and will be on general release next term.
The weather went rain, sun, rain, sun, mist, rain, sun, sun, rain, mist, rain, sun, etc but we didn’t lose any days diving. We saw conga eels, nudibranch, cuttlefish and butterfish, seals, porpoises, shooting stars and a man with a half-white moustache. We lost the shot on the Buitenzorg, Ali and Mary’s pink squiddie, our patience with Piotr’s reel, my sunnies (due to BH James somehow stopping dead in the water from 25 knots), Clare and Craig and the Whale. We gained Simon Milling.
And there was meat. Lots of it, thanks to Meat Officer Simon F. Steve set the bar high on the first night with his Chicken and Chorizo rice but we continued to enjoy consistently yummy dinners and bacon for brekkie each and every day. We foraged scallops, crabs, horse mussels, squat lobsters and rum cake. On Lochaline peer between dives we dodged wasps and rain for haggis and barge specials and bambi burgers. We had real ale on tap (which was lucky coz the pub was slightly disappointing), Lochaline cocktails, rum parties in the Dive Bus and whiskey with lager chasers. Somehow we failed to get through the 35 plus malt loaves and all the beer though. Definitely not enough drinking games / eating challenges.
There are, of course, many memories I don’t have (Steve’s sugar high with the glow sticks? Muhan’s jellyfish impression? Swimming in Lake Windermere and Loch Lomond? Wrestling over a Custard Cream wrapper?) so please excuse what is missing and feel free to add anything that really should be recorded for posterity. Thanks so much for reading and to all those who came along for being brilliant. Below is a proper record of the diving we did.
Thanks again and happy diving :-)
|Sea Horse||Hispania||Sea Moose||Shuna|
|Wave 3||Shore||(used tanks)|
|SH||Rondo||BH James||SM||Shuna||BH Craig|
|Muhan||Piotr||(Clare no dive)|
|SH||Pennygown Quarry||SM||Thesis||BH Paul|
|Wave 3||Shore||(used tanks)|
|SH||Rondo||BH James||SM||Thesis||BH Luke|
|Steve||Craig||(Andy no dive)|
|SH||Pennygown Quarry||BH James||SM||Avon Rock||BH Steve|
|SH & SM||Shuna|
|Simon F||Simon M|
|SH||Funiary Rocks||BH Simon F|
|(Mary no dive)|
|Wave 3||Night Dive|
|SH||Drift||BH James||SM||Thesis||BH Piotr|