Dates: 13th-15th June 2014,
Participants: Sam (author), Ian (fin finding, towing and firewood carrying), Metta (corpse and BBQ recipes), Maha (bonfires and underwater navigation, but definitely not motorway navigation)
The full-moon was gleaming brightly during the drive down on Friday 13th… which did indeed prove unlucky for some divers, as they missed out on the pit-stop at the best M5 services south of Bridgewater (Taunton Deane), lost the M5, found Stonehenge, found the M5, found the M5 in the wrong direction and eventually arrived at Ivybridge around midnight for the first ever OUUEG night in a camping pod.
Saturday’s morning shore dive was at Fort Bovisand, with a (temporarily) lost fin providing a good excuse for Ian to practice surface towing against the current (always good to check that the OUUEG instructors are up-to-date with their rescue skills). Saturday afternoon involved a sprint into Plymouth harbour and a charter boat dive with Aquanauts to the Scylla. The 113m long frigate was sunk in 2004 to create an artificial reef. Descending via the shot line, we arrived at one of the decks (around 12m depth) and started to explore with visibility around 8-10m. Every centimetre of the wreck is already encrusted with pale orange sea squirts, anemones, soft corals, pink sea fans and has lots of wrasse and a resident conger eel. Although the Scylla is lying at a bottom depth of around 24m, and there are strict warnings about not entering the smaller confines inside the wreck, there was plenty to explore between 12 and 18m, making this a great introductory wreck dive suitable for SD trainees (I’m lookin’ at you, Maha!). Saturday evening involved a brilliant bonfire and gourmet BBQ, with spicy chicken, venison burgers, grilled salmon and chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables (see photo gallery for proof!).
Sunday morning (after another breakfast bonfire!) saw us back at Fort Bovisand with impeccable diving conditions as always, and lots of time for rescue dive training. After our picnic lunch (remains of the gourmet BBQ) there was time for a brief second dive in the afternoon and some underwater navigation training (much more successful than Friday night’s motorway navigation training) which was so effective, Maha even ‘found’ Ian’s reel which had gone missing during the rescue training. Together with her very impressive sprinting up the harbour steps carrying a ‘dead’ Metta earlier that morning, to say nothing of bonfire building skills and haddock cooking, it was a couple of well-deserved SD skills signed off in her training program. Thanks for a great weekend and some great bonfires! and here’s hoping we can use the Ivybridge camping pods again this summer.