Easter Training Expedition

Every Easter OUUEG goes to the beautiful south coast of Cornwall. Where there will be wonderful sealife, scallops, crabs, seals, value diving and a super fast club RHIB Seahorse with the chance to drive it. Our main dive locations will be Porthkerris and Mullion Cove (Porth Mellin). There’s some excellent shore diving at both those places, and we’ll also use Seahorse to explore the nearby wrecks and reefs.

Friday 7th to Monday 17th April 2017

Accommodation

We will be staying in Sea Acres Caravan Park in static caravans. Bed sheets and linen are provided but you need to bring towels. We aim to have 8 people in each caravan will need to sleep on the couch/sofa beds (surprisingly comfortable). Having a sleeping bag with you is a very good thing.
Food is organised in advanced and prepared by us every evening for the entire group.

Transport

We will be travelling in personal owned vehicles or possibly a minibus. We will definitively coordinate transport for the key travel days. Some people might decide to drive down to the Lizzard on Saturday instead of Friday to avoid taking another day off work. I am confident us being able to coordinate this. Alternative travel dates are possible but you might end up with a higher transport bill.

Diving and Diver Training

Easter Training Expedition is our annual training trip, and is a great opportunity to get your Ocean Diver and Sports Diver open water lessons done. If you’re already a qualified diver then there is some lovely fun diving to be had, and also opportunities for some higher level training. This is your opportunity to get certified just in time for the next diving season! The trip is always a lot of fun, have a look on the club photo stream or Facebook page for pics from past trips.

We will be diving from Porthkerris Beach and Mullion Cove. Porthkerris is a pebble beach that drops away fairly quickly to make an ideal training site, there is plenty of marine life around the rocks and the visibility is usually good. Porthkerris has toilets, sheltered changing areas and a hot food cafe that serves fantastic cheesy chips, pasties and many other goodies. Weather dependent, we will be diving everyday. Initially you will be diving with an instructor but as the week progresses and you finish your qualifications, you will be able to dive with each other and explore the reefs just of the beach.

Summary

Dates: 7th – 17th April 2017
Destination: The Lizzard, South Cornwall
Accommodation: Sea Acres, static caravans
Cost: bill are typically in the range of £200-£400 for 7-10 days. This is very dependant on the duration of your stay and how much diving you do.

Sign-up

We need you to sign-up as early as possible to get an idea on numbers for equipment, transport and accommodation. Equipment and beds will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

We encourage everyone who’s doing training to come for the full trip or at least the first full week. Alternative dates will depend on available transport.
If you don’t know your exact dates yet, please select what you think is most likely. We understand that your plans might change and only ask you to keep us informed as early as possible. 

There’s also a deposit of £70 to pay. Please pay this to the the OUUEG expeditions account:

account number: 24735043
sort code: 542123

The sooner you pay your deposit, the higher priority you get on kit and beds!

Expedition Manual

The Easter Training Expedition is the club’s largest expedition and possibly also the first one a lot of new members go on. It is a great trip

A typical day

ET works best if everyone helps out. It is tiring for everyone (especially the instructors), but the more that we work together the easier it is.

Everyone should be on the beach in the morning to unload the kit van and at the end of the day to unload it. Handling the boat on the beach is also much easier with lots of people. You should assume that Marshall wishes you to stay in your suit to be ready to help unless they say otherwise. The same goes for helping people in and out of the water.

As soon as you return from a dive break your kit up and either put your tank in the relevant pile (if it has some air left) or take it over to be filled, bringing full ones back.

If you go to get food then let the Marshall or their assistant know that you are going so that they can get you if they need you. They need to know where you are at all times. Even having asked the DM if you can go for food it is a good idea to put a note on the blackboard saying where you have gone.

And be ready ahead of time or the boat will leave without you. The overall plan, times of waves, what dive you are doing, who you are doing it with, or what job you have if you’re not diving will be on the blackboard, which will look something like the table below. If you are unsure when you are next diving ask the Marshall.

Timings

  • 6.45 (Varies slightly day to day) Get woken up by the Dive Marshall or their assistant banging on the caravan door.
  • 7.30 All leave for the beach
  • 8.00 Arrive and unpack the kit van, put tanks in for filling if not done the night before. Everyone helps. Brief on the day’s diving by the Marshall.
  • 9.00 Dive Wave 1– a mix of shore and boat diving.
  • 10.00 Get back from dive. Break up kit and put tanks in the pile or for filling if needed and collect more tanks. Have a drink and a snack.
  • 11.00 Dive Wave 2
  • 12.00 Get back from dive. Break up kit and put tanks in the pile or for filling if needed and collect more tanks. Have a drink and a pasty.
  • 13.30 Dive Wave 3
  • 14.30 Get back from dive. Break up kit and put tanks in the pile or for filling if needed and collect more tanks. Have a drink and a snack.
  • 15.30 Dive Wave 4
  • 16.30 Get back from dive. Break up kit and put tanks in the pile or for filling if needed and collect more tanks. Wash and begin to pack up kit and boat.
  • 17.00 Pack the kit van and leave the beach.
  • 17.15 Stop in St. Keverne to go to the pub, Gary Fox’s Dive emporium to replace lost and broken kit, the shop to get extra food and drink.
  • 18.30 Get back to the caravans. Shower, cook and eat in the caravans. Relax in the caravans or the bar.

There will likely be a meal out one night (probably either in St. Keverne or Porthallow). There will be fancy dress one night (probably the Saturday of the Easter weekend) the theme will not be decided until we’re down in Cornwall. There may be a walk along the cliff path to the pub at Cadwith one night.

Safety

Diving is a dangerous sport which requires all participants to be “dive fit”. It is the responsibility of each diver to make sure that they are fit to dive. If you are unsure if you are fit to dive, please ask an instructor who can advise you.

All divers should plan to reach the surface with at least 50 bar of breathing gas remaining. This does not mean that you should miss stops if you still have gas remaining.

Avoiding DCI

Drink! Drinking lots of water will make sure you are properly hydrated. This gives your blood a better opportunity to hold gases in solution. Being dehydrated puts you at a disadvantage and at more risk of getting bent. Drink at least two litres of water a day even if it isn’t sunny. Dehydration is a major factor in Decompression Illness (DCI).

Sleep! Make sure you get enough.

Warmth – keep warm. When you get cold, your circulation shuts itself down a bit and concentrates on your vital organs. So all the gas being released in the shut down bits can’t get transported away effectively. This is especially true for those in semi-drys – use the hot showers, hats, windproof jackets, hot drinks to warm up

Don’t miss stops. Missing stops that are required by your tables, or your computer increases the chances of getting the bends.

Avoid strenuous exercise after diving. This is not an excuse to avoid taking tanks up the beach, or help loading the kit- van. It does mean that you shouldn’t go running, cycling – that sort of thing.

Don’t take drugs. Legal or illegal- hard or soft – prescription or off-the-shelf – if you are taking or have taken drugs on the trip – first don’t dive – second consult the DO.

What are the symptoms of Decompression Illness (DCI)?

The symptoms of DCI include the following:

  • Rashes
  • Headaches
  • Tingling fingers/toes
  • Vision disturbance
  • Joint pain
  • (Or feeling ill in any way.)

If at any time you feel unwell tell someone at the earliest opportunity. We would rather have a false alarm than a case of DCI getting worse.

Emergency information

Emergency services: 999 or 112 (mobile phones)
Falmouth Coastguard: 01326 317 575 / VHF channel 16
Diving Diseases Research Centre: 01752 209 999

Diver recall

3 loud bangs or 3 big tugs on an SMB means: proceed to surface taking all stops.

What to bring?

This is not a complete list but please use your own common sense about how much stuff to bring, there is not a lot of storage space in caravans.

Dive Kit

Please start thinking about your dive equipment immediately after registering for the expedition. There are some personal items you may want to source early second hand. We would highly recommend you attending a club pub night and get some invaluable advise from other members.

As usual OUUEG equipment will be available for hire. For reference we provide the daily hire fee for each item below.The maximum equipment hire fee excluding exposure suits (dry suits, semi-drys) and extra cylinders is £10 per day. However, with this being the largest expedition of the year, it is very likely us renting out all our equipment. Ocean Diver students will be given priority for their free five qualification dives. Thanks to a few generous donations and a large investment from the equipments saving fund, OUUEG has now a few dry suits available for hire. These will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis based on the sign-up and payment of the deposit.

  • Regulator – the club has 18 regulators for hire (£3).
  • Cylinder  – the club has over 30 cylinders available for hire (£2)  A few cylinders are Oxygen clean for Nitrox.
  • BCD (jacket or harness) – the club has 20 BCDs for hire (£2.50). 
  • Dry suit or semi-dry suit (and under-suit if needed), hood, gloves – only a few dry suits available for hire (£15/£10) and also a few semi drys (£5). We highly recommend you considering providing your own suit.
  • Mask, fins (open heel fins not shoe type) – you need to provide your own.
  • Snorkel – can be borrowed from the club.
  • Weight belt – can be borrowed from the club (£1).
  • Dive timer or dive computer – we have a few timers for hire (£2), we recommend getting your own computer.
  • Boat bag – you need to provide your own.
  • Bag for storing kit in  – you need to provide your own. This is really important to keep your kit together in the kit storage van.
  • Dive knife/line cutter/shears – you need to provide your own.
  • Dive compass – you need to provide your own.
  • BSAC Qualification Book – you need to provide your own.

Nice but not essential:

  • DSMB with Reel – the club has a few reels with DSMBs for hire (£1.50). Sports Divers and above should consider providing their own.
  • Dive slate and pencil for underwater chats – you need to provide your own.
  • Diving torch would be nice but aren’t essential, especially for a night dive or deeper dive – you need to provide your own.
  • 3l stage cylinder – the club has a few pony cylinders for hire (£1.50). These are required for deeper dives as a redundant air source.

Other kit

  • Scruffy, warm, old clothes and fleece, gloves, and a hat.
  • Clothes to wear under dry suit (not cotton, ideally wick-away).
  • Talc or Jollop for dry suit seals.
  • Waterproof coat.
  • Towel and wash kit.
  • Bedding is provided, but a sleeping bag can be good idea as the caravans get cold.
  • Sea-sickness tablets (if you suffer consider something like Stugeron/Cinnarizine).
  • Cash (not easy to get more if we are busy diving).
  • A water bottle and a flask come handy for taking a warm drink of choice to the beach (although there are hot drinks on sale at Porthkerris).
  • Sun cream – it may not be warm but it may be sunny (no promises!).
  • (PADI approved) sunglasses
  • A good book or a card game for something to do between dives.
  • If you have exams bring a bit of reading if we are blown out one day you may get some work done.
  • Alternatively bring a card or board game for a day with bad weather or the evenings.
  • Mobile phone and charger, though reception is very bad. Orange tends to get best reception though most other networks work on the beach.

Who’s Who

The Dive Marshall (DM)

This is person who has responsibility for running a particular day. If you are a Dive Leader Trainee you should do this on one of the days you are on ET. They will know the plan for the day and how it is evolving. Make their lives easier by being ready ahead of time and letting them know asap if you have a problem be it that you don’t like who you’ve been paired with, that you’re cold and aren’t going to do any more diving or that you are missing out on a dive or some training that you particularly want to do. The DM for next day is usually chosen before we leave the beach and the planning for the next day takes place that evening, so if you have a request, or know you will not be diving, you need to let the DM know early on that evening.

The Assistant Dive Marshall (ADM)

Assists the DM in planning and then running the day. There may be more than one. They usually have a good idea of the plan, but won’t usually make decisions to change it. If you are a Sports Diver Trainee you need to do this one day on ET. You can still do it even if you are doing Ocean Diver and want to see how the planning is done.

Boat Handlers or Coxswains (BH)

This is the person responsible for managing the boat and what happens within it. When you are on the boat they are in charge. They will have completed the boat handling or diver coxswain course. There will usually be a different boat handler for each wave, the person handling on wave 1 will prep the boat and the person on the last wave will de-kit it.

Assistant Boat Handlers (ABH)

They are assigned to help the boat handler and need not have any boat handling training, so this could be you. They will help to prep the boat before wave 1 and when it is launched follow the tractor up the beach to unhitch the trailer. Whilst the boat is out they will assist divers with kitting up and any other admin which needs doing on the boat. They are often made responsible for logging the dives.

Shore Cover (SC)

If you are assigned to be shore cover (the people doing it will change throughout the day) you should be at the water’s edge helping divers on with their fins, washing their masks, etc. and then helping them into the water. When they return from the dive you should help them out, to take their fins off and may help them carry their kit up the beach if there are no other divers needing assistance.

Shore Watch (SW)

The role of shore watch is to know where all of our divers in the water off the beach are at any time. You will also be responsible for the dive log sheets (Divers going into and coming out of the water must sign out and in with you) and for transcribing the boat log slates onto the log sheets.

Dive Routines

We keep all our equipment nicely close together and try not to spread out too much on the dive site to leave space for other visitors. This will also ease packing up and cleaning up the site in the evenings.

Gas management

Cylinders are being kept together in piles based on their pressure and gas contents. We typically have three piles:

  • Full (~200 bar and above)
  • Shore dive only (150-200 bar)
  • Instructor only (100-150 bar)

We do not keep a pile of empty cylinders. Please bring your empty cylinder immediately after breaking down your equipment to the fill station. Feel encouraged to claim full cylinders using a fill card and return them to the full pile.

Nitrox

If you wish to dive on Nitrox then please show the DM your Nitrox Card. They will put an ‘N’ next to your name. This will allow you to use Nitrox in the club environment under the following rules:

  • You MUST let the DM and ABH / SWC know what mix you are using on EVERY dive – even if it is just to say AIR.
  • Your cylinder must be clearly labelled as Nitrox.
  • All Nitrox tanks must either be kept in your own vehicle or be INSIDE the kit van when not in use.
  • Analyse your mix before using it.
  • You will be invoiced for Nitrox in the same way as all other tanks to make life simpler. Nitrox tanks up to 40% will cost £5 per tank.

Do not use any tank with Nitrox written on it unless you are Nitrox qualified.

Writing a dive log

So you have just been on a dive. You’ve put your kit away and are looking forward to a nice sleep on the beach. “I’ll write my dive log up when I wake up” But you don’t – cos you have a new dive and you “have to get your kit together”. Then it all merges into one in your head and you can’t write anything at all. Did I dream it or dive it or see it on TV?

Dive logs serve two purposes; firstly they allow you to see what your time out of the water was and work out what your tissue code was. You can then calculate your surface interval. Secondly, they allow you to remember that time you saw Ariel before a yellow and blue Flounder knocked your mask off.

Useful resources when writing logs up are books such as Dive South Cornwall, and wildlife books. There will be a few copies knocking around – just remember to give them back to their owner.