Every Easter, OUUEG goes to the beautiful south coast of Cornwall where there is abundant sealife such as scallops, crabs and seals, good value diving and a super fast club RHIB Seahorse, which you may have the chance to drive. Our main dive locations are Porthkerris and Mullion Cove (Porth Mellin). There’s excellent shore diving at both those places, and we’ll also use Seahorse to explore the nearby wrecks and reefs.
Easter Expedition 2024: Friday 29th March to Monday 8th April 2024
Dates: 29 March – 8 April 2024
Destination: South Cornwall
Accommodation: Sea Acres, static caravans
Cost: Bills typically range from £300 to £500 for 7-10 days. This depends on your stay’s duration and how much diving you do.
(may be subject to change)
We will be staying in Sea Acres Caravan Park in static caravans. We aim to book three caravans with a maximum capacity of 6-8 each. If at full capacity (18-24 spaces), the accommodation works out below £15 per person per night.
We will be travelling in members’ own vehicles or possibly a minibus. We will definitively coordinate transport for the key travel days. Some people might decide to drive down to the Lizard on Saturday instead of Friday to avoid taking a day off work (note: Friday 29th is Good Friday, so this is unlikely in 2024). This can usually be accommodated. Alternative travel dates are possible but you might end up with a higher transport bill.
Diving and Diver Training
This year’s Easter trip is intended as a fun diving trip, but there may also be opportunities for training. The Easter trip is traditionally 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 fun- look on the club photo stream or Facebook page for pictures 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, pastries and many other goodies. Weather dependent, we will be diving every day. 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 off the beach.
Whilst we need lots of enthusiastic new divers, realistically, we also need people who can drive the boat, sufficient instructors, and those who can tow the boat to Cornwall. Allocation of spaces, therefore, is not necessarily on a first-come, first-served basis, but on the basis of us being able to run the trip smoothly. It is also preferable that you stay as long as possible to prevent too much swapping over, but we appreciate that some may wish to stay only one weekend. Traditionally the first weekend and weekdays are reserved for training, and the Easter Bank Holiday weekend is reserved for fun diving only. A deposit (£200) will be requested after registering.
The sooner you pay your deposit, the higher priority you get on the kit and beds!
The Easter trip is the club’s largest expedition and the first one many new members go on. It is a great trip.
- What to expect from ET? A typical day
- What to bring? Dive kit, OUUEG equipment hire, and other useful stuff.
- Who’s Who – roles helping us to organise the chaos
- Diving Routines
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 the Dive Manager (DM) 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, let the Dive Manager 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 Dive Manager.
Example of Timings
- 6.45 (Varies slightly day to day) Get woken up by the Dive Manager 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 Dive Manager.
- 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.
Diving can be a dangerous sport if not done properly, and it 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.
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 shutdown 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 helping load 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:
- 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 services: 999 or 112 (mobile phones)
Falmouth Coastguard: 01326 317 575 / VHF channel 16
Diving Diseases Research Centre: 01752 209 999
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.
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 dry suits and extra cylinders is £25 per day. However, with this being the largest expedition of the year, we are likely to rent out all our equipment. Ocean Diver students will be given priority for their qualification dives. Equipment 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 (£6).
- Cylinder – the club has over 30 cylinders available for hire (£5) A few cylinders are Oxygen clean for Nitrox.
- BCD (jacket or harness) – the club has 20 BCDs for hire (£5).
- Dry suit (and under-suit if needed) – the club has some dry suits available for hire (£25).
- Hood, gloves – you need to provide your own.
- Mask, fins (open heel fins not shoe type) – you need to provide your own.
- Weight belt – can be borrowed from the club (£2).
- Dive timer or dive computer – we have a few timers (£4) and computers (£6) for hire, although we recommend getting your own computer.
- 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.
- BSAC qualification book – you need to provide your own.
Nice but not essential:
- Dive knife/line cutter/shears – you need to provide your own.
- Dive compass – you need to provide your own.
- Snorkel – can be borrowed from the club.
- DSMB with reel – the club has a few reels with DSMBs for hire (£2). Sports Divers and above should consider providing their own.
- Dive slate and pencil – you need to provide your own.
- Diving torch – you need to provide your own.
- 3l stage cylinder – the club has a few pony cylinders for hire (£6 incl. reg and clamp, or £4 for reg or cylinder only). These are required for deeper dives as a redundant air source.
- 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: the Porthkerris cafe does not accept card. (And there is no nearby cash machine!)
- A water bottle and a flask come in handy for taking a warm drink of choice to the beach (although there are hot drinks on sale at Porthkerris).
- Sun cream, sunglasses, sun hat – it may not be warm but it may be sunny (no promises!).
- 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 want to 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.
The Dive Manager (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 Manager (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.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
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.
Cylinders are being kept together in piles based on their pressure and gas contents. We typically have four piles:
- Full (~200 bar and above)
- Shore dive only (150-200 bar)
- Instructor only (100-150 bar)
- Empty (<100 bar)
We try not to keep a large pile of empty cylinders, so please help take empty cylinders to the fill station, and bring the full ones back!
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.