Early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy but socially dead – or so they say. Not however for the 12 brave divers who battled against the call of soft pillows and warm duvets while their alarm clocks were screaming at 04:00 on Saturday 20th August to get to Poole for the early slack.
We all raced down in the dark and when I got there, I was surprised to see Trevor (the skipper) was early for once and everyone was already loading up our boat, Rocket. We all looked somewhat bleary eyed and a little worse for wear considering the early hour. I felt as though I’d been pulled through a bush backwards (does anybody even know what that means anymore!?!).
The plan was to dive the Kyarra. This was ideal as it was close to port and we would run out with the tide. Anything else would’ve required an earlier start, so the vote was unanimous! As we steamed out we noticed the telltale signs of pirates on the horizon! We first of all noticed an orange and navy boat that had the appearance of an RNLI lifeboat, but as it drew nearer, it was clear it was the Divers Down boat sneaking up to the Kyarra too like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Now the Kyarra is a fair sized lump so we would’ve been happy to share, but then the crafty little Mary Jo crept around the corner like a thief in the night to also settle over the wreck. At this point we were thinking “We got up at stupid o’clock and were here first so get off our wreck!”. To add insult to injury, a third boat rocked up so we now had half the south coast on the Kyarra!
Our indomitable leader, one Nick G, rallied the troops in an emergency conference to move to DEFCON 1. A quick straw poll resulted in us cunningly waiting for the other divers to slip into the water, after which we popped over to the Carantan to at least enjoy that wreck to ourselves. The vis was average and the current easygoing. Features of course included the sonar housing, a toilet (always amusing) and a giant conger capable of swallowing small divers. As Nick G and Nick B were diving as a pair, I was a tad concerned that they might have been seen as a tasty little morsel by the conger! On the other hand, Colin and Bonz probably viewed the conger as a small entrée. Nonetheless, it was a dive enjoyed by all present.
Some entertainment was provided during the surface interval in the form of a Rescue Management scenario. This was the final lesson as part of my Dive Leader course. There was naturally the usual calamity and hullabaloo of people rushing around pretending to not know what they’re doing and working against me (including my dear wife Vanessa who did a fantastic faint on the deck with a hand to the forehead swoon typical of a early black and white movie), but I got my own back when I heard a blood curdling scream. Even the seagulls on the far cliffs took off in fright and refused to come close as the ‘victim’ played by Nick G was gelded when someone tried to remove his BC. Once the lesson was over, I got Nick to get out his stamp and quickly sign off my qualification before he changed his mind.
All this fun was quickly followed by a much needed BBQ, and boat burgers were provided by the skipper. There was unfortunately a distinct lack of fresh mackerel (a Rocket staple) but not through lack of effort. Our second dive was a drift where we looked for scallops and other treats, but there was a poor return. Even though I managed to bag a lobster, it was so small it just looked like a blue prawn so I threw him back to grow up and sire some lobsterlings before I go back to get him! We arrived back to port at about 14:30, and nipped off to the local for a pint of their finest before making our way home for a good dose of R&R.
This was the club’s last Poole trip for the year, but you can be guaranteed that we’ll be back in 2012!