BUSAC Easter Trip 2007 – Cornwall
Thursday 5th April
The trip started with a fun-filled afternoon packing up the boats and assorted kit into the Van. Well it actually started with masses of emails back and forth between various club members as far back as 2006! The first group of people met to start sorting the boats at 4pm and were soon joined by the latecomers - some of whom had valid excuses for being late (i.e. were at work) and some just overslept in the morning and then realised they had to not only pack the car with dive kit but then drive for several hours to get to Bath!
We were all finished around 7pm and after leaving the boats and the van in the University East Car Park under the watchful eye of University Security and headed into town for Beer and Curry. A quick pint was in order at the Boater and then the diminished group headed for curry (some of us had more important things to be doing apparently - like last minute PhD work or fixing leaking plumbing!). The BooJon curry house proved good (and cheap) as always and provided a good start to the holiday with Emily leading a rather in depth discussion about the re-imbursement of the concrete in the Avon canal weir - When will it get its money back!
Friday 6th April
Day One officially! Andy did the run around in the Vito to pick everyone up after taking it home last night with a slightly cheeky stop off in Sainsburys - what would Paul say.... The pickups we going to occur at staggered times starting at 7am but due to a couple of people being late - read oversleeping (namely Fraser and Joel) - we eventually got up to Uni at around 7.30am. Not too bad considering we were aiming to have left by 8am. After a quick round of smoothies (well Olly had one) we had the boats hitched up and were ready for the off.
The initial part of the journey was fairly uneventful and we made good progress to Exeter service station. Some of the CDs that the passengers had made to make the journey more entertaining went down better than others (Olly did have three more to try out on the group after “Quality” wasn't living up to its namesake!) At Exeter services we met up with White Van Man (WVM - read Andy!) who had someone managed to adapt to driving the Van like a fish to water - they had even obtained a copy of The Sun that was in its rightful place in any white van on the top of the dashboard. We found out here that all the other drivers we making good progress, apart from Lucy, Trev and Susie who were caught up behind an eight car pile up on the M5 and were doubtful they would make the afternoon's diving in Bovi.
After a quick stop and refreshments (Smoothies were BOGOF in M&S) the convoy set off again non-stop to Bovi. We made excellent time down to Bovi thanks to a very clear M5 (they had had to close the motorway at junction 22 to allow helicopters to land on the motorway to help out at the scene of the accident) and arrived around Lunchtime to meet Billy, Rodney, Gordy and Emma who had just returned from their morning dive (they had come down the night before). We found out that Mark and Pete had arrived just before us and Nick and Max turned up shortly afterwards as well.
Due to people only wanting to do stat of season refresher dives this afternoon we only launched the one boat, though there was still a fair about of faff to be had doing that, and it was over two hours later that we were ready for the first wave of divers. Just after they had left who should turn up but Lucy, Trev and Susie, who had got clear of the accident and made it down in time for the second wave thanks no doubt to some 'skilful' driving on Trev's part!
The three waves of divers today came and went without much to report - there was the usual remarks of "Too much weight me-thinks" and "How do you do this again?" that are to be expected after the long Winter break, but everyone seemed to get back into it. At around 3pm there was a slight panic to be had as we realised that all the shops closed at 4pm due to it being Good Friday and so a Morrisons run was in order to buy Oh and food for tonight's meal and tomorrow's lunch of course!
We (being Emily, Zoe, Joel and Myself) were sharing a caravan with Billy and Rodney and so we dispatched them to cook tonight's meal. Thinking it may have been a mistake to send Billy and Rodney off on their own to cook the food with Beer available we were pleasantly surprised that they had cooked an excellent Bolognaise and had also put a couple of the remaining(!) Beers in the fridge so they were cold for us! Great work!
We arrived at the caravan after nightfall and found we had caravan right next to the Entertainment Complex that was swarming with Pikey Pokeyness. After moving all our stuff in we then discovered that we were actually in the wrong caravan as it was only booked for the week and we would have to move out on Monday. We soon forgot about this after supper and a few cold beers - it was then that we realised we should have bought more beer!
Saturday 7th April
We woke up to the smell of frying eggs (Billy was cooking his traditional anti-bend breakfast) and a fresh pot of tea. This went down brilliantly and after filling two Thermos flasks (One with soup and one with tea) at 8am we set off to Penzance anticipating a good days diving and knowing we were protected from the dreaded bends! Unfortunately we realised later on that we had filled the smaller flash with tea and the larger with soup - this could have resulted in a shortage of tea if it wasn't for Emma doing a mid-morning Tea run to the local cafe.
In usual BUSAC style we managed to take over a huge area at the end of a pier by spreading out as much a possible and established a good base near a set of steps leading down to the water where the two recently launched boats were ready and waiting.
The first wave got off after a good amount of faffing, speeded up with cries of Choppy le Chop from the Cox’s (mainly Gordy) and those left started to kit up ready for the second wave. The morning's diving went well, it was to plan and everyone reported back a good dive. After a brief stop for lunch of tea and sandwiches, we were all ready to set off for the afternoon's diving.
For a first full day of the trip there were no surprisingly no problems to report and after loading the boats back onto the trailers and packing up the van we were ready to head back to he caravans after a short stop in Tescos to re-fuel on Beer and Petrol! Bill the Air Man had broken his compressor in the afternoon and so was unable to fill our cylinders that evening.
After a round of showers we sat down to an excellently cooked Thai Green Curry prepared by Emily and seconds later were interrupted by Gordy coming in and sitting down, helping himself to a beer and telling us to Choppy el Choppo and come to the pub. With an offer like this Billy, Rodney and myself soon finished off and headed out to brave the Entertainment complex....
On entering we were shocked as to the level of Pokeyness around so quickly braved the bar area to order a beer and then retreated into the darkest corner to observe how the other half enjoy themselves on a Saturday night. Immediately after sitting down a Tarzan and Jane competition kicked off and despite volunteering with great gusto Billy was rejected as a contender after one look from the girl running it. This turned out to be a good thing as the final part of the competition involved running around the room half naked uttering Tarzan yells!
Our conversation was soon interrupted by a man with the smallest head I have ever seen, asking who we were and where we were from. Billy happily engaged him in conversation, telling him we were come here on a weekly all-boys trip from Aberdeen in the United Arab Emirates! He seemed to happily accept this and went on his way.
After the second beer of the evening it was decided (by Billy) that it would be a good idea to head on to the dancefloor. As Billy and I cautiously approached the area set aside for 'movement' what should come on but The Timewarp - brilliant how could we resist! After 'enjoying' a few songs (one being YMCA!) it was quickly decided it was time to leave as Summer Nights got to the slow bit and Billy and I were the only ones not coupled up!
We returned to the table to find Gordy and Rodney had got the next round of beers in, and had been discussing how Pikey you have to be to enjoy sitting in the entertainment complex in a caravan park not for research purposes - which obviously we were on! The night ended with a final trip onto the Dancefloor for "Is this the way to Amarillo" and then we retired for the night.
Sunday 8th April
Several cups of tea and two eggs where required to start the day off for those who had been on the adventure of last night, but we were ready as usual for an 8am departure.
We were going to be launching from Penzance again and so set off to get the boats in the water and then unload the Van. After unloading the Van I had to take the empty cylinders to be filled (Bill's compressor was still broken) whilst everyone else started kitting up. There was a 3 hour wait for cylinders to be filled so I returned back and we just about got the first wave off (some people had to rely on 150bar in a 15l).
I got a call from the filling station just as the first wave were returning and so set off to pick up the freshly filled cylinders. On returning I found that everyone else was ready and so kitted up in double quick time, grabbing a 15l and a pony as Rodney and I were going to dive the Hellops (35m+ Wreck) and do my planned Deco dive for dive leader...famous last words!
Gordy took us out to the site, which itself was an impressive feat as somebody had forgotten to charge the GPS units so we had to rely on good old fashioned compass bearings and transits. Rodney and I planned for a 35 minute dive with maximum 5 mins Deco (hoping it would actually have cleared when we returned to 6m) and gave Gordy a 45 minute max. We descended 35m or so onto the Wreck which was a spectacular site. After 10 minutes on the bottom we started to head back to find the shot...here is where it all went wrong. Due to being fairly narked we spent the best part of 20 minutes looking for the shot unsuccessfully, finally deciding to send up an DSMB. To keep a very long and confusing story short lets just say that on finally reaching 6m our computers had in fact not cleared deco and we had to wait around for 25 minutes, making our total dive time over an hour! Several lessons were learnt from this and apart from a slightly bent Rodney, due to slight DSMB issues, everyone was ok.
On arriving back to base camp on the pier I had only just got up off Bath Tub when I was told to choppy le chop, change my cylinder and get on a waiting Diversity. This I managed to do making time for a quick sandwich and a dive de-brief with Rodney and Gordy. My second dive of the day on the Alice Marie went exactly as planned and was thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable.
On returning to Penzance we were lucky to find that Bill had managed to fix his compressor and so we could put all the cylinders into charge ready for tomorrow's diving. We dragged the boats out of the slip and after saying our farewells to Gordy, Emma and Susie who were returning to Bath tonight, headed back to the caravan site and I for one was ready for an early night after the eventful day!
On arriving back, after a quick cup of tea I headed in to see Nick and Max, in the neighbouring caravan, to plan the following day’s diving. It had been decided that as it was most people’s last day we were going to dive St Chamond, a 95m long craft that when it was torpedoed on the 30th April 1918 was carrying five 75 tonne Steam Trains as deck cargo, and so is known locally as the Train Wreck. She lies in approximately 30m of water and due to being subjected to very strong tides can only be dived in slack water. It was fair to say that this was a challenging day to plan and we quickly came to the decision that we would limit ourselves to two waves only both on the St Chamond, as this would mean everyone had the opportunity to dive the wreck.
Two hours later the day was planned with military style timings in place and almost everyone set a task for the day to ensure the day ran smoothly and to plan. To ensure it did it meant leaving the caravan site at 7.00am which did not go down too well with some people, especially those who also had to move caravans that day – Us!
Monday 9th April
We had an early start (6.15am) to ensure we were packed and up and ready to set off by 7.00am. Billy and Rodney were helping us out by carrying out the actual move for us as neither of them were diving today, so thanks go to them! After very minimal faffing we drove out of the gates at five minutes to 7 – we were ahead of schedule... though not for long!
To aid matters we were going to launch the first wave from Hayle and then Joel and myself were going to head round to Carbis Bay to meet them returning and to launch (and be part of) the second wave after lunch. On arriving to Hayle I set about getting as many people into Dry-Suits to help with a quick launching of the boats whilst Wet-Suit people got the rest of their kit together. The boat launch went smoothly and by 7.45am nearly everyone was ready to go. Unfortunately there were a couple of further delays, namely Emily’s ‘crappy’ regs and Charlotte having a last minute bottle change. Successfully managing to faff-away 20 minutes or so the first wave headed off for the 30 minute boat journey at 8.10am – not too bad (only 10 minutes behind). Joel and I then headed off to Carbis Bay and sat waiting in the Carbis Bay Hotel enjoying a cup of tea overlooking the beach. Very Pleasant!
At 10:45am (exactly according to plan), Bath Tub and Diversity neared the shore and we went down to meet them. We were impressed they had managed to make up time but soon found out that was due to 4 or 5 cases of sea-sickness and vomiting (nice!) due to excessive sea swell even though it was slack water. On getting everyone to bring there kit up the beach we quickly encountered a savage attack from the ‘Enemy of the People’ (Sand!) and had to rapidly deploy counter measures (a large clean Tarpaulin in the car park).
After a leisurely 3 hour lunch break the second wave set off, with a couple of the divers who had missed a dive in the morning making a second attempt. The sea had calmed down a little bit but was still enough for a couple of people to spend a few minutes whilst kitting up staring at the landscape (well I had too!). The dive was worth it however, to see the enormous Steam Locomotives lying on their sides on the sea bed was a very impressive sight and Joel and I managed to spot an rather large and impressive Lobster in addition to large number of Spider Craps running around over the wreckage. After a 35 minute dive we surfaced to a much calmed sea (and the sun had even come out) though we were a little surprised to be picked up by a different boat due to a bit of previous diver theft!
A calm leisurely journey back to land was next and then the plan was to quickly unload the boats at Carbis Bay and motor them back round to be recovered at Hayle. This was a fairly lengthy process as we had to wait for the tide to come in to actually be able to motor up the estuary to the slip-way. There were times when walking/dragging the boats over sand banks was necessary, however proved fairly tricky as we lacked the Heave, we had the 1..2..3.. but then it sort of stopped! Eventually the boats were back on the trailers and we said farewell to Nick, Max and Sylvain who were heading back to Bath. The ‘weekers’ returned to the caravan site, after stopping to fill up in Tesco’s (both boat fuel and beer!), and enjoyed an excellent meal of local (well Bob had to drive to Penzance to get them!) fish and chips.
Tuesday 10th April
It was Joel’s day as Dive Marshall today and after yesterday’s long and tiring day he had planned a nice gentle drift dive and an 8am departure which was very well received by all! We were launching and diving out of Lamourna Cove, which is were a couple of Easter trips ago a few problems in towing the boat back up the hill in a small escort van were to be had (I think several thousand miles were added to the clutch on that one journey alone!). We could see why on driving down to the car park but felt the Vito would manage it, due to being bigger and more powerful.
We parked up, managing on the first attempt to take up the entire car park, or so it seemed, so had a bit of a reorganisation of the vehicles and got ourselves neatly into the corner to act as our base. Everyone except yours truly then got into there Dry-Suits to aid launching of the boat (I was required to reverse the boat, trailer and Vito combination down the slip way). With the two boats launched and our kit all aboard we set off to the first dive site for a pleasant drift over the reef. With only 10 people in total it meant we only needed two waves a day per boat (as opposed to at least three over the weekend) and had rolling coxes to man the boats.
I was diving with Bob, who was coxing the first pair and so we had the hard task of sitting on the boat in the sun in nice calm water waiting for half an hour for the first pair to dive – its a hard life! We then went in and as it was his first dive of the season took it easy, though still had a great dive seeing plenty of wildlife and it was the first dive that I used my camera in vain taking plenty of pictures – though due to the drift the lens cap kept drifting in front of the camera at the most inconvenient time (just when I was taking the picture!). This resulted in a few amusing pictures of half lens cap, half Bob/fish/crab!
We returned to the shore to enjoy our lunch and fantastic Cornish ice-creams, whilst Andy carried out a bottle run in the van, as we hadn’t had time to re-fill any of the used bottles after yesterday’s dives. I was diving with Emily for the afternoon dive and it was also my 69th dive (Way-hey!), I hope Billy would be pleased: Totty dive for the 69th! We were diving the ??? and I had asked if we could use this dive to re-do my planned Deco dive, after it went so badly wrong the first time. Whilst we were acting as surface cover and waiting for the first group of divers we went though planning a dive to 30 meters, aiming (again!) to clock up 5 minutes of deco and hoping (again!) it would have cleared by the time we reached 6 meters. We then proceeded to simulate the dive on our computers, which we managed after taking a few minutes to remember how to get into the right mode! This time on the dive it went to plan and on hitting 6 meters I had 4 minutes worth of stops, including the 3-minute Suunto stop, which I felt much happier with!
This time on returning to shore I had to jump out the boat, take my kit off and quickly get out of my Dry-Suit to jump in the Vito and help to recover the boats, whilst we still had plenty of Dry-Suit divers in the water. This was done fairly quickly and efficiently for us and we were soon ready to head back to the caravans after our shortest day so far. On returning to the caravan’s Fraser promptly popped over for beers and snacks... oh and also to plan for the following day’s diving.
Wednesday 11th April
After several demands for an extra half-hour lie-in, Frazer planned for us to leave the caravan site at a very leisurely 8.30am and head back to Lamourna Cove. We set of to the dive site and I must say there was some excellent shotting of the dive sites by Bob today, yesterday Mark had slightly cheated by dropping our shot 3m to the side of the permanent shot! But well done too!
It was whilst Zoe and I were waiting out on the boat today, covering the other set of divers, that the great Octopus’ Garden debate started. We were trying to decide what it is that comes after “In an octopus’ garden” in the chorus. I reckoned it was “In the shade” but Zoe reckoned that was rubbish. We called over to Bob and Emily to ask there opinion, they agreed with Zoe and Bob reckoned it was “With Me”, however I had to point out that the lyrics go “I’d like to be....” and therefore to answer that with “With Me” is a bit big-headed! After picking up the divers, we managed to persuade ourselves to wait for them, we rushed back to the Vito to put Charlotte’s CD on and listen to the lyrics. And I was right it is “In the shade”, so Zoe had to buy me a cup of tea as I won the bet – though I am not sure if she ever did – think we had homemade Cornish ice-creams instead!
Whilst we were eating our lunch and ice creams, Exeter club (of the “It’s not HER club! Sophie is just a member” fame) turned up via boat. They were gimmering around for a bit and whilst that happened this large round pink thing came drifting into the harbour, it turned out to be a massive sea buoy that had drifted in. After eying it up for a bit and deciding if we could steal it, We soon noticed that a few of the Exeter lot also had eyes on the buoy. It was now a race, well not really, and in the end I just wandered down picked up the largest buoy I had ever seen and put in in the van. It is now in pride of place taking up the entirety of the back stores if anyone wished to have a look – admission 50p!
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, until the slight bump Joel had in the Vito when he may or may not have reversed it into a stone wall in the car park! We then headed back to the caravan site, on arriving I noticed Mark and Andy waiting for us outside their caravan, slowing down and opening the window they wanted to show off their parking skills – he had got his car, the boat and the van squeezed in between the two caravans. not wanting to be outdone I put the Vito in gear and with a huge amount of smoking rubber and some aggressive use of the hand brake swung the Vito and boat round, did a quick donut in the middle of the road that would make Vin Diesel proud, and then parked it next to Bob’s car in the other gap between the caravans! Ok I may have exaggerated there a bit but it was some equally impressive parking.
That night we were busy planning the following day, which we decided to do as a group, and as we were in the cool caravan the other lot decided to pop over to come see us – and possibly drink our beer! However half way through the planning stage the question of can we turn on the TV to watch the apprentice (or some other rubbish) was asked!! It was answer with our TV doesn’t work – obviously it probably did but we couldn’t have people sitting around in the cool caravan watching TV – Billy you would have been proud! We then found out that in the ‘boring’ caravan, as it was then on known, they spent a large proportion of their time watching TV, what dull lives they must lead – no wonder they all wanted to come and pile into the ‘cool’ caravan.
Thursday 12th April
Having really enjoyed the previous two days at Lamourna Cove we decided to finish the week there as there were a few sites that had been recommend to dive and we hadn’t done them yet. Andy was marshalling today and started off in true WVM style by asking us nicely to “get the s~*t out of the van and get the boats into the water!”
The days diving went without incident and I think all had a good day and a good couple of dives. Except perhaps for Zoe and Emily who were dropped of in a different county to the shot there were aiming for by Joel....really it took them a good 5 minutes swim just to get to the shot! On the upside it was on this dive that Zoe showed Emily how to operate her camera, which meant that Emily worked out that her rubbish photos were due to her not being able to operate the camera, rather than a poor ability to hold the camera steady as previously thought! After good second dive where I pointed out the third octopus I had found in British waters to Zoe and Bob – I am the Octopus King!! – we re-packed the van ready for the journey home tomorrow, well Andy packed it as it had now got to the stage where he was very protective of his van and didn’t like other people getting involved with it! We then headed back to the caravans to get washed and changed for a night out.
We had booked a table at a meadery in Penzance – the one that BUSAC got chucked out of a few years ago – this meant any clothing/reference to the University of Bath and Diving had to be hidden! We had a round of Taxi’s over to it, well two, and being in the first wave meant Emily, Zoe Charlotte and myself got to the meadery first. Thoroughly enjoying the Totty company (I feel I’m slowly turning into Billy writing this...!) and the mead meant there was high levels of merriment in the first wave when the second wave arrived. We soon ordered and the food was plentiful, the mead flowed and a good time was had my all. The evening drew to a close with all of us being quietly ushered out of the meadery...again. We ordered a couple of Taxis and headed to bed.
Friday 13th April (Unlucky for some – but not us!)
Surprisingly after the previous evening’s outing we all managed to be up, packed and breakfasted by 11am in order to check out of the caravans – well done all! We set off back to Bath after an enjoyable, but tiring, week’s diving, keeping to all legal speed limits, especially those extra limits imposed by us towing a boat. As always the Easter trip proved to a be very reward experience and a good club bonding session, so I’ll finish this by saying “Bring on Easter 2008!”
Thanks to everyone involved, those that organised, those that helped, and those that kept everyone entertained!
- Max for organising the trip
- Everyone who Cox’n the boats
- The various drivers, both of personal cars and Uni transport
- Mark for towing Diversity
Lesson's Learnt Log
- Charge the GPS Units the night before
- Make and stick to the plan, especially when concerning Deco(!)
- Don’t sit on your arse and do nothing
- Don’t buy ‘crappy’ regs
- Don’t annoy the Queen B*tch from Hell!
Octopus’ Garden Lyrics
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade
I'd ask my friends to come and see
An octopus' garden with me
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade.
We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus' garden near a cave
We would sing and dance around
because we know we can't be found
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
We would shout and swim about
The coral that lies beneath the waves
(Lies beneath the ocean waves)
Oh what joy for every girl and boy
Knowing they're happy and they're safe
(Happy and they're safe)
We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden with you.
Answers to the debate of “What comes next in the chorus?” (In order of correctness!!)
- In the shade
- With me
- With you
- Near a Cave