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Saturday, 21 September 2019
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The Real Thing - February at Horsea and a first open water dive for the intrepid Print

A day in the life of Ken and Dan Read

They set off, the intrepid pair, fearful of the fate awaiting them!

A Massive low-pressure system, howling wind and forecast of weather unlikely to keep ducks afloat...... We set off down the A3 reflecting on a busy working week and college half term, predominated with buying and hiring equipment, reflections on Duncan's advice on weights and measures, allen keys, spanners, right hoses, HP ports and LPs, the scrummage for big fins from the club box, selecting the hire equip from Runnymede dive (without Dan) buying thermals, gloves (nearly forgot), discovered my hood was designed for a Yorkshire Terrier and that it strangled me, (should it do that?) lots of gas bottles, will it all fit in the car? When will Dan try on his gear? ............. and now at last, we're on our the fun starts.

We arrived at the Horsea 'sheltered water'!! site at 9 o'clock and booked in (Alcatraz ? How do we get off this god forbidden island?) with hoards, or so it seemed, of keen types from other clubs, all around us. The situation was not helped, by the very friendly receptionist advising us that people had gone home already, due to the awful weather conditions (groan).

We made our way to Area 3 car park to seek our muckers...........they were not there, goody, maybe we'll get a call in a minute on the mobile from Warren calling it off. Anyway better look around, it can't be as bad as our first impression 'cos every one around is looking happy.

We decided to take our gear to the changing rooms as everyone else was going there (we later observed that the GBSAC lot change in car parks, so to be street cred we unchanged, to change with them later!).............nice touch of exhibitionism from our Richard baring his body in 6°C!

The changing area was Ken's chance to look around and he found this big laundry and two navy blokes one of which gave him a well fitting hood (free), what a nice guy. It was probably the ashen face, which prompted his generosity. We later changed with the keen types, most of whom were in wet suits! Someone later said it was thermally ok 'cos they were young!.............those were the days, Ken does still remember them.

The GBSAC lot shortly turned up in the car we are not going home after all!

Big Richard and Warren gathered the magnificent six of us together and gave us the safety and security briefing for the site, including info like, where the emergency phones were and that they don't contact the outside world, where the emergency helicopter lands, where to run to in an emergency etc all very necessary, but not very comforting stuff. The groups were decided and we were split up for the first time (sob) and off we went to change where our stuff was in the posh place, our lot retired to be cool in the car park!

Memories of the day (not necessarily in order):

  • We haven't tried a dry suit yet..........panic!
  • Breathing out
  • O-rings...........make sure yours are fitted and don't fall out and get lost being un-taped
  • Get correctly sized and comfortable hood
  • Set up hoods in advance (face opening)
  • Set up fins in advance............use the straps don't unclip!
  • Mask clearing with a dodgy hood!
  • Set up mask straps in advance
  • Test and set up everything in advance!
  • The dry suit air connection is a tight fit. Practice before event!
  • Lots of spare things
  • Don't knock fin clips off in water!
  • Weights and weighting up is a bit of a pain
  • Toothpaste to clean new masks
  • Going in backwards or sideways off the beach
  • Avoid falling on face doing giant stride entry!
  • The waves
  • A really cold shower
  • The best hamburger or divers breakfast van in the UK
  • Hailstorm
  • JCB's and tractors noise during briefings
  • Taking the dry suit off and leaving it open to fill up with hailstones
  • Too much weight
  • Too tight weight belt equals nut squeeze
  • Going down 1st time no problem
  • Going down 2nd time arm up and no descent?
  • The bottom
  • Jellyfish
  • Guppies
  • Other things
  • Good and bad visibility
  • No sense of direction, keep very close contact
  • Big Richards good eyesight
  • Getting fins on, not easy
  • Getting them off, even more difficult with tight suit
  • Loosing weights down to knees!
  • Loosing weights down to ankles!
  • Loosing weights to the bottom!
  • Cold shock
  • Discomfort
  • Tied to Richard............mmmmmmmmmmm
  • Dive time and depth
  • Log books... where are they? Puzzled looks?
  • 4.00
  • 4.30
  • 5 o'clock............... Yerress, this was it, into the Port Solent pub and a nice pint of Bass and Grolch, tea for some, orange for others and reminisces of the day and the camaraderie and warmth with new friends who have lived near their edge swapping tales of woe and elation.

We're looking forward to Easter...........honest (and hopefully the Mulberry)

Many thanks from the magnificent six (Phil, Dawn, Jules, Richard and us two) to, Warren, Big Richard and James (and Brad earlier) for the good administration, their fortitude, good nature, sense of humour, especially their patience, helpfulness and advice.

Ken and Dan Read

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