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Had a brill day on Sunday, drove over to Andy Hayhursts (DalesDiver) place in Sedbergh and salivated over some new Halcyon gear I'm thinking of pimping my wife out for (She doesn't know yet so please keep it quiet) There followed by a hectic drive following Andys red four wheeler to Hodge Close, after some death defying moments leaping our loaded estate from one bump to another and squeezing it between the walls of bridges that were never build for road vehicles dodging oncoming vehicles as we tried to stick with the madman in front we eventually reached the turning for Hodge Close. Threading our way along the narrowest of tracks through some beautiful countrside to a slate covered carpark next to the quarry itself I realised we'd made it in one piece and sighed a large sigh of relief.

The rain was coming down in buckets and as our kid and myself had sensibly decided to wearing nothing but T-shirts it became a frantic race to don the ol'drysuits, but don them we did, the next thing in line was to start humping all of the kit into Hodge itself which meant entering a small beck which then leads into a crack in the hillside, so small that you could so easily miss it if you didn't know it was there. Once inside though you see this long water filled tunnel stretching for a few hundred yards with a small speck of light showing in the distance indicatinging the other end, so with Andy leading the way we yomped crutch deep in water until we reached a wider opening into what now seemed like very bright daylight.

My first sight of Hodge and its towering cliff faces surrounding the greeny/blue still waters that filled its bottom were awe inspiring, I found myself standing at the mouth of the tunnel that we'd just walked through, but still quite high up on one of the quarry faces.

I paused for a moment trying to take in fantastic views of the opposing rock faces that completely encompasses it, the ambience of the place was fantastic, it had that  cathedral like atmosphere of calm and silence mixed with an element of granduer and an acoustic quality that made any words uttered echo back in a very eerie way.

Once I'd pulled myself together the grin kinda dropped from my face as I realised I now had to get me and my kit down a very slippery ladder constructed from scaffold poles or something similar to a lower level which then leads down a very precarious path finally to reach the waters edge.

After a long time we were all finally grouped and kitted up, there was Andy, Pam, Simon, Rob, Phil our Mark and myself. Rob, Mark and myself on single 15's the rest kitted up looking like they were ready for a 60m dip onto a deep wreck somewhere with DIR rigged twinsets and stage bottles (I was very envious)

At the signal we all started to descend and it was at this time I realised I was far too overweighted as I plummeted into the clear blue depths pumping air like a crazy man with not too much success in putting on the brakes as I intended.. I got to the bottom in record time... ( A bit scary really) Unfortunately I'd left my brother far behind which bummed me out a bit as I realised I'd already started the dive out all wrong, but fortunately Andy had stuck with Mark and brought him to the bottom and his awaiting grateful yet very embarrased brother.

Anyway a great dive followed, but unfortunately it started off for me as one of those very uncomfortable dives where you can't get your bouyancy right, where you can't get your trim right, where you feel like your having to fin too hard to stay where you want to stay, or go where you want to go... I'm sure you've had em.. where only last week you'd decided that you had truly become a fish, a diving ninja at one with the water, only to find a week later that your a floundering mess looking like a right tw*t dumping and pumping air like you had a never ending supply of it... well if you have, that was me.....
Finally though it all came together and I started getting into it proper.... The viz was great and yet I'm told it was poor so I can't wait to see it on a good day. all too quickly I'd used up my air and my computer was starting to indicate deco obligations so it was time to head up, unfortunately to add to my earlier embarrasment while I'm hanging at about 15m or so doing a free ascent watching the events below me I'd somehow drifted into Simons dsmb line and my reel which was hanging from my hip somehow got tangled in it.... You know when u just want to go and slam your head against something hard and sharp cos u feel a like the ultimate numpty?? ---> :banghead:

After a short surface interval Andy informed me that I was going back in with him but with me wearing his rig (DIR dontcha know) and breathing a 30/30 mix of Helium and Oxygen... Outstanding!! So as promised I'm kitted up in a Halcyon BP/Harness and Wing, two 12's full of exotic gases on my back, long hose around my neck and a grin as wide as 2tanks arse.

First thing I notice... I'm on the surface and I'm not being shoved face first into the water as many a BC wearing diver will have you believe, infact I was very high out of the water and in a very confortable laid back position (great news as that was one of my concerns about wings)... Second thing I noticed was how clean and unclutted the whole rig was... there was nothing at all in front of me, I didn't feel crushed, cluttered or ill at ease, Trim and bouyancy control was simple to achieve... we descended back to the bottom and I felt completely different from my first dive, completely!... In a rig that I'd worn for only minutes I already had a better profile in the water, and I was filled with a confidance that I'd not experienced at near 30m before.. I could very easily have followed Andy into a much greater depths there and then, the psychological boost alone was worth me owning a rig like this... yup I decided.... this is the way I want to go...

Another thing that blew me away was the gas that I was breathing... My mind was pin sharp, not the trippy slowish memories of dive 1 but everything now looked in sharp focus, also the gas was cool to breath, it was thin, and I didn't even feel like I had a regulator in my mouth, whereas with my reg (which I'm definitely getting rid of BTW) every breath is a slight effort, the deeper I go the greater the effort bringing with it conscious thoughts about my breathing where with Andys setup of Scubapro reg and 30/30 mix (I'm not sure how much of each was responsible) breathing never crossed my mind just as it doesn't cross my mind while typing this post it was just natural and totally effortless.. wonderful!!

A top day and a great chance to try stuff I'd only dreamed of.. Thanks Andy (Dalesdiver) for everything mate, I really appreciated it.... Now back to raising the money... where's my missus?

(Edited by Dave Williamson at 1:55 pm on Aug. 19, 2002)
 

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Dave,

I'm horrified that you're thinking of renting your missus out to buy dive kit.

It's obvious we'd get a much better deal if you rent mine out as well  - maybe as a pair.

If Mrs Gavster reads this please send a mixture of flowers and beer to my funeral.
 

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Hey Dave,

There are very few things I enjoy more than a bloody good read mate, and you've more than provided it here!! Thanks. It's very clear that you had the time of your life on this gig and I'm just pissed off I missed it. The recounting of the scenery once you popped your head through the tunnel entrance was as clear as a bell. I've only ever seen photies of Hodge, but I'll be looking for those aspects in your description when I do eventually fetch up there.

Thanks again mate, top report. And Andy, sorry I couldn't make it but thanks again for the invite. When's next??



(Edited by Bren Tierney at 3:34 pm on Aug. 19, 2002)
 

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Dave,Andy you can tell the regular Hodge Close visitors, by that funny walk they have:wink:

Its with crouching as you stagger down that tunnel, oh my back  even without the twinset :pity_party:
Nice one enjoyed the tale.
 

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Great report Dave! (how much for your missus :pigtails: ??) just kidding matey!
 

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Sounds like you had a ball. I will have to pay it a visit real soon!
It also sounds like you liked the wing. I started with a Mares HUB which was ok, but the pockets upfront were a real pain. Wings are much better and a lot less cluttered, untill you add stage bottles that is!

Ali
 

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hopefully it will be the next weekend I'm not working, yeah Dave?
 

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If there is a genuine interest I shall most definitely organise it. It'll be great for those blown out periods.. we could do a 'Lakes Weekend'

Take a tent, get pitched up somewhere and do a day at Hodge Close, in the evening drive over to Andys for a fill and a oogle at some kit and then maybe do Wastwater the next day as an example

What does everyone think?
 

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sept 14 15
or 21 22
or 28 29 any good?
 

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</span>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Quote: from andy2tanx on 1:17 pm on Aug. 21, 2002
sept 14 15
or 21 22
or 28 29 any good?
<span =''>
sept 14/15 with the :gorgeous: missus in the Dominican Republic :dazzler1: :cuddles:
21/22 back to the boring grind......
28/29 looks promising - assuming I still have money and the missus let's me - sorry dear, please don't hit me..... :spank:

(Edited by Driftwood at 2:28 pm on Aug. 21, 2002)
 

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</span>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]sept 14 15
or 21 22
or 28 29 any good?
<span =''>
sept 14/15 - Sharm
21/22 Sharm
28/29 Yeah let's go !!!!!! Please can I come huh?
 

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28 29 it is then, anyone else?
 

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</span>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Quote: from andy2tanx on 4:25 pm on Aug. 21, 2002
28 29 it is then, anyone else?
<span =''>

Well done son, it looks like YOU'VE volunteered to organise this one :biggrin:
 

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Hi guys,
I cant make 28/29, as am in wales both days,so it would mean going to Capernwray for air.
If you could do early oct. no problem, unless 12-13, cos I am working on TDI stand.

Glad you enjoyed sunday Dave....
 

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Andy's raised something there. Is anybody going to the Brum Diveshow. I'll be there cos my folk live in Coventry and it makes sense for me.

Kit and beer in one place - go on it makes sense.



(Edited by Gavin Yates at 3:23 pm on Aug. 22, 2002)
 

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Could be Gavster, I own a house in Warwick so might choose that end to go check it out if it's not sold by then. i'll shout you nearer the time. Paul
 

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loved the hodge report. its my fav dive site but havent been there for a while. unfortunately when i do go i just go into the tunnels and have never actually swam round the quarry itself. must do it next time. first time i went i used twin 15's (not bad for a girle)but then very soon after got myself a set of twin 10's. much more practical. hope to be going there again very soon.
 
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