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What a weekend of contrasts...

Saturday: Moldavia, 49m
Fantastic. 10+m vis, calm sea, loads of light penetration, strong trimix (weird that, END of 18m so no appreciable narcosis. Didn't really feel narced enough. Don't ask me why, but it'll be a weaker mix next time) bagged and subsequently ate a dirty great crab, trundled from midships to the stern (amazing) and from there back over the whole wreck to the bow, having a good poke around deep inside the wreck on the way (truly bloody amazing, this is a grade one wreckie's heaven).  Got surrounded by a large school of inquisitive Bass as I was getting ready to send me bag up after 45min. Which was nice.  Never a speargun around when you need one:-(
Little bit cool on the final stops cos the water was 11deg, but not a problem with a bit of gentle finning around. All the gear behaved itself, textbook dive, first in last out etc, so dead pleased and seriously looking forward to tomorrow on the Duke.

Sunday: Duke of Buccleugh, 58m
Before the skipper even starts the engines at Brighton, I've noticed that there's gas leaking from my O2 contents guage on pre-dive checks.  HP o-ring's gone and I've got no spares.  Because they're all at home, sat on my desk waiting for me to put them in my boat spares kit. Feel a bit of a winker.
Lots of running around, finish up swapping contents guages between bailout bottle and RB. Panic over.
Get to the wreck, pile in first, steam down the line. Notice lots of snot in the water.  The plankton bloom's well and truly gone on the Mol, but the Duke's closer inshore and it's getting darker and darker. Arrive on deck, everything is shrouded in pitch darkness. Plenty of vis but only as far as the torch beam reaches, so think of it as a night dive. I f£$%^ng hate night dives, so diver stress goes up a notch. Still, using argon for the first time and am genuinely toasty, plus plenty of lamps.  Look over the side of the wreck and spot lots of crockery on the seabed. Head down and start filling goody bag.  BEEEEEP. Check RB handsets - one of the oxygen sensors is reading much lower than the others, throwing up a cell error. Curse vividly. I've been wanting to get on this wreck for the last three years and the YBOD's picked this exact moment to piss me about. Quick diluent flush, it's only one sensor that's at fault. Sod it, I'll carry on.
RB still not happy with the cell error, so I get bitched at every few minutes.  Trouble is, the beeper is bloody loud and situated right next to my left lughole.  Diver stress increases.
Decide to cut the dive short.  Was aiming for 30min bottom time, but the beeper's doing my head in (the thought of 60mins of stops with this din going on is too horrible to contemplate) so decide to knock it on the head just after stuffing a large and angry crab into the other goodie bag.
Settle down. Detach main reel. Clip goodie bags to the clip on the end of the line. BEEEEP yes I know, bloody machine, I'm going aren't I?  Crack the valve on the SMB bottle and watch the deco bag whoosh upwards. Not attached to anything at all. Twat. Diver stress has gone right up.
Get out spare SMB.  A little voice at the back of my head goes "I can't believe you've just done that, Evans. How many times is that? 4? Were you born stupid or did you have to practise? Right. 50m isn't a long way when you're walking, but when it's between you and the surface it might as well be miles if you don't get a grip right now mate, so don't f*ck this one up".    BEEEEP. Scream into mouthpiece "WILL YOU KINDLY SHUT THE FRAG UP, I'M BLOODY GOING I TELL YOU"
Stop for a second.  Get a grip. Stress goes down. Fire off deco bag, this time attached to reel and goodie bags. Ascend. Complete stops. Cell error settles down on ascent.  Tyical. Get back on boat first.  Have the piss taken.
Where's the first bag I sent up? No one knows. Skip saw it bob to the surface but he had a bunch of others to think about, including the divers the other boat close by dropped in at the same time.  Recover the rest of the gang. No sign of bag.  Those bastards on the other boat've nicked it.
Terrific. Lousy dive and I'm £80 down on kit, not including boat fees, fuel, gas, lime etc.  You can stick this tekkie diving lark right where the sun don't shine.
Turn round, head for home. It starts to rain. Oh goody.
5 mins later the skip spots my bag on the surface, I get it back and am all smiles again.
I love this sport. Christ only knows why, but I really do.

Still, the crab was a decent size and I've got a 116yr old plate with all sorts of pretty patterns on it soaking in me washing up tub. Also got to meet the delightful Christina Campbell and have a good nose around her Megalodon RB.
Definitely going to dive the Duke again this year, thoroughly recommend it.  Just make sure the bloody bloom's gone before you do.  And dive a nice reliable OC twinset....Mind you, mine was the only one that had a problem out of 6 RBs on the boat. Some you win..

Cheers
Rob
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]A little voice at the back of my head goes "I can't believe you've just done that, Evans. How many times is that? 4? Were you born stupid or did you have to practise? Right.
 I sometimes dive with this little chap, he's an annoying little article and he doesn't miss a thing. Apart from that it sounds excellent.
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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<font color='#000F22'>Great write up M8

I did that thing with the blob once but fortunatly it was on the Stangarth


Looks like Andrew and I will be up for the Duke, it sounds good. Mind you all the divers who I know who have dived it say its dark most of the time. It was the thing that put me off.

As for OC diving forget it: Andrew and I wanted to up our bottom time on the Moll from 30 to 40 mins and found twin 12's wernt big enough for us to do it and have a decent reserve of back gas. I seem to remember you doing 60 min bottom time on the YBOD


Any how top stuff, hope to dive with you again soon.

Mark Chase
 

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Hi Mark,
for what it's worth, a few guys I know dive the Duke regularly, including one of the guys who was involved with the crew who originally found her in - I think  -1988. He was the only one who didn't get nicked by the RoW when the story came out in Divernet - he was in the photos but wasn't named!
I have it on good authority that even though the wreck can be pretty bloody dark at times, when the vis is good it's very very good. As in 20m.  Busy sacrificing chickens to the weather gods even as I speak.  Wanted a virgin, but there's no chance of that in this part of Hastings.
 

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Grumbler-chief in Residence
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I used to live in Hastings, well St.Leonards at least, I didn't come accross any virgins either.

Andrew
 

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I'm in St. Leonards too - hence the bit about this part of Hastings
Actually I'm doing the place a disservice - I do like living here. 20mins from Eastbourne Marina, 45 from Brighton!  I'd much prefer to be in Paignton, but The Management won't wear it
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Rob Evans @ May 11 2003,23:23)]"I can't believe you've just done that, Evans. How many times is that? 4? Were you born stupid or did you have to practise?
I'll give you my opinion on Wed evening. After my Scapa incident I settled on Finless, perhaps you should think of Bagless??
 

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Charter Boat Skipper, Salvage Diver & YBOD abuser
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<font color='#000080'>A couple of years ago I was setting for a 58m deco-dive, all the gear set ready to go , in the wheelhouse putting the layers on I got tangled -a la Diego Forlan- and after 5 mins of wrestling with my thermals I had to admit "about to do a 50mm dive and I can't even put a feckking jumper on!"  

All good fun,
        ATB,
                  Terry
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Rob Evans @ May 18 2003,10:07)]Clueless.  Witless.
Is that you or me you are referring to?
 
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