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An early start out of Lochaline on the Sunday morning we had our sights set on the "Hispania".  The weather wasn't any better and by now there were a few white horses appearing in the sound of Mull.  We motored out  into the sound bound for the wreck site, waves crashing over the wheelhouse, some of us seeking shelter in the welcome warmth of the wheelhouse.  Over the wreck the sea conditions were calmer.  An advanced scouting party was put together to establish if the black plastic container we could see, was in fact on the wreck.

The first group in made their descent, having been down abbout 2 mins, we made the assumption they were on it, wrong as it happened. On our way down the shotline we were met by the scouting party giving us the ascend signal on ther way back, apparently there was nothing down there other than the seabed, the shot must have drifted off.  With sea conditions changing again we all made the decision to get back on the boat and revert to a plan B.

The skipper gave us  the options another wreck dive, but admitted in the conditions it was less likely we would get on the particular wreck but was willing to try,or we could have change and a scenic dive.
The vote came out for a scenic dive being the cliff face off Calve Island Tobermory which has something of a reputation of being a good wall dive. The skipper nuzzled the Peregrine into the shelter of the island and got us pretty close into the shoreline.  Having done effectively a bounce dive to 27m trying to locate the Hispania we agreed to keep a safe shallower profile on the cliff.  We entered the water and finned for the shore, it was pretty encouraging as we peered beneath from the surface we could see the rock face below us disappearing off into the gloom  with the cliff eventually bottoming out out of view at 60m.  We grouped up on the rock face, and started to explore the nooks and crannies, spotting a few small edible crabs, some red squat lobsters. We came across a couple of wrasse in the torchlight lurking and guarding their tunnel,then there was a slumbering dogfish that we rudely awoke. At one point as we were exploring I noticed Rob lurking just in view with the siloutte of his Inspiration rebreather, about to creep up and scare the life out of us (no tell tale bubbles huh) being already spotted his ghost impression was thwarted. Although the water temp 8degrees wasn't any colder then any of the other dives we all agreed it felt a lot colder with a definate thermocline at about 12m, getting getting chilled we ended the dive.

Back on board "Peregrine" we made a very welcome warm drink,everyones complaints being their finger tips were a bit cool. For those who wanted it we were given another dive option on the nearby wreck of the Pelican, located just off the island in about 20m
We were to make back towards Lochaline. The ride back was interesting with the boat crashing through the waves with the skippers music giving accompanyment on the cd player, i bet we looked pretty impressive ploughing up the sound.

Thoughts were by now turning to food, the skipper mentioned that the lady with the Burger van on the pier would probably open up if there was sufficient of us wanting food, a quick phone call and the job was sorted.

For those who've never sampled the delights the Burger bar on the pier is something of a diving legend having fed chilled and wave beaten divers from hardboats and wave bashed ribs for many years and her prices are right. One of the famous specialities here is the "Bambi" Burger a whopping great venison burger "the best". Several burgers, tea and coffees later we all felt a bit more civilised.

The afternoon diving option was to be either a Scallop dive or a the wreck of the "Thesis". With the area around the scallop dive site blowing up it was going to be the Thesis. Ben and I took the easy option out and decided to make for home and get some miles under our belt in daylight.  We understand we missed a good dive on this "Thesis" confirmed by the fact that as we drove out of Lochaline on the way home, the sea conditions were getting calmer "Aint that always the way".

My personal thoughts on the weekend trip was that it was excellent,good diving, good company and we all managed to put faces to those avatars and log in names.

Special thanks to Peterk who had to do all the organising and suffer watching us all dive, hang in there pal. Double commiserations to Gav and Fi for the equipment accident.

Where next?
 

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Well here goes, apologies in advance if I bore you to tears.

There I was thinking about going to sweaty land and diving the Sound of Mull when up pops Peter offering to organise a trip, so I put my daughter Becky`s and my name on the list.
A concerned Peter then e-mailed stating that the Sound of Mull is not the place to take an inexperienced girl.
I showed this to my 22yr old daughter, who has done approx 250 dives, been to Scapa three times, Sound of mull before and Normandy amongst others, needless to say she though this a very sexist remark and said she would confront Peter about it in Lochaline.
So Friday 5.30am I pick Becky up and off we go, I managed to drive to Glasgow and then Becky took over, I thought I'd better ride shotgun going through Glasgow.
Once safely passed Glasgow we stopped and counted all the wheels, yes, result, still all there.
Crossed over Lock Lonnie on the ferry and continued to Lochaline.
The scenery was breathtaking, snow capped peaks, waterfalls, swollen rivers, paintballing sheep, drizzle, real picture postcard Scotland, apart from the wheelie bins at the end of there ¼ mile long drives, however after a 9 hr journey we just wanted to get to Lochaline.
We arrived at 4pm and found that Lochaline is very small, I naively thought Lochaline would be a smaller version of Oban, I was very wrong.
Rob Evans was the next to arrive about 6 ish, respect to the guy, for driving 630 miles for a weekends diving.
Walking back up a dark winding lane to the social club we met some dodgy looking guys, turned out to be Peter and Robert (Budgy), then on to the social club and met Chris (Dundee) & Paul.
Gav, Fi, Ben & Tony (Parahandy) arrived later.
I couldn't manage the Edward Longshanks costume (see Bens post) my red England away shirt had to do. Becky, without any influence from me had worn her white England home shirt, this had no effect on the pussycats in the social club.  
Had a pleasant evening boozing sorry sampling the local ales and off to bed thinking, what a prat I have been drinking since 5pm, woke about 4am with headache took a couple of tablets and drank gallons of water and hey presto felt fine when I woke at 8am. (still thought it was a pratty thing to do but these things happen)
Off to the quayside, load Becky`s and my gear, did everyone notice that Becky did not actually lift any gear all weekend! Also she didn't pack any dive gear, in fact she has never on any trip packed or cleaned any dive gear, must be that tattoo across my forehead saying  DADDY PRAT.

NOW WAKE UP,  know you're probably bored and we haven't dived yet but I'm having fun writing this with my bottle of Glayva (Honey whiskey liqueur) to help me.

Back to the quayside, both Becky`s second stage off the main tank and pony second stage leaked and had to be replaced with spares.
Met Alistair (does he ever smile?) and Bruce (Rupert Bear handbagnet) then Gav had mishap with twinset.
Offered the use of my spare twinset but as Gav said he was annoyed with himself and not in the right frame of mind to carryon.
We were all concerned for Gav but deep down thought more room for us, but because I'd only met Gav & Fi the night before I felt guilty thinking this, however Ben agreed and said that Gav had a good sense of humour and would not be offended.

I SAID WAKE UP  
The Glayva's really beginning to kick in now.

So fist dive the Shuna (think spelt right)
Becky and I last to get kitted up, standing by the rail just about to enter the water and bo***cks my £380 FA&MI torch didn't work, grabbed spare D4R, (passed to me by deckhand Pete, sorry Peter) that didn't work, then Becky said her D4R didn't work.
Then dick brain (me) remembered that I'd turned the batteries around in the D4Rs to avoid being accidentally switched on (look at the melted part of my dive bag)
Finally we entered the water, or was it ice?.. whatever it was it was cold.
Vis 7-8 mtrs, not as good as last time we dived the Sound but still very respectable.
Becky`s first dive since October last year, no probs both had a great dive.
Surface interval in Tobermory straight to the pub for food and to watch an amateur football match in preparation for the main match of the day Arsenal vs Chelsea, real football not the Scottish version.
Back on board for second dive of the day on to the Hispania.
Experience a little current so entered wreck and spent 3/4 s of the dive inside, absolutely brill dive.
After the dive both Becky and I pretended to be cold just to jokingly reinforce the northerners stereotypical view of the southern softy.
We carried this out admirably.
Saturday evening, real football- Arsenal vs Chelsea then eats in the Lockaline Hotel without realising the problem Chris, Alistair (still not smiling) and Paul had.
Just to sidetrack slightly, has anyone ever seen Alistair smile? At one time the frown seemed to soften slightly and I waited. ..but it did not happen.
Sunday morning Peter had very kindly arranged for the weather to be typically Scottish, just like their football, total crap.
We all huddled in the wheelhouse as the waves crashed over the bow, with the exception of Becky who was feeling seasick.
I, like the kind considerate father that I am, suggested that Peter should go outside and see how Becky was, but where was Peter, he was still in his pit in the Lockaline bunkhouse, so poor Becky had to suffer alone outside.
First dive, The Hispania. Becky and myself entered the water 10minutes after everyone else and at about 1 mtr met Bruce on his way up signalling no go.
The skipper had missed the wreck with the shot, everyone back on board and so all kitted up we were given the choice of a scenic wall dive 10mins away or the Breda 45mins later,  because everyone was kitted up we agreed to the scenic wall dive, with hindsight a mistake (in my opinion however I had not just done a 30mtrs bounce dive).
We surfaced after a very indifferent wall dive and carried on the pretence of being cold.
As we headed back to Lochaline for the surface interval the weather worsened.
Before I go on my thanks to Peter for arranging for rebreather Rob, Becky and I to have whole boat to ourselves for the second dive.
It seems that all the hard northerners didn't fancy the conditions and left the so-called southern softies to dive alone.
Well we dived the Thesis, Wow, what a brill dive, most of the bow plates had gone and the light shone through the holds, easy safe wreck penetration.
Rob videoed Becky and I descending the shot line and also inside the wreck through the rib structure, real arty farty stuff.
Peter the deckhand was with us (on deck) this time and helped both Becky and I de-kit.

Both Becky and I had a great weekend and many thanks to Wee Pete for his efforts in arranging this trip.
We met a great bunch of people who hopefully we will meet and dive with again in the near future.

No you can all go to sleep.

Just noticed Tonys post, his descriptions of the diving etc above make mine look like crap. however it is to late to change now.
 

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Curses - I thought I was doing a good job of sneaking up on  you lot.  I thought the guy I grabbed looked a little less surpised than he ought to have....
Then again, lack of o2 from the banks at Lochaline meant I'd had to break a few rules (very long story, not proud of it, wasn't my fault etc) so I spiked my PPO2 on the way down to the chaps.  The rebreather bitched  at me something rotten (nice to know THAT works!) on the way down...BEEEEEEEEEEP Still, it was funny watching the 3 divers instantly looking with utter confusion at their computers wondering what they'd done wrong


Alastair could be persuaded to smile, but he's got one of those old-hand salty-seadog sorts of humour that only brings him out in a grin if next door's alsatian's just eaten your head.

You lot seriously missed out not doing the Thesis - the vid's coming out soon to prove it (the avatar's a piccie taken inside the wreck), those burgers were some of the best I've ever tasted (then again, post-dive I'd eat a camel's lower intestine with relish) and the man Peter K is a top dude for putting it all together, not least for keeping his sense of humour while we were having a great time in the water with him stuck on the boat.  Top geezer. Lovely to meet you guys - hope to do it again soon.



Rob (All the gear, no idea)
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (diving dude @ Mar. 15 2003,21:31)]We were all concerned for Gav but deep down thought more room for us, but because I'd only met Gav & Fi the night before I felt guilty thinking this, however Ben agreed and said that Gav had a good sense of humour and would not be offended.
<font color='#000F22'>I have NO sense of humour
 

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Quality reports all, guys!

With the promise of diving like this and the various reports I've heard from other former 'Mull and Oban' wallahs, the excuses for not doing the next trip are beginning to look very thin!

Well done Peter K for organising the gig and well done also all the Shandy Contingent for making the mammoth trip from all parts 'sarrf' to ge to this glorious part of the world.

And you're right, if Kelly can't be arsed organising better weather next time, I say we spike his 'heavy' with lemonade! And then tell his mates that he's be associating with the 'Inglish'!! He'll be a social pariah in his immediate circles!
 

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Enjoyed the  Mull report Howard, nice to read someone elses take on the trip. I should have dived the "Thesis"
 
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