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"Three sheds"
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Well technically it was a club trip but as there were so many YDers there I thought I'd do a quick write up.

So Friday night found Missus Janos and myself driving down to Plymouth. I was a bit worried about the weather, as the latest forecast I'd seen looked good for the Saturday, really really shit [1] for Sunday, easing slightly on the Monday.

We were diving with Aquanauts, and staying in the Kynance hotel for the simple reason that Aquanauts had recommended them as they don't take any cash if you have to cancel. The Kynance is ok as a B&B. Nothing glamourous, but parking is a pain in the arse.

Anyway. Saturday morning saw us at Aquanauts where I met up with Brian, Paul (Turbanator) and Kirstie in the shop, all of whom work there. Woz turned up a few minutes later as he was once again crashing the Hellfins trip as he has rellies somewhere near Plymouth who he often stays with around this time. This was my first big trip with Aquanauts, and I chose them because of their "integrated" nature. As well as running the boat, they have a shop 10m from where it docks, complete with compressor and a kit storage room. This means that once you've unloaded your kit on Saturday morning, you don't need to drive down there until Monday evening to pick it up. Everything you need is on site. It's so easy. Which is really, really pleasant if your organising a trip for 12. Especially if those twelve faff as much as Hellfins do.

The twelve divers boarded the imaginatively named boat "Aquanaut" and met sweary-Dougie, the f'in swearing f'in skipper and Brian's dad. However, I'll piss him off big time by mentioning that the swearing is all a big front and he's a big softy really. Because he is :) Aquanaut the boat isn't the largest of boats, but it's ok if your organised. There's a lift that takes some getting used to - it's quick out of the water. And there's a loo on board (which is important for the ladies). There's a sheltered area inside with just enough room for 12 divers

As I was marshalling the trip, I quickly established our level of competance with Dougie by announcing that we were a bunch of southern poofs. The weather was ok, and the sea flatish, but in view of the forecast we couldn't get out to Hands Deep as planned and so we decided on dive on the Mewstone ledges and the Scylla on an (indirect) way back in.

The viz on the Mewstone was fantastic. A good 8m to 10m, which I'm sure would have been a disappointment to Plymouth regulars but was nectar to those of used to the Eastern end of the channel. I spotted a thornback ray (my second in the week, but only my third ever) and while my buddy Richard was looking at it I called over Missus Janos who was diving with Woz to have a look at it as it gracefully flapped off. Swimming up through the gullies of Mewstone there was plenty of life (bib pollock, and wrasse) and it was a nice easy dive to start the weekend with.

We moored up for a little while for pork products, and then it was time for the second dive we dived the Scylla, and I still really like it as a dive. I was diving with Woz and we had a "mission" to explore the engine room. Bombing down to the stern we ended up having a poke around the lower gearbox room which is quite tight and very silty. I dislodged about two grains of silt, whereas Woz stirred it all up [2]. I was very glad for the line we had laid, and I definitely wouldn't go in without one.

Then it was back up to the top of the Scylla and back to the shot. We didn't have time to moon at the webcam as Woz had clocked up 17 minutes of stops (I on the breather was cleared) which we did on the bow shotline. Despite this being weighed down with several metres of chain, some muppet Inspo divers managed to drag it up and down by several metres :eek: as they passed us starting their dive, and it was a bit of a faff all round.

Back on board it was time for hot doughnuts (mmm) tea and medals, and we headed back into port. A faff free disembarkation (not) and we put our kit in the storeroom ready for the next day.

Saturday night, following a recommendation from Aquanuats, we went to a fantastic but pricey (£33 / head) Japanese just down the road. I like my food, and this place was seriously good. It's well recommended.

Sunday and the weather wasn't looking good. We tried to nose out round to the Layne, but being a bunch of self-confessed southern poofs we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and we agreed to Dougie's wise suggestion of diving the Barnpool. I think Dougie would have been happy to take us round to the JEL - conditions were moer unpleasant than unsafe - but I was greatful for his experience and local knowledge. Anyway, on to the Barnpool a "scenic dive" which is basically a silty wall.

Woz and I dropped down to 36m before finding a few scallops which I bagged and a flatfish which I didn't. I also saw another Thornback ray! Making that three in the last week! Making our way slowly up the slope of the wall, we surfaced after 30 minutes or so, before sitting out on deck in a rare bit of sun to eat our lunch.

In the afternoon a couple of pairs (including Woz and myself) dived the wall round Devil's point, another harbour dive. Although initially very silty, we found a few more scallops and the wall turned into a proper wall, with a forest of plumose anenomones sticking out at 90 degrees and much better viz. We drifted along here for a bit before Woz called the dive on air, having only entered the water with 120 bar in his twin 7s.

Back at the shop Brian fitted me for my new drysuit, a Polar Bears which I'm having made to measure. I have the first cut, and it was time to choose valve locations, sleeve lengths and take in a little material surprisingly the waist! While I was there, who should wander in but Mal Bridgeman and his buddy whose name I have embarassingly forgotton. [3] After talking diving crap for a while it was time to go to a barbeque at Woz's rellies' place, where the scallops went down a treat.

Monday. Despite a strong wind, Dougie was optimistic about the sea. Coming from the land it will apparently "take the top off the swell" and sure enough it did. The sea was plenty flat enough, and I didn't realise that we'd left the shelter of the breakwater until I looked up. The sun was now out in full shining mode as well, which makes all the difference.

Woz and I dived the Rosehill, which was a superb forest of pink sea fans. We lost each other briefly at one point, and looked for each other in the wrong places. However we have sorted it out now and next time I'll go to the stern and he'll go to the bow. I spotted a small lobster which I nobbled and then it was time to ascend. We made it back to the shot and then ascended, only to meet Mal and his buddy on their descent to the wreck.

After a surface interval and more chocolate, it was time for our final dive: the James Egan Layne. The Layne didn't disappoint. Good viz and covered with fish. We were dropped on the stern and Woz and I did some great swimthroughs up to the bow, before hooning it hand over hand on the wreck back to the broken off stern section before ascending on a blob.

Then it was back to shore, coincidentally accompanying the Gipsy Moth IV and being part of the Flotilla that welcomed here back to Plymouth.

Back at Aquanauts it was time to pack up our kit and then brave the A303 back to Surrey, at the end of a throughly enjoyable weekend. Despite the dodgy weather on the Sunday we had two good days of diving and one that was the best it could have been in the circumstances. Thanks go to Woz for buddying me, and also to Brian and Dougie and all at Aquanuats. We all had a great time :)

Janos




[1] - One of those tehcnical terms the Met Office use. Like "Later" and "Good"
[2] - And definitely not the other way round
[3] - I'm notoriously bad with names. Why do you think Missus Janos is known as Missus Janos in there reports?
 

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Atomic Blonde and Midjit Idjit
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16,469 Posts
Lovely report Janos. I'm diving down there with K & P in July, so looking forward to it.

Hxxx
 

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All hail the mighty ZOM
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26,851 Posts
Nicely summed up Mr J. Had the last of the bbq steak as part of a fry-up this morning. Mmmmmmmmm. I like diving with Aquanauts- it's nice and chilled, they make you feel welcome and you can play the "wind the Douggie up" game which entertains me if not the skipper.
 

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aka Chimp 1 or Mavis...
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10,108 Posts
Nice report Janos. Need to get back down there and dive with Aquanauts again. They are a good bunch.

Regards
 

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UK GUE Instructor
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1,448 Posts
Thanks Janos & Woz, it as great to have you guys down here, hope to see you again soon :) It's really nice having such a friendly bunch with us for the weekend, and the Hellfins are a great club!

Re Coronation, GLOC maybe we should remind Sarah and see what she says. As the licencee perhaps she could set something up for us.

Re the lift, Wilbo is spot on, it can go very very slow, but i don't get that either coz Dougie plays the "wind up Brian game" when ever I'm on board. I'm too easy and I really hate get jigged up and down so he does that lots. Top dad though, wouldn't swap him for the world.
 

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All hail the mighty ZOM
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26,851 Posts
Thanks Janos & Woz, it as great to have you guys down here, hope to see you again soon :) It's really nice having such a friendly bunch with us for the weekend, and the Hellfins are a great club!

Re Coronation, GLOC maybe we should remind Sarah and see what she says. As the licencee perhaps she could set something up for us.

Re the lift, Wilbo is spot on, it can go very very slow, but i don't get that either coz Dougie plays the "wind up Brian game" when ever I'm on board. I'm too easy and I really hate get jigged up and down so he does that lots. Top dad though, wouldn't swap him for the world.
It goes very slow when hoisting a Woz, his super heavy twin 12's (the heaviest twin 12s on the planet for some reason) and a deco cylinder. I have to jig up and down a bit for the last 1/4 so it can get my fat arse up to to the top.

And tell your dad if he ever dares to change one bit I'll put a bat up his nightie. He's my 2nd favourite skipper. After my dad.
 
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