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As dawn broke over Edinburgh I checked my alarm clock and immediately sprang into action by switching it off and going back to sleep.

At this point some two hundred miles away Marco was on the road to Dave's house to get to the famed location that is St Abbs.

As Marco forced his way through the road-works and heavy goods traffic I snored and dreamt of (the following has been edited due to the fact that Mrs Gavster or "Fiona" might read this and use her new dive knife.)

At seven I finally got up and made Fi's breakfast (what a new man I am) and then eventually packed the car and got on the road to Abbs.

We arrived a few minutes after nine and immediately were confronted by Marco (a dead ringer for Omar Sharriff) and Dave Williamson (A dead minger ... sorry Dave but the gag was there!)

Introductions were made and it was decided to wait for Billy's boat at eleven. That gave us time to generally have a chat and wait for the arrival of Paul C.

Paul arrived at 10.30 and after a furious bit of kitting up we managed to get on Billy's boat and off the Skellys.

This was a fabulous dive. No need to go deeper than 16m and 45 minutes of clear water, limited drift and surge, loads of life and me and the missus nearly spat our regs we were both smiling so much.

Even the weather turned and the heavy-ish drizzle that had dominated the morning was replaced by bright sunshine and a delightful rainbow. It really doesn't get much better than this people.

After a surface interval that included a Cheese-Burger from Alison(Billy's charming wife) and a can of coke. We had to kit up in about 2 minutes to catch the boat again. My tank nearly slipped from it's keeper and another passing diver managed to rescue me. It did mean me having to bend over right in front of him whilst he adjusted the tank that got some very strange looks from people walking their dogs. Hadn't they ever seen a man dressed in rubber bend over in a car-park before!

Anyway, the next dive site was a tunnel ten minutes from the harbour. The entrance was a wide fissure that narrowed and darkened as you went further in. There are two chimneys and me and Fi ended up using the first one. This brought us to the surface and a wee belly-scramble through and then re-descend, cut back a bit and through the other side. Great fun.

After exiting the tunnel we ended up cutting through a fairly dense kelp forest but after some weaving about I saw a clear path and descended down to about 16m and beneath the kelp.

The area opened up again and despite the viz not being as clear as the first dive it was still more than acceptable.
We saw load of fish, Wrasse, Pollock a three and a half foot Ling and loads of Crabs but it was Fi's spotting of a fairly large octopus that really made the day for me.

I actually managed to swim over it but Fi gave me a tug on the fin I turned to see the creature in full flight. It settled on the side of a rock and I lay on the deck just watching it pulse.

Unfortunately, the group of divers that we had shared the boat with came over a disturbed the beastie and we decided at that point to continue. With Fi's 12 almost empty it was time to stick up a blob and have a long safety stop due to the up-and-down nature of the dive.

Again the sun was out and the diving had been completed for the day. After packing cars we all adjourned to The New Inn for a beer and a chat. After saying our goodbyes (one very temporary 'cos we'll be seeing Marco in Sharm in a week) everyone shuffled off.

In the car on the way back to Edinburgh I said to Fi that the Internet must be a powerful thing. Divers from all over the country meet up, have a great day and all because of a website.

We'll be back at Abbs as soon as we can, just gotta get the Red Sea out of the way first.


(Edited by Gavin Yates at 12:24 pm on Sep. 9, 2002)
 

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Ok Dave I apologise .... you're the George Clooney of YD.

BTW Can we give Paul C a new nick-name "Bin-Bag" after his sartorial elegance on Sat?
 

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I thought it was his new drysuit...

Nice report Gav, I thought for a while you were gonna be the lazy git you declared yourself to be and not bother writing one but in the end you came good... Attaboy! :thumb:
 

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Hey guys it's all true...Davey's been very good not posting the fact that he and Marco had to pin me down on the sea bed whilst I frantically tried to get the air out of my dry suit boots :lol: and then get my feet back in them...and I have considerately not posted the fact that on dive 2 Davey motored off at warp factor 7 leaving me & Marco wondering where the &#36*/# he'd gone and swinging the old 'lost buddy' procedures in to action. :rofl2: Ah! It's always a good time at Abbs. Billy says that he'll be sailing all year weather permitting and he says last year the first fortnight in December was the best diving all year with 20m viz. So the season's not done yet boys and girls, not done at all... :confined:
 

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Ooooh your a hard man to please young PaulC.. Ok since you mentioned both incidents I feel it my duty to write a wee story about them... lol... (Oh No!! came the unified cry) Too late.... cracks knuckles and hunches over keyboard

When Paul arrived at Abbs he realised he didn't have a mask with him and so bought a shiney new one from Scoutscroft, the only problem with new ones, as you all know is that they need a good scrubbing with something mildly abrasive like toothpaste or they fog up like crazy, well unfortunately Paul didn't get the chance to do that before we were dragging him by the scruff of his latex neck seal down the harbour wall and onto the boat.

Unfortunately this lack of scrubbing helped to make Pauls first dive a bit of a misty one and may have contributed to the events that would follow.

The first dive, as decribed by Gav was on the Skelly's, an awesome dive full of life and natural beauty, with gullys a plenty to explore, we had a spring tide running and so we were enjoying a nice drift mainly along the bottom of the cliff, we were lucky enough to see and play with a couple of nice sized octopus, I had one frantically spurting clouds of ink at me because I kept stopping its escape by putting my hand just above its head, not touching it.. just blocking its escape route... When Octopi decide to swim they can only go in one direction.. (head first) so by keeping my hand where it was I was able to keep Ollie in place for a while so we could "Oooh" and "Aaaah" a little longer, plus Marco was doing his underwater David Bailey impression with his digi camera.... "Move that leg a little darlin.. no, the other leg... no, the other leg... not that leg, the other one.... oh never mind.."

Not long after our time with the octopi the wall to our right just hooked right back on its self and we followed it round to be presented with what at first appeared to be a huge overhang with a pitch black area beneath it, but as I ventured further into it my UK400's light couldn't even reach the back, so I slowly swam further and further in eventually realising that this was no overhang but a bloody great cave which was funneling in on all sides the further in I went.

I finally could see quite a few large fish meandering in the gloom at the neck but still couldn't see the end of it. I had to turn and look back out at this point as I was getting the Eeby Jeebies in a big way and wasn't sure just how far I'd gone in... but it was ok, I could see Marco and Paul further back peering in, so feeling slightly braver now and also having to be macho I ventured further until finally I could see it narrowed right down to a tunnel that an adventurous cave diver 'might' just have tackled, it was just about diver size, but my torch light showed that it meandered off into the depths of rock and there was no way I was going further, I peered into it for a good while trying to work out if it was a swim through that I didn't know about or not.

Unfortunately it was at this point, while I was shining into the narrow tunnel that I lost a bit of bouyancy control and had to put my hand down, which then sank into a thick bed of powdery silt which must collect in the neck of this funnel and was engulfed in a zero viz environment, cursing myself for destroying the viz for my two buddies I tried to back out without creating more of a mess but it was too late, a cloud just moved backwards out of the cave and basically hung there.... sorry guys


Anyway... <ahem> moving quickly on, I'd noticed during the progress of this dive that Paul was not only nearly blinded with a mist that permeated all but an a penny sized circle of his mask, but was also struggling badly with bouyancy, I regularly turned to find Marco taking a picture of something or other and there would be Paul upside down and finning straight towards the seabed, but every time I enquired, Paul would stare at me through his misted up mask and come back with an OK signal (bless him) although I'd now come to the conclusion that he must be having a miserable time of it.

We later found that Paul had decided to use his suit more for bouyancy rather than his BC and it appears he may have been overweighted thereby requiring more air than was acceptable in a drysuit.. This large body of air was yet to cause Paul even more grief

A little further into the dive and drifting along nicely I turned into the current to look back at my buddy's and could see Marco had found a beastie that looked photogenic and Paul appeared to be up high on the wall peering at something, but was he? something didn't look quite right, he was too close, he wasn't swimming but was holding on... So I held station for a momenty finning slowly into the tide but watching Paul... "What was he doing?" There was no movement, he was definitely holding on, so I swam back and up to him and as soon as he saw me he signalled the 'Im not happy' signal and pointed at his autodump.

Figuring he was too bouyant and couldn't get the air out of his dump I started purging air from his suit for him, now I'm not sure if this was making matters worse at his feet end or not... Let me explain.. after a while of trying to purge all of the air from his suit Paul started pointing to his fins, so I moved down while still holding on cos I didn't want him going anywhere and started to look at the problem with his fins.

Thinking initially that a fin strapped had popped off with too much air I went to pull it back over the heel of his boot, only to realise that there was no foot in the boot and that Paul's foot was actually a way up the leg, and to make matters worse the boot was vacuumed shut and there was no way we were getting it back in.

Marco was on the job now and so I removed the fin altogether and passed it to Marco, but no matter how hard we tried there was not a chance that Paul was gonna get his foot back in, then to add to the complications I felt the other foot and realised that the same thing had happened with that... a vacuumed boot and no foot... Hmmmmm

It became obvious that the only thing we could do now was to get air back into his boots to remove the vacuum effect...

So... with Paul being excellent and not being perturbed in anyway, he allowed me to dump all of his air from his BC and we dragged him off the wall and down to the seabed. He was safe enough because both Marco and myself were hanging onto him for dear life and he wasn't going anywhere.

Fortunately we were blessed with great viz, a shell covered bottom that didn't stir up and a good team effort from all three, so without any drama's at all we were able to hold Paul down, squirt air into the drysuit, hold his legs slightly aloft and violá his feet slipped deftly back into place, we then reattached the fins, gave big grins and ok's all round and set about completing the dive.

A great team effort, an excellent learning experience and a top quality dive. :thumb:

I'll write about the second dive after I've done some work..... ;)
 

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Dive 2 - Tyes Tunnel

Initially we were going to do a shore dive to Cathedral Rock as our second dive, mainly because I was strapped and was bleating about not being able to afford it, but when I heard that the boat was going to Tyes Tunnel (A dive I've been trying to do ever since I started going to Abbs) I decided to ignore my limited diving budget for the day and with everyone elses nods of agreement arranged for us to be on the boat, we nearly didn't make it though as we thought we had ages left with Gav and Fi just about to tuck into burgers etc when Billy announced he was leaving in 5 minutes.... never have you seen such a rush, but we made it, (Thanks to some very patient divers from Sheffield)

By the time the boat was on site I was already kitted and was whispering to Paul and Marco to get ready quickly as I wanted us to be the first ones through before the ensuing rush and disturbed conditions within the tunnel. Billy's dive brief had me gagging to go as his description of chambers and chimneys etc was making me chomp at the bit.

As soon as the engine stopped I was in... Marco and Paul quickly followed and we were surface swimming over to the area where we'd submerge, you could see the rock that would become the mouth of the tunnel starting to change shape at the surface so it was really easy to find, we just had to dump the air and we were sinking into the entrance... A quick check behind me, a prompt return of the ok signals and in we went....

The tunnel was quite wide, strewn with large boulders that had lots of life just sitting on them, a very small angler fish sitting on one, a large bluey black lobster on another, little squat lobsters and other startled beasts everywhere. As the first man in, I was probably having the best of it as I watched all of the marine life scurry away and leap off the sides of the rocks into darker places I was swimming slowly past but leaving my torch beam on them hopefully allowing Marco to see them as he came by, I'm not sure if he was fortunate to see anything as I forgot to ask.

The dive through was awesome, some places were pitch black and then other parts were illuminated with the chimmeys which reached up to just a couple of meters below the surface, I loitered in the chamber for a while, wanting to take ages but aware that there were people following, eventually moving into a narrower tunnel again.
All to quickly the tunnel ended, but had me confused, I could see a way out right in front of me which looked pretty #### tight and it was... Yeah Jay, I tried to fit through... Of course I got stuck....I really must work on my spatial ability)

So the only way out was up, looking up the chimney I could see that by the time I got up there I was nearly at the surface again and now understood why this dive can only be completed at high tide. So slowly I ascended and exited the tunnel.... I was gutted that it was all over too soon... I needed to do it again, but how?

Obviously I couldn't/wouldn't go back the way we came, as there was going to be a flow of divers leaving the boat who would of been very unhappy with Davey swimmng in the opposite direction to everyone else, so I decided to try and work our way around and back to the entrance once more.

On exiting the tunnel we found that we were on top of a huge field of kelp with only a few meters of water above us, so the only thing to do was to push down and into the root structure of it all, which we did. I love doing this at Abbs as there are always lots of little swim thrus between overhanging rocks and kelp roots... pulling myself through these tight little spots while searching under every nook and cranny cut away by the currents is great fun, its usually very nicely illuminated with shafts of light striking through the kelp fronds above giving a cosy comfy surreal feeling to the whole affair.

The problem with this sort of diving is that its very difficult to keep track of those behind... (You know where I'm going with this don't you) as you just have to push and pull your self through the tight areas and hopefully regroup on the other side. After a period of first being forced left and then right and then maybe left again, with the odd look back to confirm I still had company, I squeezed myself out and into clear water at about 12m down, finned a couple of strokes and turned to face the way I'd come to watch my buddy's exit...... No buddy's... At first I wasn't concerned, they had to come out this way.... no-one appeared... So instead of venturing back in, I decided to rise slightly thereby allowing me to see their bubbles... no bubbles!!.... Hmmmm.... confused and with a growing fear that we had definitely become seperated I headed back in wondering if they were having problems, but for all intents and purpose they were gone.....

(Discussing this event with Marco on the way home he seems to thinks that maybe he stopped to look at or photograph something and then followed thinking I'd gone one way when I'd actually gone another.. Marco's a really nice bloke though and could just be saying this to make me feel better) Cheers Marco :biggrin:

Anyway.. the outcome was, we were separated, so as training dictates it was time to surface and look for the others. This was my first experience at being separated and alone on a dive, I'd always wondered how I'd feel if it happened, well in this case I was really enjoying myself and didn't want to come up, although I'm not really kitted for solo diving, I wanted to go on, I felt extremely comfortable and relaxed, I was angry for not discussing the option of going alone if we were to split... yes I know.. naughty naughty!!

(As a threesome and with experienced divers, I see this as an option although I'm aware that solo diving is hotly contested and its something that I wouldn't usually consider, but hey! I was there and I didn't want to leave...)

But... as it hadn't been discussed I yanked out my DSMB and decided on doing a mid water deploy from about 10m. Everything was going great, Held a nice trim, kept a constant eye on my bouyancy as I was getting it all together, swapped regs and pumped a touch of air into the bag, not too much as I still haven't mastered this technique mid water and so didn't want to give myself any issues.... Well bugger me if the f*&&#36ing reel didn't jam.. Now extremely happy I hadn't put much air in and still keeping my eye on the depth I managed to free the line and up it went... Cool! :bang:
A fairly slow ascent followed, all of the time looking out for Marco and Paul, I even thought I saw them at one time far below me blowing bubbles, only to be dissapointed when I could see that one of them was wearing twins....

I knew the guys must be in the vicinity somewhere close as Billys boat arrived and I heard the engine go into reverse, moments later I'm breaking water and not far away is Marco still in the water and coming towards me, already on the boat and de-kitted is Paul looking non too happy... sorry mate


Marco asked if I wanted to go down again, well thats like asking a kid if he wants a chocolate bar really, so after passing my sausage to Billy and trying not to wither under the hatefull glare eminating from Paul, I gratefully sank down into the water again... Giving Marco the signal that HE should lead we set off to use up the rest of our remaining air.

If I was responsible for the separation then I'm truly sorry for messing up, I truly believe that I'm usually a very attentive buddy and it grieves me to think that I might be responsible for the split and therefore the end of Pauls dive. I'll buy you a nice cold beer on the next trip mate, don't you be thinking of turning my air off the next time we dive now will ya....  ;)
 

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Now Dave I would say, I definitely wasn't giving you a hateful glare :peace: . I always look like that when I get wind...no seriously, when we separated from Dave (and I've tried that leading a 3some business, not easy actually) all procedures were followed correctly and we reunited in good order. Frankly I got on the boat 'cos after the tunnel (which was simply magic):approve_2: it was a bit of a kelp dive and I can take or leave that; so I thought once up, stay up...as to dive 1 exemplary help from my buddies as Dave describes, certainly I learnt stuff from that and I'd like to think Dave and Marco gained some new knowledge as well - like how to hold a buoyant diver down...fun fun...as to the mask, I found a bit of water deliberately trapped in the mask and slopped around is an emergency remedy. But during the surface interval I got Alison to give me some toothpaste...
 

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Hehe - everytime I look at Parahandy's avatar, I crack up laughing! For those of you who have no idea what the #### the joke is, watch Phoenix Nights on C4 on Thursday nights (10pm). For those of you who have met Tony, you'll quickly see a resemblance with a certain Mr Brian Potter!
 
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