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The Artist formerly known as 'Kirky'
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Cant wait to see the UW pics !!
 

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Ok - we'll do the trip report as a team affair, so I'll make a start.

The long range forecast for last weekend couldn't have been more wrong as we pulled into St Abbs around 1pm with the sun cracking the flags. As we pulled into the camping area, I noticed that Andy, Rachel and Sophie had already arrived and pitched their tent. We quickly joined them and pitched ours before toying with the idea of going for a dive that afternoon. The arguments for and against were banded about for a while until a car with Netherlands number plates pulled into the field - the Mays had arrived!! First things first and Eddie pulls out a crate of Grolsch - no diving this afternoon then!!

Dave and Mark pulled into the campsite around 5.30 and proceded to unload enough camping gear to keep a band of gypos happy! Dave grabbed a beer and sat on his arse while Mark (bless him) worked his butt off putting up the tent (this was a flavour of what was to come for the weekend!!)

After a meal in a local pub, Ammers texted me to say she had arrived and we all went back to the site to get to know each other over a few beers and to talk about the dive plans for the next day. With the long drive for most of us, the day ended relatively early (in bed for 11pm believe it or not!) but the entertainment had only started!

As the (now full to bursting) campsite settled down for the night, strange noises started to eminate from Mark and Dave's tent, accompanied by a highly aggrieved Mark exclaiming "For God's sake, I can taste that one! Do it in your sleeping bag next time you smelly tw*t!"

Giggling into my pillow, with aching muscles, I fell asleep ...
 

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Lol.....

Ok... Mark arrived at mine with a trailer loaded to the gills, items including 2 tents, Huuuuge pagola, stove, seperate barbecue, camping chairs, table with integrated chairs, air beds, wind breaks, drums of water, pots, pans, utensils, cooler boxes, games, badminton raquets, torch's, beer, massive boxes laden with food and other items to many to remember or list..... but this is Mark all over, he is totally "Mr Prepared" for any eventuality that may arise... me... I just threw my sh*t into the stew and off we went.
The journey to Abbs was longer than expected cos we seemed to hit masses of bank holiday traffic all going in the same direction as ourselves but eventually we arrived at the campsite to be met by a smiling bunch of people that were to become good friends over the next couple of days....

I felt it was my duty on arrival to introduce ourselves to everyone and immediately crack open a bottle of beer (just for bonding purposes you understand) and proceed to get to know everyone.... Mark being the martyr that he is ripped out the tent and started pitching like a man possessed :smash: gaining everyones approval and making me look really bad... this was to go on for whole of the trip... Mark making me look bad that is...

After a few beers everyone went down to the pub for a meal, except me and our lad as we still had 14 ton of stuff to unpack and get sorted, it was during this period that we unpitched the tent that Mark had so furiously erected and changed its location and then also put up Pagola Palace... so now we had all of the tents surrounding this massive pagola and YD were well and truly ensconsed taking up about half an acre of land.... many other campers seemed quite put out by our monstrous theft of real estate but we were in and not moving for anyone...

After about two hours of getting stuff unpacked and sorted..  seriously.... we then decided to follow the others to the pub only to meet them coming back joined by non other than Ammers..

Now AnneMarie was a shock for me cos I expected to meet a ruddy cheeked, six footer with hairy knuckles and 'DIR Rules' tattoed onto a chunky forearm but no... I found myself shaking hands with a little five foot nothing wee Scottish lassie who didn't look like she could carry a 7ltr pony never mind a twinset and side mounts.. Altho she could swear like a Glaswegian docker and so I warmed to her immediately..

After showing off the new Camp YD to everyone and a frantic pitching of Ammers tent, we gathered beneath the pagola to while away the remaining hour or so before bed, whilst Mark ran around in the gloom constantly tidying and putting things right....
I'm sure that boy's got a speed habit... sorry kidda, only joking  ;)

Finally we hit the sack with me dropping some of the most obscene farts I've ever produced which had Mark slagging me off in everyway imaginable, but each wail of dismay just had me laughing so hard it was just making me fart more and more....
Quality!! :bang:

I curled up in my bag and drifted off to sleep already having a great time and we hadn't even gotten in the water yet.......


(Edited by Dave Williamson at 6:00 pm on June 4, 2002)
 

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I don't which is worse.....Chinese Water Torture, or waiting for the next installment of 'YD Take Camp Runamuk'?!

Come on guys, this is edge of the seat stuff! And we haven't even begun with the diving yet! My finger-nails can't take much more of this


Yours, in eager anticipation,
 

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YD awards for the St Abbs weekend as follows:

Most congenial member - Eddie (for his contribution of a crate of Grolsch - nice work fella!!)

Happiest Camper - Mark (the YD gypsy encampment wouldn't have been the same without you)

Most game for a laugh - Ammers!! (Yep - it takes real balls to meet up with a group of male divers and take the onslaught of abuse with a great sense of humour)

Swedish Chef Awards - Andy2tanx (Great breakfasts mate!)

Lazy tw*t award - Sorry Dave, but its YOU

PADI AWARE award - Dave again for taking time out to feed the fishes!

Superb weekend and made a lot of new friends - roll on the Farnes trip in July (why haven't we got a June trip organised??)

Regards
 

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</span>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Quote: from Heads Up on 5:23 pm on June 4, 2002
YD awards for the St Abbs weekend as follows:

Lazy tw*t award - Sorry Dave, but its YOU

PADI AWARE award - Dave again for taking time out to feed the fishes!
<span =''>

Thanks Jay... it's nice to know all of my efforts had been noted  :biggrin:  
 

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well hurry up cos I've got a second novel written and it only covers dive two... :biggrin:

Its a good job I don't get charged by the word...
 

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(To the strains of slow hand-clapping and banging of tables)

" Why are we waiting....W-h-y are we waiting....? "

Dave's champing at the bit to get his version of events down, and I've just gnawed through my left thumb in expectation!

YD, you can be cruel when you want to be


Quicker already with the Abbs report!!






(Edited by Bren Tierney at 3:20 am on June 6, 2002)


(Edited by Bren Tierney at 4:11 pm on June 6, 2002)
 

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OK - here is the next installment:

DAY ONE, DIVE ONE

... morning dawns over the sleepy campsite. Its 7am already and I'm wide awake. We'd gone down to see the boat skipper the previous day to arrange the first dive for 11am (we could have had 9am but I reckoned we'd all appreciate the lie in). To be honest, I was so excited I could have gone diving right then! As others slowly emerged from their pits, we spent an hour or so checking our kit and making sure final plans were in order for the days diving.

Lucky I checked my twinset before leaving the campsite because when I turned on my gas I blew not one, but TWO o'rings!! It was while changing them, with Ammers looking on that it came to me - a chance in a lifetime to recruit more members to YD: Here I was with an OMS rig on my left, Ammers on my right and a digital camera in my tent. Surely she'd never agree to ....

Agree? She nearly snapped my hand right off but only on the proviso that I posted it on DN!! Sweet! And what a good sport Ammers was turning out to be! On with the rig, a thumbs up and SNAP - history was made!

Anyway, back to the diving. We loaded up Mark's trailer (did I mention he'd brought a trailer for all the kit that didn't fit in the back of his car - his ESTATE car??) and slowly traversed the campsite that was now resembling Sengatte in Calais (apologies to all our Taliban members for a blatant stereotype) and ambled down to the dock.

Now for those of you who have ever dived St Abbs, you will, of course, be familiar with the HARBOUR MASTER! This guy has sat and failed the entrants exam for Sainsbury's parking attendant and so ended up working here. The day was already about 20c and he was walking about in his orange flourescent jacket, clipboard and walkie talkie - "You can't park there ... thats not how you launch a boat ... you don't give O2 for DCS, give him Argon ..." etc.

After a brief run-in with the above, we parked up, kitted up and took all the kit to the ened of the dock to load into Billy's boat. I nearly cried as I watched my new twinset banging and scraping its way down the 4m of harbour wall to the boat but then I thought f**k it, can't be helped.

Off out to the first dive (hooray!!) - The Skellies.

Nice easy intro dive for us all to find out sea legs - max depth we got was 15m and with a dive time of 45mins it proved a great starter dive.

We decided to dive as a group of 6 divers (Not a good plan in retrospect as getting 6 divers to do ANYTHING together is a mathematical impossibility). The viz was about 8-10m once down and there was LOADS of sealife including the BIGGEST eating crab I have EVER seen - this guys shell must have been a foot across (no word of a lie, and yes I DO know what 6 inches looks like!). Pity about the St Abbs conservation policy as that bugger would have fed 6 that night on the barbecue!

Almost every rock we turned over, every crevice we peeked into held some delights:

Eating crabs
Lobster
Octopus
Scorpion Fish
Jellyfish - tons of Jellyfish every where (must have had a large bloom recently)

All in all, a most satisfactory 1st dive at St Abbs. We decided to modigy the dive system for the afternoon's dive (ie buddy pairs instead of group diving etc) but we all arrived back in the harbour well satisfied and ready for more.

A great surface interval at Billy's house (with many rounds of bacon rolls, tea, coffee and orange juice) - Billy and Alison are without doubt the BEST hosts I have ever experienced on ANY dive trip.

3pm and it was time to load up for dive two ...
 

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SATURDAY morning…….

I awoke feeling like I’d been kicked in the ribs all night…. Mark???

Pulling out the earplugs that I’d so cleverly remembered to bring (knowing that I’d be surrounded by snoring\talking\humping campers) I could hear the sounds of the YD encampment moving about so figured I might get myself up, plus the bladder had reached a new level of pain not previously experienced….. Giving our Mark a nudge on the way past and smirking at the verbal abuse that emerged from inside a crumpled sleeping bag, I opened the tent zip to see that it was a glorious morning and realised that things were looking good already…. Nice one…   :biggrin:

A quick trip down to the shower block for my morning ablutions, followed by 3 Weetabix covered in lashings of milk had me sorted for the day, Mark finally emerged complaining of not getting any sleep cos he’d had to listen to some Geordie neighbours chatting till 4 am…. “Why didn’t you just use the earplugs I brought?” I inquired…. “Couldn’t get them to stay in” he mumbled…

Well they ARE a technical bit of kit...  :thinking:

Fortunately we didn’t have to get down to the harbour too early as we were booked onto the boat for mid morning.. Good move Jay! so it was a nice lazy getting together of the kit with the sun hot on our backs and lots of light hearted banter bouncing back and forth. Ammers tried on Jay's OMS wing and posed for piccies.. we all fell about laughing at the thought of this Halcyon drumbeater posted all over the internet wearing OMS, there followed a multitude of ideas and captions that could be used with some of the best one’s coming from the girl herself….

Getting six divers plus kit into one tiny parking space in Abbs was gonna be a chew at the best of times, so was decided that the easiest way of transporting everyone and their gear was by loading it into the trailer and we’d all pile into our kids car… well nearly everyone, Eddie had to travel on the trailer cos Andy’s arse took up so much space (I’m still not sure if eddies recovered yet, his smile looked kinda strained whilst he hung on for dear life at a steady 40 or so mph to Abbs)

When we arrived at the harbour, you couldn’t swing a cat, it was chocka… we carefully  threaded our way past everyone’s cars, vans, bottles, crates and other misc. kit to finally park next to Billy’s house where we were swapping car parking spaces with Andy’s Mam and Dad, who had joined the troop north but who were just there sightseeing and fortunately for us, staying in Billy’s B&B.

The atmosphere around the harbour was electric, it was hot and sultry and there wasn’t a  breath of  wind so all of the sounds of laughter and chat, the sounds of ribs starting up, engines revving, people shouting, seagulls screeching all drifted in the air adding to the anticipation and general level of happiness I was experiencing…

I was so up for this trip that it was ridiculous, I was excited to the point of....(Whoops another shit was needed… WHAT on earth had I eaten that could be so offensive??..) so off to the bog I ran, after spending a good 10 minutes musing on life in general I unlocked the door and was delighted to find that Jay was waiting to take my place…. Excellent!!  :rofl:

(For those that know Abbs harbour toilet you’ll know that there is no window, its like a sealed coffin.... Jay’s face was an absolute picture of horror…… I threw in some passing comment to add to his dismay and left giggling like a schoolgirl mentally picturing his writhing face as he tried to shite without breathing…..)

While we were dropping our gear onto the boat, Jay had returned all ashen faced and calling me all of sorts of dirty b*stards… not too sure why tho… heheh ;)

The first dive according to our captain was going to be the Skellies, apparently a nice little pootle amongst some life infested gully's... we weren't to be dissapointed...

I couldn’t believe the weather and conditions as we left the harbour, the sun shone and the sea was flat calm, everything was absolutely perfect (wasn't it supposed to be p*ssing down??) Not complaining though... I was filled with the usual excitement mixed with apprehension that I get before every dive, but things just felt really really good, nothing or nobody could spoil it today....

Once we arrived and dropped the shot, Billy gave a quick briefing of the site, I was gagging now, the water looked so bloody inviting that I couldn't wait for the briefing to end...we already had our buddy pairs arranged, There was Mark and myself, then Jay and Andy together then Ammers and Eddie.
It had been agreed that we’d gather on the bottom and try and get some group pictures and then probably split into our respective pairs for the dive.

Hitting the water we swam over to the line and Mark and I gave each other a last check, the others were already down so we gave the ok signal and then dumped air to at last start sinking into the glorious Scottish waters I'd waited so long for...... As I slowly sank down through a mass of rising bubbles from the first four down I was grinning into my mask like a man on drugs, it was fantastic, but to then see the ocean floor and the rest of the group come into view while I was still high above them just blew me away... the whole area just opened up and I could see for miles.... well quite a way's ;)

While still metres above I could see people shuffling into position for pictures and others pointing and giving directions, the viz was excellent, absolutely excellent.. or is it that i'm so used to crap viz?.... nah... this was good..

Being well chuffed with the siutation I dropped into position and threw some of my best poses.. smile!! :biggrin:

After a few minutes of everyone getting in everyones way trying to get infront of the lense we decide it was time to move on... I reached down to my air integrated computer to check on things only to find it had given up the ghost…. It was a complete blank…. something like the  stare I was giving it as I tried to take in what was happening right then and there… This wasn't happening... I pressed the button and watched it run thru it's cycle and then go blank again.....

No!!!!!!!!! I’d waited so long…… did my dive have to end before it started???

Did it bollox!!!!

Ok…  I figured…. time for a calculated risk…. now knowing that it had just worked on the boat and it had given me a reading of 220 bar on a 15ltr and knowing that I was in clear viz with a load of experienced divers, mostly with twins, and at an average depth of about 14m I decided I’d go for it, so I let everyone know my dilemma, and with a few signals from one or two people indicating that they were aware and were watching we set off as a group (thanks to the great viz). (BTW I was wearing an Aladin Pro as backup, I’d just lost the ability to read my contents… that was all..) lol!

Wow!! what a fantastic dive, it reminded me very much of swimming in a group on a warm water holiday type dive. There was Andy in front, sticking his head into every nook and cranny and then waving us over to see what he’d found, items including a big octopus (nice one Andy, the first I’ve ever seen in the UK) followed by THE biggest crab I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across… I reckon this thing was born around the time of the dinosaurs demise… we all hung in a large circle, first looking at this table top with claws and then back at each other, gesticulating and shaking heads in amazement..

I think everyone one of us wanted to pick this beast up and pose for Eddies camera but nobody was gonna handle this thing, it looked like getting a finger trapped under one of its legs could of resulted in the loss of a digit....

(Note: Author is allowed to exaggerate slightly)

After a while we grudgingly moved on and left the behemoth behind...
Thank god for Marine reserves otherwise we as divers might not ever see anything that mature in the wild...

(I’d decided that TwoTanks was now gonna be called RockFerret in my mind… As he was doing great so far….)

I got to see a large wrasse or two, jelly fish of the sort I hadn't come across before.. flat topped beasts with blue and white bodies that glowed and pulsated when a torch beam was placed close to them, their long stingers trailing behind, too long actually cos I kept swimming into the bloody things... I saw and enjoyed many many other wonderful things before it was time to end what for me was a glorious dive.

We rose up using Jay's DSMB and line while Ammers circled continuously like a shark waiting for an opportunity, back on the surface the shone shone, the sea was still flat and I didn't want to get out.... it had all been too quick, although we'd been down for 44 minutes

Back on the boat we all rabbited on excitedly about what we’d seen and experienced as Billy handed out coffee’s and Milkyway's.... So far so bloody good, this weekend was turning out much better than I could ever of hoped for…..

So it was back to the harbour for air and bacon butties, with an even better but rather arse nipping dive to follow in the afternoon... :thumb:


(Edited by Dave Williamson at 8:04 pm on June 5, 2002)
 

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I will post my report on Friday, the UW photos will be ready Friday norning too.... I will email them to Jay Friday evening... can't stop laughing...just the thought of Saturday night brings me to tears!!!!  
 

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Mark W
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You are all making me mega jealous :bawling:

When's the next one?

Hopefully I'll have finished renovating my house by then and the Mrs will let me escape....!!!

P.S. Any clues as to the people in the photo?
 

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Thats Eddie on the left knocking up a 4 knotted hankie for Ammers napper...

The one buried below all of the bottles, cuddling OMS kit and blowing a cloud of cigar smoke is Ammers erself...

And the ugly guy on the right wearing desert wellies (for which he was duly ridiculed) is Andy 'Twotanks' Horsley

All of the good looking ones were behind the camera in this shot....  ;)
 

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Thought I would pick on the last dive, 'cos thats the one I learnt summat on!

Went in with the inimitable Ammers, who I must say was definitely not a russian shot putter!  The plan was to go down the shot line to the Glanmire, have a gander and a pleasant ride back up.  

So in we jumped, and maybe here's where things went wrong.  When I started to go down I was sort of torn between seeing the line and seeing Ammers.  Which did I choose?  Yeah, Ammers.

So we went down hoping that we would be lucky and see the wreck underneath us.  Nah!

Down at 34m things were quite good, the viz was ok, there where loads of little things to see, (no rocks to look under though) and we had tons of air.  no problemo!

After a while we decided to go back up, and here's where we went a little bit wrong.  We shoulda talked about this before we went in the briney.  You see, I only just went into deco, 3m 1 min and this is all I would have done.  Ammers, however, likes to be all belt and braces and do loads fo stops. No problem, unless like me you didn't have a clue what she was up to, and the hand signals were misunderstood!  My fault Ammers!  You were great in the water, I thought the ascent was treble safe, if not a little boring, hence the yawn motions from me at times!  

However, that aside I enjoyed most of it, and took some points away from the dive.  I especially enjoyed seeing all the little fish(?) with the flashing lights inside them, (Abyss?).

Once back on the boat, after a tow by a RIB piloted by two VERY kind ladies, big shout to them, we got back on board to a pot of tea and sprayed puke in my face from Dave.  Cheers mate, I'll never wash again!

Decided my compass and spare mask were crap on the way back so in they went.  If you find them, believe me, don't even bother, leave them where they are for a millenia or so, let some other mug suffer with them!

Thanks Jay, for organising a great weekend, thanks Dave for bringing Mark, thanks mark for bringing everything, thanks wives for not moaning and big thanks Eddie, you were great!
 

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Alrighty

Sorry about delay in replying, I've been away since St Abbs and I'm just about to head offski again shortly as I'm spending the week doing build up deep dives before trimix course.

If I hit deco I always chuck in ad hoc deep stops on the fly, Pyle style stops, but only because I have a spinal problem and I need to be ultra careful. The deep stops will facilitate off gassing from fast tissues although still on gassing in slow tissues, this is then combatted on shallow stops. Sorry for boring you 2 tanx, but I've gotta look after my poor sore back!
My trip report will follow sometime next week...aaah it's such hard work diving every day..I might never go back to work

Byeeeeee for now.
 
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