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Well, I finally managed to make it back up to Largs to finish off my Advanced OW on a trip organised by Seadog DC. Now being officially redundant from work, it was a last minute decision to spend the pennies, but I'm glad I did!
After travelling up on Friday afternoon with Sam and a quite a few "liquid refreshments" in the George at night, we finally hit the Clyde Divers boat on Saturday morning. This was to start a weekend of 'firsts' for me, first proper wreck dive, first from a boat, never sent up a DSMB before and definitely not dived in murk like the Clyde produced, even on a busy weekend at Capernwray!
It was decided we'd do the Beagle first and steamed off down the Firth with me getting more excited/apprehensive by the minute. We had a superb briefing from Elaine, the skipper, and then it was time to do the big leap. I was buddied with Rob, who I'd dived with a few times before and he was fully aware of my equalisation problems, and had agreed that I'd descend the shot first so we wouldn't separate. To see me descend, you'd think shotlines were made of bungee cord, as I'm up and down over the first 10 or so metres until I finally get the old lugholes to behave. but once on the wreck all was fine, or was it??
Many thanks to Dave Williamsons excellent posting "Shit scared in Oban", I empathise with you, mate! Boy did I get it, BIG style and thanks to that article, survived to tell the tale! I was just about to release the shotline to follow Rob when I realised that the air I needed was just not forthcoming, even taking a huge suck on the reg didn't give me the necessary lungful. It was time to get the head in gear and told myself "there was plenty of air, you've been at this depth (34m) before, just relax and enjoy it" and it worked! So off we traipsed for a circuit of the Beagle. I was amazed at what I saw down there, the flora and fauna, the colours,  how reasonable intact the wreck itself was and the sheer crap I was swimming through in around 5m viz! Apparently this is as good as it gets on the Clyde, so I shouldn't complain and soon got used to the darkness, but made a note to ones self, "Get a brighter torch!", the UK D4 I was using is just about useless at cutting through the gloom and had to virtually bump into things to see them. Once around the wreck and it was back up the shot and another 'first', not been into deco before either, so a couple of stops were required before exiting the water. If anyone had thought me quiet on the way out to the Beagle, and I know that I was, you certainly couldn't shut me up after!
After a steady steam down the Firth to give us all a goodly surface interval, we were taken for a scenic dive off Trail Island and yet another first, Drift Dive, even better you could pick your own depth from 5 - 50mtrs.
Bloody Marvellous!, like floating through someones flower garden, stopping every so far to say 'Hello' to the wildlife then after what seemed hours, I got the thumb 'up' from Rob and got to shoot my Blob!
At 44yrs old, you wouldn't expect naivety, but I was amazed how we'd managed to surface right alongside the boat! Thank God I never mentioned it at the time, I'd have had the s**t ripped out of me something rotten!
A rowdy night on the tiles in Largs later and we were back down at Inverkip Marina for "Paxo's Most Excellent Adventure - The Sequel" bright(?) and early on Sunday morning.
A two wreck tour, this one, and first off was the Wallachia which was the only dive I didn't particularly enjoy of the weekend. The viz varied from 2 to 0.5mtrs, there weren't as many 'pretties' to look at and the wreck itself seemed boring. I'm told its actually not a bad dive in the right conditions and so will reserve judgement until I've done it again.
But then it was off to what for me was the jewel in the crown, the Akka!
What an immense ship, downright huge, but so beautifully decorated with all the usual suspects and more! I'm really going to have to find out what I actually saw on that dive, but there was so much to see and quite a heavy current flowing and my memory isn't what it was, so I suppose I'll have to go and dive it again to refresh the old neurons!!
What an absolutely brilliant weekend, I finally found out what 'proper diving' was all about and its not sploshing around in inland puddles!!
I must give a big "THANKS!" to Elaine and Ian, of Clyde Divers, who really went out of their way to make you feel welcome, if anyone is planning a trip up to the Clyde, I can highly recommend them.
I don't know how this trip report reads as I'm still buzzing on the memories, I must find work soon to fund a few more trips, St Abbs and Farne Isles are a must for me now!
 
 

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Excellent read Paxo, well done mate.

Glad to hear you took control down there, the minds a wierd f*cker innit? it can tell you anything and it's hard not to believe it ;)

Like you mate I realised that a decent torch is vital at those depths and light levels so bugger it, I'm following Dominics lead and going DIY.... I'm gonna make an eye searing mega beast that can bring down aeroplanes

Sorry to hear about work but have no doubt you'll be back into it soon. In the meantime keep busy geting wet :snorkel:

Hope to dive with ya soon Paxo, till then be safe mate
Dave.
 

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Excellent report Clive - Barrie phoned me last week to see if I wanted to go to the Clyde but I was stony broke after St Abbs so had to give it a miss unfortunately. Still, sounds like you had a great time and congratulations on getting your advanced cert.
 

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Dave, there's no worries on the redundy situation, I applied for it!!
I'd had my fill of working under a management "team" who wouldn't have the collective nous to get themselves a shag in Amsterdam!!
I'm currently helping a mate with a re-wire on an old three storey house and I'll never say electricians have an easy job again!
Once I become of the waged fraternity I shall be hooking up with you all on a splosh someplace, along with the extra-curricula activites like wining, wenching (sorry for being sexist 'ammers) and downright rowdiness.
 
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