On Friday a few of us travelled down to St Andrews Lakes in Kent for a dive in a Quarry that Jack's mate Bob helps to run, I still had the dogs so was running late but the guys managed to get a night dive in plus RobS and Jack got one in during the day. We had a nice BBQ on Friday evening, somehow it felt warm so it was really pleasant. RobF and I were expecting to kip on bedding rolls with sleeping bags on the floor of the men's changing rooms but RobS and Jack had brought their Motorhomes so we dossed in with them, RobM, jumped into a static caravan, occupied by Bob when onsite and had his own bedroom, and he was offered a cooked breakfast!The site is pretty much portacabins, and although it is quite basic at present, has the potential to be awesome in the future, there is a nice flat parking area close to the water's edge, there are a few kitting up benches, it has a beach entry feel about it. There are toilets, a small shop, changing rooms, classroom, and a cafe will be opening soon. There are tea and coffee facilities though.There are a number of attractions connected by different coloured lines which I'm sure someone will explain, and the depth is about 35 meters at its deepest, it's 7C in the water at 34 meters, but basically its a circuit, but there is the opportunity to go off-piste to look for the unmarked attractions.Our plan was to look for 2 small boats which had been sunk by mischievous youths a year ago, to mark them and if possible raise them on a later dive.But I digress. We had Mark and Kerry, 3 Robs, (Fowler, Morgan and Summers), Jack and me, plus a few more of Jacks buddies from Southend, Maria and Jamie. (He's getting very popular!!)
Jack bailed on Saturdays diving due to the onset of a cold, (it made him snore so much I thought it was a train station the night before) the Southend crew were doing their own thing, Mark and Kerry wanted to dive together and do a low-pressure bimble and so were left to their own devices. Bob had a small inflatable with an outboard which belongs to one of the divemasters, Tim, which would hold 2 divers, and so the plan was for him to take the twins in the boat with Rob Morgan and myself being towed behind, to the far side of the lake to a rough area where the boats had been spotted by a previous sidescan survey, drop in a 10KG weight with an empty lift bag attached and drop it in, we would then descend, RobM would man the shot, the twins would deploy a line to use as a Jackstay to use as a search line and a circular search pattern. Just for a change, I would be videoing. Signals had been agreed and refined on the surface to a point where everybody was happy and so we, RobM and I, entered the water. The twins boarded the little boat, Bob got in and started the engine and after letting them get a safe distance, RobM and I swam to the line, made our handholds and got ready for a luxurious tow across the lake.
The engine cut out. Bob tried numerous times to restart before deciding he would row us across. This lake is huge, Bob is the same age as me, nearly 40, OK, plus another 25, anyway not a chance, so we binned the mission and decided for a bimble. Bob did row us over to another buoy to start from though, The twins rolled backwards, into the water, had they rolled forwards they'd still be on the boat, ba-bum, and we started our descent to 6 meters for a bubble check, RobS got a CO2 alarm, turned his dive and ascended. Me and the 2 Robs finished our checks and dropped down the line to about 33 meters, now remember I said there were coloured lines? I wish we'd have paid more attention to what each colour meant, anyway off we went, Rob leading, followed by Rob, with me at the back with the camera, before you ask, I don't know who was leading, the viz wasn't that good, actually, I do, it was RobF, he has a yellow box on his unit and yellow fin tips to match, RobS has everything Blue and wasn't with us, RobM has everything all black and I was the one with one white and one blue headlamp, one of my lights flooded through the faulty switch. Anyway, off we went around the circuit, twice, I wasn't the only one that didn't remember the colour code. For me, I think we've been spoiled by the brill viz at Vobster and NDAC lately so I was a little disappointed by the viz here, but in reality, it wasn't that bad. 2-3 meters in places, maybe a bit more or less in others. It is a brilliant site for trainees to do a very short surface swim before dropping down a shot to a target depth, in that respect it is very much like UK Channel diving. On the way around RobF had to gratify his Yobbo itch by leaving some graffiti on a poor unsuspecting truck. Personally, I'm so pleased we made the effort to go to support Jack, supporting his mate Bob.
The staff were all exceptionally friendly, the site is basic, for the moment, but as I said earlier, the potential is immense.
I think we all had a good time it was nice to meet Mark's partner, Kerry, and their (dog) baby Harvey.
People say that Kent is the garden of England so there was only one piece of music I could use for the video.
Here it is: