After negotiating the early start to accommodate Cathy not wanting to get up too early, she decided not to go. So off we all set at 8:30, well 10:00 by the time the vehicles were packed and we said goodbye.
With fish and chips waiting for us in Plymouth the slow journey down turned out to be a bit quicker, which lead to an afternoon sunning ourselves in Mountbatten
Intro to the boat, safety brief was short as we were required to go to the pub for the evening meal (not that we needed any excuse), first we needed to prepare our kit for the first dive in the morning. Garry started to prepare his rebreather and a whole 2 hours later we were ready to depart for the pub. Only 3 pints for Darren and Kev before retiring back to the boat for a good night’s kip.
Morning soon came around and after breakfast we steamed out to Hand Deeps, buddy pairs sorted, we dropped in to explore the depths, very pretty. Once all back on deck we departed for the Scillies for a smooth crossing without a ripple on the water. We arrived in St Agnes and settled down for a quiet pint in a pub with a couple of elderly residents. In no time the pub was inundated with a Hen Party. Pete tried in vain to attract attention by dancing like the Caddy Shack Gopher. There was also lots of winking going on but no action from our boys, they were too scared.
Breakfast is getting later; Slack water is not until midday so no need to get up early. These two couldn’t wait and started breakfast early anyway. Kev was in such a rush he forgot to put his teeth in.
Don’t know if Garry’s gone off his Rebreather as he has been awake for 30 minutes and hasn’t mentioned it yet, as a result Pete had time to tell us of his life experiences. Learning about the disposal of rats isn’t a good breakfast topic. “Garry tell us about your rebreather please.”
Wreck: The MV Cita (the first time) More info here
Kev jumped in overweight, I know that many of you realise that Kev is overweight, but what is meant is that he was carrying too much lead and equipment. After a fast descent, 30m in one minute, a bad head ache appeared. As it would not go away the dive was aborted and he returned to the surface after a very short dive, Darren thought it was because he was scared.
Wreck: The MV Italia More info here
The weather had cheered up (along with Kev), so the dive was on. Kev decided to join the trying to stand up whilst still tied to the seat club with Lisa. A fantastic dive was had by all. Boilers, steelwork and usual wreckage to be found. Ozzie Pete, the most experienced diver on the boat, got to 28m and realised why his dry suit was getting too tight. The inflator works better with the hose attached Pete, nice bruising pattern though, not quite a skin bend.
Back on board and ready for evening meal of curry. It’s amazing how much Garry can sweat from a curry that’s not that strong, After evening meal a mercy boat ashore was arranged to take us to the local island pub. Nick sitting in front of a tea towel mounted on the wall asked what the island was called, quite funny when it was written on the tea towel next to his head, gave us all a good laugh anyway. How does a small island like St Agnes have a pub that is packed with people? A couple of pints later and it was time to return. As the rib was only small, 2 trips were required to get us all back on board. As the skipper left with the first wave, the discussion turned to what would happen if he didn’t return for the rest of us. We decided that we would eat Pete first. Darren suggested that we could spit roast him, not too sure what he meant. All back on board, then a phone call was received from Nick asking where everyone was. He thought he’d been forgotten, as if, and off to bed for another restful night.
Bit rough today, so we returned to the MV Cita, a good dive was had by all.
Lunch was Pizza, thought that it might by a slice or 2 each, but we were presented with a pizza each, definitely not going to lose weight on this trip.
The afternoon dive was off Menawathan (no it’s not an Indian supermarket) for a scenic and dive with seals. Steve raves about his force fins “it’s like diving without them on” he quotes. So I suppose he could be excused when he jumped in and tried to swim, only to find that in fact he didn’t have them on, good towing technique Pete ( Jim does this bring back memories of towing Pete?) Don’t worry Steve we won’t tell anyone (it’s all here they can read it themselves). Lots of seals and pups joined in with the dive.
The nightly run ashore took us into St Mary’s. A few jars later and we head back. Daren found a body warmer on the back of a chair which he decided had been left by Lisa, so chasing her down the street with it, she announced it wasn’t hers, a hasty retreat back to the pub was made before anyone noticed it missing and called the police. On the beach awaiting the skipper, we turned to star gazing. Darren has an ap on his iPhone that can locate stars and planets. Ozzie Zoe (Ozzie Pete’s wife), who had only had 1 pint and a glass of wine, found it highly amusing when the app found Uranus and had to keep repeating it over and over again. Who said Ozzie’s can drink?
I awoke to find an entry into the log stating that someone had been up since 6:30 and was the only one present for breakfast. That’s because we’re not diving until 9 Nick. Obviously someone was not listening to the brief the previous evening.
Back to the Italia. Kitted up and ready to jump in (well most of us anyway) when the skipper cuts his engines. Daren has had a trial fitting of all his kit and then decides to take it all back off again to put his weight belt on. Pete, Steve and Kev venture down together. Not sure if Pete and Steve were actually on the same dive though. Kev described the Anchor and how big it was, Pete said he didn’t see it, but he did see a big lump of metal anchor shaped with a chain attached that he was actually touching. All back on deck and sunbathing, and for those that need it drying out undersuits ( you really need a new suit Pete). Stephen (not from our club) confessed why he hadn’t got any video footage of this particular dive. Turning his camera on at 40m, his camera said “insert SD card”, not really something you can do at 40m. Better luck next time.
Dive 2 took us to the Wrecks: Plympton and Hathor, More info here
…well for most of the divers anyway. First down the shot were Pete and Kev. Finding the shot wedged in rocks they ventured to the right and disappeared into the gloom. The rest of the divers went to the left of the shot and visited the wrecks. After 30 minutes of diving on HMS Vicinity, they decided to surface.
Stephen found a gold coloured spoon on the wreck, which he was quite excited about, until we looked it up on the internet and found it was an espresso spoon.
Nick our antiques expert confirmed that it was definitely not off a galleon ship, but that was the extent of his knowledge.
Looking on ebay we found a 24 piece cutlery set with exactly the same spoons in it for £10.80.
A run ashore was organised to go into St Mary’s for a bit of shopping. Which bright spark said that 3 hours would be good? There are only so many times you can go around 12 shops.
However it did give naughty boys Daren and Kev time to hatch a plan, more later…
Tea was excellent, pork chops.
Whilst sitting at the table after tea, Stephen explain how he had found some round discs approximately 1’ in diameter with a raised section in the middle. He had tried to pick one up, but it was too heavy, so he put it down again. Kev showed him a picture of what he thought it might be on the internet, which Stephen confirmed was what he saw. Although not an explosives expert, Kevin advised that picking up land mines is not a good idea.
After our evening meal we found ourselves moored in the middle of a female gig race. Not that any of us noticed approximately 90 females dressed in lycra going past the windows. 5 Minutes later we were all in the rib on the way to St Mary’s. The pub was packed with sweaty females, no one enjoyed it so we only stayed 2 ½ hours.
It was too much for Stephen (He’s American) who fainted and came too to find our Kev whispering sweet nothings in his ear while shouting “Don’t panic I’m a paramedic”
Early morning crossing from the Scillies to the mainland (5am Start). Feeling how rough it was from their bunks, many divers decided to stay in bed until the engines cut back, signifying that we had arrived. The plan was to dive the Helios, but as it was too rough we moved off again to dive the Ibis ( Or is it the Heidrun?). More info here
Only 2 divers decided to take the plunge; Kev and Stephen, who reported that it was a great dive with 10 to 15m of visibility. Those on board were a bit concerned as the wind had reached 40 knotts by the time the divers surfaced; Another reminder never to take marine forecasts at face value. This was definitely not a force 3 on the Beaufort Scale.
During the dive it had been planned (by the naughty boys) to place some spoons for Stephen to find…
….after placing 4 spoons that Stephen didn’t find, Kev was caught by Stephen.
Rebreather divers can laugh underwater, the plot had failed.
Back on board and we set off around the Lizard. The start of the leg had 25 knots of wind, the weather quickly deteriorated and the skipper decided that it was time to run for shelter when the wind speed increased to 50 knots (force 10). We spent another 4 hours in Mullion Cove awaiting the weather report from the coast guard. How many cups of tea can you drink in an afternoon? Kev could tell he was the only one who had not seen Men in Black before, as he was the only one laughing.
Hooray, the coastguard reports weather of force 2 -3 over the next 12 hours, so after evening meal it’s time to set off again toward Falmouth. I think the forecasters should look out of the window. 45 Knot winds and 4m swell. Once out of Mullion Cove there was no turning back and nowhere to run until we reach Falmouth. 2 ½ hours of rolling around and waves breaking over the bridge of the ship. Daren pointed out that ships this size never have any problems. Kev pointed out that we had just spent 4 days diving wrecks of ships bigger than the one we were on. It all went quiet. All shades of colours were seen on the faces of the divers. Daren said that dinner was better the first time he ate it.
The only scared faces when going around the Lizard in 40kn winds were the rebreather boys with £3000 sets out on deck banging about. The skipper had tied his Snap-On toolbox down by the handles and found that although the handles survived strapped to the boat the rest of the box was thrown around the engine room.
Midnight came and we enter the safe harbour of Falmouth. The skipper has done a great job and looks absolutely shattered. We check the state of the ship before going to bed. Steve finds an empty mask box on deck that once housed his mask and compass. If this is all the damages and losses we are lucky.
Editor’s note:- On return home it was also confirmed that Kev had cracked a rib from being chucked around the boat that night.
At breakfast the skipper asks for help in the engine room. Daren volunteers, wait until Garry gets up to find that he has missed the opportunity to visit the inner sanctum known as the engine room. At breakfast the skipper had received bad news that a fishing trawler had been lost with all hands in the same area that we had been the previous evening.
Stephen went to the toilet and returned with an orange, he said that he found it rolling around, Darren has different ideas.
On the way back to Plymouth we dived the Rosehill, More info here , not too deep, so no need for long deco. We all returned safely back to the boat and began to take our equipment apart ready for the off.
Back alongside in Plymouth, it was hard to see where the week had gone. We had bonded together as a group and were thanked by Stephen for making him feel welcomed into our group and not treating him as an outsider and not a member of the club, we told him we’re not proud and will take the mickey out of anybody. It’s good to see how others see Marlin and the camaraderie amongst its members.
Once all the kit was loaded into the vehicles it was time to say goodbyes and head back home. Stopping at the services on the way back, it must have been amusing for others to see 5 men staggering about trying to get their land legs back. Daren went to the toilet and announced that it was great being able to go to the toilet without having to brace yourself against the door.
A cup of Tea and a welcome back from Cathy made it a perfect end to a great trip.
The 5 were. Garry, Steve, Pete, Daren and Kev. I would like also to introduce Stephen, Ozzie Pete, Ozzie Zoe, Nick and Lisa, who, although not members of Marlin SAC joined together to make a great group. Not that that’s what their saying to their friends at the moment.
I would also like to thank the Skipper Darren and his wife Linda who made the trip so enjoyable and I would like to take this point to say sorry and hope that the letters of complaint from the aforementioned are dealt with swiftly.
“It’s hardly a trip report, more of a week’s p***take of all on board where the truth never got in the way” D.P.
“Plenty of Juicy detail” P.F.
“I can find no mention of Daren’s KY or his disappearance at a hen party or his intimate piercing.” C.H.
“You missed out when Lisa started to cry as Pete shoved his hands into Kevin’s drysuit to extricate his braces. She presumed this was some sort of initiation as Kevin was wearing them at the time. Had very good time though” N.W.
Lisa hopes she’s safe here from Daren and Pete.
“I just want to go home”