Saturday, 15 May 2010

Down Time

Going home at the end of the working day seems to be something that other people do.

It is rapidly approaching 8pm on a Friday night, by which time you guys will either be propping up bars or cuddling up on the sofa with something other than a hot cuppa ... and I'm still sitting in the office.  Waiting. With a semi-hot cuppa.  In a plastic cup.

So much for going on a training run tonight.

*sigh*

Ah well, since I have some down time, it's probably a good opportunity to ramble aimlessly through another post.  If anything, I can at least take some joy in the fact that it will make my colleague have to stay longer than he wanted to, after just telling someone that I'm giving him a lift home ... and he hasn't even asked me if it's okay.  Cheeky fecker.

Anyhoo, speaking of down time, last Sunday saw Pygmie and I back down at the bottom of Vobster Quay quarry, in water cold enough to instantly chill a six-pack ... and certainly a darn sight more than that if it hadn't been for the dry suits and insulation we were wearing!

After originally learning to dive in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt with Emperor Divers and being thoroughly impressed, the Sheffield company we used to get our Advanced Open Water was something of a disappointment, so I was wary of going to another UK establishment.  I need not have worried!

It's been a long year since I last went diving and I have to confess that after the bad experience with the dive company based in Sheffield, my confidence took something of a knocking and I wasn't overly keen on going again.  However, with Pygmie providing the much-needed boot in the derriere, we decided to add another speciality dive to our repertoire, the Dry Suit Diver Speciality.

The day started early with several rather rude awakenings from my phone, pre-7am - which is just not right for a Sunday - followed by a steaming shower to try and get the circulation going.  We managed to get down to the quarry for around 8:15 am, despite Pygmie taking it easy round the lanes, so registered on the course and sorted out the kit I was hiring: an Oceanic neoprene dry suit, some expensive Fourth Element polar undergarmets, a ScubaPro BCD and a set of regs.

After going through the knowledge reviews, which I only managed to complete about 1am that morning, we went through the process of how to put on a dry suit and was introduced to an excellent addition to a diver's arsenal: Jollop.

The purpose of this product?  Well, that all depends on your profession.  Divers use it to lube their dry suit seals to make putting a suit on a lot easier.  Apparently however, prior to this, it was more commonly used by Vets when artificially inseminating cows.

Yes, we prepared for the day's diving by spreading cow lube over us.  Niiiiiice!

Then it was off to do the confined water dive to ensure we were properly weighted and to perform the required skills, all of which we'd done before but, as the first dive in a long time, I must admit I was rather tense and struggled a bit while it all came back to me: I had forgotten just how much energy was required for diving!!

With the confined dive and another briefing out of the way, it was time for the open water dives where we had to repeat the skills performed in the confined water dive and go for a general swim about.  Despite a few little hiccups which I had but managed to sort out, we got through the dives with a minimum of fuss and dragged our collectively exhausted asses back to the classroom to finish off the paperwork, and make sure our logs were up-to-date.

Both Alex and Josh were friendly, knowledgeable, relaxed and supportive all the way through the course.  The course itself was perfectly paced and nobody was rushed, instead progressing only when everyone in the group was ready.  By the end of the course, I was feeling like I had at the end of the Open Water course in Egypt: relaxed and eager for more.

November's trip back to Sharm can't come soon enough :-)
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