I learnt to dive (cough) years ago and the dive club I w
as a member of at that time organised a weekend at Stoney Cove. I hated it. Traipsing back and forward to the overflow car park. Bedlam. thousands of people. Massive queues for a cup of tea. Cheese and Ham toasty for dinner in a pub and a cheap B&B overnight. I promised myself I will never go back to Stoney at the weekend and never did, only diving mid week when it seemed so more civilized……..
So what’s changed?
I've know Paul French for (cough cough) (I have a bad cold) years and he convinced / threatened / cajoled / wore-me-down in to joining DiveMania as a Dive Master. I agreed and I am loving it.
BUT....... Stoney weekends. Paul said they were great with DiveMania, nothing like I had experienced, and, I'd enjoy it.
Reluctantly I agreed and so at 04.45 on Saturday I am waiting for one of the instructors, David, to arrive so we can drive to Stoney cove. Car is full of gear, M1 closed so M11 and A14 it is. 07.05 and, surprisingly, we are in the smallish queue to get in. I fish out my Stoney Divelog card (it ran out in 2012, was it that long ago?) fill in new forms, pay, and we are in. I park close to the club van with all the other members, over 30, and then the organised chaos starts. Unload van, paper work, kit prep, site briefing (herding cats), dive briefing, kit up, and, remarkably we are in the water on time.
It's cold but it is early April so what do I expect. Visibility isn't bad, 3 or 4 meters and the Open Water students on their 1st OW dive are coping admirably.
Out of the water, to bright sunshine, quick tea and bacon cob and it's back in, and again, and again.
John Sadler, a Dive master trainee who has the task of overseeing the days activities and has done a sterling job, now he has to organise the loading of the van. Like the Towers of Hanoi it all fits and we are off to the hotel for the night.
A couple of drinks and a great meal organised by Paul Bryant at Premier Inn and off to bed for an early start Sunday.
-2C! People are scraping frost off the car and I've had no breakfast.
At Stoney by 6.40AM in a very small queue, quickly in, as I renewed my Diver Log card yesterday and within an hour and a half we are ready to go diving again.
It's Monday……… I'm siting on the tube on the way home from work writing this blog and reflecting.
I ache, I'm a little sun burnt (my own fault I know). I slept for 10 hours last night and am still knac....… worn out. I missed my family, it's fairly large and there was a get together on Saturday.
It was great. A friendly bunch is DiveMania. Enthusiastic, professional, knowledgeable, happy and willing to help. There is a brilliant social side as well.
To watch Dan and Tegan (Whom I took on her Discover ScubaDiving) overcome the environment and their own fears to achieve their PADI Open Water certification was stunning.
Everyone who was certified that weekend has their own tales to tell, just ask them.
Will I do it again? YES! I'm already booked on May's weekend.
See you there? I hope so!