The fun they had at TEKCamp

An awesome week of meeting the best UK technical divers and learning from them

Diving in The Red Sea

Warm water, clear visibility makes for a great holiday!

Malinbeg Harbour

Often, the simplest local dives are the best.

What? - I can’t see you, in fact, I can’t hear you either!

Diving in Northern Ireland is always a bit dull. I don’t necessarily mean boring; I mean there is a definite lack of light when descending below, em, ........oh ....about a metre. I’ve become quite used to diving in low light and actually quite enjoy it, mainly because I get to use my rather cool Halcyon Pro 3 canister light. My trusty dive light is one piece of equipment I wish I had acquired at an earlier date, in fact I can tell you the exact date and time I wished I had said can light; my first night dive


Pro 3 HID light

I had just finished my PADI course and was accompanying fiancée-buddy on the final dive of her AOW course. This was actually my first dive as a qualified diver. Needless to say it didn't go exactly according to plan. Kerri was doing a night dive as one of her PADI specialities; I was merely coming along to clock up some dives. It wasn’t really a night dive in the true sense of the word, more of a late evening dive. It was about 7pm when we reached the dive site but as it was still the winter solstice the light was fading fast.






It was a familiar wreck dive for us as most of our training had taken part on this lump of rusting metal, known as “The Outer Lees.” Our instructor made a big deal of the preparation involved in the pending night dive and had an impressive slate with all the procedures and stuff we had to abide by.

Oh, the irony.

We were then educated on to how to care for a diving torch, lube the 'O' rings and clean the contacts. This was all very fascinating but I just wanted to get in and do my first real dive, in the dark no less – how exciting!

There were a number of divers aboard all crowding forward eagerly as the torches were hastily being handed out. Being an awfully polite fellow I waited my turn, but in fact found myself empty handed. I simply presumed I wouldn’t be diving after all. How annoying.

It appeared I knew nothing of night diving as I was told I would indeed be diving, but would be "sharing" a torch. How in the name of all that’s precious do you “share” a torch under water?

You can’t.

I was partnered up with the instructor and wife-(to-be)-buddy. This gave me a bit of security but I still wasn’t particularly thrilled about not having a torch. 10 minutes later I jumped in, descended, and our buddy team made way around the wreck.

Night vision bunny
I recalled as a child my mum telling me to eat my carrots as they would help me to see in the dark like the rabbits do. If I had known 20 years later I would be underwater, in the middle of Strangford Lough, at night, I’d have eaten every bloody carrot I could have got my 10 year old mitts on, because unlike the rabbits, at that moment in time I couldn’t see a fucking thing.

Our instructor was leading, he had a light. I was in the middle, I didn’t have a light. Kerri was following up the rear, she had a light. You got that? I can’t remember exactly whose light I was supposedly sharing, but it seemed that it wasn’t a “fair share” just at that moment. Then the inevitable happened – we got separated.


Yes, I turned around to signal fiancée-buddy and she was gone. Well that was amazing, I finally met a girl I liked and she had promptly drifted off into the blackness of the Lough. Not your average method of being dumped and certainly a first for me.

I hastily made the decision to stick with the instructor as he was "sharing" the light at that time. I finned over to him and practically ripped his arm from the socket, he seemed to get the picture quite quickly. He handed me his spg to hang onto and we sped off around the wreck. I was now being trailed around in complete darkness.

It turned out Kerri had problems equalizing, subsequently surfaced, waving her light, as trained, and putting it against her chest so that she could attempt to see other dive lights. I didn’t have a light so that was impossible and poor Kerri had to surface alone in the pitch black.

In the mean time I was now properly upset and we eventually gave up searching. I was becoming accustomed to the fact Kerri was obviously lost forever and was glad I hadn’t really met her parents at this stage, therefore could probably get away with not being the one to tell them their daughter was dead. I wasn’t sure of the legality of the whole thing but was also pretty confident the instructor would be going to prison and, I hoped, that would appease Kerri’s parents’ probable bad mood.

As we began to ascend my ears began to hurt and I got a little light headed. When we finally broke the surface I felt rather peculiar and it took me a minute to get my bearings. We boarded the boat and amazingly Kerri was alive, although looking rather unhappy. As I quickly readjusted my thought patterns to the idea I would be getting married after all, I too became a little unhappy. Not at the prospect of marriage of course, that still seemed a good plan, but at our so called night dive disaster.

We doffed our kit and Kerri explained she had gone quite deaf and was convinced her ear drum was perforated, thankfully that wasn’t the case. My ears felt a bit woolly, but I’d felt it before and wasn’t too concerned.

We had survived our night dive, which was some achievement all in all, but not one we cared to repeat anytime soon. Three days later the problems really started.

Sucking Carbogen

The 3rd day after the dive I went completely deaf in my right ear. I went to hospital after work one morning and was admitted instantly. Needless to say the hospital wasn’t convinced it was diving related and put me on some crazy mix of carbon dioxide and oxygen. It was called “Carbogen,” and had little or no effect on my recovery. Three days of hospital mistreatment later, Kerri lost it and basically demanded that I was sent home. I was still completely deaf at this stage and just nodded to everything. I found this kept everyone happy.





Once at home Kerri had me on the road to full health having sought advice on the World Wide Web combined with her super nurse knowledge. Decongestants and steroids fixed me right up. Two weeks later I could hear just fine, except for certain phrases including, but not limited to; “Will you feed the cat army?” and “Are you making tea?

Hospital hearing tests did ascertain I had lost certain frequencies, but being in a heavy metal band, I figured I’d lost those frequencies years ago and it was nothing to worry about.

I ended up out of diving action for a few months just to be safe and we came to the conclusion that I had suffered a reverse block as I had recently recovered from a cold. At the time of the dive I felt fine, but i guess these things just happen.


Lessons learned:

  • Don’t dive too soon after a cold. 
  • Doctors have no appreciation or knowledge of diving accidents. 
  • Carbogen is stupid. 


As a side note; I always dive with at least 2 torches irrespective of the dive and I continue to play heavy metal, but still have problems hearing certain phrases like;“Will you feed the cats?”

Suits you sir!

Jacques in his wet suit
Initially, when I thought about scuba diving, I pictured the James Bond baddies circa ‘Thunderball’ sporting their sleek black wetsuits, or Jacque Cousteau in his black outfit with a fancy, go faster, yellow stripe. There are two main themes at work here; black and WET. Amazingly when you scuba dive you get wet. However, as my diving progressed I soon realised you could control how wet you actually got.




When diving you need thermal protection of some description no matter where you dive, after all - have you ever seen a naked diver? I have. I couldn’t help myself. I got distracted one night and did a Google search for “scuba porn.” It does exist and they prefer back plate and wing over a BCD. Sad, but true, that’s the most poignant thing I remember about my investigations.

So, aside from the scuba porn industry all divers will wear a suit of some sorts. Three main types’ spring to mind - wet suit, semi-dry and the dry suit.

  1. Wetsuit: You get completely wet and the water more or less continually flushes through the suit.

  2. Semi-dry: Like a wet suit but with wrist and ankle seals that trap the water in the suit to a certain extent keeping you warmer as the flushing is reduced.

  3. Dry: Not like a wet suit at all. You don’t get wet and the air in the suit keeps you warm, provided you wear appropriate under garments. 

I think nearly everyone learns to dive in a wet suit / semi-dry. They are cheap(er), decent fit off the peg, come in a variety of thicknesses and don’t require any additional training to use. Even ice divers (as the guys from Scuba Obsessed will proudly tell you) can, and often choose to, dive in a wet suit. Personally I believe this to me utter madness and such activity should be reserved for the clinically insane.

I too learned to dive in a semi-dry in the slightly frigid waters of Northern Ireland.

Just to be clear, I’m a skinny guy and getting a suit of any description to fit me is a bit difficult. This became apparent as soon as I started diving. My first 2 years of diving were spent diving wet. My first suit was a ‘Mares something’ that I purchased from eBay for about £40, a fetching blue and red affair. It lasted one dive. I jumped in and was closely followed by a rescue diver believing me to be drowning due to the screaming once I broke the surface. I wasn’t drowning, but merely explaining in a frantic, high pitched tone that the suit was inadequate for the 8 degrees Celsius water. I blame wife buddy for that one anyway. She bought me the suit as she too was diving Mares and, in her own words, was “toasty” after every dive. Bully for her.

So it was back to eBay with that torture device.


My Oceanic Shadow semi-dry
I decided my next purchase would require a greater budget, in the hope that expenditure and quality had a direct relationship. Like a true Virgo I conducted hours of online research in the hope of finding my new suit. The result was the Oceanic Shadow 2 piece titanium laced 5mm semi-dry. With a name like that I just had to get it. I have to admit it was £189 well spent. I have dived that suit in a quarry in 8C water and survived, albeit a 25 minute dive. After a few more dives I added a 1mm long sleeve rash vest and neoprene socks to the mix. This was my weapon of choice for the next 50 dives throughout all seasons. A great piece of kit all in all.








As any seasoned diver will tell you there is a point when you decide it’s time for the wet suit to go. Like many divers before me, I too ditched my wet wear and donned the dry suit. I always enjoyed the actual dive in my wetsuit and never felt like I was freezing beyond belief or possibly dying of hypothermia at any given moment. It was the getting changed post dive that finished me off. I’m not sure I know the precise moment, exactly what happened or when I decided I’d had enough of being wet. Perhaps it was the day that wife buddy glanced over as I was balancing precariously against the car drying my man bits and asked, “Awww, poor love. Are you cold today?”

Yes, maybe that was it. My very manhood had decided enough was enough and if I didn’t increase the core temperature a full retreat was inevitable.

As a result I had to get a dry suit. Great – I got to go shopping!


Ignoring all my previous experiences I took a risk and bought a neoprene dry suit from eBay for £50. It fitted reasonably well and was actually pretty dry, bar a bit of a drizzle at the wrists. One dive later I found, again, that eBay suits and I don’t agree. Buoyancy control appeared impossible. The suit was too thick I could hardly bend my extremities and I needed all the lead from the local metal works to get down. My weight belt began to resemble a track from a Panzer tank. Back onto eBay it went and selling for £68 I actually turned a profit on it. A welcome change from my usual eBay practices.

The man-mattress


Now that the man shaped mattress was gone there was only one thing for it - I had to buy myself a brand new suit. Being skinny has always made buying clothes a problem and I knew a dry suit purchase was going to be exactly the same. This ironically made the whole process a bit easier. I knew I couldn’t buy a suit off the rack as it simply wouldn’t fit me. Sizing is paramount when it comes to a dry suit. If it isn’t a good fit you will suffer a heap of problems, not perform correctly, probably not keep you dry and therefore not insulate. A made to measure suit was my only option.

There are a number of companies that offer MTM suits but you really pay for the service. DUI do fantastic suits apparently, but at roughly £2K a touch I’ll never, ever, ever find out first hand. Unfortunate, but true nonetheless. After my usual 10 hours of internet research I came up with the most amazing solution – Seaskin. Mentioned on many forums, primarily DIRx and YD, Seaskin suits are the only viable solution for those on a budget seeking a MTM suit. To be honest there is nothing budget about the suit itself, just the price.

So off to the Seaskin website I went. All you have to do is fill in your personal measurements, select the bells and whistles you would like, and then hit ‘submit.’ It’s an extremely simple process and any Muppet with a measuring tape can size you up and you will have your suit in about 8 weeks. The options are purely personal preference so I’ll not go into it. I have a full description of my suit here. At £536 (I think that’s I paid) it was a complete bargain.

Super Seaskin
My suit duly arrived on the given date and eagerly I took it for a dive one morning after work. It was horrible. My previous dry suit was neoprene, this was a membrane suit; a completely different kettle of fish. Kerri stared in disbelief as I struggled for 2 hours in my new suit in the shallows at our local dive site. I could feel it squeezing me at depth, the air migrated from one area of the suit to the other and I was getting wet. Not a good day out.

In hindsight the problem was I didn’t know what I was doing. Neither Kerri nor I took a dry suit course. That was stupid. Taking a course would have solved a lot of our initial problems when we started diving dry. I would strongly advise anyone who is thinking of getting a dry suit to take the appropriate training. We did try to get an instructor to take us out, but the timing always went wrong and we never got around to it. So we simply jumped in and ‘had a go.’



I don’t know how many dives it took me to sort myself out but I was eventually able to control the air filled beastie. I got my suit a week before a planned diving trip to the UK. My second dive wearing it was in front of a PADI instructor when doing a nitrox course. I think the added pressure of concentrating on something else made inadvertently relax and just dive. As a result everything seemed to fall into place. 8 dives later I had it nailed, well, relatively speaking.

I love my dry suit now. It has changed my diving dramatically. With the correct under suit I can dive all year round, nothing can stop me from getting in the water. I still have skinny wrists and I doubt I will ever stop water seeping in the channels that open when I flex my fist if I wear wet gloves. That said I have recently switched to dry gloves and I can honestly say my suit is 100% dry every dive. The suit itself is that awesome that wife-buddy also ordered herself a Seaskin, although it does appear to be on MY credit card….



So, in conclusion;

  • If you dive in cold water – get a dry suit. Anyone that says different is cold.
  • If you are an abnormal shape get a MTM suit, it will be money well spent.
  • Buy a Seaskin suit – they rock. (I am not endorsed, although I would gladly be)
  • Take dry suit training. It’s safer and will add to the enjoyment.
  • Dry suits ARE dry, anyone that says different needs a suit repair.
  • Don’t pee in them.
  • If you're getting into scuba porn get a backplate and wing.

Dive dry - dive safe!

Want to be my buddy? Well, i don't want to be yours!

All divers know that you shouldn’t dive without a buddy, well, aside from solo divers but we all know they have something missing and apparently have no ability to drown.  Your dive buddy is basically your redundancy on the dive, by that I mean they have all the extra stuff you might need on the dive should you lose your own. My buddy is my alternate air source, my alternate depth gauge, backup mask, spool, extra set of eyes, extra brain and also extra arms or legs should I need dragged out of the preverbal shit, if it were to hit the spinny thing.

Best buddies!

The buddy system is a great idea as we’ve all had the experience of going for a piece of kit or air source and realising almost immediately it’s not there. That’s when super buddy steps in to save the day and hands you the octopus you figured had gone off on its own reef dive somewhere.




I am lucky in that I more or less have a permanent buddy in the form of wife-buddy. Wife-buddy is amazing. She has the same training as me, same(ish) number of dives, same kit and I know her diving ability and how she behaves underwater. Wife-buddy also brings tea and biscuits to the dive site. Likewise she knows me and my superior diving-god-like skills. This isn’t the norm and I appreciate that and I now know I am spoiled with this arrangement.

How do I know this? I’ll tell you.

25 dives post PADI AOW Kerri and I decided we would go on our first scuba trip, a venture to the south of Ireland in County Kerry. It also doubled as a birthday treat to me, resulting in it being a very cheap outing and obtaining a new dive computer. Happy man you say? – well, almost.

Like all the best dive plans, it doesn’t always go the way you expect.

We arrived at the dive centre, which also doubled as our accommodation, for the weekend diving. The plan was 4 dives over 2 days. All diving was to be done off the dive centres inflatable rib. We’d never dived off a rib so that was going to be an experience in itself, as we understood it would be slightly different to the hard hull boats we were used to giant striding from.

Onto the rib

Kit sorted we were shipped down to the shore and loaded onto the big inflatable orange thing that looked too small for this many divers. A fast, roughish 15 min trip took us to the dive site. As we were receiving our brief Kerri was slowly deciding she wouldn’t be diving today. Poor wife-buddy wasn’t a bit well.

Ok, so now what happens? We told the skipper it was only me that would be diving and asked what the arrangement would be for the buddy thing, seeing as mine was now proceeding to vomit over the side of the rib. Yes, poor Kerri appeared to be sea sick. To be fair, the weather wasn’t great and the journey out was a bit bad and she does suffer a little from travel sickness. All I could hope for was that all the chunder in the water would lure in a basking shark or stray whale.


Rough seas in County Kerry

In reality, at that point I could have cared less for the puke machine. I was completely horrified at the prospect of diving with someone else; I’d never done it before. Then it really hit me. Some guy is gonna be my buddy; he’s gonna have to rely on me 100% and doesn’t even know me. More to the point, I don’t know him. I’ve only done 25 dives!! I’m going to kill us both.

There are some things you just aren’t trained for, and diving with someone not only new to you as a diver, but also someone you don’t know from Adam is one of them. I know now exactly how to deal with the situation, but back then I had no idea. I had lots of shiny new kit and a look of dread on my face, if I’d have been the other guy I’d have binned it. He didn’t. He rattled through how many dives he’d done and we did some form of buddy check, which i’d never really experienced, and flashed hand signals that were the complete reverse of everything I’d been taught, plus he was a different agency to me and I immediately felt like the enemy. I really wasn’t happy about it.

Nevertheless as wife-buddy continued to vomit I was preparing to jump in with this random man. I fell backwards over the rib and immediately lost my mask. Well fuck me. Of all the idiotic, newbie, stupid, irresponsible things to do and we were only 30 seconds into the dive. Thankfully the guide was right on top of the problem and retrieved my mask. I now felt really bad about this. I was a crap new diver that shouldn’t have been in the water.

Kit now back together my new buddy dropped like a stone, I looked into the gloom….. nothing. The guy was gone, I was beginning to wonder if he was, in fact, the anchor. He was on a shot line so I knew where he’d be – at the bottom. I just had to follow. My breathing rate was through the roof and I really had to talk myself down the line, slowly. I reached the bottom, eventually, and my new buddy was staring right through me signalling that I should lead the dive. The dive brief had completely left whatever brain I had left and I randomly swam about in the horribly poor vis until the guy grabbed me and thumbed the dive. Thank Christ.

Back on the rib I received a rather aggressive de-brief.  I took too long to descend, my octopus fell out of its fancy ebay retainer and where did I learn to navigate? I felt like joining Kerri and vomiting over the side of the rib. My confidence was shattered and I felt like I had no place in the water, never mind as a buddy to this guy. I hated him at once and was contemplating killing him on the next dive. I gave my excuses, apologised and we switched tanks ready for the next dive.

Again, I now know I should have either opted out, switched buddies or told him to go decompress himself and leave me alone ……. you fat bastard. But, I’m a nice guy and he knew more than me; he’d done 9 squillion dives, all on a 3l pony. I got my head together and mentally prepared for the next dive. Buddy checks done, we fell in and with mask in place we did manage a decent dive. When we surfaced I got a high five, he explained how well I had behaved, I had done everything he said and was in fact a super buddy.

Really?

Well, you’re still a fat bastard and I still really want to kill you, and in fact have a spot picked out near that reef we just saw. We headed back to the shore, kit was taken away and I finally got the puke machine onto dry land.

Needless to say Kerri didn't do any diving that weekend and although my subsequent dives were excellent experiences (since I was with a guide not fat bastard) I didn’t necessarily enjoy the episode as a whole.

So, what did I learn from this?

  • The term “buddy” is a stupid name. The guy was not my “buddy” nor would he ever be.
  • Be nice to new divers. Everyone needs to learn, if you are more skilled than your buddy treat the dive and diver accordingly.
  • If it doesn’t feel right; don’t dive.
  • Don’t bring wife-buddy on a rib without a bucket.
  • Ebay octopus clips are pieces of crap.

I have since done plenty of dives with other divers and they have gone on to become my “buddy” and I will let them sign my logbook without me writing “fat bastard” above their signature once their back is turned. That said I approach the situation very differently to the experience above. I am very clear about my dive training, history, kit, navigation, signals and any skills or weaknesses I have or are feeling on the day. Also, if at any point of the day I’m not happy, I thumb the dive and go home a happy diver.

Having a wife-buddy is amazing, I’m a lucky guy, not as fortunate as her obviously, but pretty lucky nonetheless. We still do all our checks, we are quick to point out when things aren’t correct and have binned dives on occasion where things just aren’t right.

A buddy is there to save your life if needs be. Just make sure they actually want to.

Malinbeg Harbour, Donegal (IRE) - where the penguin lives.

Malinbeg Harbour, Donegal
Dive Site: Malinbeg Harbour, Donegal (IE)

Dive Type: Shore Dive

Depth: 12m

Experience: Novice










Malinbeg harbour is one of my favourite dives. It’s not tech, it’s not deep, it’s not challenging, but it is a truly excellent experience if you like fish and things that swim in the sea. I don’t really have a lot more proper information to be honest. Boat traffic is minimal from what I have seen and there are always plenty of divers around. I’ll talk you through how wife buddy and I complete a good day out in Malinbeg.


Kerri and Frieda
The drive from the house where the cats live takes us roughly 3.5 hours in the motor home to reach the site. I would like to add that “Frieda” (the 1989 Dethleffs monster motor home) has a maximum speed of approx 50mph, provided we are going downhill with a tail wind, or slip streaming an articulated lorry. We did manage 59mph once but we had a breach as one of the windows exploded open scaring the absolute crap out of the pair of us. Since then we limit her to 50mph.



The drive is actually really pleasant, bar the drop to 14mph on some of the more hilly sections when the 1.9litre engine really struggles. The scenery is fantastic and if the notion were to take hold you could very easily find a delightful Irish pub to enjoy some lunch and some even more delightful Guiness. When we go, however, it’s normally get down as fast as possible, (relatively speaking) get into dry suits, get underwater. Lunch is optional as we tend to enjoy chicken satay on a stick and sausage rolls en route – it’s quite a ritual now.

Car Parking
When you reach the harbour there are plenty of parking spaces up top even for Frieda and the usual scattering of cars from all over Ireland. Then it’s onto the fun part, the steps. There are altogether far too many steps that lead down to the actual pier. Carrying kit down is both a challenge and an education as to how fit one is. The amount of steel I have been carrying up and down the steps of late is becoming a little ridiculous.




A few weeks ago wife buddy and I both brought our twin 7’s which would do us for two 50min dives. I carried both sets up and down said steps. This was hard work and I was glad I recently decided to stop my previously very dedicated tobacco habit. Our last trip involved a planned 4 dives, which meant Kerri using both sets of twin 7’s and me taking my twin 12’s. I wouldn’t say I recommend it, but it is possible and I am fitter than I realised.

On our last trip we arrived at the harbour late afternoon. We planned an early evening dive and then a night dive. As soon as we got there I carried the big twins down and wife buddy strapped on the 7’s and did her part – fair play. The rest of the gear followed and we kitted up and jumped in. Visibility was great at about the 8m mark, average for the time of year I think. The plan was to head to the far side of the cove as we hadn’t explored it properly before.

Big Plaice
Fish were everywhere; corkwing rasse, pollock, gobys, plaice, a dog fish and possibly, a swimming fish finger i.e. a cod. I don’t possess my PADI underwater naturalist so don’t quote me on any of those, but I think I’m close. Kerri is more into that stuff, I just like floating around.

40 mins into the dive we signalled our turn around and headed back the way we came. Kerri had spotted a superb giant spider crab on the way out which I wanted to check out on the return journey but was unable to find. I was very disappointed, I love spider crabs. Just as I had given up and was heading west to the pier wall I hit the jackpot. Two massive spider crabs were ‘getting it on’ right in front of me. I waved Kerri over and we both had a quick look at the crabs in the throes of passion, signalled that they were having a right old time and was then followed by some well controlled underwater thrusting simulations. I was well in the mood.


Practicing buoyancy!
With the peep show coming to a climax we headed into the sandy area in 3m of water and practiced some skills. Mask removal was first. Kerri performed brilliantly as usual, with me merely managing, as usual. OOG drills were next then we thumbed the dive. That was a lot of fun, a cracking dive.






Exiting is pretty simple as there are steps that lead right into the water, although in low tide you have to propel yourself onto the bottom step to get started. I tend to take a good swim at it and ‘rocket out.’ Kerri explained I was like a penguin gliding out of the water onto my knees, flicking off my fin straps and walking up the steps. A trick I learned shore diving in Malta I might add whilst watching a hefty Russian prancing around in twin 12’s like they were washing up liquid bottles.

On one of our previous dives I had managed to get up the steps, walk to the ledge that runs around the pier, dekit before Kerri had even appeared. I got myself sorted and walked back to the steps to hear a tiny muffled voice, “help.” Wife buddy was face down on the bottom step in 6 inches of water, cursing through her reg and apparently going nowhere. It was quickly deduced that kit removal was the best option and, having watched many other divers that day do the same, it appeared to be the best way to exit. I can’t be arsed taking my kit off and hauling it out so I will continue to be the penguin.

Surface interval guarding the twinsets form children

We took an hour as a surface interval to catch our breath, devour some sausage rolls, drink some juice and eat some chocolate. At this stage some locals had appeared, the young kids very keen to play with all our kit and ask why we were getting into the sea. We pleaded our case, the kids relented and we dived in for our second bimble. It wasn’t really a night dive due to the fact that the weather was tremendous and we couldn’t wait any longer for the light to fade. This was to be an “evening dive.” Quite romantic I figured, what with the spider crabs action and all that.



Kerri investigating the stack
30 seconds into the dive it was blatantly clear i had a problem. My left hand felt a bit cold, then very cold, then very, very cold and very, very wet. Turned out my dry glove wasn’t dry. Balls. I surfaced, signalled I had a problem, fixed my glove ring and we continued with our dive. I didn’t fix it. Somehow I ended up with a continuous stream of water into my glove for the next 35 mins.

I struggled on as I knew Kerri was having fun, eventually she took pity on me and signalled she too was cold. Time to go. I was rather freezing by this point. It was a great pity, we had headed out to the stack for the dive and the life again was brilliant, but I just couldn’t go on.


Steps to hell
We managed to exit with little drama and headed back to Frieda for a hot cup of tea. Not before I tackled the steps again though. Going down was rough enough, after 2 dives it simply got a little more exhausting. I took my twinset straight up once I exited and unceremoniously dumped it near the motor home. I got my breath back and staggered back down to get more kit. I met Kerri “taking a break” half way up with the weight belts dripping from her tiny little arms. She explained she wouldn’t be carrying her twin 7’s up today and they were waiting for me down below.

Dutifully I managed them back up the steps and to the van. Wife buddy got the peripherals and we stowed our gear in the well configured scuba storage compartments dotted around the motor home probably designed for clothes, pots and the like.

We simply drove round the corner from the harbour to the Silver Strand car park and set Frieda up for the night. Tea and a light dinner was the agenda along with some scuba podcasts, courtesy of Rich Synowiec at Diver Sync, to continue with the day’s theme. Sleep was beckoning. Sleep was had. Sleep was sporadic at best.

The weather in Malinbeg can change in a heartbeat, and often does. A few hours into our slumber the winds began to howl and the van began to shake. Well, apparently. To be honest I only knew this as Kerri told me. I woke up in our bed over the cab alone, with wife buddy cowering down below in the living area shivering in a blanket.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m scared. Do you think Frieda could blow over?”

“Don’t think so.”

“Think…..?”

“zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Morning came too quickly and we were more or less blown out for the days diving. On top of this rather disappointing revelation I was beginning to feel a bit ill. The motor home was packed up and we dragged Frieda back home against a head wind suffering terribly and scraping 40mph at best.

It was a great weekend overall even though we did lose a few planned dives but we also learned some more of life’s diving lessons.

  • We learned that you can dive Malinbeg in twinsets of all sizes, but it makes you tired. 
  • Penguins can get out more easily than elephant seals. 
  • It’s best to dive as soon as you can because the weather is as predictable as, well, the weather.
  • Motor homes don’t blow over, even when parked on a cliff face.