Dive 3

Dorset Coast to 22 m

First dive from a boat and first proper open water dive. Was hurried onto the Kyarratoo by Mad Roger the captain. Still getting my gear sorted out when we arrived at the dive site (off some rocks to the west of Swanage). This was to be a drift dive with Richard Barnwell paying out a line attached to a surface marker buoy (SMB). Before I knew it I was in the water, signalled OK to Richard and down we went. I kept my fingers in the 'OK' position around the line to make it easier to stick with Richard.

The current was about 2 knots, which is pretty bloody strong. I bumped along the bottom clinging onto the line for dear life trying to get my buoyancy right. My mask kept flooding and I couldn't see a thing. Every now and then the bottom would loom up at what seemed like a hundred miles an hour, each time going in a completely random direction.

I was calm, but felt a little uneasy. My mask kept flooding with water and towards the end of the dive I started asking myself why on Earth I was doing this. At one point the line got tangled in my snorkel and my mask got pulled away from my face. Richard helped sort me out and I cleared it easily. I was pleased I had coped with this little emergency with no panic. Richard kept showing me his bottom timer but I didn't know which numbers showed the time and which the depth.

Richard got out his waterproof BSAC tables and ran his fingers along one of the columns. Because I didn't know how long we had been down or to what depth I didn't really make head or tail of it. Lesson learned: pay attention to your depth gauge as well as your contents gauge and buy a bottom timer. Richard then raised one finger in the air, which I took to mean that we would be doing a decompression stop at 6m for a minute, which is indeed what we did. Only when we got back in the boat did I find out that it had been a compulsory stop! (We had hit the water on tissue code B and spent 22 minutes at 22.2 metres.)

All in all I enjoyed the dive, even though it was rather demanding and I didn't really see anything. Good experience gained diving from a hard boat and clambering back in, which was made infinitely easier by Roger's two assistants. Was very pleased with my dry-suit which protected me from the cold admirably.

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