Dive 6

Dorset Coast to 12 m

Another dive from the Kyarratoo this time buddied by Paul Larrett. Found it very tricky getting my gear because the boat was swaying so massively. Finally hit the water with Paul only to find that I had forgotten to put on my gloves. Went down without them to find the best conditions so far. The current was not too strong and the visibility was the best yet.

Saw a variety of life. Early on Paul passed me a little red-orange starfish which I could actually feel without my gloves. Came across a huge crab and a fair bit of kelp. The contours of the sea bed were a bit more interesting than on previous dives and we soared up and down over ledges and rocks. Found a rope, and followed it to an empty lobster pot. My hands were no colder than when wearing gloves, although I was a bit worried about cutting them on rocks or something. Towards the end of the dive Paul pointed out a white rose which I had to try hard not to touch with my fins as we passed over. Lesson learned: don't wear ankle weights with a semi-dry suit.

Kept Paul informed as per plan when I hit 150, 100 and 70 bar. Found it very difficult to keep balanced because my tank straps were adjusted badly. Also discovered half way through my dive that my weight belt was skew. Lesson learned: get the tank harness straps right early on, and tighten weight belt on hitting the bottom to compensate for the neoprene in my semi-dry suit being compressed under pressure. When I hit 50 bar we pootled around for two more minutes and ended up over a huge bed of mussels that blanketed the floor. One of them emitted little bubbles and we passed over. Surfaced and then had to go through the palaver of clambering onto the boat again. The strangest thing was that a few minutes later my hands were quite warm...probably because I hadn't been wearing gloves so my body had made more of an effort to warm them up. Lesson learned: gloves make no difference to how warm your hands are underwater and actually keep them colder once you get out.

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