Dive 28

Thistlegorm to 24.5 m

Dave and I were the second pair in and we dropped down swiftly and immediately penetrated the wreck. Diving inside the Thistlegorm was like a whole new experience - almost like taking part in a sport other than diving. The water had a clear optical quality and initially it was almost like being suspended in air. We swam over motorbikes and through Land Rovers squeezing between twisted strands of rusting metal and I felt a privileged glow of pleasure at seeing something close up that relatively few people have seen or will ever see. The dive had a walking-on-the-moon-like quality. There was a stillness and a silence that you can never find on land. Moving out of the holds we passed under an air pocket which served as a perfect mirror of the debris and tyres below. Later on I realised I had been spoiled because wrecks which other divers have recently been inside were prone to being stirred up. Lesson learned: be the first pair inside a wreck to get good vis.

I banged my head once and scratched myself a couple of times. Quickly learned how to hold me console and octopus close to my chest to stop myself catching on things. As I was swimming along one of the walkways something tugged at my mouth and I stopped: I had caught my main regulator hose on a thin piece of metal hanging down. I stayed calm and slowly followed my finger round the hose from my second stage and gently pulled it down, freeing myself. Later swam through the bridge and ended the dive with a safety stop on the shot line that lasted five minutes. This was my first sociable stop with Tony, Will and Gary larking around just down the rope from us. Will and Gary were taking the mickey out of Tony because he had thought the shot line was in completely the wrong direction. Then everyone started pointing out smudges of rusty dirt on Will's light blue wet suit.

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