I have now got 15 dives under my belt and have now completed my Advanced Open Water certification.
I completed the final two dives at Capenwray yesterday with @ScubaLeeds. I was diving with an instructor, dive master and fellow student. The deep dive caused a bit of excitement and reminded me that problems can happen to anyone at anytime. We entered the water and surface swam to the Duck! The duck marks the descent line to the sump! After the surface swim we caught our breaths on the surface. A quick reminder of the plan and final checks we began our descent. At about 12m my instructor signalled that he had a problem and pointed to his ears. He indicated that we should stick together whilst he went back up to clear his ears. As we hovered at 20 meters all looking up to see if he was returning we confirmed to each other that we were all okay. Whilst waiting we were joined by loads of perch who wondered what we were doing just hanging there. Then my buddy indicated that I had a small leek from my BCD inflator. I disconnected and then fumbled around trying to reconnect it. I had to remove my glove to reconnect the hose. The water was noticeably colder without the glove so it was quite nice to be reconnected and re-gloved. Not a major panic but a good demonstration that the training had sunk in and even at the deepest depth I had ever been to, without an instructor who was having problems, by remaining calm your training just kicks in.
The visibility was also great early in the day and from the sump we could see the outline of the flying saucer.
After ten minutes the DM signalled that we should return to the surface. We started our ascent and at 15 metres we were joined by the instructor who was now on his way back down with his ear sorted.
Back at 20 metres we completed the required drills, we compared our computers to Mares and to Sunnto these showed that there was point one of a meter difference between them at the same depth the Mares reading the same and deeper than the Sunnto which were also reading the same. We compared the colours on the dive slate and both the red and orange had become grey. The water bottle we had brought with us had compressed. We took the lid off of the bottle and filled it with air replacing the lid. As my buddy was completing his dry suit dive and had to remove and replace his inflator, second inflator hose of the dive reconnected with no problems.
We than swam towards HMS Podsnap a wooden minesweeper that lies on its side at 18m. The Podsnap was built in 1944 to clear mines in around harbour entrances during WWII. At 50’ long, with 14’ beam it has rested at Capernwray since December 1995.
From the Podsnap we headed off to the cave below the oil-rig and Wessex. We passed through the cave which is a container that has been adapted for training purposes and headed to the plane and back to the training area below the entry point.
As we were just about to stand up the biggest trout I had ever seen at Capenwray faced up to me this fish looked as long as my fore arm and had a head bigger than my hand.
Deep dive done, knowledge review done, one more dive to go.
The next dive was the multi level dive and was mine to plan. The plan was to Giant stride from the right hand platform. Descend down the cliff to the Hawker Siddeley. Swim around here for 10 minutes. Then swim to the Oilrig and Wessex swim around here for 10 minutes before heading back via the Cessna to exit from the beach on the left hand side.
While on the surface we also ran through the knowledge check and then I briefed the group of the plan.
As my buddy was completing their nitrox adventure dive, the instructor covered their knowledge review and tested the cylinders. Nitrox settings changed to 33% we clarified that 32m is the MOD. This meant that we would be safe on the plan as we would be going no deeper than 16m.
We entered the water and dived the plan. The Hawker Siddeley is a 748-passenger plane. It has a 30m wing span and was designed to carry 48 passengers during the 1980’s. The plane was last flown in 2006 and at one time it crashed from the runway at Guernsey airport!
The fuselage was cleared out to allow divers access and then sunk in the quarry in 2010. We had a good look around before headed off the nose slightly left to the rig. After about a minute of swimming an a bit of a prompt I saw the oilrig off further to my left than I had planned but with a bit of a change in direction we arrived as planed. I had never looked around what was left of the Wessex before. The Wessex Dragonfly Helicopter was commissioned in 1943 and was flown from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The last flight of the helicopter was in 1962 before I was born! Scrapped in 1991, she was bought by Capernwray in 1996 it now sits at 14m.
From the rig we turned left and swam to the Cessna. We hit the Cessna front on and right where I thought is would be!
After a few minutes we headed off towards the training platforms to hover for our safety stop. This was exciting and possibly not the right place. As we hovered new divers plummeted down between and on top of us. Some of them were on their knees others on their hands and knees. Was I ever that bad? With the safety stop done we headed out of the water to high fives and hand shakes both of us had completed our AOW dives.
Thanks to Steve and Clare from Scuba Leeds who were the instructor and DM and congratulations to Kirk who also completed his AOW.
Now to get some more fun diving in.