For many of us this was the first dive of the year. 13 divers – at various levels of experience and with various reasons for going – piled into cars on the last Friday of March, and made the journey up to Leicestershire. Getting up early (4am!), setting off early (5.45am!) and getting there early (8.15am!) is definitely worth doing – traffic on the way up was no problem, and we had our pick of places in the Stoney Cove car park when the gates opened at 8.30am. Kim had the day well planned.
The weather couldn’t have been better. I’d heard stories about previous wintry club trips to Stoney Cove, but today there was none of that – we had sunshine and 19 degrees, and a dry car park surface to gear up on. Admittedly the water was still cold (someone mentioned 9 degrees at the surface, 6 degrees further down), but the good weather helped us deal with this (as did short dives and – for most of us – drysuits). Ross, who gave 3 of us a lift, said it was his best ever visit to Stoney Cove.
I was buddied with Clive, who briefed us trainees very clearly on the exercises we were going to do in our 2 dives. In the end, I didn’t get to do all these exercises, due to a curtailed first dive (a result of me not getting my weighting right), and a shorter second dive (regulator free flow), but I got the chance to get more familiar with my equipment, practice buoyancy, iron out some problems, and learn from my errors. Underwater, I saw some of the wreckage at the bottom of this former quarry, as well as fish (perch, according to the signs in the car park). Back on dry land, everyone was very helpful and willing to share tips and knowledge about equipment and maintenance (this is one of the great things about club diving with people at different levels of experience), and I got to know the set-up at Stoney Cove, where I’ll no doubt be diving again one day.
Other divers were doing instructor exercises, and testing new kit configurations. We’d finished our second dive by 1pm and were all off by 2pm, travelling sustainably in 5 cars packed with people and gear.
I’m a rusty diver and new to this club, having only joined a few weeks ago when I began my Sports Diver training. So far, so good – it’s great to be diving again, with a nice bunch of people, getting sound advice and training from club members. I expect my next dive trip to be just as worthwhile (and hopefully sunny!) as this trip was.