Following on from last week’s training day at Holborough Lakes, today the club ventured out to another Kent dive site – Buckland Lake, near Cliffe. 14 of us – including 6 who have joined the club in the last year – arrived early for a day of training, testing kit and getting a few shake-down dives logged, ready for the start of the dive season.
The morning fog disappeared not long after we arrived, and the sun was blazing by the time everyone finished their first dip. Most reported a good dive – better visibility and slightly warmer water than last week, more Ocean Diver skills completed, and interesting things to see underwater (although the famous shark was away being repaired, apparently). Lee and Chris logged the longest dive of the day at an impressive 41 minutes, despite Chris being (but not freezing) in a wetsuit. Dave and Joe found a mysterious new gelatinous species in the bottom of the lake. Brett continued his foray into documentary filmmaking, and Maggie made the surface all fizzy with her free-flowing regulator, before sensibly terminating the dive.
Buckland Lake has a raised decking area with picnic tables which – being south-facing – proved to be a real sun trap, and pleasant enough for sunbathing (in March!). During our surface interval, divers made use of the tea-and-burger van, ate not-space cakes, and gave the resident dog a tummy rub.
The second dive was shorter for most of us, but also enjoyable. After packing up, we were ready and gone before 3pm, with one dry diver making use of the sunny afternoon to explore Cliffe Pools and the Saxon Shore Way nearby. Buckland Lakes is a decent dive site – easy to get to from southeast London, well organised with numbered kitting-up benches for each club, a clear briefing, and enough space. Kit hire seemed steep, and there’s a downhill/uphill walk between the car park and lake, but trolleys made this easier.
And so - next week Shoreham! Our first trip to the seaside this year!