Buckland Lake, where the club has done much of its open water training over the last few years, has re-opened following last year’s fire which resulted in the closure of Buckland Dive Centre. The dive site is now being operated by Janine and Tony of Southern Scuba ( http://sscuba.co.uk/ ). 10 of us went over for a day of training and testing kit, on a sunny Sunday in August.
The dive site opens at 10am on Sundays, however the gates were already open at 9.30am and a few carloads of divers had arrived before we did. The very helpful Chloe of Southern Scuba was in charge today, and sorted out some of us with hired kit, cylinders, tea and coffee. Entry is £10 per diver, and includes parking and hot drinks. The kitting-up area (previously vulnerable to flooding) has been fixed and there was enough space for the 20 or so divers there today. There is currently no compressor on site, however full cylinders can be provided at a cost of £10 for the first, and £5 for each thereafter. Hired kit seemed to be new and of a decent quality. Hired cylinders and kit needs to be booked in advance (preferably by the Thursday before your weekend visit).
Vu was our sole Ocean Diver student today – he did well with his first taste of UK visibility and temperatures, and completed open water dive 001 with Ken. Of the Sports Diver students, Ishka and Daniel were instructed by Brett, while Richard (from Hellfins) and Jörn went in with Victor. Jane and Ed were testing kit, and did just the one dive.
Visibility was pretty bad at around a metre, but we persevered. The water was a pleasant 23 degrees C at the surface, but as low as 13 degrees at 10 metres, with a dramatic thermocline at 5 metres. The lake’s underwater attractions and facilities (including several platforms and wrecks) are still present and correct, while the resident shark oversaw today’s action from its dry dock.
Divers generally behaved themselves today, and very few official reprimands were issued – these related to Ishka attempting to impersonate a doctor (probably illegal), and Vu smiling too much.
This visit to Buckland was productive in terms of signing off Sports Diver training. Ishka and Jörn completed SO2 and SO4, Richard completed SO4 (as well as going over SO2 which he’d already had signed off), parts of SO5 were done, and Daniel did a last few things (compass navigation etc) to enable him to finally qualify as a Sports Diver. Congratulations, Daniel!