With everything packed the night before, you would have thought that we would have got off to quite a smooth start early on the Saturday morning, but you would have been mistaken! A certain member of the UBUC committee, who shall remain unnamed, managed to have an accidental lie in. There were murmurs about leaving said unnamed person behind in Bristol, but fortunately for John Doe, he had the keys to the Land Rover (kindly loaned to us for the weekend by the Archaeology department) which was already packed full, and locked, with everyone’s kit. They didn’t really mean it though – the grumpiness was at levels usually reserved only for the DO, due to the early meet time and the fact that no one had had their morning coffee yet.
Eventually, the fifteen of us set off on our journey to Babbacombe. We all arrived safely, although some making better time than others… The first to arrive entertained themselves by chucking a rugby ball around until the rest of the group got to the beach. The weather was cold but surprisingly nice for the last day of November.
The first wave of divers included the brave semidry divers and a “first UK dive”. A good dive was had by all, the water a moderate 9 degrees Celsius. A variety of dive plans were executed with entry from both shore and the wall steps. The divers that chose the wall entry were treated to a nice fish carcass at the bottom of the steps that was absolutely crawling (or should it be scuttling?) with crabs. Spider crabs, huge edible crabs and tonnes of starfish were seen and Anya and Beth even saw a super cool dog fish! Dave had a bit of a snorkel and the second wave went out, adding shrimp, sardines (in a tin unfortunately), more fish, starfish and crabs to the “spotted at Babbacombe” list. A few people went in for a second dive –Jon dived again, this time with his GoPro, and managed to find the dog fish again with Anya: check out the cool video he made of the trip here.
A few navigational mishaps aside and me suffering from “fin gate” on my second dive, losing a fin not once, but twice, and the second time after we had ascended; a great day’s diving was had by all. (Alex was an absolute hero, towing me back to shore. I’m pretty sure I still owe him a drink!).
The kit was all packed away in the cars and we all headed back as a group to Le Papillon Backpackers Hostel in Torquay where we were staying for the night. Le Papillon is a “quaint” hostel, with hundreds of paintings covering the walls but comfy beds and a nice layout and location for a group like ours to enjoy dinner and then experience the delights of Torquay on a Saturday night. (Although the “large, well equipped kitchen” was neither large, nor well equipped with only three hobs and a microwave!)
Everybody enjoyed their 50p showers and sat down and enjoyed a brilliant meal. Thanks to Tom and David for cooking the Chilli and Ellie and Pip for the veggie option! Food was very filling and it was truly delicious.
And then the fun began… Jenga of Fire, a (only slightly) more grown up version of musical chairs, body traversing, the “pan and belt” game and Corridor Yoga were all amongst the evening’s activities, alongside the consumption of a few drinks. The sole other guest in the hostel made an appearance at one point, enquiring as to who the Land Rover belonged to as “Land Rover’s give me a hard on”, before leaving the room disappointed as the only fellow Landy enthusiast in the room (Tom) was otherwise engaged. Later in the evening it was a covert operation to get out of the hostel, without the Landy Lover becoming aware, and head into Torquay for the cultural part of the trip.
Wandering down towards the centre of Torquay, past pubs with signs like “No caps, hoodies or tracksuits at the bar” on the door, we got a certain “feel” for the town, but it wasn’t until we got into the centre that we were treated to the whole experience… There were “Street Pastors” going around the streets collecting drunken people and putting them into a “Drunk Bus” where they were looked after and helped to sober up. We chatted with the security man on the door of Subway (Yes, really, sandwich shops with security… Well it is Torquay!). But really, the highlight of the excursion was the £1.20 mulled cider in Wetherspoons… You just don’t get that in Bristol! Somehow, we all got home and lots of snacking on Doritos and left over Chilli was done before everyone went to bed. Did I forget to mention that John Doe who slept in at the beginning of the day was also the first to bed and didn’t quite make it out to Torquay itself?
There was a somewhat subdued and lazy start to the next day. An awesome fry up was cooked by all fifteen of us on just three hobs by Tom and David so kudos to them, even if Tom did feel too unwell to eat anything that he’d cooked! He also was feeling slightly sore, now that the effects of alcohol had worn off, after his fierce defence of the Cereal Box Game Champion title, which was “stolen” from him by Alice with her superior bendiness (no pun intended). Everyone devoured their food with much enthusiasm before we tidied up, packed the cars and headed begrudgingly back to Bristol. A bit of fun was had on the way with iTrips and scrolling LED messages between cars. Once back at stores, kit washing was organised to military precision (again) by Anya and everyone headed home for a bit of post UBUC R&R.
There are tonnes more pictures to be found on the facebook group.