Easter PK this year was a true UK diving experience. The trip had the perfect number of people and skills on it, we had enough kit, and everything was looking set up for an amazing week of diving. There was one aspect though which held us up – the UK Easter weather! Despite low winds for most of the week, a storm offshore provided enough swell that diving on either side of the coast was a challenge.
Despite this, PK was still amazing, with all of our OD trainees finishing their open water lessons, a few divers getting onto the wreck of the volney, more on to the wreck of the Denise, and two divers actually found the wreck of the Mohegan!
The vis out of Mullion harbour was genuinely about 8m at times (Honest! Measured it!)
Tommy, Anna and Sam F.
Tuesday was the first day of proper diving with the boats at PK! The sun was shining, meaning the first bout of sunburn for everyone. Spirits were high to be back at PK. The first boat wave attempted (and sadly failed) to shot the Volnay (sorry everyone :P). Surface conditions were lovely and it was an easy boat wave all round, which was great for Jake and Anna as new boat handlers. Cath and Kerry, and Emily C and Chris all seemed to have enjoyable dives. They saw lots of sea cucumbers and 2 barrel jellyfish. After a quick turnaround, we headed back out to the SS not Volnay. Rachel, Jake and Tommy dived as a 3. Since we were rather pressed for time, we didn’t attempt to shot the Volnay again and simply descended hoping to find the wreck with a bit of luck! We set off in a different direction to the first wave of divers but still didn’t find it. Visibility was OK, and we saw plenty of sea cucumbers and urchins, and the odd spider crab. We headed up after 25 minutes after a chilly but enjoyable dive.
The third boat wave of the day went out to the Mannacles. James was getting in some boat handling practice with Em, while Sam, Jon, Greg and Anna got to dive on the beautiful Mohegan (or close to it in Sam and Jon’s case!). We saw loads of spiny lobsters and spider crabs. It was pretty chilly down at 28m but 4-5m vis and a fantastic Dive!
As for training, this was the first day of independent dive planning for the trainees! We planned to go out and explore more of PK reef. Jon took Ollie and Sam on the final training dive before qualification, mainly to asses our ability to work together as a buddy pair. The water was sufficiently calm to get a good few meters visibility, enabling us to see large crabs, ballan wrasse and a barrel jellyfish. We just about managed to pass, so went to the café to lay in the sun with an exceptionally cheap burger to celebrate!
In the evening, we had a BBQ lovingly organised by Cath. Greg took on the full BBQ dad role and managed to keep 33 hungry divers very happy.
Later on, James, Jon, Anna, Tommy, Kerry and Emily B decided to go for a night dive on the reef. While Jon and James did some photography, the rest of us dived as a 4. After a short bimble around the reef, Emily had some drysuit troubles so annoyingly had to go back to shore with Kerry. Tommy and Anna carried on just long enough to find a huge pipefish tangled in some kelp!
Last day of diving and we finally have two working boats! As with most of the week the winds were not in our favour and after the slight incident getting the boats in the water the day before we decided to go to Mullion. After a super fast unpack of the van with a now perfected chain the first boat wave set off to Mullion island without a hitch. We initially tried to find some cannons from a wreck but with the coordinates placing us slap bang in the middle of the roughest bit of water so we decided to just explore round the island. Despite the swell divers had a good time with sightings of lobster and a crevice lined with shrimp.
During the time it took the first wave to come in and second boat wave to go out conditions had changed drastically with large amount of current and swell. The only buddy pair to complete a dive inadvertently ended up on a drift dive surfacing halfway back to shore. Due to the conditions the boats headed back in whilst Sam, Greg and myself tried to work out what the currents would be doing for the next boat wave.
Meanwhile onshore training (expertly organised by Miranda) was well underway with the instructors working as hard as ever to get as many people qualified as possible by the end of the week.
We also had to do a midday cylinder run which gave us all time to enjoy a pasty and an ice-cream on the beach.
Due to it being the last day we decided to go out for a final boat wave. All in all it was of mixed success with one pair calling it quits after 12 mins as it was described as “a sandy washing machine”. However Meg and James managed a lovely dive finding a dogfish and a starfish doing its best to imitate an octopus. A huge congratulations to Joe who lead his buddy trio on his qualifying dive off the boat!
All in a mixed day for diving but lovely last day in the sun which set us up the evening ahead…