In the morning of Saturday 25th January, three of us went on a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Swanage. I was told that we would be diving off the pier, which on this day was a fairly relaxing (but freezing!) dive. After arriving, we made all the necessary preparations for a standard UK dive. I was the only one of us three who was unfortunate enough not to have a dry suit but made sure to mentally prepare myself for the single figure temperatures!
For me this dive also acted as a lesson as part of my Sports Diver qualification. I was briefed on how to use a distance reel and how to use it practically and indeed safely underwater.
With fins in one arm and reel in the other, we entered the water which started off as shallow. Despite this however, it didn’t stop me from struggling to put my fins on. After a bit of assistance from my two fellow buddies, I had my fins and began the dive. Unfortunately, the visibility was atrocious despite the water being calm which meant we had to stay close to each other. We did however catch sight of a handful of crabs and shrimps along the way.
I felt using the distance reel underwater was a lot easier than above surface as it was easier to keep taut and reel it in at a steady pace, the one difficulty was tying it around the large wooden pier pillars which required a fair amount of manoeuvrability. The cold got to me a bit early since I was only in a semi-dry and went back to the car, the others continued for another hour or so!
Edit by Chris: Ollie was amazed that I told him I’d got lost under the pier many times… and then we got lost (ended up almost at the end). We decided to climb up the ladder on the pier, resulting in us having to dismantle a barrier to get back up as they’d barred off the bottom of the pier. Hey ho!
After a hot chocolate in the café we started to head back to Bristol in the mid-afternoon. I also had a quick air calculations lesson in the car, tiredness had got the better of me by this point and struggled with answering a lot of these questions! It was still productive as it certainly jogged my memory and reminded me how the decompression tables worked. Overall the dive and trip to Swanage was productive and an enjoyable day out despite the cold water and the overcast weather!