I joined Sub-C-Divers in March 2018 and qualified as an Ocean Diver in December 2018.
Up until the Anglesey trip I had only dived in open water at Capernwray and Eccy Delph where it feels quite safe and controlled with a lot of people around, it’s a great way to start when you’re new to diving.
The sea, however, is ‘slightly’ bigger, more unpredictable and emergency help is further away in the unlikely event it’s needed. This is where the BSAC training, confidence in your buddy, the boat skipper, your club mates and most of all I guess self-confidence in yourself are put to the test. From pool, to Capernwray, to The Irish Sea.
Lots of preparation had been made before arriving in Anglesey. The boat had been rigorously checked, dive locations shot, weather and tides checked and most importantly BBQ organised!! I arrived on Saturday night, so all the hard work had already been done (up there for thinking etc, etc!!). A great Saturday night was had by all, lovely food, drink (not too much – diving the following day), bonfire on the beach.
Sunday morning, off we go over to Treaddur Bay with the RHIB, and launch.
I had practised backwards entry into water in the club swimming pool during lessons with my instructor Chris H. Actually using this manoeuvre from the club RHIB into the sea is when it becomes obvious why we do this and the importance of being able to do it safely. At this point I really appreciated the support from the rest of the guys on the boat encouraging (but not pushing) me. They haven’t forgotten being a novice, doing their first boat dive and understanding the apprehension felt on taking that first leap of faith, up to the point of no return when you finally commit to pushing yourself backwards into the water. It may be something very simple and fundamental to ‘seasoned’ divers, but when it’s your first time, it feels like a massive achievement.
My first dive on the Sunday of the bank holiday was with Chris L. I was feeling a little nervous , but the boat ride itself from Treaddur Bay was exhilarating and great fun (Hawaii Five-0 style!! – I think ‘Captain’ Lee would have preferred to think James Bond!!) I think that helped calm my nerves and I felt quite excited.
The dive started off well, Chris was great to dive with, he had his torch with him and found starfish and crabs etc. I was really enjoying the dive and felt very safe with Chris. I did feel that my dry suit was letting in a bit of water, but wasn’t prepared for literally how much!! English woman, diving in Wales, tries to take home The Irish Sea!!
Thank God I was diving with my group, I was shivering as I was getting so cold with all the water in my suit (and who didn’t take spare clothes on the boat with them?). My ‘comrades’ were constantly ribbing (no pun intended) me, asking if I was dead? etc. They definitely made the most of knowing I was too waterlogged to get up and throw them off the boat!! I know they did this to make me laugh to make sure I really wasn’t dead!! At no point did I feel in any danger, I was very uncomfortable, but so very glad that I was with them. As soon as we got back to shore, all the girls were around me helping to change me into dry clothes and giving me a hot drink, I’ve spent the last few weeks giving all their generously donated clothes back to them!!.
The shower I had later on to help me thaw out, courtesy of Melissa and Danny (not with them by the way!!) was the best I have ever had in my life, I think I was in there for about an hour.
Not to be put off by a little water (haha!!), I dived the Asmund the following day with Chairman Wilt as my buddy and lead diver. This time ‘no leaks’, it was a very enjoyable first dive around a wreck seeing starfish, dead men’s fingers and a dogfish too. I felt very relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
What I have brought back from my first sea dive trip isn’t just the diving, even though it has confirmed my love for diving and why I started my scuba journey. For me, it is also sharing fantastic (and not so fantastic!!) experiences with like-minded people, who are fun to be with and who are so supportive, kind and thoughtful.
I would like the people I shared that weekend with, who told me I was brave to go out again after my suit flooding, to know that the reason I felt confident enough to do that was because of them.
Thanks, guys x