It’s that time of year already. The divers of BSAC 42 descended on Milford Haven again this year for a bank holiday of wrecks, reefs and SMBs. I had been promised three days of sun, sea and ham sandwiches. I was about to find out if any of it was true.
Day one and we traipsed our kit down to the marina for the diving dance. Twelve of us trying to make sure we had everything on the boat and then shortly before we cast off someone shouted, “where are my fins?”. Today we were lucky, the fins were soon located. We had everything and I’m still not quite sure how we managed it. The first dive was on a reef full of crabs and the odd lobster. I even got to see two crabs either fighting or mating – the jury’s still out on that one.
Dive one cost a fin (lost by Deepti) and me becoming bitterly cold in my wetsuit. Dive two was with the Seals! Already happily chilling out on the coastline, they quickly joined us to see what these graceless noisy creatures were. They seemed less than impressed with us. We couldn’t match their speed or agility at all. But, more importantly, where has that bucket list of mine gone? I’m sure this was on there.
Day two was the wreck day and a total revelation for me. Our Club Dive Officer, Ken, collected the new club dry suits from Hammond’s, a dive suit manufacturer, on the way over to Pembrokeshire. That day I acted guinea pig. The first dive was ‘The Behar’, where we saw the vessel’s cargo of cable spilled out onto the sea floor. After surfacing warm and dry, I’m happy to say that the club Dry suits got a clean bill of health. I recommend them to everyone. The second dive was on ‘The Dakotian’ wreck, a 400ft cargo ship sunk in 1940 by a German mine. Our evening was a little different to how I expected. I had heard that a particular Pembrokeshire Chinese restaurant had become somewhat of a Bermondsey tradition. What can I say other than it was unusual and unlike any Chinese I had ever been in before? It was reminiscent of my grandmother’s living room circa 1973. I am pretty sure the place hasn’t been redecorated since then. Thankfully looks deceived and the food was much better than the wallpaper or carpet.
Day three was an early start. As it was my fault I had an afternoon train to catch, I won everyone over with bacon sarnies for breakfast. Dive one today was on a shallow kelp bed with a sunken submarine at one end. After lunch there was a second dive on The Dakotian. Measuring 400ft long you’ll never manage to see it all on one dive!
And that was it. We all glumly begun packing up kit and said our tearful farewells. Until next Wednesday at the pool anyway. Based on the tired, salt-covered but still smiling faces I left behind, I think it’s safe to say everyone really enjoyed themselves. I know I did.