On the May bank holiday week end, Chris, Fiona, Laura and myself went to Scubafest 2017 in Pentewan Sands near St Austell, Cornwall. It was a very eventful trip with (a little) good diving, some drama but lots of fun ! We were joined by 5 of our friends from Preston BSAC (Just a Bunch of Divers) who also brought their RIB.
Day 1 - An eventful journey
The logistics of this trip were rather complex, Fiona was driving down in her camper van, Laura who lives far from Richmond drove down in her car so Chris and I had to go via Portland to pick up the boat and drive it down to Cornwall.
The trip took 7 hours but was rather uneventful, only stopping to fill up the boat with petrol and eat our sandwich. Suddenly, when we were only about an hour away from our destination Chris remembered he had completely forgotten to pay for the petrol when we stopped to refill... realising he was also driving a car that's not his and towing a boat that isn't his either things were not looking good for Chris. Fortunately a quick call to the petrol station (where the manager could barely stop laughing at the two plonkers who paid for sandwiches but forgot to pay for £19 petrol), the bill was settled and we could relax again.
We arrived in Pentewan in glorious sunshine, met up with Fiona/Laura, pitched up and after a few beers and some burgers we went off to bed ready for some great diving.
Day 2 - Diving the Kanteong Dredger
Friday morning, after some breakfast we decided to take the RIB down the road to Fowey to launch and dive the Kanteong Dredger. Our friends from JBOD did the same and we all met up at the harbour. Unfortunately for our JBOD friends their RIB wouldn't start so while a few of them worked on repairing it we took one of their divers (John) on our RIB. As Chris was driving and Laura had some kit issues, John, Fiona and I went down as a trio.
First thing we noticed when reaching the bottom was that either the Kanteong looked a lot like a pile of rocks or we were nowhere near it (we soon realised it was the latter). But as the bottom was very rocky it still made for a very nice dive, lots of sealife, fish, crabs (John even claimed to have seen dogfish).
For the second dive, Fiona stayed ashore having suffered some leaks in her drysuit on the morning dive. Laura drove the boat while Chris and I went back to the Kanteong dredger. This time the shot line was pretty much spot on the wreck. And what a great wreck it was. It has been at the bottom for close to 80 years so it is pretty broken up but huge pieces of metal provide for some very intersting diving, lots of swim-throughs and lots of life. We even saw a conger eel swimming mid water which is a rare sight as those normally stay in their holes. Lots of footage from this dive in the trip video (but not of the eel). After a great 45 minutes dive, we went back up and returned to shore. As we approached the harbour, we realised we completely forgot to retrieve the shot line ! A quick radio call to our JBOD friends who were still on the site and they agreed to pick it up and return it to us.
After some warming beers and a (rather disappointing) dinner we went to the pub to pay Cards Against Humanity. The purpose of the game is to give the funniest answer to some rather inappropriate questions. What happens at Scubafest stays at Scubafest but Chris won the game, obviously his criminal tendencies being no match for the rest of us.
Day 3 - One word: wind
Saturday, we woke up to some very strong wind... we agreed very quickly that we would not attempt to launch the RIB as even if we went to a sheltered harbour for launching we didn't think we would be able to safely drop and recover divers... So we agreed to go and do some shore diving in Portmellon.
Lovely little shore dive where the maximum depth our computers registered was 5.6m... so this was officially my shallowest sea dive ever. Highlight of the dive was spotting a plaice which is a rare sight on a dive given they live on sandy bottoms which is rarely what we dive.
After returning to the campsite and some lunch the wind had turned into a strong force 5, not good for diving but great for bodyboarding, so off we went to play in the waves.
This evening we went for a nice group dinner with our JBOD friends before the fancy dress evening party. The theme was pirates so we went as parrots...
Day 4 - Going back home
We didn't think the weather could get any worse but it did, this time we had not just the force 5 wind but also torrents of rain. As we couldn't dive and couldn't bodyboard we decided to go back home a day early to avoid the bank holiday traffic.
We made one last stop to the Scubafest tent for Chris and Fiona to enter their pictures in the photo competition. Both won a prize with these lovely snaps.
The drive home was this time uneventful, Chris remembered to pay for petrol, the boat was safely returned to its home in Ferrybridge and we all slept in a proper bed...
Great fun all round!
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