05 January 2019 By Andy Moss
The morning of 5 January dawned (eventually) cold and dark.
A number of club divers wanted to go diving, so had arranged to go diving on the Farne Islands. The first dive of the year is always special, memorable and vitally important to do early in the year.
Whilst some club divers were still tucked up in their bed(s) in Tenerife dreaming of excellent visibility, stingrays they were guaranteed to see with cocktails to follow; Andy, Richard and Tiago set off on a dark, frosty morning to Seahouses harbour to join William Shiel’s / Glad Tidings’ first dive trip of the year.
There we met Dave Taylor from Durham Club and Ben Burville, the seal man (whom I had not forgotten since a very foggy evening on Gun Rocks / the Farnes in the early 2000s).
We got a sweat up loading the boat with the usual kit and by then the sun had come up and the thermometer had broken two degrees ?.
I then loaded half my mum’s Christmas cake onto the boat, thinking calories to keep everyone warm and having an eye to my waistline by sharing. The boat dropped but just about stayed afloat. At least we would have enough food even if it was death by Christmas cake.
We set off over a reasonably smooth sea to Longstone thinking of the dive to come. We got there and after the usual buddy checks I jumped in with Richard, exchanged signals and descended a few metres in the 5 degree water (which felt positively warm after the surface).
We then realised we could barely see our contents gauges let alone each other so in accordance with good diving practice we both surfaced a minute later about 2 metres apart.
Obviously we decided to have another go as that first effort could not count as a dive or at least one we could reasonably defend as being one. This time we stayed closer together and after a while bumbling around / wondering which way was left and which way was right (we knew which way was up by the bubbles & the pressure on our ears) visibility improved to a good metre or so. After about 30 minutes we decided we had enjoyed the experience and most importantly had done sufficient to record a first UK club diver for the year. Consequently it was time to ascend to a welcome coffee and chunk of Christmas Cake.
Personally, I could not be bothered go back in the water again preferring to spend the rest of my boat fee on the boat looking at the scenery which was spectacular as usual, drinking coffee and eating more cake. Why did I bring so much?
So that was the first UK club dive of the year. Any others do not count. There is a single photo below, deliberately taken on the surface close the dive site.
Whilst writing this I am wondering who is going to be on the first UK sea club dive of 2020? To prove I am not mad I’ve made a sensible decision, namely to buy a new under-suit made in Finland where the water is considerably colder ?. As for those in Tenerife, those dives weren’t in the UK and don’t count.
**Editor’s comment** – we did see rays and octopus and the diving in Tenerife was warm with great visibility!