28th June, 2004: For the past few years Jo and I have established a bit of a tradition for ourselves as we take a one-week diving holiday in Cornwall. In previous years we’ve tended to go about the 3rd week of July and do some RIB diving with Undersea Adventures.
We did our PADI AOW with Undersea back in 2000 and got to know some of the characters there including Phizzell, Fixit, John the Cox, and Rent-a-buddy Chris. Jo earned herself the nickname of Nutcracker on that course when she finned me just below my weightbelt in an area renowned for crabs, Lamorna Cove. Apparently there was a high pitched yelp and a lot of bubbles.
Anyway, every year when we go there we get the usual comments from the dive centre, “You should’ve come down a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had 20m vis, basking sharks, sun fish, trigger fish, mermaids….” etc etc. So this year we decided to box clever and go down a couple of weeks earlier, well, last week of June actually.
We hatched this plan in May as we were sat in the garden in record temperatures with a glass of cold Scrumpy Jack, looking at the scorched grass, baked earth and wilted plants. We made our bookings and started really looking forward to swimming with basking sharks in almost infinite vis. What could be better than Cornwall in the height of an English summer?
The time had come, we hitched up the caravan and headed southwest. Its strange how people associate caravans with traffic jams – we had an open road in front of us all the way.
As we entered Cornwall the weather forecasters on the radio started to mention showers and breezes for the next few days. Ah well never mind, we’re not camping this year nothing can go wrong.
Monday we checked in at Undersea as usual, they don’t run diving any more, its all done by a new dive centre called Gulf Stream Scuba in Hayle. We’re told we need to check in with them but that we should go shore diving first as it’s going to get windy. Off we go to Lamorna, 80-minute dive, cricket box not required. Weather men talking about gales and prolonged rain. Check in with Gulf Stream, they’re having a new engine fitted to their RIB so we’re going to be diving from a hard boat if the weather improves.
Tuesday. Rain, gales, shopping, joy.
Wednesday. Sunshine and gales. Did a 10-mile walk around Lamorna and watched 2m waves rolling into the cove. Further out a stampede of white horses.
Thursday. At last the wind died down and changed direction. Off to Albert pier Penzance and onto Bill Bowen’s hard boat, Son Caliu. First stop SS Primrose where there is a roped nature trail. We almost did that but followed the wrong bit of rope. Second dive the Conqueror, general exploration. All in all a good days diving
Friday. Back to Bill Bowen’s boat. First dive is the landing craft in Mounts Bay, very nice. Second dive, SS Primrose. This time we found the right rope and did a nice tour, we even went and had a look at the canon.
Saturday. Gulf Stream have their RIB back complete with its new Mercruiser 300 HP inboard diesel, its bit of a beast but needs to be, the RIB accommodates 12 divers and 2 crew and has cylinder racks front and rear. First dive is Porthminster reef just outside St Ives harbour; we don’t go too far, as the weather is still not too good. Second dive, Porthminster reef. This is my 200th dive and I want it to be brilliant. We go the other way around the reef where there’s not much to see unless you’re a big fan of kelp, so we turn around and head back to where we were earlier. There we find lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Not brilliant but not bad.
Sunday. Start to pack up and take down awning, skies open and a solid hour of pouring rain. Wait two hours for awning to dry out. Finish packing, hitch up and head for home. At least we have an open road ahead.
So although the weather wasn’t that hot we still had a great time and we’re even hoping to get back there in about a month. We also made some new friends at Gulf Stream including James and Matt and Kat Fish and Phizzell (this turncoat used to be at Undersea).
Copyright © 2008 Bristol Aerospace Sub-Aqua Club