Porthlevin 2003


Porthleven is probably a nice little Cornish village. I don't know. The trip was described as Porthleven but I never saw it. That's pretty typical. This just wasn't going to be my weekend.

It all started Thursday. I'd been busy so I'd left doing a rebreather clean until the last minute. So there it was, sitting in the bath soggy as I had rinsed all the salt off and I had a nice bottle of spray cleaner. I stuffed the nozzle into the exhale counter-lung T-piece and pumped the lever vigorously... too vigorously.
Pop.
Oh look the end's come off. Where's it gone? <fx: scary music> It's gone down inside the counterlung.

Do you know how long it takes to dismantle a rebreather, retrieve two bits of plastic and then reassemble it and test it for air tightness? TWO HOURS! In fact I didn't get it reassembled completely until Saturday morning. My hopes of doing it when I got there were frustrated by the Caravan infested South Coast roads taking me seven hours for the drive down. That's the picture of it sitting in the car just before breakfast. Notice the rain falling in the puddle. At least it's calm.




OK here's the boat. Yes the long shot is from the car park - it's the blue hull against the harbour wall. It's about six or more meters below the unloading point. The steps didn't seem that narrow until you wanted to pass somebody. This is not my idea of a place for twinsets and rebreathers but the skipper and his crew helped us all aboard.


So we sail off to the first dive site and I go to switch everything on.
BEEEP.... CELL FAILURE.
I won't bore you with the details but my spare cell, brand new, still sealed in it's plastic, did not fix the problem. Here is a picture of the RB in pieces on the boat and two nice shots of APD and APV just to prove they are shut on Saturday afternoons.


Back to the lodgings and in the dry start sorting through the cells I have and log the voltages in air and pick three that match. It calibrates but one cell is a bit old. It's all I've got so I'll try it tomorrow.


We will gloss over the Jazz night at the only place that serves food near where we were staying but suffice it to say that because I didn't have a pump action shotgun you didn't read about our visit in the Sunday papers. I was feeling a bit fraught by then as you can guess.

Sunday dawned sunny and off we went for the clamber down the precipice to the boat again. The run out was quite pleasant. Very flat just as the day before but this time the sun shone. This is what UK diving should be.


We dived the Helliops. Broken but not flattened describes it. I dived with Steve Jones and was playing with my new camera. Interesting. A good dive. Payback for yesterday.
<Note to self: leave the red lens cap on the boat.>


Steve racked up quite a bit of deco by my standards and I was diving with the Aladin (Pro Nitrox) set to 30% being approximately my bottom mix so I aimed to stay and clear it. I felt that returning to the boat on my tables time with a bent computer claiming that I know better than it did wasn't going to impress anybody.

Don't ask about the 6m stop. I know it's a mess. I was a bit unstable shallow so I called off the free ascent and reached for the blob. Then I discovered the crack bottle was empty - all that messing about the check list didn't get done. Then, when I filled it from the Turtle's Auto Air that free-flowed. I tried the usual tricks but ended up turning the diluent off to stop it dumping my breathing reserve and wing inflation gas. With that done the Aladin very kindly sent me to 3m so I hung on the blob feeling stupid. I passed the time pushing the O2 inject to see how high I could get it. After all that I was out of the water after Steve who got credit for his 80% stage mix.


We did a surface interval and since the AutoAir continued to hiss at people I declined to go on the last dive.


The drive home was remarkably uneventful and only took five hours.
And even better - Adrian was home and helped me unload the car.
Thank goodness I have to go to work tomorrow. Any more relaxation would probably kill me.


The pictures can be accessed by clicking the thumbnail but they tend to be 900K+ files
Pictures by Nigel Hewitt
Thumbnails by Easy Thumbnails