Brass Monkeys, Artillery ramp and diving 22nd January
It is said the "OK" sign comes from an Inuit hand sign to show you haven’t got frost-bite. An appropriate symbol for the day. The sign for "I have frost-bite" is of course one or two straight fingers, usually frozen white or black with red trimmings. Several divers must have developed frost-bite when Mike got his drone out again and the international signal began. Mittens are the better form of insulation than gloves and you can still practice the signal to Mr Drone, without even taking them off. It is also possible to use an oven glove to make the signal at home.
Here are a bunch of people who have just caught sight of "the Belshaw" and are furiously practicing the frostbite signal. - "I’m going outside. I've just seen Belshaw, I maybe some time".
It turned out to be a clear sunny day. Roadside kitting up was reasonably brisk and faff free. The hard-core were prepared to test their dry-suits and see if my shoulder dump repair worked. Only 7 made the day, two of our newest divers we keen to take the plunge in wet-suits in a balmy 19/20 degree sea. Setting off Team Belshaw had brought the scooter to add to his manifold gadgets, divers looked for mittens or practiced their hand signals again. I was with Philip who braved my navigation and dive plan to find the artificial reef and cages, then head across the bay, before a stealthy assault back to the narrow beach.
It took about 10 minutes NW to find the cages, viz was around 3 metres, with patches a meter or so greater or less. There was a lot of fish life skulking about the cages, with some coral growth happening in places. We saw a big sweetlips and yellow tailed damson fish and others. After admiring the tyres, we headed East across the bay. Seeing evidence of several octopus with scattered muscle shell around their holes. We made it to the rocks and turned back south towards the beach. After another 10 minutes my borderline weighting became borderline buoyancy. We surfaced and swam back in. Rob was conducting a text book lost diver drill on his own. We maxed out at 10 metres, but averaged 7-8 metres most of the dive. There was some disappointment that my dump repair had indeed worked successfully and I was both dry and warm.
Everyone made it back to the beach and so began the inflation of suits for post Christmas fatty diver poses. With dry-suits straining Rob became a beach blimp, Mark a beached whale, Led Zeppelin Belshaw, but unfortunately inflate as she might Cath still looked thin.
Back to Chez Roberts. Obviously people had worked up an appetite as most of the good stuff had been eaten before the tank redeliveries were finished. The booze began to flow, craft beer, fine wine and the gear shift into gin frenzy. Apologies if you had to endure a shambolic female on the way home, I did not force drink on them, they did it to themselves. The cold water required even the non divers to warm themselves with a stiff drink or five. This was the last dive for Haley. She is departing Hong Kong for the polders, dykes, and mountains of Holland. Good luck with your new venture and we hope to see you in the future. Meanwhile Philip will be with us a few more months to improve his diving and après diving drinking.