Report by Jacqui Mudie
My dive buddy Simon and I decided to book a day at Vobster Quay to refresh our diving skills. Like most divers we have had limited opportunities to dive during the last 18 months due to covid. We felt that a quarry dive at a site we are familiar with would be the best way to get back in, check out our equipment and refresh our memories.
We arrived at Vobster via 2 coffee stops and were parked and unloading before 11am. We set our kit up and got into our undersuits and dry suits. We both chose to dive with a 15l cylinder and our halcyon wings, I also took my 7l stage with a 70% O2 fill. I have a heart problem and have been told to use the stage from 9m.
We decided to drop down onto the boat and then navigate to the pit, move to the tunnel then around to the fuselage area. The water was quite warm until we hit the thermocline at around 16m at which point the temperature seemed to plummet! The visibility wasn’t great, about 1m, before the green bloom in the water obscured everything. We moved off the boat and headed for the pit but visibility got worse. To add to that my buoyancy wasn’t great, I could hear a slight hiss but had no visible leaks and I kicked up some silt making the visibility worse. Simons mask kept filling up and he was struggling to see me. He called the dive and we rose to the surface. We were both disappointed by our experience but had a debrief and coffee, during which we deduced that the hiss was coming from my wing inflator which was sticking slightly open and slowly, but continually, filling my wing hence my poor buoyancy. Simon took my wing inflator apart, descaled it and reassembled it. We decided his mask was filling up because he hadn’t shaved so he put a layer of Vaseline on his top lip for the second dive.
After a decent surface interval we kitted up and got back in. The Vaseline worked for Simon and my wing inflator valve wasn’t making a hiss. For this dive we planned to descend to the pit, then move across to the tunnel, descend through the tunnel then head to the fuselage and plane. The visibility this time was better, my buoyancy was good and Simons mask didn’t leak. We followed our dive plan and had a lovely dive. We were moving around the cockpit section of the plane when a diver dropped down the line and landed heavily on Simons head, it appeared he was training but clearly hadn’t been taught how to descend a line safely! We had already decided to end our dive so went around to the other side of the cockpit and and started our ascent. At 9m I carried out my gas switch while Simon watched me then we continued our ascent according to our plan. Once on the surface we swam to the slipway and got out.
The staff at Vobster were friendly and helpful, there weren’t many other divers there but there were plenty of open water swimmers. The cafe is open, the shop is open but there are no showers or private changing rooms. We had a good day, we intend to go again soon and then hopefully get back into the sea.