After months of training in the Pool, the joys of Wraysbury and the delight of Vobster it finally happened, my first dive from the RIB with the club!
Julian kindly offered me a lift to Littlehampton and after an early start, not helped by the clocks transition to BST, we arrived at the marina café to meet my fellow divers at 9:00am sharp. In addition to Julian, I was to share my first RIB dive with Andrew, Jenny, Steve, Jacqui, Alan and Alex. After a quick breakfast and coffee and much debate about the intended dive site I was introduced to the kitting up procedure. I was careful to stow my lunch box away on the RIB to avoid any temptation from a certain someone to hide it!
We had finally agreed on the Shirala as a dive site and it was with much excitement that we set off in the RIB after a little coaxing of the newly serviced engines to get them to fire up.
As we approached the intended dive site, it became apparent that a fishing charter was anchored on the site. Despite Julian and Andrews negotiations, the fisherman was obviously not going to move and it was decided, in the interest of safety, to choose an alternative site; The Pine.
On arrival at The Pine, I was introduced to another club ritual; the “dropping of the shot”! After about ten minutes this ritual was completed and the first pair of divers (Andrew and Jenny) went in, Jenny had a very slightly leaky Second stage (noticed by the young ears of Alex) but was still able to dive. They were followed by Steve and Jackie and then Alan and Alex.
Shortly after Alex and Alan had entered the water, and after a quick spin at the helm, Andrew and Jenny returned from their dive. My time had come, it was with some nervousness that I kitted up, ably helped by Jenny. Then into the water and a rather slow decent down the shot to meet Julian on the wreck. We untangled the shot and then explored.
The visibility was great and I was amazed by the size of fish hiding under the widely scattered metal of the wreck . We also saw a couple of congers and a small crab that held on to Julian’s gloved finger before he shook it off. At one point there was a large shoal of fish that we joined and, as Jenny later said, it was like swimming through an aquarium. If only people who say there is nothing to see in UK waters could experience this!
The highlight of the dive had to be Julian sticking his hand into a hole, wrestling for 30 seconds and the pulling out a huge crab, pincers waving in all direction. It was put in the goody bag I was gingerly holding open. After a rather bodged deployment of a DSMB by me we returned to the surface to end a great dive.
Back on the boat I was greeted by an empty lunchbox! After much laughter my sandwiches were returned. Alex then took lots of photos of the crab which seemed to have shrunk considerably during the ascent.
Chips from Fred’s finished a fantastic first RIB dive and we returned to the marina in glorious sunshine. I am already looking forward to the next dive, thanks to all for making it a great day.