12 February 2017 – Wraysbury Lake Training

Report by Mark Cawood

I’m standing on a start line in snow and sub-zero conditions, just about to run 5 miles cross country in a Surrey Champs race, and all I can think about is the fact that I’ve got to go diving tomorrow in this!!

Not a problem though as by the time I rose from my bed (which was very warm), temperatures had risen to a rather balmy 2° and it had stopped snowing! Possibly not the best conditions for Owen and I to have our first open water dive, but at least we had the excitement of our first dives, whereas  Charlie, Mark and Julian had already been there and done that, and probably couldn’t believe we had actually turned up!

Firstly, a massive thanks to anyone who lent us kit (particular Jenny and Paul) without which it just would not be possible. Alongside a surprising amount of fellow divers we soon kitted up and got ready to go in, with Owen so lightly weighted that I think he floated for the first 5 mins before he could be properly weighted. So in we go – yes its cold but actually nowhere near as bad as we had anticipated, and visibility was a lot better than I was anticipating (c.5m) and it was nice of the local kids to have dumped so much stuff in the lake for us to go and see (I thought it was only supposed to be shopping trollies?). Crayfish abound and a rather menacing pike lurked in one of the boats. After about 20 mins we emerge from our first dive with a max depth of nearly 9m. We both struggled a little with pressure changes, leading to some unexpected trips nearer to the surface, as we desperately tried to dump air and get back down, and I think the effort of fighting this made me a bit dizzy.

Undeterred (and under no pressure) we readied for Dive 2, which for Owen included replacing five layers of damp t-shirts for five new dry ones, which, with the addition of a Thinsulate made him look like he had eaten too many bacon sarnies during the surface interval. Step-entry this time and another successful dive touring the sunken treasures of Wraysbury, (for both dives the water temp measured at 5°) without Julian this time as he had decided one trip was sufficient for the day and land cover (and warmth) was far more important. Had a little fun going through the cabin of the Elizabeth Austin lifeboat and the Pipe and then, before you knew it, we were back at the shore having completed the second dive (30 mins/8m max depth). Taking kit off in my opinion is the hardest part of the day and thanks to Julian (I think) for disassembling the gear for us to make packing up that bit easier. We might even go back.

Posted in Dive Diary 2017
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