At the end of October three of us trooped over to the West Coast to help one of our DSAC members gain some more experience towards their Sports Diver Qualification.The day was rather bleak weather wise, with the underwater conditions matching the bleakness of its air filled counterpart; challenging to say the least for those with less experience of the site in low visibility. The mood was kept buoyant with the usual good humour of our Training Officer, and with both the Cadet/TA force and Edinburgh divers using the site as well, there was plenty of activity, friendly chat and shore cover.
Our practice session involved components from the SO5 lesson, Assisted Air Ascents from ten metres, mask clearing, navigation and dive leading. We had planned for two dives, so decided to run through the lesson twice in its entirely, giving plenty of practice for an assessed session in the near future. The tides were on neaps, so water movement was minimal so with the silt kicked up from our skills practice, we had to move quite a bit away to get clear water to start the dive lead and navigation sections.
Underwater conditions were dark and disorientating, so we had to stay quite close to the seafloor to keep a visual reference. With the compass occasionally affected by the underwater wreckage, other methods for orientation and decision making mindfully came into play, such as depth and time as well as topographical features. Part of the experience of this session, was to monitor other divers and recognise when a plan had to change to keep everyone safe and within their limits. By the end of session two, confidence had increased dramatically and decisions were made with positive certainty.
Once back on shore, things became a bit more apparent as to why the Cadet/TA force was there, and that was to practice rafting. From what we could gather there were two teams competing to race to a set point; what was very comical was that the set point (a motor boat) kept moving. Much waving of arms from the shore and confusion ensued, in particular from a large bellowing gentleman whose moustache would have made Windsor Davies jealous. We left the site to its own Saturday madness, and sneaked away to dry off in the Three Villages Cafe for a debrief and some hot soup.