SLB Freestyle Weekend in Lochaline

So here I am, back in the office after a trip on the West Coast of Scotland only a week after the last one but this time with a different company!

Usually work gets in the way and spoils the fun. So when I first heard about this trip and much to my disappointment, I could not go because of work. Work circumstances changed and I was free to go diving only that by that time (as luck would have it) the trip was fully booked!

Luckily (for me) a space came up on the Wednesday and as I was on the reserve list I was only too happy to oblige:)

The trip was organised by Gar a good friend who, apart from being an avid rebreather diver and great source of information regarding rebreathers, has a long experience of organising successful diving trips.

The plan was to meet Friday afternoon at the local Dive shop awl_logoAberdeen Watersports Limited (or you can find them at their facebook page) to sort out hire kit and last minute fills. Once all (and there was quite a lot of it) the kit was loaded on the van the minibus and the van started on a convoy our long journey to Lochaline!

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Michael (well part of) next to our van loaded with 4 twinsets, 6 rebreathers and an assortment of single cylinders, stages, weights, toolboxes and most importantly Cider!!!

After a few hours of listening to hard rock and heavy metal we made it to the ferry, much to Michael’s delight who was sitting between me and Greg and had to listen to our nonsensical discussions about recreational rebreathers, bail-outs, Decompression algorithms etc etc!!!

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Divers stretching their legs while waiting for the ferry (photo courtesy of Laure Mora)

Our group waiting for the Corran – Ardgour ferry and not long after that we made it to the Lochaline Dive Centre where after the usual mad rush to sort out diving kit we had a great curry prepared by Annabel and the girls!!!

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast our boat the “Sound Diver” arrived and we started loading the our gear on the boat.

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Loading the kit to the boat (photo courtesy of Laure Mora)

The first dive was “The Rondo” a wreck I really wanted to dive after I read about it at Rod Macdonald’sInto The Abyss” and is quite unique because it is vertical!!!

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Illustration courtesy of Max Ellis (see Wreck Tour 35 Divernet)

After the dive we went to picturesque Tobermoray for our surface interval, before the second dive of the day “The Hispania“. Alan (our skipper) got the slack water spot on and we got in the water with minimal current.

After a successful days diving we were happy and all of us looking forward to return to the Dive Centre where we knew that Annabel had prepared a roast for the (very) hungry divers – us that is!!!

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Gar preparing his unit (Photo courtesy of Laure Mora)

After the dinner Annabel gave us a presentation on the SMART project she is leading, an initiative to sink a decommissioned Royal Navy Cumberland Class Destroyer in the Sound of Mull to create an artificial reef in order to help sustain the local biodiversity and boost the local economy.

Sunday morning and after a good night’s sleep (for those of us far far away from Paul’s room and his snoring) we headed out to dive the “SS Thesis“. A bit of me running late, a current running fast and the end result was a very quick (2 min) dive!!! Oh well these things do happen! As the weather was turning for the worst I was only to happy to be returning to the Dive Centre for a fully Loaded Scottish Breakfast and back to diving!!!

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The weather on Sunday was at least changeable! (photos courtesy of Michael Allan)

After the breakfast we headed out to dive the “Shuna” the last dive of our trip before we start our long journey back to Aberdeen.

On the way back conditions deteriorated so he decided to leave the Boat to the hands of an expert!

Laure attempts to create a new wreck in the Sound of Mull

Laure in charge! (photo courtesy of Michael Allan)

The journy back would have been uneventful if I had tied up my unit (properly)!!! Instead:

IMG_1271Repeat 100x: I will remember to tie down my gear!

embarrassing… (photo courtesy of Michael Allan)

A few hours later a van loaded with diving gear and a mini bus full of sleepy divers returned back to Aberdeen Watersports Limited having had a great weekend of eating, drinking and some diving too!!!

Simon has prepared a really cool video of our trip and you can see Simon’s Video of the Trip here an Michaels Video here

Overall it was a great trip that I very much enjoyed! The unit behaved fantastically, my diving wasn’t too bad (he says!) food was great and company too and I got to dive 3 wrecks of the list that I have compiled while reading Rod Macdonald’s books!!! Yey!!!

So many thanks to:

  • Gar for organising the trip and the driving
  • Greg for the driving
  • Michael for tolerating Rammstein and my conversations on CCR with Greg
  • Annabel for the excellent food
  • Alan our skipper
  • Michael, Laure and Simon for photos and the video

and everyone else that made it a successful diving trip