Drills and Thrills, Oban, Sunday 22nd July

Saturday, in Perth, was probably the best day of Summer so far. Blue skies, perfect temperatures and the occasional fly, lazily passing, irritating in it’s intensity. A pleasant day as the evocative aroma of a hundred barbecues, dragged from their garages, overwhelmed the peace of early evening. In short a good day. Sunday was not. Whitecaps sweeping up the Sound of Kerrera and grey water looked uninviting as rain clouds dashed across the knockan landscape of Kerrera.

Regardless it was a good turn out to what had been themed as a diver drills day, a project of Steve’s who had organised three boats and and many divers to fill them. 09:30 in the water was the plan and spot on time the new ‘Plan B’ and ‘The Butcher’ were launched. Plan B offering recreational dives while The Butcher acted as a diving platform for a dry-suit familiarization and rescue drills. The remaining folk were in ‘Deep Dancer’ and although last in the water, had taken the opportunity to do a briefing and perform a dry run of the DO4 drill in preparation to the open water session. Having launched, they motored down to Horse Shoe bay on the East side of Kerrera to look for a suitable site. Finding the bay a little shallow, though adequately sheltered the boat moved down to a site on the inside of the Sgeirean Dubh reef that is home to the South Kerrera beacon. A few seals bobbed around but were not encountered underwater. First wave in did a good lesson manoeuvrings a shot weight around and after nearly an hour under water lifted it successfully to the surface. The second wave repeated the lesson and again the shot was moved and lifted appropriately before divers and shot were recovered into the boat and a return to Puffin made. Has to be said that the return trip was much more pleasant than the trip out although one particularly large hole was found !

Back at Puffin, ‘the Butcher’ and ‘Plan B’ were getting ready to depart for the second dive of the day having reported a successful set of drills and some low vis pleasure dives near the Red Lady light at the northern end of the channel. The second site was to be Heather Island with the drills being performed along the sheltered edge on the NW side.

Deep Dancer’s team opted for a recreational dive in the afternoon and set off for Heather Island where an encounter with a washing machine was reported. A dramatic description of a piece of free floating kelp moving briskly in one direct while divers moving just as briskly in the other had a smattering of heroic saga about it. This was however confirmed by several pairs in the other boats. Large shoals of sprat were reported. The vis was very patchy today. Finally one pair of divers remained at Puffin and dived the pontoons, reporting a very pleasant (surely not -ed) dive where a good deal of life was observed including some very striking pouting.

The boats were recovered and washed off in a very efficient manner with those more familiar with these operations showing the way. Apart for a minor incident with a new tyre getting a nail in it, that was it. The boats were returned from where they came and various refreshment stops made before ending up at the club hut and calling it a day.

Thanks today are due to Steve for organising the event, to Alan and Sue for making their boat available for training , to Dave for bringing the new Plan B along for some recreational diving and to all the people who made the event such a worthwhile day. A special thank you goes to our mystery or was that celebrity instructor who joined ‘The Butcher’ for the day.

No photos today as we were training but as the vis was appalling I doubt we would have sen much anyway.