A dry day in the storm. 14th December 2013

Steve and I left Perth in the early morning light under clear still skies and with high expectations of a good days diving. By Crieff it had all changed and the weather got progressively worse until we arrived at the Quarry View Garden Center and Coffee Shop at Crerae near Furnace to see impressively large brown waves breaking onto the reef and piling spindrift onto the beach. We weren’t the only ones to arrive and apart from one no show everyone who said they would come arrived before 10:00.

My lesson today was to be DO2, demonstrating leading a dive so there was still a lot we could do towards the safety and planning aspects of the lesson even if we didn’t get in the water and put it into practice.

So first thing was to walk the site, or rather wrap up in the old oil skins, turn the pipe upside down, put the sowester on and push at the door!
Visualising a risk assessment while walking the site was quite interesting and we had a good discussion about the problems of entry and the potential exit points in the conditions. It rapidly became apparent that if we were able to dive there was only one potential entry point and that would also be the only exit point. Walking right down to the waters edge to ‘experience’ the problems of exiting, the size of the waves made the point for us.
With the possibility that the dropping tide might result in the reef creating a breakwater we decided to enjoy a cup of coffee and reassess the site in an hour.

So armed with a coffee we sat at a table in the warm surroundings of the cafe and went through the lesson, visualising the learning points within the lesson and discussing how we would achieve them on a dive. An hour or so later it was on with the sowester and out to walk the site again. There was no change and indeed the conditions had perhaps worsened. So back to the cafe and time to test the coffee cake and socialize until people started drifting away home. Steve, who was scheduled to do a dry suit familiarization lesson took the opportunity to cover some theory with a variety of suits from people only too happy to lend them if it meant not going in the water !

When we eventually left the reef was still covered, the storm surge adding a good 3 feet to the tide , impressive for Loch Fyne, though the fetch on the loch under the prevailing condition would have the water piling up at Inverary.

A couple of us adjourned to the George where we chewed the cudd before continuing home. By way of variation we decided to return via the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’, along Lomondside to briefly stop at The Drovers before crossing a very wet Glen Ogle and on to Perth.

No diving today but a chance to do some theory , indeed two diver grade exams were set and passed so while almost a complete wash out (No practical lessons today- ed), I really enjoyed a grand day out.

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