On 28th October, I embarked on my second trip to Capernwray Diving Centre, this time as a trainee Ocean Diver. I had first visited the centre on Good Friday earlier this year, when I had been for a look around. This time I was going to dive in open water.
The day began with Alan (my instructor) picking me up from home, and once we’d loaded all of my gear into his car boot (there was quite a lot) we hit the road.
Capernwray is about an hour’s drive from where I live, so getting there wasn’t too bad. However, the weather was a different story. It was very foggy for most of the journey and although that cleared the nearer to Capernwray we got, it did rain in the afternoon whilst we were there. Not that, that mattered much because getting wet was the name of the game that day.
For my dives at Capernwray I needed an under-suit and a drysuit (along with other scuba diving equipment - mask, fins, bc, cylinder etc). These I rented from Capernwray, as a diving centre they offer equipment rentals as part of their facilities. I also purchased an air fill whilst I was there, as Alan and I did two dives that day; one in the morning, and one in the afternoon after lunch.
The first dive involved practicing some skills at the 2 metre and 6 metre platforms (one of the good things about Capernwray is it has an area in the water for trainees to practice what they’ve learnt in a pool) and for me these included; fin pivots, partial mask clear and regulator removal/ placement.
Whilst I managed to perform these skills successfully in the water, this particular dive didn’t go as smoothy as I’d have liked. First there was issues with the amount of weight I had on, and then there was issues with the fins I was borrowing from fellow club member and another instructor Evelyn (one even came off).
Visibility wasn’t great either due to the rain in the days leading up to my trip disturbing the bottom. Capernwray is an old quarry that has been turned into a dive centre so the bottom is silty in nature and there are also rocks and stones on the bottom.
The second dive in the afternoon meanwhile was spent practicing my buoyancy and fining technique in open water as both of these things take time to perfect. At the time of writing this I am still working on both of these things. Honestly! I am getting better.
Despite the poor visibility and initial equipment related problems at the start of the first dive, I did have a day to remember at Capernwray, and my particular highlight of the day was seeing the many types of fish that live in the converted quarry including the three huge black Sturgeon fish.