THERES A SPACE ON THE TRIP, and Ive got my deposit down! It was great of Roger to let me have his place. He must be so disappointed not to be going. It was a bit expensive, covering his lost deposit as well as paying my own way, but itll be worth it!
Just six weeks to go! Im so excited I cant even think about it properly, my first ever hardboat dive! Im going up to Oban, which is in Scotland, and Im going out into the Sound of Mull to dive some of the wrecks. So really, itll be my first proper wreck-diving as well!
I just hope I dont make a fool of myself. The rest of you lads, and lasses too, of course, are all so much more experienced than I am. Do you think I should have a look on the Internet, or get a book on wreck diving when I get home from the pub You think I should go to the bar and get the next round in Why
Oh, I see, itll be good training for the hardboat dive. Right.
Here we are then, pint for you, Linda, and shandies for the rest of us.
Now, do I need any extra kit or anything Only Ive noticed that the wreck-divers usually have hammers and bolt-cutters and stuff, and if Im going to need them Id like to be able to have a look around and get stuff thats going to last.
And why do I need them anyway I know wrecks rust and fall apart, but do I have to cut my way out or use the hammer to break my way in every time Isnt that a bit dangerous
Yes, I know I ask a lot of questions, but I want to be sure I understand, so I dont stop anyone else having a good weekend.
Just take the normal diving gear and make sure I have a torch Right.
Er, do I need a big torch, or will the medium-sized one be good enough Only I always have my little one clipped to me anyway, just in case, but I dont mind getting a bigger one if I really ought to have one.
What about a pony cylinder or a twinset Will my single15 be all right I wouldnt want to have to surface if my buddy still has a load of air left.
Do you think I ought to get a... Sorry, didnt hear you
OK, right you are, shutting up and going back to the bar. Same again, then

WOW, IS THAT THE BOAT What was she before she was a dive-boat Some sort of fishing boat or something How do we get aboard Is that the right word Down that ladder It looks awfully steep, and a bit slimy. Thats where the water covers it when the tide comes in. Right. I knew that.
How do we get our kit aboard Half of us climb down to the boat and the rest toss the kit down to them, as gently as possible. Sounds a bit primitive to me, but OK then.
Hey, the boat moves! I mean, I knew it would shift a bit underfoot, but I didnt expect to feel it move here in the harbour like that. Just a hint of movement really, but I bet itll be great when we get going, out there, into the open blue sea.
I can feel the call of the deep, and weve not even left the quayside yet. This is really different from a RIB trip, I dont quite know... ow! What was that
Shouldnt you have yelled before you dropped the bag You could have really done me some damage! Well, I dont think it was funny at all! Good job it was just a sleeping bag.
Er, hang on a minute... why have you brought a sleeping bag Yes, I realised the answer would be to sleep in it, but isnt bedding of some sort provided
Couldnt one of you buggers have told me before we got here Im going to have to run up into town to find something.
No time, we sail with the tide Sounds more like a John Wayne movie than a dive trip, but, based on the facts that you have a full beard, are smoking a pipe, speak with a strong Scots accent and Ive never seen you before, Id guess youre the skipper, so you probably know what youre talking about.
Ill just have a quick scout below and see what the rooms are like. Sorry, cabins!
Small. Two to a cabin, top bunk with just enough room to lie down, bottom bunk a bit bigger, but not much. Good job I brought my spare clothes in a bag thatll pack into a small space. Thank you, Tesco! A carrier bag might not be posh, but it is effective. Ill just dump my kit on the top bunk here and get back on deck.
hspace=5 Here we go! Cast off bow-line! Cast off stern-line! Just like that battleship in the Steven Segal movie where he saves the world from international terrorists and the topless girl pops out of the cake. This weekend thatd be Linda. Lets not go there.
Oh my goodness, the deck is really moving now. Up and down in a long, lazy rolling motion, with just the odd side-to-side shimmy.
I know, because I was standing on the foredeck - see how easily the nautical terminology comes to me - feet braced apart and moving nicely in time with her when she jogged a bit sideways, and I fell over.
Just some blood, nothing too serious, certainly wont keep me out of the water and the scar should add a certain distinction. Ill tell the other half something a bit more dramatic happened. It hurts a bit because its so cold, though.
Here we are, dive site number one, and the skipper is giving us a briefing.
The wreck is that way. Seabed at 20 metres. Have to hit the water in about 30 minutes and be out in under an hour to benefit from slack.
Is that it No history, no dramatic story about her sinking Apparently not.
Time to get kitted up. Of course it is, its started to rain. Actually, it isnt rain, its sleet. My fingers are so cold, I cant even feel the straps and clips and direct feeds. I hate kitting up when its this cold.
Right, Tony, buddy-check time. BC, weightbelt, direct-feeds, air-in, air-out, clips clipped, straps strapped and air on. Whats our dive plan
You want me next to you, on your left and just a little behind and below you. Not above you under any circumstances, and not to your right unless you signal to me to move across during the dive. You want regular air-checks and you want to know when I get to 100 bar. You lead and I follow, staying in touching distance all the time. OK, got it!
Youre in first, then I jump in after you move out of the way. I knew that, no need to nanny me quite so much. Oh, bliss! The water feels like a warm bath after the sleet on deck. Down we go!
Hellfire! Now that is a wreck! It looks just like a ship but underwater. No, havent used much air yet, thank you, Tone, heres my gauge.
Er, could we stop finning for a sec so I can look around and enjoy my first proper wreck No, but we can do an air check again. Off we go down the port side, then.
No, thats the bow, and were turning left, so we must have come down the starboard side, and now were going back up the port side. After another air check, of course.
Is that the bridge Can we have a look Apparently not.
OK, so this has to be the stern. It isnt as pointy as the other end. Is there a propeller and rudder down there Can we go see them Yes, Tony, Im pointing down there because I want to go down there. No, Tony, it wasnt a mysterious sign of my own invention to suggest I was running low on air, Ive got lots left. Look, heres my gauge, you can put your octopus away.
Isnt this where we came onto the wreck It certainly seems to be where were leaving her. Well, that wasnt much of a dive. I dont want criticise, but I think Tony could have taken it a bit more slowly. At least I get to dive with someone else tomorrow.
Is that Tobermory Look at all the painted houses! Just like that kids programme on telly! At least the jetty here is the same level as the boat.Time for the pub for something to eat, Ill just go below for my wallet.
Er, should there be half an inch of water sloshing about the corridor Just Linda washing her hair and letting the water spill out of the door a bit. No problem, Ill just get my wallet out of the room and Ill be... oops, sorry Linda, didnt know you were in there! Didnt know I was sharing with you, in fact.
What will the missus say Oh, bugger that, theres no sex here, were just divers on a dive boat doing a diving trip and nothing more need be said!
Maybe not, but the missus is going to say it anyway.
Only one way out of this, Im afraid.
This is a nice pub, I like that log fire. Now, Ill have the steak pie and chips, and Ill try some of those whiskies. Ill put some money behind the bar and start at the left. Every time you see an empty glass in front of me, fill it with the next malt along until I fall off the stool...
Ish it time to go already Hey, ish cold out here! Now, where did we leave the boat This ish the jetty, so it musht be here somwhere. Hey, the boats gone! Shome buggersh been and nicked it and... oh, ish OK, ish the tide, ish gone out and the boatsh jusht lower than it was! Ive never sheen tides thish big.
I bet I can jump down. No need, theresh a ladder. Now. Where was my room Cabin. Shorry. Top bunk. Mine. Nighty night. Too drunk. Safe. The missus may let me live.
Is it time to get up already Oh, lord, my head! What was I thinking of I could just have lied to the missus about who I shared with! She probably wouldnt have asked anyway.
I hope the first dive today is gentle.