The Farne Islands, by Wendy Brumfitt
I went on the Club trip to the Farne Islands last month; my first experience of diving in the UK, and of diving with iDive. I have to say that the thought of stepping off a large boat into the chilly embrace of the North Sea had me quite worried. But it’s all about motivation and the thought of swimming with seals was a powerful motivator.
It’s also all about organisation and planning. Over the weeks leading up to our trip I received quite a few emails, WhatsApp’s and spreadsheets. I read them all, so was clear on what to pay, where to stay, who to travel with, whom to room-share with, what kit to borrow from the Club etc. Of course, the Club has run many of these trips before and knows what it is doing. All very reassuring for me, who isn’t quite so sure about these things yet.
As you would expect, a trip like this is not only about the diving (!) but also about the social side. I found myself getting to know people better by sharing a room, a joke, a kebab. Chatting in the pub hearing ‘Tales of the Deep’ from folks who have so much more diving experience than me proved both funny and informative.
Not that I managed any late nights in the pub, as, to be honest, I was shattered after each day’s diving. It is very physical, starting with loading all my gear into the van. Then down to the harbour where everyone’s cylinders needed carting down to the dive boat, getting all my gear out of the van and fighting my way into my suit. I thought I would get quicker at kitting-up each day but in fact I got slower! On the third, and last day, I was last onto the boat despite Alan’s encouragement. Then it was the reverse after the dives were over: haul all the cylinders up to the quayside from the boat, climb out of my gear and load into the van. Phew!
But here I found the great plus of diving with our Club, there are so many helping hands. I didn’t carry all my cylinders as I had help. I didn’t carry all my gear, I had help. All very much appreciated I can tell you.
Shuffling backwards, in full gear, to the rear of the pitching boat, everyone putting an arm out to steady me as I pass them, brilliant! So, with everyone’s help here I am at the back of the boat, onto the platform, and I am going to jump!! GERONIMOOOOoooooo………..
PS The diving was great, I swam with seals! Thanks to Simon A.
Bruce Oxley – Farnes 2023
I joined iDive a few months ago and you all made me feel very welcome. Meeting up on Thursday nights was a great opportunity to meet many of you prior to me having an opportunity to dive with some of you.
My first dive with our club was to the Farne Islands. My only experience of sea dives in the northern hemisphere was Anglesey 18 years previously and that was a walk in from the shore and a totally different experience. I have over 500 dives, mostly in warm waters, and was prepared for a learning curve (or so I thought).
The first mishap occurred when my cylinder fell heavily on the deck popping the O-ring and expelling most of the air. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to see the dolphins that had already graced us with their presence. I was able to fit a new insert to the tank, borrowing the correct Allen key from another diver. Secondly, my regulator, whilst being serviced regularly, decided to leak. Again one of you had the necessary adjustable spanner to tighten up the offending leak and I was able to fix this quickly.
Whilst I have already said you have made me feel very welcome and have clearly looked after me since joining the club, my experience on my first dive wasn’t great as I lost contact with my buddy. A lot was learned by all concerned but this wasn’t a great start to my diving in the Farne islands.
I had two great days diving on the next two days, mainly due to the club and the people within it. The area around Seahouses is outstanding on the boat and surpassed under the water. The seals are very friendly amongst the kelp. Again, as I have said to several dive friends, I would recommend local divers to take the plunge on a Thursday night to meet up with you all.
I look forward to The Farnes next year, with more dives to come.