By Piers Boileau-Goad

By Piers Boileau-Goad

2nd August 2022

At 08:00 on the 1st August, the vobster gates opened and the cars poured on. Bill King was first in line as he had a great run from home, the first time he has made the trip in an hour. First time for everything. Piers BG was 4 cars back. Once parked up, Bill and Piers met up, checked in and explained what they wanted out of the day. Both had spent a few months out of the water, Bill due to a family issue and Piers because of work.

Dive 1

Divers:

  • William (Bill) King, 15ltr, 33% O2.
  • Piers Boileau Goad, CCR Redbare, Setpoint 1.3 bar ata.

Kitted up and ready to go, Piers sweating profusely as he was still in his winter undersuit. Entry was made at 09:25, by Giant Stride but with the water level exceptionally low, an estimated 50cm lower than usual, there were various notices around telling people to be wary about rocks. Piers felt the rocks when he jumped in, so readers beware.

Dive one was spent doing some skills and drills on the 6m platform by the giant stride entry (Piers needed to do some Oxygen drills, Bailout and Bubble check).

Once completed and both divers happy, Bill lead the way gradually down to 21.2m past the various thermoclines down to 13 degrees at the base of the crushing works. One the way, we passed the Jacquin where Piers taking it slowly so dropped back far behind Bill. That said, Bill waited at the bow while dawdling Piers made his way along, jumping off from Jacquin, the pair made their way along featureless sediment at which stage, Piers became ‘geographically misplaced’ at this stage, until seeing the crushing works as it was not his normal approach route. Upon squeezing through the hole at the bottom of the works, scraping the shield on his CCR and his bailout there was a beautiful ascent into 12 degrees of water at the top of the works. Now with the plane in sight, both divers made way to it and ventured through the void, enjoying the 6m visibility and simply being in the water again. On exiting the plane, the divers made their way back to the entry point as Bill was indicating 130 which was our turn pressure. On the way back, Piers took some more time to do some skills on the hoof which went well.

Ascending to 6m and with a safety stop not mandatory, an SMB was sent up by Piers for practice. Not a distance but practice makes perfect. From using his O’Dive ( A doppler sensor by Azoth Systems) he has found that it is better for him to extend the last stop, even if it is not strictly necessary in order to reduce as much as possible bubbles in his circulatory system.

  • Max Depth: 21.2m
  • Run Time: 46 Minutes.

Dive 2

Divers:

  • William (Bill) King, 15ltr, 33% O2.
  • Piers Boileau Goad, CCR Redbare, Setpoint 1.3 bar ata

After a reasonable surface interval of Hot Chocolate and Tea, the two divers submerged at 11:48. Piers was almost imperceptibly underweighted at 5kg after attempting but not managing a reduction to 4kg (change his undersuit and this reduction in weight would certainly happen). Bill appeared to be struggling to submerge due to his pressure gauge coming away from his securing clip, while Piers was waiting at the entry area, basking in the 25 degree water at 2.3m! With Bill submerged both divers headed off to the tunnel as discussed during the surface interval. Water temperature at the start of the tunnel was 23 degrees but at the end in 21m it was 19. With the black void ahead and not being able to see anything, lights went on. We could not see the end of the tunnel in spite of a good amount of light coming from our torches until eventually out of the gloom, the exit appeared. With Bill checked and following along, Piers led the way to the Helicopter after turning ‘left’ out of the tunnel and somehow actually managed to locate it.  There was enough ambient light at this stage that lights got turned off so the helicopter emerged like a wraith from the gloom which is always impressive. After a little bimble around the helo, we followed the tyres to the next attraction affectionately called ‘Petes Love Shack’. It didn’t seem in too bad a condition and Piers was considering entering but thought better of it, narrow spaces, snagging risks, and risk of collapse are always possibilities to consider.

Bill mentioned that he had 130 bar so we turned our dive and headed ‘home’ for tea and medals. Following the line from the love shack, an ascent to the wheelhouse was made followed by a skirt around it and move towards the exit position, whereby at 8m Piers decided to do an Oxygen loss drill which involves using offboard gas (bailout cylinder) simulating the loss of an onboard gas (diluent or O2 cylinder). While this didn’t go exactly to plan, a discussion with Hugo at Vobster afterwards lead to a point once learnt and now refreshed.

Piers decided to hang around at 6.4m for 5 minutes as a simulated deco and to improve his buoyancy and trim. It was here that the 5kg ever so gentle underweight caused a nuisance, manageable but buoyancy modification through loop and drysuit fill volume required work. In water that was 16 degrees however he soon started getting very warm so headed to the surface.

Tea and medals were issued in the form of Bacon, Sausage and Egg baps…a gift better than medals!

  • Max Depth: 23.38
  • Run Time: 45 Minutes.