Picture of By Piers Boileau-Goad

By Piers Boileau-Goad

28th January 2024

On a freezing cold day at Vobster….again…our kit was on the benches and prepared for going into the water yet, what was that..oh yes…frost on the benches..what a good start, yet even better was coming..
The intention for today was to learn how to use my scooter. Things like, how fast it slowed down, how it felt in the water, how it affected my trim, buoyancy and how to manage it on ascents are questions that I needed answering as I’m using it this summer in Ireland.

After we all kitted up (I was with a group called ‘southern divers’ as they mostly have scooters and are fairly good with them, we headed to the water to get our bailouts in and scooters organised. At this stage I turned my scooter on again after having checked it on arrival. The indicator light went blue which means ‘flood sensor’. Ugh…first dive, brand new scooter and it’s flooded. What a pain! I switched it off and then on again (keeping in mind that’s the first response from anyone dealing with computers!) but the blue light still stayed stubbornly on. With regret I took my scooter out of the water and dumped it on the ‘pier’. It seems that this was to be a ‘swimming’ dive.

We all jumped in the water, some jumped out, some got wet, others well, think ‘bomb bursting’. From 8 I ended up wandering off with a group of three. We passed by Pete’s love shack which now resembles a pile of metal sheets, then a few other places coming back to see a load of students learning to dive and horrified at being in wetsuits. I was however curious as my hearing system didn’t appear to be pumping out full heating. It seemed to be limited somehow. A call to DIR direct was necessary.

We all got out after dishing are bailouts amid a few smiles and many frozen fingers and promptly got some coffees and plenty of hot chocolates in. Out came the biscuits, chocolates and a whole host of other goodies to help us replenish the missing calories..
During the surface interval however I got news..someone was going to let me have a go with their scooter…ooo..a big smile was on my face now. I was however warned that someone who was officially trained on a scooter did manage to ‘dive into a wall’ on this persons scooter…

So, with that in mind I was given a scooter and told the basics and it was a case of, let’s jump in. Off we go and the whir of scooters is in my ear. I was at the back of the group trying to work out how to steer. Eventually I managed to get the hang of it all and it became a doddle. What was I worried about??

We went around the quarry at about the 12m contour so nothing could have really gone wrong.
Out we got and I had a nice big smile. As soon as I can get my scooter back to Malaga and fixed I’ll be able to jump in and get used to it, ascents, bailouts, drills etc will need to be practiced. A problem at 60m with a scooter that I’ve not practiced with before could make life interesting!
Overall, it was a good day. Not much gas was consumed, less than 100 bar in total of either dilluent or oxygen. Another finding was that I’m perhaps a little overweighted by perhaps a kilo or so.

Total dive time for the day is 93 minutes.
Temperature was about 7 degrees.
Visibility was in the region of 4/6 metres