Members Stories

Buddy Brilliant

Author: Vicky Wilson
Date: 15th Nov 2022

Our first open water dive was at Capernwray, November 2022. It was a rainy and blustery, but mild day. However with all the kit, the weather was hardly noticeable.

The whole experience was utterly exhilarating. There were many preparation steps to go through before we actually entered the water, but it was well worth it!

The fitting of the dry suit was a work-out in itself! The wrist and neck seals were the hardest part, but with the understanding that they are the main points to keep you dry, we tolerated the squeeze with a smile. With the kind assistance of Harry we were soon ready to go.

Then the kitting up. From back of our cars we laid out all our equipment and were surrounded by lots of people doing exactly the same. There was a shared air of excitement and anticipation. Imagine wearing a huge weighted Babygro that is restricting your movement, and then adding your gear! An attentive buddy made this easier, and the use of the ‘decorating’ step to sit on made all the difference. As each item was added, and the weight increased, and I needed, yet again, some support and heaving to get me upright!

Then the walk to the water’s edge. As it was downhill this was much easier than the return journey was going to be- strong legs were required to support all the extra weight. The water certainly looked inviting and it was great to see all the activity in the water. I did keep wondering how I was going to manage to move in the water and after a briefing and reassurances, we made our way to the water’s edge. The next tricky challenge was getting the flippers on in the water and yet again I needed help.

Briefed and ready to go we entered the water. The cold water hit my face but it meant nothing as I anticipated the adventure ahead. Finally, under water and moving easily, I was so intent on the equipment and where Tessa was, that I forgot to look around me. Gradually my fixation on my buddy and gear relaxed and I could start to enjoy the underwater world. It was like a magical mystery tour as things came into view as we moved along. We observed the beautiful trout and the carp, just doing their thing as we swam by. The funfair horse was ridden and the devil kissed and we used the platforms to practise the skills learnt in the pool. With so much to think about and the completely different environment, I know I will need more practise to get everything right, but it left me with wanting more and keen to go again.

When it was time to leave the water, I was sad to go, but the cold had got to my hands. Yet again, friendly help and the ‘decorating’ step, were a great boost to relieve me of the restriction of the kit. And of course, the warm lure of the café and a hot lunch to get us ready for the afternoon dive. I was absolutely amazed to find the dry suit had lived up to its name and I was bone dry throughout!

Thanks so much to Tom, Tessa, Ash, Ian and Pete for all the training, tips, advice and of course kind support. We had a fantastic day. A day made perfect by our brilliant buddies!