Training Dive – Capernwray 18th July 20

BSAC clubs provide divers with many differing facets, friends, social activities, diving opportunities, shared experience, and training. By offering different courses and experience, divers can develop their own interests and build experience as they wish and at the pace that suits their needs.

TSAC has a wealth of experience available and has many divers developing their own skill sets at differing levels and different rates.

The regular monthly club training email offers a date and place for training and is always gratefully received by members of the club. It also gives any member the opportunity to ask for specific training needs and to fit them into the day.

What is amazing is the large number of people willing and able to provide support, from instructors offering specific skill development, experienced divers offering themselves as dive buddies to new divers buddying up to just dive and work on their buoyancy and basic diving skills. The list and variety of offers is endless. To me the true heroes are those who turn up and give up their day simply to act as shore watch.

Today’s dive site is Capernwray, a flooded quarry off junction 35 of the M6, just east of the Lake District, which has been converted into a dive centre. The stunning views of the Lakes District’s cloud shrouded mountains show that the steady rainfall on arrival is set to continue. Meeting at the top of the car park, club members discuss what they intend to do, some are here to dive, some to complete skills, some to practise skills and some to learn new skills towards their qualifications.

Capernwray offers a superb site, it has a café, filling station, kit hire and a site with easy access and plenty to see. The quarry has clear water and many platforms, along shallow (2 – 8 metre) training areas, down to the 20-metre sump. The site has planes, boats, boxes, a gnome garden, fairground attractions and lorries to visit, to name a few attractions. This makes for interest and good practice areas at differing levels in which to practise dive skills.

The day’s teams:

Debbie – organising instructor, not diving today.

Steve training Jenny – doing some open water skills towards her Ocean diver.

Nick training Evan – doing some open water skills towards his Ocean diver, also completing his diving for his Silver DofE physical section project.

Josh and Lewis – training dives, practising skills, and just having a dive.

Simon and Steve – just diving for fun (but it’s all good practice).

It’s time to dive so each team gets ready at their own pace and goes through briefings and buddy checks, only entering the water when everyone is ready.

Diving commences with each team heading off on their planned route and completing their skill sets. Some dives go smoothly, and some have a few false starts, the usual issues, extra weights, ears not equalising, etc. They are dealt with by the instructors calmly and competently ensuring the trainees are comfortable and prepared for the dive.

Map of Capernwray

Steve and I head out towards the plane and then to the diving bell via the Podsnap and then round the back wall gap to the Apeks van and back to the beach. A comfortable 50 minute dive with good visibility and a nice relaxed pace.

Back on dry land debriefing is taking place with trainees. It’s always good to see trainees smiling after dives, it means that they have got the bug. Next step qualifications and dive trips.

It is often during the intervals that diving progresses, and this is true of today. An additional benefit of training dives is meeting up with differing club members and talking about potential ideas for dives, a brief chat with Nick and Steve and a plan to visit St Abbs the following week is hatched.

For the second dive the process of briefings and buddy checks is repeated, although teams are slightly altered as one of the trainees is sitting out the second dive. This time Steve joins us, and we head off as a three via the Murphy, the sump round to the gnome garden and finally heading up the ramp to the diving bell and back to the beach.

A brew to finish the dive and a chat sharing experiences and talking about past dives hopefully enthusing the trainees and ensuring they now have people they can talk to when they are ready to get into the sea.

TSAC as a club offers this training at least once a month and weekly pool and lecture sessions. The training is not just about getting people qualified, it is about building up a relationship with new club members and ensuring they are aware of what they will be able to involve themselves once qualified.

A club such as ours offers a great training base and an opportunity to develop as a diver and to meet like minded people who can help ensure that the adventure is developed fully.

St Abbs here we come.

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Simon Read

I have always loved the sea and diving gives me that little bit of extra special interaction. I love diving anywhere and always find sites interesting and an exhilarating activity, constantly enhancing and improving my skills and knowledge. My favourite diving has to be around the British Isles and in particular St Abbs. It has everything, the sea life, the socialising, the history and the thrill. TSAC has opened up many areas and opportunities for me and hopefully will continue to do so in the future. Here’s to the next adventure.