Divemaster Mapping Project

On Friday the 13th of October I set out with Mark (buddy) and Vonnie (surface cover) to do my mapping project at Stoney Cove. As we were driving down it looked very foggy, but we were certain it would clear, probably… As we got closer the car engine started to act strange and I started to worry a little about the mechanical viability of our car! It got us there but the fog still hadn’t cleared. We were nearly an hour late in getting started and I was beginning to worry we wouldn’t even be able to see the buoys once we had them in position.

Nethertheless we perservered and got ready. We went over my plan and took the buoys down to the waters edge. After doing our buddy checks we dropped in off the slipway and dropped down towing a buoy each. As we dropped down I spotted the road and we followed it to the edge of the 22m shelf, then followed that round until we found the cairn. Eventually we found the cairn (I was beginning to worry) and then took a sharp left. Once we hit the coach I was feeling much happier and we tied Mark’s buoy off onto the coach making sure the line didn’t have too much slack in it.

I took a few pictures and then we headed off for the Stanegarth. I was surprised by how quickly we found the Stanegarth - I always think it is much further away from the coach. As we were securing this buoy to the bow I began to wonder just how much slack I had left for the buoy on the bus - was it still above water? Once the buoy was tied off we had ten minutes to explore the Stanegarth a little before heading off for the 4m blockhouse.

Neither of us had ever seen the blockhouse, and I didn’t have a bearing for it. So we headed off on a north-easterly bearing until we hit the wall and ascended to 6m. After that we just followed the wall round and in theory we would see the blockhouse. Theory proved correct and we did find the blockhouse although it seemed devoid of nice places to secure a buoy. We settled on a medium sized rock as the best thing we could find. We even found a pike willing to pose for us before heading for the surface.

Then it was time to take our bearings. Thankfully the coach buoy was above the surface (half submerged though - phew) and the fog had cleared. So we could get bearings on all our objects. I checked Vonnie had seen us on the surfacebefore we started taking bearings. Then we swam to the Stanegarth buoy we had placed on the bow (I was surprised to see just how long the Stanegarth is with the permanent buoy on the stern). We took bearings from this buoy and the pub arch before leaving the water and having some lunch.

We got some air fills over lunch and dropped back in to retrieve our buoys. Before doing that we had to take some more bearings off the bus stop and the coach buoy. We collected up our buoys very quickly and looked around the Stanegarth a little more before heading back with our buoys. We did a very slow midwater ascent whilst collecting in the rope from our buoys on the way up. We had all our bearings and our buoys back and so it looked like the mapping project was done with.

We did a third dive in the shallows under the pub arches, around the Nautilus and back around the blockhouse to finish off the day before heading back home to fill in log books. Looking at the bearings I obtained for the day they seem to make sense and look reasonably accurate. Despite it being Friday the 13th - I have never been a superstitious person and so this day was chosen as Mark could get the day off and we didn’t want to be playing with buoys on a crowded weekend.

This was the last practical exercise for my PADI divemaster qualification and so I should hopefully be ready to qualify at the end of the month. My PhD does seem a little further off though…

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