eDiveSoftware blogs

It's been a while since I blogged, but the diving continues all the same.

I dive most months and try to fit this around the day job (the reason I've been busy recently), the family and everything else that life throws at me.

My normal dive spot is a place called Capernwray which is just off the M6 Motorway in the North West of England (in Lancashire). There are plenty of dive sites dotted around England, but this one is within reasonable reach and I know it well. I tend to visit for a couple of nice and easy dives in familiar surroundings and a bit to eat in between. My regular dive buddies also know it well and I do sometimes dive with different people in different combinations. Nick and Seb are the usual guys, Gary (co-founder of eDive) lives a bit further away so it's a bit more complicated getting together to dive at the moment. Rob visits from time to time when he's not living and working on a dive boat up in Scapa Flow. I've dived with Wayne a few times too but not as recently as I probably should. Hoping to be joined by other friends to so we probably have the start of a dive club coming together in it's early days.

So, onto Capernwray. I tend to get an early (ish) start. Up at 7am and car loaded up by 7.30. The kids always get a kiss even if they are still fast asleep. The same goes for my wife Lisa. I often take my wife's car simply because it uses a lot less fuel than mine and it's a drive that is simply motorway miles and boring. If I'm diving with Seb I'll quite often pick him up on the way, but either way, the usual plan is to meet up at Lancashire Services around 8.30-8.45. A quick catch up in the car park and off we go.

Arriving at Capernwray (which opens around 9am) and you likely have to queue down the country lane to get in. It's all dealt with pretty quickly so it's no bother. The car park is a decent size but can get busy in the summer (as you can imagine there are less nutters like me that dive in the depths of winter - this last year we passed 4 snowploughs on the way to Capernwray and went in a bit of a blizzard).

We park up and head up to the dive shop. I'm diving with Nick today and we've both decided to go out on standard air today. I normally dive on 40% Nitrox which is more than suitable here but today we decided to dive on boggo air. I pre-booked the cylinders a few days before the dive so they are ready for us. Both are 15L tanks. We head back to the cars and start getting ready with the usual banter and catching up about all sorts of stuff. Capernwray is a really good dive site and has facilities to get changed in but most forsake this and get ready in the car park (yes, I even do this in winter for some daft reason). We are in no rush getting ready and are really chilled out. We've dived together a lot and mostly at this site.

Finally ready, it's a short walk across the car park to the dive site entrance.

I've been telling Nick that I've figured the route out to the far side of the quarry where there is a Wessex Helicopter. Nick doesn't believe me (we have been lost a few times in all fairness) but he still agrees on the plan. Capernwray quarry is 20m deep at it's max so it's nothing tricky. It's well within our training and experience and the conditions are good. In fact, it's a sunny day which has been a rarity this year. A quick buddy check and it's fins on and off we go. I'm leading.

We drop in, check for bubbles and make sure the kit is OK. We head South and follow the slope down to the quarry floor. As you drop down, there is a large plane there. We've both been inside dozens of times but for this dive we head past the tail. There is a cliff to my right that curves around to my left. We follow the cliff. As my compass shows East we head away from the cliff and swim forwards 100m or so. The quarry floor rises and we head up a few meters. We reach a plateau and there is a pile of rocks in front of us. Just beyond this there is a bathysphere (one of many objects dotted around the dive site). We pause for a minute and then head off South (ish). As we swim across the plateau there is another cliff on the right hand side and the floor drops away again. Visibility is pretty good for a quarry. Water temp is very good for an inland diving site with it being 18c. A routine check back to Nick makes me think this is where I get us lost (I did this same route with Seb a few weeks before). Just to be sure, I've kept the position of the sun in the same place as we swim away from the cliff and across the plains (quarry floor with a bit of grass/weeds).

It always takes a little longer than you think this bit so just as I'm starting to question myself we find ourselves facing the Wessex Helipcopter. I'd nailed the navigation. Nick looked surprised. I've spent a lot of time working on this so it's coming good now.

We swim inside, around and underneath into the shipping container it sits on. Time's up so we head back. We are near the far wall of the quarry so we keep that to our left and follow it back swimming at about 10m. Part way back there is a section to swim into that is another plateau. We head into this. Air supply is bang on the plan. We swim across the plateau and find ourselves heading towards Thunderbirds 4. Someone has had some fun making this for the dive site and it's a familiar point. We're a touch shallower at 7m or so. We head North now and find ourselves swimming up to the horses. Now, you probably think I've become a bit narked at this point. However, it is two large plastic horses that I assume are from Blackpool pleasure beach. We swim back towards the entrance getting gradually shallower and using this as our safety stop. There are two training platforms now. We swim underneath them both (a good test of buoyancy control) with a small amount of room above and below us.

After saying hello to a few dozen fish we emerge.

After getting out and sorting the dive kit we head back to the shop. Air re-fills are purchased (3 pounds each) and we wander down to the canteen for some food.

It's a welcome site (even more so in winter). Hot food while we drip dry is a good thing. Say hello at the counter to Sandra. Nick orders his usual Narcosis Burger and for me it's a Monster Burger and we have chips to share as always. Because the weather is good we sit outside, just above the entrance to the dive site. We watch lots of other divers getting ready or getting out.

Time passes nicely while we have a good laugh. Eventually we've covered the time we decided on for a break and wander up to the shop to get our tanks (which are ready for us).

Kitted up again, we're soon back in the water. This time, Nick will bring his camera.

We drop down to the plane once again and this time I nip inside. Nick takes a photo of me through the cockpit window. We head off North East (ish) and find ourselves at another helicopter (a smaller one this time) and shipping container. We swim through the shipping container via a hole that's been cut in the side. Out through the doors and we head off following a pipe that weaves across the floor. This is the first route I learnt so I know it well. We soon arrive at the Podsnap (a large boat that sits sort of on it's side). I celebrate by balancing on my head on the bow.

I pop inside the Podsnap for a quick look around. It's a little tight in here but I'm fine with that. We set off North towards a VW Beetle. Nick gets a photo of me trying to sit in the drivers seat (my tank stops me). We head up towards the quarry wall and follow it left soon finding ourselves near a Cesna that is balanced on a diving platform. More photos follow.

As I swim off to a nearby boat sat on the bottom, I find a cooking pot. It's a bit random, so I pop it on my head for a photo.

We take a nice and easy swim back following the cliff. First off-gassing at around 10m for a few minutes before gradually working back to the entrance for our safety stop. We're a little ahead on time so our safety stop is reasonably close to the entrance. Not wanting to swim off again we practice buoyancy near the rocks and simply watch the fish for a few minutes (sadly no Sturgeon spotted today).

Times up so we head up and out.

We probably have time for a third dive later that day, but for us this is enough. We've both got a couple of kids so it's nice to get back in the early afternoon and spend time with them.

It's a pleasant drive home chilling out. We'll be back in the next few weeks no doubt.

Capernwray Dive Site

Blog by Ryan