Medas Madness 2006
The diving and the debauchery from the clubs annual pilgrimage to Spain.
22 July 2006, Day One of the Log:
The Journey and Arrival in Distant Lands
Well here I am again struggling to balance what is clearly an enormous over weight dive bag on my bathroom scales in a vain attempt of trying to convince myself it only weighs 20 kilos, the fact that I can barely move it let alone lift it a mere three inches so I can jam the scales under it with my foot should have been a clear give away. Yep, just as I thought quivering around 26 kilos but having packed and repacked ten times and it now being down to the complete bones (or so I thought) I decide to cut my losses and hope that my fellow travellers on our flight to Barcelona are travelling extremely light whereupon I may be able to decant some of my baggage on to them. Max my travelling buddy (its thanks to him I am even on this year’s Medas trip) and who is pretty skinny, therefore his clothes can’t weigh much, could be favourite.
Dave, Julie’s husband, kindly dropped Julie, Max and myself at Gatwick airport first thing on the Saturday morning. Due to some dithering around the time John booked the holiday there are about half a dozen of us travelling together on an Easyjet flight from Gatwick independently from the rest of the K&E group who were flying with BA from Heathrow, the plan being we all meet at Barcelona airport and travel on to the resort together.
I must admit walking through the doors into the check-in area of Gatwick was horrendous, there were hoards of people queuing and children absolutely everywhere. I casually wonder to myself if the average two year old would survive being run over by my dive bag and finally conclude that even a sumo wrestler would probably suffer serious crushing injuries, it weighed a tonne and I was looking forward to getting it checked-in. Luckily for me, and more so for Max, despite being politely reminded about the weight limit of baggage and receiving an orange ﾒHeavyﾓ sticker I was able to check my bag in without having to remove anything or pay any excess fees! I had envisaged a rather messy argument with Max over whether it was my underwear or dive kit that got moved across to his bag.
We managed to locate the rest of our party, it wasn’t hard to spot Louise and a trail of lilac coloured co-ordinated luggage, and agreed to meet the other side of customs to wait for the gate number and eventual boarding together which left just enough time for a wander around the duty free shops, although I was going to make a concerted effort not to spend all my holiday money before leaving UK soil which is what normally happens.
All shopped out and enjoying a coffee together we suddenly noticed that in fact the screen had changed from ﾒWait in Loungeﾓ to ﾒGate Closingﾓ. What followed can only be described as a muppet marathon. Flip flops flapping, bags of duty free clinking and an array of clothes, hats and jackets flying around our rather red and sweaty faces we arrived at the gate and managed to board before collapsing, coughing and wheezing to suffer a synchronised group asthma attack. Did Penny honestly certify us all fit to dive?
Eventually when our heart rates and breathing had returned to a normal level we were able to settle down and enjoy the deluxe services and cuisine offered by Easyjet which would probably have received one AA star had it been a rather tired, run down B&B in the middle of the Yorkshire moors, the BA flight now being boarded by the others would have probably been a small exclusive three star hotel in the Isle of Wight and well, Mr and Mrs Hassell what would you award BA business class then eh? Hilton Spa in Mauritius perhaps? I am not entirely sure how they managed it, I think Gerry must have bribed the poor check-in girl with chocolate, cash or cheap vodka but they managed to wangle two seats in business class with all the trimmings, copious amounts of champagne, bone china, proper cutlery, blankets and pillows. Oh how we cursed on that Easyjet flight with our knees under our chins and only a half bottle of warm white wine for comfort!
Having arrived safely we collected our bags and waited for the rest of the group to arrive from Heathrow and onward transfer to the resort. Whilst patiently waiting we caught a glimpse of Gerry and Gill doing their own muppet marathon as they dashed past us belongings and duty free trailing. It looked familiar. It turns out that they somehow became separated not only from the rest of their group, but also their luggage and in fact the terminal they had originally arrived at! Having legged it back to the correct terminal some technical negotiations were required to be readmitted and finally reunited with their luggage. A cheer erupted when they eventually emerged from the terminal with their belongings, see what happens when you get upgraded?
On our arrival at the hotel, rooms were sorted and its my guess that unpacking never actually happened because within five minutes the bar was full and hence another K&E holiday began in true and accustomed tradition.
23 July 2006, Day Two of the Log:
Dive 1: El Coueba del Negre Dell Falleguer
Due to some confusion at the dive centre about our arrival date, our first dive of the holiday wasn’t until lunch time so we were able to have a fairly lazy relaxed morning sunning ourselves around the hotel pool which was a god send for the likes of Gerry and Jackie who had gone mad on their first night and were suffering as a result. Jackie faired slightly better than Gerry and although looking a bit pale and hiding behind dark glasses (Jackie Onassis eat your heart out) she did at least make it to the poolside. I have a vague recollection of Gerry arriving, wobbly on his legs, five minutes before the dive centre mini bus and trailer arrived to collect our kit for transportation to the quayside, whereupon a small skirmish ensued on the pavement between those who were still a bit jaded from the night before and needed to take full advantage of the mini bus service.
The rest of us sensible and tee-total souls commenced what became a daily route march from the hotel, through the town and down to the harbour. What a delight greeted us, the QE2 of dive boats! A lovely big boat with lift and only K&E on board. Due to confusion the dive centre had obviously pulled out all the stops to prevent John and his mob causing serious bodily harm and as a result we had the use of the biggest ship in their fleet. We were able to spread our kit everywhere (no change for some there eh Brett?), whilst some were able to seek shade under the canopy and others enjoyed the sunshine at the bow although perhaps not the best place to sit when there are people suffering with hang overs on board, as Gerry found out, having to execute a rapid log roll on to the deck to avoid being coloured by Jackie, you’d have thought she would have learnt a lesson having supplied the fish with a weeks food but the week was young and we were all foolish !
The diving in Medas is great and as most club members have at some time experienced the annual club pilgrimage I am not going to go into too much detail about each dive and site, hence leaving something undiscovered for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge. My buddy for the week was Pauline King and after the briefing and our buddy checks we took a giant step off the back of the boat to join Brian and Shirley in the water (they have to be the first in and last up, the pressure was on) we were going to follow them as they know the island’s sites better than New Malden! The visibility wasn’t the best, decidedly cloudy in places but hey, I was used to Wraysbury and the occasional murky dive on the south coast so I wasn’t complaining this was like gin to me, ummm just imagine that?! The dive site itself was a little baron in places so we ascended to around 16m where there was more life such as damsel fish, shoals of salema, sea bream and Shirley even managed to find a well camouflaged scorpion fish. A nice little dive and the cool water was a relief from the sun.
Once back on the boat I was hugely amused to discover that Steve ﾒSportsﾓ Ilsley had jumped in without his weight belt, must have been an interesting buddy check, ﾒ ! and here’s my pull release weight belt for an emergency ascent !ﾓ wonder who his buddies were, advanced and hugely experienced I wonder ! ??!!! Not sure how but with a kilo or two previously tucked into his BC pocket he was in fact able to descend and complete his dive, it must have something to do with the amount of breakfast he had consumed, ballast, I think I saw him return to the buffet on at least three occasions.
Dive 2: Illa Yossa (almost a night dive)
Due to the late start in the day our second dive didn’t happen until around 5.00 pm but the sun was still out, the only difference being a slight chill when surfacing at the end of the dive.
The second dive was better than the first. Pauline and myself decided we would attempt the dive and navigation on our own this time. Seemed easy enough, small round cove with wall. Follow to the left, turn half way (remembering the rule of thirds) and return directly under the boat of course. Slightly sparse in the way of fish but a really nice relaxed, slow dive. We were perfect partners under water, could hold long conversations together, discuss and agree on directions and consumed the same amount of air, shame I can’t find a man so well suited to myself. Our peace was interrupted on a couple of occasions, Len seeing us on own immediately assumed we had got lost when in fact we were merely seeking some solace and sanctuary down there, honest. However, he was a useful marker buoy when we needed to get back to the boat, we had no idea of the direction although I still maintain that we were most definitely not lost. Calling Jo Eaton, navigation, help please.
The evening was spent briefly in the hotel restaurant and then on the terrace outside the bar area, everyone participating in K&E’s second favourite sport. However to be fair the likes of Gerry and Jackie did pace themselves. Max and John were the first to head off to the night clubs, engulfing us all in wafts of aftershave, closely followed by my roomy for the week, Heather. Ummm she may be younger, but I would catch her up after at least one good nights sleep, the week was young and I had the disadvantage of early mornings. Heather did you actually see 8.00 am all week, in fact I am not sure you saw midday on most days did you?!!
24 July 2006, Day Three of the Log:
Dive 1: Salpaxtot
Power walk to the harbour, good to see Gerry back on his feet and striding purposefully through the town instead of languishing in the mini bus holding his head. Our dive boat had shrunk dramatically, hope it wasn’t going to be a daily thing, us lot in a rowing boat could have been messy but at least it still had the all important lift. Who needs smart radios, toilets or those waste of space camera tables? Just give me a lift. I can barely manage my kit safely on dry land just imagine it clinging to a ladder with a bit of chop?
As we were heading out to the dive site, I had to do a double take ! we had a stowaway on board ! and Laurence of Arabia at that! On closer inspection I realised it was John Foulds with a very fetching head dress! He’s far to posh for tatty, sun bleached caps or beanie hats just wonder if he had to wrap, knot and tie it in place every day it could have been the same as dealing with my birds nest of a reel.
Lovely dive, following Brian and Shirley, who had keen eyes and pointed out lots of eels, lobster and rock fish after making sure we stood to attention with a good shake of her rattle, funny I recall plenty of rattling last year Len! Pauline and I ascended before Brian and Shirley passing through some neptune grass that housed those really pretty black spiny urchins and some red star fish. We also saw a couple of small gorgonian fans which are a beautiful contrast against the grass and rock.
The boat returned to the harbour and we headed back for some sun and more lunch time buffet. I decided to miss lunch and spend my time snoozing by the pool, its too tempting when you are able to help yourself and visit the buffet as many times as you want. I’d be like Steve at the end of the week and able to leave my weight belt off if I carried on eating like a starving horse.
Dive 2: Tascom Petite
Pauline and I were on our own again, having decided that perhaps we were a bit slow and lazy for Brian and Shirley. Fantastic little dive, we saw loads of fish and corals including two huge groupers eye balling us from less than a metre and luckily we spotted Gill, Gerry and Steve on our return which was handy because if nothing else Gerry is an expert in locating the boat.
The evening started in the usual way with a few beers on the terrace and boring the likes of Julia, Mel and John with our dive stories. How patient non-diving partners are, they all listened intently politely hiding yawns and their boredom!
After dinner the party leaders namely Len and Paul suggested that a few of us went to the fair on the sea front and had a bit of fun. However, fun turned to tragedy on the rollercoaster! I sat next to Paul with Len and Cynthia behind and its on rollercoaster’s ladies were small is good! Cynthia and Len’s car, terrible on cornering and them with their eyes tightly closed failed to see, anticipate and brace at a rather vicious left hand bend which had enough force to throw Len across the car crushing Cynthia, of which there is very little, against the side of the car.
Poor Cynthia spent the next couple of days with crushed ribs, unable to breathe let alone dive. We on the other hand continued childish behaviour on the dodgems, Brett fancying himself a bit as the next Nigel Mansell. I drew the line at some magic carpet ride with Max and Len, allowing Heather to get one up on me again and as I headed home and Heather headed back off to the clubs, I did think it had its advantages, as I never had to wait for the bathroom and although I am not sure if she ever did because she slept during daylight hours, I was never kept awake by her farting or snoring as she was never in bed when I was.
25 July 2006, Day Four of the Log:
Dive 1: Porta Del Llop
Ha! Bagged a seat in the mini bus this morning sudden shrapnel wound and nice to sit back and wave at the others marching back to the harbour.
The dive was in a lovely little bay although the sight of a jelly fish from the boat had me dragging out my kitting-up procedure. Lots more meat on Kevan and Tony, hang back and let them go first me thinks, good plan.
We had a short surface swim to the rock wall where we dropped down to around 25m and followed the wall round slowing rising. Pauline spotted a huge octopus and we pretty much spent the rest of the dive poking around in holes with our torches. We ascended slightly and saw some lovely shoals of fish and then happened to see John and Max who had at least managed to attract something this holiday. Max was being pestered, almost to the point of bullying, by a massive grouper. It wouldn’t leave him alone and after nudging and bumping him a couple of times it hung back and hovered around his legs obviously eyeing him up as either potential meal or mate, not sure which.
Back to the harbour, more walking and more food before turning round and coming back to the boat again.
Dive 2: Ferrenelles
At the dive site the sea was a bit choppy so we kitted up and jumped in pretty quick. We descended down to the sea floor and began our dive. Now buoyancy has never been my strong point but I was having trouble even finning on this dive, when I realised that there was something sinister hanging on my fins, yep it was Len now buddyless having practically killed Cynthia he wanted to come with us, we agreed provided he kept out of trouble and didn’t take over, you know what men are like and Pauline and myself were happy bumbling around, we didn’t want to go at great speeds, or witness hungry hammerheads (just joking)! Pauline had taken a compass bearing and we headed off north, or so we thought. Jo I tell you, I need some serious navigational help. We had a lovely dive surrounded by all sorts of fish, including groupers, stone fish and octopus.
After a bit of deliberation on a couple of occasions between us I couldn’t believe it when Pauline found the shot line. I was amazed. We had struggled finding the boat all week and generally looked out for people heading back that we could follow, so we looked at each other and gave a congratulatory round of applause to ourselves! Looking up the line we could see John and Max which only pleased us more. We ascended the line and stopped at 6m to do our stops at which point I looked down and saw Tony and Kevan begin ascending below us. Our victory was short lived though. On surfacing the dive boat was miles away, I couldn’t believe it. They had already been over in the zodiac to collect John and Max and seeing us two and then Tony and Kevan surface at the same place I think they decided it would be easier just to come over in the boat and get us all. Pauline and I were lost for words and couldn’t understand where we had gone wrong with our compass, it was at this point Len piped up that we went wrong ages back, that he had realised but because we said he could only come if he didn’t interfere with our dive he didn’t say anything. Very rude words followed, plus a clunk round the head with my torch.
In the evening we all meet once again on the terrace some having dinner in the hotel and others wandering in small groups into town to try local delights and fresh caught sea fish. I on the other hand decided to join a small group heading off for world renowned burgers. They are the size of footballs and whilst Julie and I delicately drank jugs of sangria Max and John having had starters, onion rings, chips and salad and devoured a football size burger each before duly ordering the same all over again and commencing the eating procedure for a second time ! it reminded me of the old advert for shredded wheat ! no one can eat two ! but they did and then John was sick, can’t imagine why and I kinda wish I had opted for the fresh sea fish in some little restaurant in town!
Other antics were happening elsewhere that night too and two upright pillars of the community were to fall foul. All came to light the next morning over breakfast some looking angry and red faced, two looking sheepish and by no means sorry and Julie and me falling over our breakfasts with laughter.
26 July 2006, Day Five of the Log:
Dive 1: Il Pedra De Deu
Sneaky I know and not particularly fair on the oldens but I sneaked into the mini bus to the harbour again! War wounds, terrible afflictions on a person.
Very nice relaxing shelf dive slowly and very gradually ascending from around 23m. Usual array of fish life although the visibility was worse today for some reason however, we did manage to find the boat, a first, and commenced our safety stops. Don’t ask me how as we were directly under the boat but during that three minute stop we lost sight of the boat and when we surfaced we faced another longish surface swim to get back. Not a problem, we were used to it by now and enjoyed our little chats on the surface.
I didn’t head back to the hotel and restaurant, the walk back to the harbour was too much instead I headed for a nice shady bar to fraternise with the enemies.
Dive 2: La Vaca
Lovely cave and tunnel dive. Obviously given our track record we decided to follow Len, Brian and Cynthia (her first dive since being crushed by Len the Hulk) not wanting to get lost in tunnels although they turned out to be wide swim throughs where you could generally see the exit at all times. After swimming through a tunnel and cathedral cave we saw a couple of beautiful eagle rays swim past. An awesome dive.
This evening the cosy little restaurant in town won hands down, I didn’t need to think about it twice. Gerry, Gill and myself shared the most wonderful paella, nice wine and had a slow walk back to the hotel where Gill left us for some sleep and Gerry and I wandered over to the square for a few more drinks and a bit of a dance with the rest of the group. I have a vague recollection of a pole and that’s how I would like to keep it, vague, although something tells me Max has missed his true vocation in life.
27 July 2006, Day Six of the Log:
Dive 1: Dofi Nord
Another lovely little cave dive with a bronze dolphin guarding its exit. Tradition says you have to take your regulator out and kiss it as you pass, needless to say Pauline and I both did. Fairly relaxed dive with some fish and octopus. We had a bit of a tussle with Len and his fins as he tried to muscle in on our dive, check our air etc.
Back to the hotel for lunch and some sun and then quick march back to the boat for the final dive of the holiday.
Dive 2: Medallot
Our last dive greeted us with a bit of wind and choppy sea not really what we were used to. We dropped down and swam to the left to go round the rock passing through lots of shoals of fish and the usual groupers hanging around on the outside looking a bit menacing. We turned the corner to commence our safety stops not far from the boat when the current seemed to whip up from nowhere and began to take us away. We tried to keep the boat in site and finned like mad but made little progress so we made a commercial decision to surface to check the position of the boat and were horrified to discover we had been taken miles away. We were both pretty tired so signalled we were ok and then gave the signal for the zodiac, we had done a fair few surface swims this holiday and this was one in rough seas that we didn’t want to have to make, we certainly couldn’t take our regulators out and pass the time swimming back by chatting. However, there was some confusion with the signals we received from the boat so we decided to take a bearing, drop back down to around 10m and try and swim back to the boat.
You know its pointless when you can see fish next to you also struggling against the current and slowly going backwards! Up we came again, more tired and out of breath than the first time and still no nearer. The boat was slowly reversing back for us and with a bit of hard swimming we made it back and collapsed on the deck. A good weeks diving completed.
Our second to last night, no diving in the morning and boy did we make it the most of it, those that could that was, didn’t see Brian strutting his stuff in Maxim’s but Jackie was there thrusting and grinding. Not to mention Brett in his Max Starter Kit, beads and sunglasses which didn’t have quite the same results for Brett, can’t see why and Heather, umm, now how many Spanish boys got hold of her? I lost count but they soon got scared away by Len and Paul. Don’t worry Tony and Julia your daughter was perfectly safe with us ! which is probably a bigger worry!
I did a Heather the next morning and didn’t bother with breakfast, bed was far more inviting. We all had a lazy day around the pool, sunbathing and shopping before having sangria and tapas in the evening with a couple of the dive guides whilst very importantly getting our log books stamped. I know your all secretly anal about it like me!
Our last night was spent dancing the night away in Maxim’s, Brian making the podium this time, together with Louise before a bit skinny dipping in the sea some daring to go naked and some covering their modesty although John didn’t have much covering his modesty afterwards either, in fact at one point I thought his pants had just got rolled up because his legs were wet with sea water but no, John, trust me thongs are for girls. Its like yorkie chocolate only being for boys.
The journey home was pretty chaotic, Barcelona airport had been closed the day before and the queues and hoards of people reminded me of the last Next sale I went to, never again. However, we eventually got on our flight only about 40 mins delayed and arrived tired, torn but happy.
Those on the BA flight didn’t fair so well, having had a brush with Mr Prescott they were delayed and six bags of dive kit failed to appear. Its not who you know ! Easyjet came up trumps and didn’t even charge me excess baggage on the journey home. Bet Mr Prescott’s bag didn’t going missing!
Another fantastic Medas holiday. Next years trip departs on 4th August so all you Medas virgins, get your names down quick and for all those Medas soiled types, come on please lets do it all again next year.