We blame the delayed write up on our Facebook addiction: If you have not signed up be warned, it may take over your life!
Anyway, we had a most awesome trip to the Farnes this year for the August bank holiday. With such a big group lots happened, however for a brief recount of the highlights please proceed!
Article: Julie Neuhoff and Venessa Holt
It is a long old trip, but only smiley faces arrived at the “award winning caravan park” which was located very near to the “award winning beaches” of Seahouses. After settling in to the caravans we headed to The Olde Ship for a couple of shandies. The Holts even managed to get the tent up before it got dark and walk the two miles into town to join their surrogate family in caravan 13. After fish and chips and a few more beers, we all headed to bed, excited (especially the Farnes virgins among us) about our first days diving.
The boat, Glad tidings 6 was a simple vessel (we are still have nightmares about the “toilet”), however, very adequate, to accommodate 23 divers, 2 crew (or 1.5 as Dan’s – the boat boy – hangover got the better of him on Monday and he was replaced by a wee young lad!), 1 resident photographer, Sue and a day tripper, Jill.
The dive sites were not too far from shore and we were blessed with nearly glass flat water, sunshine and enthusiastic seals. We chose seals over metal for all dives, and were rewarded with seals every time, if you went the right way! Those who followed Gren on the second day, did not see seals… which meant more for us!
It has arguably got to be the best viz to be had in the UK, and easy diving, shallow, little, or no currents and tons to see. Jealous yet? Well, you will be when you hear what fun we had on board!
There were the usual teething problems on the first day but we were rather impressed with DHL’s skills in delivering Ros’s kit to the boat 15 miles off shore! Bret had hurried Ros out of the house, and she had forgotten half her kit, so on route she arranged a delivery. We were even more impressed when a sister boat, glad tidings number something (all the boats in the harbour were glad tidings number something), moored up along side us and delivered a very heavy dive bag! we thought Ros had forgotten all her kit! Well it was not DHL being super efficient, it was a wet suit for Alex, who managed to split another neck seal. Alex, arguably the most kitted out, rebreather and all, got up at 6am on Saturday morning to put his rebreather (aka box of death) together – and waking the whole caravan – must have been bleak to miss the first dive due to lack of sealing, but alas, the day was saved by glad tidings number something!! And a wet suit (thankfully the water was a warm 17 degrees)
After a brilliant first day, we stickered up the tanks (green for nitrox, red for air, aye aye Captain Tank) and left Gren to sort everything out (which was much appreciated by all) before heading off to get washed and dressed for the first night out. After an enjoyable evening (except for those who had the “risotto”), some ran home for the toilet (the ones who had eaten the risotto), some headed to the pub, the Holts headed back to their tent and one couple went in for a bit of smooching under a lamppost/over a wall.
After another great day diving on day 2 and probably the best dive of the weekend, we were all starving and looking forward to the BBQ. Big thanks to everyone who helped with the food, especially Gill (“Mrs Kevan”) for the potato salad which disappeared almost as quickly as the Hamlyns could kit up and jump in the water. After dinner, being a sporty lot and with Julie’s gentle persuasion we decided to have a game of rounders. All that can really be said is that it was a cracking game. Unfortunately the cracking was Ros’ nose as Bret went in for a bit of partner beating and decided to throw the bat at Ros. With a dramatic fall to the floor and blood pouring from Ros’ nose, we all quickly got into rescue mode: Sarah played ‘the Concerned One’, Jackie ‘The Nurse’, John ‘The Doctor’, Venessa ‘Rescue Manager’ (of sorts), Julie ‘The Game Must Go On’ and Jo ‘The Photographer’. As the colour returned to Ros’ face, it started to disappear from Bret’s, but all was well and play continued. However with Ros out, our team lost its stride and were soon all out despite Tom and Sarah’s valiant efforts.
Diving on day 3, Jackie tried to prove she didn’t need a DSMB as she loosely tied hers to her reel so it would easily float away while on their safety stop! Brian was not so convinced and sent his up in reserve. William, the skipper, was relieved, but still rescued the rogue sausage on the way.
Over the weekend Len won the award for the lightest breather on the planet, surfacing from every dive of 45 mins plus with over 100 BAR! We think he secretly breathed off Cynthia’s octo when she was not looking! And shouting 100 BAR when back on the boat was a sure sign everyone was back on and the skipper could move on.
After the last dive on day 3, we unloaded everything off the boat onto the harbour wall and the designated drivers headed back for the cars. Gren, Rob and Venessa decided to take a shortcut through the woods. In our weezles and without a boat or the sea in sight, we decided that we looked like we were on our way to a teddy bears picnic. After washing out the kit, some of us headed over to the pool for an energetic work out in the Jacuzzi, before returning to the caravan for some champagne, before ending the holiday with another good dinner.
Big thanks to: Len for organising everything and keeping us in sweets on the boat; Jo and Paul for successfully managing so many people on the boat; Gren and Rob for sorting out the tanks; Sue for taking some great on-board and scenery photo’s which we never get to take (you can view these and a superb video here); and for all the Caravan Goddesses without whom we would have probably starved.