Diving, BBQ ing & Camping at Ellerton

Myself and Fay met Kirsteen at Roy’s around 10 o’clock to pack the dive gear, canvas palace and the dog, who due to overbooking had been complimentary upgraded to IMG 20961st  class aka Kirsteen’s knee. Two hours later with a slight detour to collect lost/forgotten luggage we found ourselves in the picturesque setting of Ellerton water sports centre.  Resisting the natural urge to crack open a beer in the sun and leave the erection till well and truly lubricated (behave!) like most camping expeditions, we pitched the canvas palace and awaited the arrival of the Excalibur collective.

                Pat and Gordon were 1st in the water, soon followed by myself and Kirsteen and later by Ken and Pete then Andy and Gary.  As it was my first trip to, and hearing mixed reviews of Ellerton, I was not sure what to expect. Descending into the lake the rumours appeared to be nothing more than hokum. The viz was ok at three to four meters, the water temperature a positively tropical 18 degrees! “I don’t know what the fuss is about”. A quick 10 minute bimble through the weeds and we arrive at an old coble, “no drama so far”, a swim around to investigate “so this is where Roy’s tub ended up”. Just a quick warm up, time to turn around and head on home, “Let’s get that Barbie started” back through the weeds, following the rope rather close to the bottom and oosh! The first warning, the silt kicks up and the vis dropped to zero “ok, I see, play nice and all will be fine” ascending a meter and viz returns. We head back to base camp to refuel.

                I have been to a fair few BBQ’s in my time mostly consisting of a few scabby horse burgers garnished with copious amounts of alcohol! Excalibur on the other hand produced a veritable cornucopia of gastronomic delight! Ok I may have exaggerated slightly but still, enough food to feed an army, gourmet burgers, holoumi (squeaky) cheese, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, sausages, a cheese board and even apple pie for dessert! A great feast accompanied by great surroundings and great company! The men stereotypically man the BBQ, whilst the women not so stereotypically converse about snoring and alternative forms of ‘off gassing’. Kids are playing quite content and dogs running around gathering fallen treats like furry four legged hoovers  

 So after altering my weight pouches to compensate for the all mighty feast it was time for the main event.  I’ve been looking forward to a night dive for some time and now was the opportunity.  Roy Kirsteen and myself kitted up. Onwards brave divers, onwards into the chaos!! Within second of entering the water, pandemonium ensued; coupled with the darkness was a wall of thick impenetrable silt and Roy slowly vanished, first into a ghostly silhouette and then completely. ”So this is what they were talking about - not the hokum I first thought but actual fact”

                Following the BSAC separation procedure me and Kirsteen surfaced and awaited our lost leader, watching his bubbles slowly move away and then slowly turn and head back.  We regrouped, “take two”. As we descended again I noticed more the sensory deprivation.  Now diving is a somewhat peaceful activity all being well, but in the still of night guided only by torch light it seems a whole different game.  In the dark murky, not so deep,  we bimbled between training platforms in a hopeless attempt to find sunken delights to explore. It was not quite the experience I’d anticipated but something completely different, although equally entertaining, exciting and worthwhile. Back to base camp for a few well deserved beers for the few brave night time divers.

IMG 21036 am and there is movement!  6 am on a Saturday morning should be illegal.

Now my apologies to those leaving for not waving off your departure and those preparing breakfast but I confess at this time I turned to Fay and muttered “shh. No Fay we’re not getting up, we’re still asleep”

8 am “Ok time to get up and take advantage of the already cooked breakfast”

We arise to dwindling numbers in the troops and seemingly and understandably, dwindling enthusiasm in the remaining but committed three or the three to be committed, depending on your view. We kit up for a morning dip and once again descend into the lake. This time achieving a full and complete lap of all to be seen including a small mud skipper that decided my cuff was its new home. I think I’m safe in saying a fantastic weekend for all involved and I hope the first, for me at least, of many.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of the Excalibur members for their hard work, dedication and patience in training myself and other new members to BSAC and Excalibur. You have made my entry into the underwater world an adventure and a pleasure. Also a thank you to my beautiful awesome amazing girlfriend for supporting me and letting me gallivant around the country to get wet and not kicking my arse when I abandon her at the weekends. ”Should earn me some brownie points

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