Whit in West Bay

A little last minute but hey, that’s how the best plans start and boy did we pick a good weekend for it! A chance for Chris and Sophie to spread their coxing wings, for Johnny and I to buddy for the first time in UK seas and Angie to come along for the fun of it!

Friday night saw a frantic game of Tetris trying to fit 3 sets of diving gear (6 cylinders!), 1 set of camping gear, 2 sets of overnight gear and 3 people into a Volvo V40! A plan for pick up at 6 am while Chris and Sophie were already enjoying a gin at their beautiful bell tent having gotten there earlier! We moseyed on down the M5 in the sunshine chatting all the way and arrived at Rob Perry to collect Hornet – the first success of the weekend, hooking up the trailer and boat to Chris’s new Kuga to tow it to West Bay.

Once in West Bay, fees all paid we set about loading the boat to go diving. A quick instruction on how to release the boat for Johnny and I, we guided Chris to the waters edge with Captain Sophie at the helm and Angie as second, we launched the boat – our second success!

The weather was glorious and although we were told there were some dolphins waiting to greet us, they didn’t appear so we set our course to the Baygitano to get wet. Shot set, Chris and Angie jumped in first and we enjoyed the glorious sunshine on top. On surfacing we were greeted by big grins and exclamations about the underwater vista beneath and the plentiful jewel anemones. On mine and Johnny’s turn, we saw what all the enthusiasm was about – the visibility was spectacular, a good 10 metres and thousands of bib and cod. Enormous conger eels in numerous holes and lobsters, crabs, blennies…so full of life. We checked out the boilers at the back and found gardens of beautiful jewel anemones in purples and pinks. As it was so beautiful and the hours were getting late, we decided to hang about and do our second dive on the Baggy following homemade sandwiches and doughnuts.

We headed back to port – Angie in the hotseat this time. She may have protested at the difficulty of sliding Hornet into a small-ish gap on the pontoon but made it look effortless to those looking on and we unloaded the boat, squeezing in a quick ice cream (would be rude not too!) and planned to congregate for dinner at the Five Bells. We enjoyed a lovely meal but by 9.30pm the 5am start was creeping up on us so we headed to bed with visions of bib infront of our eyes!

The following day we headed back to the Baggy to find many a dive boat had the same idea! Some faffing about finding out whose shot was whose, Angie and Chris got ready super quick to shoot down someone else’s shot before they sent it up. Whilst under, Sophie successfully defended them from a grumpy encroaching fisherman. Johnny and I shimmied down another’s shot too which meant a good opportunity to practice DSMB deployment for our ascent – success!

We headed back West Bay direction to Golden Cap Boulders for a mooch to see what we could see – not much but an opportunity for Johnny and I to attempt to use a lift bag for the first time – success! We found nudis, crabs and I disturbed a cuttlefish, Angie found a starfish. Just a nice bimble!

Johnny had fun driving the boat on the way back while we all tried to manifest the dolphins from the day before but exclaiming how gorgeous the weather had been, how much fun we’d had and how successful the trip had been. One last hurdle to overcome…

Johnny, Chris and I jumped ship ready to re-hitch the trailer and set about retrieving Hornet from the waves. It appears that everyone in the harbour intended to do the same thing at the same time and after a bit of haggling and polite concourse, we got down on the slip ready to go – like a well oiled machine Sophie slid our boat home and we got her hitched. Back up the slip to unload and clean off – Success!

After much congratulation and hugs, we went our separate ways for fish and chips in the evening sun! Everything we set out to do this trip went exactly according to plan! We were all so pleased with the personal goals we achieved and the successes of the trip. Not to mention the sun shining on us gloriously both days. It really was a wonderful time with friends doing something we all love and proof to us all that we are capable, strong and make a great team!

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