Hi all.

Following my email last week, we had a little chat at the dive club last Friday and decided against 'doing the boat thing' because several people wanted to see England 'learn the foreign chappies how to play rugby' (Sorry Chris and Seb!).  This would have made it a late start from the boat shed, with early nightfall (plus the wheels were off of the trailer, so the fuel costs for towing would have been prohibitive).

At Nigel's suggestion we decided to resurrect an old club tradition of diving at the Double Locks Pub, setting off immediately after the rugby lesson (Sorry C & S).

Dave Mac, Doerte and I piled into Dave's disco and made the short trip to the pub, a.k.a. dive site where we kitted up. I was trying out my new suit for the first time, Doerte was trying her new neck seal for the first time, Dave took along an evil looking new knife. Fortunately Rugby fan Dave was (obviously) in a super good mood, and the knife wasn't even drawn.

The four of us jumped in; Dave, Me, Doerte and the stupid Labrador that jumped on Doerte's head when she was about a foot beneath the surface! I presume it was dopey enough to be attempting to retrieve her bubbles? Despite it being only her second dive this year (shame!) Doerte ignored the multiple dopey dog paw impacts on her head and mask and we started the dive (medal deserved I think).

Vis was around 1.5 - 2m when it was good, and much, much less than that when it wasn't, i.e. it was important to keep ahead/behind/away from the cloud of fine silt that was inevitable from our finning in the canal. A compass was useful to keep orientation within the few brown-outs. We attempted to reach the lock gates, but the current proved too much near the gates (not dangerous, but not realistically fightable). We slowly moved down stream on the other side from the pub, then crossed over (crossed under actually) the canal and went slowly upstream (very little current in either direction - just enough to remove the cloud of silt).

I found a mobile phone and three dog chews, Doerte found an Aerobie (a cross between a frisby and a polo mint). The aerobie correctly had 'warning does not float' written on it. After a few circuits (30 minutes) we climbed out of the river and had a pub lunch, which was nice. I haven't yet checked what depth we attained, but 3 or 4 metres feels about right. Nigel said 6 was possible in the right spots.

Temperature on the dive was 8.7 degrees by my watch, 10 degrees by Dave's computer. None of us felt cold. There were a few canoes and rowers on the water, so care was exercised that we only came to the surface next to the banks. Nigel provided surface cover - thanks.

There were quite a few glasses and bottles in the silt, I didn't see any broken glass, but gloves are recommended for that reason as well as the temperature. Unlike France, Doerte, Dave and I are all up for a rematch (oops - sorry). This was a pleasant, uncomplicated dive without much in the way of hassle - recommended, just be aware of boat traffic.

Paul