Wednesday, 5th March 2008
Trip organised by Mr Bateman to Dorothea quarry, N Wales.
This followed the traditional 2 dive pattern of one deep bounce followed by a second, more shallow, explore. However, for myself - the main highlight of the trip was that this was my first visit to the site and that I am no longer a Dorothea virgin.
Started off with a surface swim to the 40 M buoys from where we dropped down the rope to the Gnome Garden. A quick look around and then down the ladder to :!: :!: . :!: m. Where, after a minute or two of relaxation and enjoying the ambiance, we ascended back to the Gnome garden. Again a few more minutes scouting around and seeing what could be seen in the near zero visibility, we started the final ascent. The total dive time was 35 minutes, and we left the Gnome Garden at almost exactly 15 minutes dive time which meant that the time it took to reach the surface was 20 minutes - hardly surprising bearing in mind that several staged deco stops were neccessary by this point but, given that the tempreture was 6 degress, this left me feeling a little chilly.
Two and a half hour surface interval. Unbelievably, Dorothea does not have a dedicated purveyor of Cheesy chips, egg butties and other fine foods. So the off-gassing interval was spent munching on cold sandwiches and contemplating the site itself. For those who havnt been been there yet, Dorothea is a very atmospheric location. The locals have been very industrious in turning a few very pleasant mountains, hills and meadows into a landscape a lot like the surface of the moon - in fact they are still extracting slate from a few still working quarries.
A relaxed explore at 20 M, taking in a swim through a tunnel, some old sheds and a number of white vans - seems that Dotty is where transit vans go to die in Wales... Unfortunatly a series of free flows cut short this second dive to a little over half an hour - but given that my hands were turning to ice, this was possibly not a bad thing.