Well last Sunday was the day for the drysuit christening in Brighton Marina. I drove down from London to Lancing to meet up with my group of fool hardy divers also braving the weather in pursuit of warmth and adventures below the waves! We loaded up Eric's (our instructor) trailer with bottles, kit and enough weight to sink a battle ship and set out for the Marina.
On the way thinking 'whats wrong with Horsea and where are we going to dive in Brighton Marina?' When I got there I was surprised to see that we would be diving from a pontoon in the locked part of the Marina. I helped unloading the kit and stepped onto the pontoon. looking down into the water I thought 'vis is good and I can see the bottom very clearly' only to realize that the reason for that is that the bottom is only about 3 metres below!!! Oh well I thought, a puddle is better than nothing and slipped into my new drysuit. Great! Under suit is nice and warm, the drysuit is easy to get in to with the front zip setup, hood fits well, neck seal feels a bit tight but no problem been told "that is quite normal it will slacken up with time, don't cut it yet" stepped back down onto the pontoon slipped into my BCD which i had already rigged, bent down to put on my fins stood up. Oh, I can't Breath! At which point Eric noticed that I'm starting to go blue and rushes over to help me. I de-kit and manage to pull the neck seal away from my wind pipe enough to breath again... After regaining the colour in my face I spend the next 10 mins cutting away the first ring from the seal having taken advice from Eric as how best to achieve this using a Stanley blade and the plastic lid of a mask box!
Having now a new improved drysuit I put it back on and found I could breath and stay warm at the same time. I jumped in with the rest of my trainees and spent 30 mins kicking up the silt as we all tried to practice our skills. At one point we even managed to get down to a heady 4.3 metres! After two dives like that I emerged from the silt to the pontoon a fully fledged still dry (inside that is) and warm dry suit diver ready for the open water of the south coast and all it can offer... that is if this weather ever allows it!