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One good advantage to living where I am in kent is that within 15 minutes drive there are 2 inland dive sites which is pretty handy when all is blown out at sea.
So it was that I found myself at Buckland Lake Kents newest inland site on Sunday.
Buckland is run by Steve and Linda Potter from Polaris Diving and a very friendly outfit they are too. Diving is by pre book only to keep numbers to a managable level and prevent overcrowding although the site is big and within a nature reserve in an old disused quarry.
I had popped down on Saturday to see the site and spoke to Linda who said that if I didnt have anyone to dive with on Sunday that wouldnt be a problem as there was always someone from their club willing to get wet.
On Sunday morning I turned up at the lake and was buddied up with Simon and Chris Polaris club members. The kitting up area is concrete which kept equipment nice and clean and there are small changing facilities plus handy benches to assist with putting your kit on which was handy as I was trying out my new twin set up and had to use up some Nitrox in my tanks.
Entering the water is from either a floating concrete pontoon or a stairway into the water.
I carried out 2 dives with my Polaris buddies and visited the inwater attractions such as the Great white Shark, Aircraft speed boats and cabin cruisers there are plans for more to be submerged in the near future.
The downsides to the site were that there was no obvious marine life and like all inland sites the bottom is easily stirred up destroying the vis.This was the case on Sunday with a lot of training going on the vis on the attractions was soon gone although if you stayed away from these there was still 4-5m.
The site has depth levels ranging from 4m to 15m which and I maybe wrong makes it the deepest inland site in the South East.
After diving there is a nice large raised decked patio with tables and chairs where you can sit in the sun and buy coffee, tea and snacks if you want filled rolls these can be pre booked. The site also has a small shop selling the usual odds and ends plus a compressor for airfills although there is no Nitrox at the moment I understand that this will be coming in the future.
There are also trolleys so that you can wheel your kit up and down from the carpark approx 50m from the kitting up area.
Inland sites will never hold the same attraction as sea diving for me but as inland sites go the atmosphere and friendliness of those involved at Buckland takes some beating and for training or just going for a dive when there are no other options this site is perfect.
I certainly enjoyed my Billy No Mates day out at Buckland Lake and will certainly be back. Cost for the day is £10 cert cards also need to be shown The site is open everyday except Tuesdays for more info checkout their website at http://www.polarisscuba.co.uk/
Big thanks to Steve and Linda Potter the site owners and Simon and Chris from Polaris Dive Club for making me feel welcome and for the dives.