New Year's Eve or Hogmanay is a pretty big deal here in Scotland but for me I was tucked up in my bed at 11:00 and asleep before the bells. I have a very good reason for doing that. I was up and out early and could not be hungover.
Drinking alcohol is very dehydrating and there are a lot of diving accidents that happen when the diver has been drinking heavily the night before.
Two members of the dive club were up for a day's diving. That meant that New Year's Eve found us dashing to DG1 (the big community swimming pool in Dumfries) where our club has the equipment room and compressor to collect tanks and weights.
Because it's winter and we live pretty far north, it was dark when I left the house just after six. The stars were still out and it wasn't frosty and there was no wind. This hardly ever happens in the winter!
Our estate car (station wagon) was plenty big enough for the three of us and our gear, so off we went to Lady Bay in Loch Ryan near Stranraer.
From the shore we saw the water had two tones. It looked to be where the sand stopped and the deep water started. It could have been swirls of algae instead of the sandy bottom. We snorkeled out further to see if we could escape the soupy conditions. We failed. It isn't safe if your dive buddy can't see your signals - especially if you want to get some training done.
We had to knock the dives on the head and head home. The reason we have such abundant sealife in the water around Scotland is that there is all this food for them. If the algae that feeds that food chain prevents us from seeing things, too bad! That's the price ya pay. We were cheerfuld though. We said we would rather try to dive and fail than mope around in pajamas with a hangover.
Getting home turned out to be a bit more adventurous than we had hoped. Getting down to the site at Lady Bay means driving on a single track road between farms. There is a public slipway for small boats and a place to park your car so the road, though small is a public road.
The three of us emptied the car and tried again. We thought that if we didnt' have three divers and all the gear, it would be easier to get out . . . it wasn't. After being jerked around by the AA (recovery service in the UK) and waiting an hour to then be told they weren't coming, we asked a farmer. He had us out in five minutes. I love farmers!
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