St Leonards Pier – Sunday 29th December

Divers: Gary, Youri, Push, Paul, Simone, Neo, Warren and Mark
Safety divers: Paul & Simone
Surface support: Denise, Hyeonji & Vikki

Warren had asked a couple of his dive buddies from Aquability’s latest trip to Vanuatu to join him for a dip under St Leonards Pier, in his Standard Dress dive gear, and there was no way I was missing out on this. With my Jake all but complete (I need some boots), I was up for getting the boys into some good old fashion diving. We all have Standard Dress Helmets on key rings or T shirts or photos of a Mark V as our desk top, but to have a photo of you doing the dive is always something special. Standard Dress diving is really all about sitting on the end of the pier while 3 or 4 others fuss about getting all the gear that you need to dive ready, the diver themselves does very little really, except smile for photos and wave to the kiddies that have started to gather around in awe of what is about to happen. So one by one we take our turn of being dressed, then taking a few short but heavy steps to the ladder and climbing down into the water. Once in the water the gear is surprisingly light, in fact the helmets are positively buoyant and require a crotch strap to hold them down. Even though the viz was not great, about 3 metres, that doesn’t matter, we are standing on the bottom on the sea wearing the dive gear that are forefathers have used for hundred and eighty five years to descend to the depths of the sea. Once the diver completes his time on the bottom and has started the climb back up the ladder, the dive does not end there, oh no, now it is time to sit on the stool while your 3 or 4 team members undress you – with the crowd now starting to form again and the photos and the kiddies waving. This, I’m sure is a day that we will all remember for time to come and I would to thank our safety divers Paul & Simone for making sure the divers were at all times safe and a special thanks to Warren who not only pulled this all together but then had everyone back to his house few a few beers and a bbq.
Photos by Denise Bottomley