My first foreign club trip with Dive Rutland to Nemo 33 in Belgium was a fantastic experience. The trip was an early birthday present and one that I will never forget although the lead up was a little uncertain as at one point wasn't sure whether I would be able to go as leave was refused, but retiring (yes now a pensioner) fixed that.
Meryl and I took the opportunity to go down the night before, so our early start was not as early as some of the other trip participants!. We started by catching the tube train from High Barnet to St. Pancras where met up with everyone else except one in a well-known coffee shop.
It’s a small world – during the time in coffee shop, I met another club member who knew one of my friends and it only became known after we both posted on Facebook where we were going.
All the trip polo shirts were handed out and I have to say a good idea that there was a separate badge sewn on to the shirt for those who wish to sew them on camp blankets etc afterwards.
We anxiously awaited the arrival of our last club member who we had been delayed but was not on the train that we thought which would not have made the departure! So to our relief all ten of us were able to go through to International Departures on time for our Eurostar trip to Brussels.
All seated together making sure that those who needed to face the direction of travel were doing so and off we set. During the trip a question was asked, " How do we know when we are in France?" and the answer was given as " The train will be on the other side of the tracks" much laughter from all on the trip.
A card game of three and fours was played which was ended very rapidly after a few consecutive wins by myself when it was pointed out to Meryl that maybe I was being given a helping hand with the sun reflection on the window behind Meryl as all her cards were clearly displayed – cheating was the accusation.
Arriving at Brussels on time we took three taxis over to Nemo 33. By now I have to admit the excitement was beginning to increase, as this would be my first visit to Nemo and my deepest dive to date. I was nervous seeing all the other divers enjoying themselves and wondering if I could do this.
Time to change and safety briefing by the staff, followed by us kitting up and off into the water with my dive buddy Meryl to take on the three different levels.
As I approached the tube down to 33 metres my heart began to race with excitement. I looked over the edge and thought 'wow how awesome'. A slow controlled decent and we were on the bottom. What an unbelievable feeling to be that deep and loving it. We stayed down for quite some time seeing the others divers coming and going. We then made our way back up to the 10-metre shelf and explored the tunnel finally finishing our dive after 35 minutes.
We were told we would be fed but nobody expected to have a Thai meal, which personally went down a real treat, but for some it was apparently 'too hot and spicy'
Whilst having dinner a quote from one member which caused a giggle or two was "don't worry I can amuse myself at 33 metres". All I can say is that everyone looked happy down at the bottom!
In for dive two and we explored different parts of the dive site including coming up into the caves at 10 metres and posing for photos taken from the bar area by two of the team who didn't dive the second dive. Again a 35-minute dive to add to my log – dive count slowly increasing towards my goal of becoming a PADI Master Scuba Diver.
A quick change and taxi drive back to the Eurostar station where some of us enjoyed a well deserved drink of Belgium beer.
The journey home got off to a good start but we hit some delays in France, which caused those going back to Peterborough an issue with their connection. A tactical four handed card game of three's and fours took place where poker faces were required so as not to give away what cards were needed.
Goodbyes said at St. Pancras and an end to what had been a great day out diving with a great group of friends new and old.
Thanks to Meryl for my birthday present, Tracey for organising the trip and the rest of the club for the friendship and for the laughs.
Written by Clive Sparling – Dive Rutland Club Member
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE