My experiences after four days at the NAS field school Abercastle

Graeme Perks has been a NAS member for a number of years completing the Foundation course and accumulating sufficient credits recently to receive a NAS Certificate. He started diving when he retired and is now a rebreather diver as well as a Padi master scuba diver

I had completed the NAS archaeology courses on 2D and 3D surveying and persuaded my wife to delay our sailing holiday so I could put my theory into practise at the NAS Fieldschool in Abercastle. In preparation, I looked at B&B prices but as I was a single occupant the surcharges made it expensive – so I bought a tent from the internet.

I arrived in picturesque Abercastle last Friday and managed to erect my new small tent for the first time, just before the rain started. I put my pillow and portable fridge inside to keep them out of the way and went to the main site to register. When I returned later I found puddles under all the items inside and the tent pegs had pulled out, but thankfully the fridge had prevented the tent from blowing away. I managed to sort myself out and make an improvised pillow out of my clothes. I went to sleep but woke in the middle of the night when I realised my feet were very wet. I turned over but was woken at 5.30 am by a cold shower of condensation being flicked onto me by the wind hitting the tent. I gave up and got up to an ironically beautiful sunny day. Everything was sweetness and light.

My internet folly!

I soon dried the wet kit and went on an orientation dive of the wreck of the SS Leysian. That night things improved but I was still too long for the tent & woke with pain in my hip from sleeping on my side.

I spent another beautiful sunny diving on the wreck placing and surveying monitor points. The weather forecast turned very unfriendly and after receiving advice from my wife and daughter-in-law I moved into a recently vacated room at the nearby B&B.

Diver measuring the location of points on a wreck marked by milk bottles

I spent another sunny day surveying the wreck, holding the end of a tape measure on control points marked by floating milk bottles. On a rebreather I do not make loud noisy bubbles so my first curious visitor was a small brown fish with a black spot on his tail fin. I was watching my buddy at the other end of the tape and when I looked back I found a large spider crab examining my gloved fingers. I was undecided as to the best course of action, I could not move my fingers without ruining the measurement but my fingers are precious to me! I solved the problem by gently directing the crab the other way with my pressure gauge. The things we do for archaeology! We completed our survey tasks without further challenges and after returning to harbour, joined everybody in recovering their boats before the forecast bad weather arrived.

My unexpected visitor

After an eventful four days at the fieldschool, I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep and giving a tent to my young grandchildren.

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