Hanging out with divers can convert you!

Lisa-Helen Jones tells the story of how a holiday, turned into a volunteering job, and then an unexpected encounter with a bunch of divers who like wrecks!

My husband and I came to Garn Isaf for a holiday 5 years ago and became good friends with its wonderful owner Annie Hirst. Since then we have regularly volunteered here in return for bed and board – happy days!

From left to right: Lisa’s husband Darren, Annie Hirst and Lisa-Helen Jones

Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting the members of the NAS along with all the divers and non-divers who stayed on site.

I was invited onto one of the boats and was given an opportunity of working the underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and soon picked up the skill of driving the ROV underwater – with a little guidance from the skipper Andy who is a great guy!

Lisa piloting the ROV over the wreck site

The wreck of the SS Leysian was in better condition than I imagined it to be, and was much clearer on the screen than in the photos I’d previously seen.

Whilst manoeuvring my way around the wreck and logging the numbers of the floating marker milk bottles, a much-debated shark swam by in full view of the ROV – which fortunately was recording this remarkable event!

Darren and I are now planning to take our PADI open water diving course as a direct result of our contact with the fantastic team at the NAS fieldschool.

Garn Isaf is a beautiful site in Abercastle, Pembrokeshire and has a self-catering in the Y Garn farm house, B&B in the Grade 2 listed old barn and a lovely quiet camp site Garn Gwely which has electric and wifi. It is a short walk away from the harbour where you can launch your boat or kayak – which we do whenever we get the opportunity.

We thoroughly enjoyed looking after all of the visitors for this fascinating survey of the SS Leysian wreck and hope to see everyone again.

A comment from the NAS fieldschool participants – Lisa made the most amazing cakes for us almost every day and was a constantly cheery face around the campsite!

Darren and Lisa serving fieldschool participants a very tasty curry!

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