Survival Guide

Although called the Skomer trip, nobody actually stays on the island. We will be camping (at Dale Hill Farm campsite), so a tent is your number one priority! Also recommended are a tent pegs, a lack of tent pegs means and interesting night if or when it starts to get windy or rainy! All you usual camping gear are also needed!

  • Campsite address:
  • Dale Hill Farm,
  • Dale,
  • Haverfordwest,
  • Pembrokeshire,
  • SA62 3QX

Diving Equipment Checklist

This is just a quick checklist to make sure you don't forget anything!

  • Exposure suit
  • Boots (if you are using a semi-dry)
  • Hood
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Fins
  • Snorkel
  • Diving Watch or some form of bottom timer (pressure tested to 100M, can get one from Argos Casio Smart Power Watch £17.99)
  • Knife
  • Torch (optional)
  • Don't forget a boat bag to put it all in. Ideally a goody bag, but a holdall will do at a pinch.

Club Diving Kit

The club kit is transported by transit van and trailers, all of which will be packed on Friday night. You are expected to be present at the stores on the Friday before we depart to help pack. You will be using the kit once it arrives at Skomer so it is only fair that you help with its transport. You will also be expected to help with the cleaning of the kit once it returns to stores at the end of the trip. If not you will be the subject of much cussing on those nights!

Packing

Diving holidays and travelling light do not mix. In order for us to be able to transport everything to Wales, we will need to split your gear up. Unless you want to end up repacking everything in the car park on Friday night, you are strongly encouraged to read this section very carefully.

Your kit should be divided up as follows:

Personal Gear: Spare clothing, towels, sleeping bag / bedding and wash kit items. Basically anything that will be staying in the tent. ie. Not dive gear. Diving Suit. If you have a wetsuit, you may be able to fit it in a bag with the rest of your dive kit. Drysuits should be kept separate. This is so that they can be packed on top of everything else in order that zips don't get crushed!

Personal Dive Gear: Mask, fins, snorkel etc. (Tucking your mask in the end of a fin will stop it from getting smashed) Weight Belt. You must keep this separate. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU PACK YOUR WEIGHTBELT IN YOUR DIVE BAG. Heavy bags resulting in crushed gear will not make you very popular!

For weightbelts please take them down with you in your car, and back again. You must take all your gear home with you when you leave. Therefore you must arrange transport for it. We cannot ensure the safety / security / return of kit left behind when you leave, so please only leave kit if you are lending it to someone. That person is then responsible for it. Since you have to get kit home, we leave it up to you to get it down there as well.

Food

Again, it's your own responsibility to ensure you have food and something to cook it on. There is a 24h Tesco's in Havorfordwest (about 20mins away) to which there are regular trips, so there is plenty of opportunity to stock up. Make good friends with someone who has a car and you'll have no problem maintaining supplies. During the better weather, everyone chips in a few quid for a sizeable barbeque which comes highly recommended. On the Saturdays, the Lobster Pot pub in Marloes kindly puts on a King Size buffet for £5 per head (needs to be arranged in advance), and there's normally enough left over to reheat on the barbeque the next day!

Money

This is very important because it is a long hike to get to the nearest cash point. The pub will do cash back, but the safest thing is to bring cash with you. Don't assume that the cash point at the Union will have any money in it first thing on Saturday morning.

Transport

By Car:

Get onto the M32 and follow signs for M4 Newport/South Wales. Join the M4 at J19 and stay on it until it ends at J49 just after Llanelli. Here take the A48 towards Carmarthen. At Carmarthen, take the A40(W) towards Haverfordwest. Once in Haverfordwest, follow signs for Broad Haven and get onto the B4327. Continue on this road for about 10 miles and you'll come to a crossroad that has a large brown sign containing information about the Skomer Island Ferry pointing left. Take this left and follow the brown signs (towards Marloes). Once through Marloes (make a mental note of where the Lobster Pot is!) after about 1 mile there is a large farm on the left with a straight lane opposite. Go down this lane, turn right towards the field and drive in. We're normally camped behind the big barn (you'll probably see the van and/or boats).

By Train:

There is a station in Haverfordwest and by prior arrangement you can get picked up. Make sure somebody takes your kit up in the van or car or it could be a very uncomfortable train journey! The journey lasts about 5h and costs about £30 return.

The Weather

Come prepared for the worst and the best of what Wales has to offer!

It is the start of the summer holidays! It is in fact sunny quite a bit of the time. You will spend a lot of time sitting on the beach relaxing in the sun. Sun cream is a must! You may think it's never sunny in Wales, but in skomer it is!. However, it does also rain, and in the evening it does get cold so a waterproof jacket and leggings (if you have them) are a must. A hat and gloves are recommended. Waterproof footwear is also a very good idea, as is lip balm. The cold sea water will dry your lips out very quickly, so lip balm will ensure that you will still be able to talk at the end of the week! On top of all this, if you have a flask bring it along, fill it with soup and you will make lots of friends very quickly!

The Pub

Many a good night has been spent in the Lobster Pot. A short car ride away. We invade this pub every year, keep them open until one in the morning and they still let us back in! They have always treated us very well in the past, so please try to keep the atmosphere friendly, and don't get too annoyed if they occasionally serve a regular before us. On a more serious note, remember that alcohol and diving don't mix. There is nothing wrong with having a few beers, but if you get pissed don't expect to find yourself being allowed to dive the following day. Just use some common sense.

Beach Etiquette

A dive rota is drawn up each evening for the following day. We will try and arrange things so that you all get two dives per day. However, in order to achieve this we need to start early and the wake up call is usually about 7:00am (much to the distress of the other campers!) to leave the camp site at 8:00am. Please make sure you are awake and eager to go, or you will get left behind!

The dive rota includes not only diving but dive marshalling and compressing as well. Dive marshalling is a very important job that entails making sure that we know exactly who is in the water, and when we expect divers back out. If anyone goes missing, the dive marshal should be the first person to notice. The dive marshal will note your entry and exit times, as well as maximum depth. This will allow you to calculate your surface interval and current tissue code. Please make sure you provide the dive marshal with this information as soon as you exit the water. Don't make them go chasing you, and don't enter the water without checking with the dive marshal first. Compressing is also very important but it is noisy and can be boring (take a book!). However it must be done, so please don't complain.

The dive marshal will let you know at the start of the day who you are diving with and when. They will also tell you whether you are on marshalling/compressing duty. You are then responsible for making sure that you are where you should be at the right time. Check your tables and have your kit ready in plenty of time and your dive will be a pleasant one. Once you have finished with a piece of kit, please put it back in the correct place.

PLEASE PLACE EMPTY DIVING CYLINDERS ON THE CORRECT PILE. LET SOMEBODY KNOW IF A PIECE OF KIT IS NOT WORKING CORRECTLY, DON'T JUST PUT IT BACK ON THE PILE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO USE. This all sounds a bit serious, but for such large numbers of you to be able to dive safely requires a lot of organisation. Just make sure you follow the instructions, and act in a sensible fashion, and you really shouldn't have any problems.