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Annual Santa spawning – Vobster charity dive

December 22, 2012
me scuba diving in a santa suit

don’t I make a glamorous santa

This year on 15th December large numbers of Santa’s flocked to a quarry near the small Somerset village of Vobster for their fancy dress charity dive.  The aim being to raise money for the RNLI , a cause very dear to the heart of all divers.

The second, but no less important, aim is to try to break the world record for the most number of simultaneous diving Santa’s, a record set last year at Vobster (160 ish), but we need to prevent our Australian cousins from taking the title back #mwahhaha.

To participate in the dive you need a full Santa (or Mrs Claus) costume, including beard and hat accessories.  Each year results in a certain amount of rivalry in terms of the cheapest, most creative and best quality costumes. I heard of one lucky woman who got her costume for just under £3 from Amazon!  Needless to say that for that sort of money the suits are not exactly the best quality.  Divers have also been known to accessorise and dive with Christmas trees (fully decorated), model Reindeer and Snowmen – we are a strange bunch.

scuba divers dressed as santa

santas ready to brave the cold waters of vobster. Me bottom right

Anyway, this years dive was great, for once it was beautifully sunny with no ice or snow and the air temperature was a balmy 7C.  After customising my suit to safely wear it over my drysuit (cutting a hole for my shoulder dump) I was ready to throw on the rest of my kit and jump in with the brave members of my dive club.

We’ve found that the secret to a successful santa dive is not to get in the water too early.  It can take an awfully long time to get 140-160 Santa’s into the water and ideally you don’t want to be hanging around too long.  The water is only 6-8C and if you’re not doing a lot you will freeze even in a dry suit.  To qualify as a record everyone needs to be underwater at the same time, so co-ordination is essential.  Luckily this year we timed it pretty well and so didn’t have to wait too long before breaking the surface to begin the dive.

The dive itself is chaos, the quarry just becomes a sea of red bodies.  It’s almost impossible to tell who your buddy is, so god help you if you lose them.  We started off as a group of 6 and rapidly lost people, but at least I managed to get some group pics before that happened.  At the start of the dive we had all said ‘its too cold to do more than 15 mins’, but we all enjoyed it so much the we ended up diving for well over 30 mins.

scuba diving Santas

diving Santas in action.

Getting everyone out at the end is a little like one of those Salmon spawning videos where you see fish trying to get up waterfalls.  Tired and cold divers were struggling up steps and ladders to clamber out of the water in search of tea and mince pies.

Round off the day with a charity raffle and the chance to be interviewed by the local news  and all in all its a lot of fun while raising money for a good cause.  Some mad buggers went in for a second dive, but our lot were more focused on a roast dinner.

Its certainly got me in the festive mood and now I can’t wait for next years dip, roll on 15 Dec 2013 🙂

145 scuba santas

145 scuba santas

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