“Scubafest Cornwall 2017 offered more than it had for many years. Diving was always on offer, from several boats, or from the shore. This year there was more to do and see, for the non divers and divers alike. Trade stands were in the small marquee, including representatives from Big Blue, Ratio, Ursuit, Project, Suunto, Mares, Atomic, Bare, Typhoon, Oonas, DiveRite, IST, Orca light, Pinnacle, Bonex, Sea & Sea, Underwater Kinetics and Komptec. Around the site there were representatives from several diver training agencies including PADI, SDI, TDI, SSI and BSAC. Local dive centres appearing included Atlantic Scuba, Dive Newquay and Wavecrest Scuba. There were also stands from several charities and non profit organisations including Sea Sheperd, the Maritime Archaeology Trust, Project Aware, RNLI, BDMLR, Fathoms Free and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
There were plenty of activities for everyone to do. The Cornwall Wildlife Trust organised a Shore Search event, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue organised a demonstration of dolphin and whale rescue. The RNLI brought their ‘wellness’ machine, so anyone could find out their ‘estimated’ heart age, based on a series of tests including blood pressure, heart rate, weight etc. There was also a ‘splash in’ photography competition, judged by Paul Duxfield, with the presentations on Sunday evening in the club house.
As the event approached the wind forecasts looked good, then they went to OK. A few days before, the wind forecast switched direction to south easterly, the worse direction for the event. The Thursday evening before the event, the hard boat ‘Maid Maggie’ and the RHIB ‘Stingray’, cancelled their boats for the event. The hard boat ‘Woodpecker’, was still planning on turning up and going out. Friday’s conditions at Pentewan were as ideal as you could get, blues skies, light winds, completely flat seas with some amazing looking in water visibility. The marquee was already erected and during the day, the trade stands started setting up inside. The camp site was slowly filling up, club dive RIBs were arriving and tents were popping up. The question was, whether the wind forecast was going to be right? Everyone hoped it wouldn’t.
Saturday morning arrived, the wind had switched as forecasted and the sea state started rising. Any diving would have to be done very early, before the sea state became dangerous. Some divers managed a local shore dive, Woodpecker went out from Mevagissey, some divers headed for the north coast for a shore dive or for a boat dive from Newquay. The marquee opened at 10am and lots of people went to look around. There was a buzz around the trade stands as well as the charity stands. The sun shone more often than not. Even though diving was at a minimum, people were enjoying the show and the activities.
Sunday saw a change in the weather, the rains came with the continuing south easterly winds. Some divers ventured to the north coast, some had already decided they weren’t going to dive, so were resting after Saturday evening’s partying. The stands were busy, various events were taking place including the BDMLR’s one ton water filled inflatable whale on stage. A comment was made about never working with animals and children, then we realised that the whale had leaked while the children were playing with it, there was a mop up team in place.
Each night there were many activities in the club house, including live bands, bingo, karaoke and discos. Saturday night had a pirate themed fancy dress, Sunday night had the photo competition results and the charity raffle. First prize in the splash in photo competition went to David Morgan, with twice previous winner, David Peake coming second. I think there will be some strong competition next year between these two. Mark Milburn, who was supposed to be driving the RHIB ‘Stingray’, never took a camera or housing, but still managed fourth with an image taken with his mobile phone. Other winners included Katy Simmonite, Fiona Richardson and Chris Howells.
Everybody I spoke to said they had a great weekend, diving would always have been a bonus as it is UK diving. You can’t always rely on the weather but at least with Scubafest, there are plenty of other things to do. Next year they plan to have more trade stands as well as more and bigger charity stands. The non diving events will also be expanded, with even more interaction.”