Divers Cove demo day
Leafy inland site has bags of potential
Commercial diving centres in the south are few and far between, which makes Divers Cove in Surrey all the more welcome.
This fresh water lake is located near the village of Godstone and has a maximum depth of about 9 metres. That makes it too shallow for the deeper basic skills required of all the training agencies, although the owners are currently considering whether to block off one end and dig out a ‘skills pit’. Time will tell.
sunken items to look out for
On the day I visit, the weatherman warns of Britain’s coldest day and the sun barely manages to thaw the frost. However, Divers Cove is open Friday-Sunday (more during summer) and, to make it even more enticing, Alex from Custom Divers is visiting to show visitors his latest and greatest kit. CD have their headquarters in the neighbouring town of Redhill, a mere five miles away. Alex admits it’s his first time here, despite it being on his doorstep and easily accessible from London and the M25.
Custom Divers has a selection of kit on display including the Rhino, Sportster, new S40 technical wing and popular Bravo system.
The Cove itself (which doesn’t meet the strict definition of a cove, by my reckoning… it’s a lake) is approximately quarter of a mile long and is clearly a former quarry, or at least some kind of working from the quarry next door. Fresh water flows through the lake, which site manager James tells me helps the visibility remain above average for a muddy-bottomed sump. The owners have installed a small café, changing facilities and portaloos at the top of the hill, along with picnic tables and car parking. A short stroll down, with the courtesy wheeled trollies if preferred, brings the diver and his or her kit to the water’s edge. Here set amongst the trees there are more picnic tables, kitting up benches and a choice of entry points.
Obviously, I choose the giant stride platform. Divers Cove have done their best to make the lake a useful destination and there are 6m platforms dotted about. To add interest, they’ve also placed a few select objects under the water. There aren’t many divers around to kick the silt up when I visited and in any case, in the furthest corners the water was undisturbed with at least 10 metres vis. Although certainly cold on the fingers and around the face, it was very pleasant and rather serene both topside and down below.
In case you’re wondering, sunken items to look out for include the inland site must-haves: a light aircraft and a boat. More unusual though are the selection of classic cars, which at first glance I was convinced must be worth salvaging – a real underwater barn find. Only after dusting off the silt did the penny drop that these are old funfair cars from nearby Thorpe Park, made of fibreglass and worth about £0. Ah well, glad I didn’t bother with the lifting bags after all.
The staff were all very friendly and helpful and it was a pleasure hanging out with them. The limitations of the site and shallow depth are likely to hinder Divers Cove from becoming too chaotic or over-subscribed. If you just fancy a cheeky dive with a friend, to try out a new piece of kit or even just go and relax there with a picnic (in the summer), it should be hard to beat.
Divers Cove is just off junction 6 of the M25 near Godstone, and costs £9 for all-day diving. There is a compressor on site (air fills £4). For more info, check out www.diverscove.co.uk.
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