We Are Explorers Really...

Blah Blah

Posted in Diving Caravan Longleat

We Are Explorers Really... - Blah Blah - by Simon Campbell

Rather than using standard hotel accommodation, Tony convinced me it was a 'great idea' to take his caravan down to Longleat. In the past I have taken the piss out of Tony for this purchase. He keeps telling me its just for Emma (his partner) for travelling to dog agility events). I think its more fundamental. He watched 'Snatch' and fancied himself as a Brad Pitt character. But, the question is why the hell are we going Longleat?

<img src="{filedir_2}Tony_Bridge_caravan.jpg" alt="Tony Bridge and his big explorer caravan" width="570" height="296" />

Well, as part of our preparations for our "Triton":http://triton-oceanic.com expeditions, we had both decided to buy rebreathers (details on the upcoming article) and our training started in the murky waters of the colourfully named Vobster Quay (actually an old sand quarry). But where to 'pitch up'? After some research, Tony plumped for the Longleat 'Caravan Club' site which was relatively local. Done.

Longleat itself is an impressive country mansion with Safari Park attached and we took the scenic route in - arriving at the site at dusk.

Now Tony's caravan is not what can be considered as normal. Its a 28' Swift Conqueror, which together with his Landrover Defender, is the same length as an articulated lorry. Not only is it big, it is very well equipped, with fridge, microwave, full cooker, shower, toilet and a double bed. Being so heavy it even has a power-mover so that you can manoeuvre it around using a TV style remote control to get it into position.

Tony had also grown a full explorers beard that Chris Bonnington himself would have been proud of. Just before we set off however, he shaved it into a full goatee rather like my own and totally shaved his head! I of course, am also follicly challenged and have a clean #1.

We positioned the caravan ready to reverse into the 'hard standing'. As we both jumped out to move the caravan, net curtains in the other vans started to subtly move. I quickly realised that we looked like a couple of raging queens: expensive caravan, clearly loads of disposable, no kids and a double bed. It also didn't help when we walked to the pub, me with my 'handbag' and ordered a bottle of white wine to compliment our evening meal which stood proudly on the table; just as the food arrived, 'Erasure' kicked off on the music system...

We moved the combo to a site at Bovisand in Plymouth where we were based to complete the rebreather training in lovely salt water. Similar story... Lots of coffin dodgers peering from their motor homes; at least it gave them something to do!

We are supposed to be underwater explorers for gods sake. Hard asses who have 'danger' as a middle name, exposing ourselves to the perils of the deep. I have been camp for years but this has taken it to a new level.

Next time? Its got to be a tent or cheap hotel...

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