Last week our very own Ray Cramer added a very interesting lecture on Bathymetry to the ongoing series of lockdown lectures presented by BSAC.
For those of you that don’t know, bathymetry is the measurement of the depth of water in lakes, rivers or seas. Ray’s lecture covered how this information is collected, used and how it can be of use to divers.
Ray went on to show where to access some of the latest survey data and which software to use to get the best out of it. A sample image here showing the wreck of the Mongolian.
The whole lecture, along with many others are available to watch via the special interest section of the BSAC online learning hub. The website lists up and coming sessions along with a library of past lectures and training sessions.
With the club being shutdown at present because of Covid 19 our training team have taken to the internet to provide lectures via Zoom video conferencing for all who are interested. So far they have successfully run through all the Ocean Diver and Sports Diver lectures as well as Practical Rescue Management and Accelerated Decompression SDC’s with the Twin Set SDC in progress. Boat Handling will be next with other SDC’s are being assessed to see if they can be delivered via zoom.
The club has also been holding weekly zoom club nights and plans are underway for some diving talks and a quiz night.
Anyone wanting further information on club training sessions or talks should check out the club Facebook page or contact the Training Officer.
Other online resources to checkout during lockdown.
Click here to access the BSAC Online Training Hub which has a wide variety of online training and special interest webinars. Pay special attention to Thursday 25th June when our very own Ray Cramer will be giving a session on Bathymetry.
Click here for a series of excellent webinars organised by Diver Medic.
Hello everybody as we are about to enter our second week of Corona isolation. I know that many of you, including me, are jut itching to get wet but without trying to sugar coat events it is clear that this is going to be a long haul. Just how long is uncertain at the moment and I think it will be 2 to 4 weeks before we can assess the trajectory of the virus in the UK. Then, of course, it would be a mistake to think that things will return to normal over night, but rather the roll back from lock-down will take several weeks. So what does this mean to the club, well for sure, the club will remain closed throughout April, by which time the picture should be much clearer. There will also be a Committee Meeting via Zoom conferencing on Monday, 20th. April, when with a fair wind we may be able to start to plan for the future. In the short term this means that the Boat Handling SDC, the Anglesey weekend at the begging of May and the Pembroke trip at the end of May are all postponed as well as anything in-between. Actually, truth to told, I recently bought a set of electric hair clippers last week and if you saw the state of my head you would quickly realise how necessary it is for the club to remain shut!
The summer bash at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club is set for the Saturday, 20th. June and at the very least Dave Edwards and I are hoping to use this event to relaunch the life of the club. Should this prove to be the case then I can imagine it turning into one ‘bad arse’ night. So if it’s any consolation you will be getting wet again just as the viz improves.
Turning to other matters, can I thank everybody for their best wishes following Val’s operation for breast cancer. Last Friday she received the all clear from the surgeon and her progress is such that she requires no further treatment. On the down side, one of our brethren, Peter Cheesewright, is now waiting to go into hospital for an operation on his pancreas. He knows that your thoughts and prayers are with him as he waits for a bed and I will let you how he progresses.
As I am writing this letter, I have just heard on the radio that the Government are now speaking of a 12/13 weeks self isolation period depending on how well we keep away from each other. This is indeed a rather grim prospect which for some may prove difficult to handle, although I am aware of a number of video conferencing groups springing up which will provide some relief. We are all in this together folks and the club is here to support you if needs be and that help is only a telephone call away. Do feel free to ring me anytime.
In terms of those currently undergoing training then I can tell you that your Training Officers that is Chris Wood, Steve Mills and Terry Maloney are currently investigating the prospect of delivering theory session on line. Watch this space.
That it folks for the moment and I will keep you updated at this dreadful situation develops.
A gathering of Dive Ribs from around the UK, making a passage from the launch site at Dinas Marina, through to Beaumaris for a chippy dinner, then passing through the Swellies under the two Menai Bridges to Caernarfon for an Ice Cream, then back to Dinas Marina to recover the boats.
Sadly, due to the Covid19 Pandemic, the Menai Boat Run has had to be cancelled for 2020.
Alistair Reynolds ran another excellent, and well attended Gas Blending SDC last weekend, helped by Steve McElroy, Terry Maloney and Alan Jones.
The course started on Saturday morning with a series of lectures given by the team on the principles of blending Nitrox and Mixed Gases as well how to use the club blending equipment and safety precautions.
This was followed in the afternoon by a demonstration of Nitrox blending and a number of practical sessions to ensure everyone knew how to use the blending tables, applications and could safely mix different Nitrox blends.
Some of the students were only interested in blending Nitrox at present so chose to finish the course on the Saturday evening. The rest of us were split into two groups to return for one of two sessions on the Sunday.
On Sunday we were given a masterclass in blending Trimix by Steve then given a series of blends to try to mix ourselves working from the blending Trimix tables. A tricky and time consuming process.
Steve got to demonstrate an example of gas layering when adding helium to an existing mix, with a blend of 6/84 showing on the analyser after mixing! After rolling the cylinder on the floor for a minute this changed to a more expected 18/45.
Anyway, after an interesting couple of hours with hands on the equipment everyone seemed comfortable with the process and now ready to get out there and use it to dive….. when we’ve saved up enough for the Helium.
A big thanks to Steve, Terry, Alan and especially Alistair for giving up another of their weekends to pass on their knowledge. It is really appreciated.
Here we are almost at the beginning of March and the foul weather shows no sign of abating. However, since I last wrote to you we have been busy putting everything to rights in preparation for the diving season, whenever that might arrive. Both boats have now been serviced and made ready for the sea, which included in one case as replacement heavy duty battery and cables. In addition, the compressor was serviced last week while the bank storage bottles were put back in test at the beginning of the year. So with the boat electronics (GPS/radio etc) also having been tested, I think it fair to say that we are just about ready for the off.
There is now quite a wide range of training opportunities coming up shortly, which you will forgive me for reminding you of, as somebody will always claim they knew nothing about an event, here we go:
Skill Development Courses
Rescue Management SDC – Theory session Thursday, 19th. March at the club to be followed by the practical session on Sunday, 5th. April 2020 at Eccleston Delph. NOTE – this was originally planned for Saturday the 21st. March but had to be put back for a variety of reasons, not least of which to accommodate the LFC fixture list. This really is a must for those wishing to become Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers. Incidentally, your help would be very much appreciated in acting as stooges to make the whole thing as realistic as possible, such as passersby and standby divers etc.
Mixed Gas Blending Course – This is recent addition to our SDC schedule thanks to the good offices of Alistair Reynolds and will be run at the club house over the weekend of the 14/15th. March 2020. I am sure there will be a charge, not least for the gas, which you will be find out via Alistair. Update: £60 required by Alistair ASAP.
Boat Handling SDC – Over the weekend of the 25/26th. April 2020, the Saturday being a theory day at the club, followed by the practical session the following morning.
Diver/Cox Assessment – Saturday, 16th. May 2020 for those wishing to prove they really can handle the club boats, but be aware that this is an assessment and not a training session.
Speaking of cost, none of the above are free as the club has to purchase course packs from BSAC HQ, for example the boat handling SDC is £48, but bear in mind that if you do the same course at Safewater down by New Brighton slip you’ll be paying about £250 for the same experience.
Contact your Committee – Recently we have introduced a new e-mail address as a means of getting in touch with either myself or a particular member of the committee, that is email@example.com and comes through to me. I guess the idea is to assist anybody who has not had an opportunity to raise a concern or is now away from home.
There really is so much going, so here are just a few more dates for you to digest which you haven’t had previously:
28/29th. March……………….Geoff Oldfield’s Menai Boat Run in aid of the RNLI.
11/12th. April………………..Alan Jones is looking to run out into Liverpool Bay Diving, but nothing firmed up as we speak, so watch this space.
29th. May – 1st. June……..Chris Mills will be running a trip to Pembroke.
Saturday, 20th. June 2020 will be the Club Summer Gala day at Birkenhead Park RFC. This will be a similar format as last year and will cost £35 perr ticket, albeit that includes a substantial buffet and entertainment.
That’s it folks for the moment and as ever safe diving.
Here we are again at the beginning of yet another diving year, which in my case is gathering pace towards the 50 year mark. This letter is really to signpost some of the events and diving holidays that are now firmly on the horizon. Whilst I may have mentioned some of the forthcoming Skill Development Courses, please be aware that I did not keep a note of the people who responded, thus no places have been reserved.
Skill Development Courses
Rescue Management SDC – Theory session Thursday, 19th March at the club to be followed by the practical session on Saturday, 21st March 2020 at Capernwray. This really is a must for those wishing to become Dive Leaders and Advanced Divers.
Boat Handling SDC – Over the weekend of the 25/26th April 2020, the Saturday being a theory day at the club, followed by the practical session the following morning.
Diver/Cox Assessment – Saturday, 16th May 2020 for those wishing to prove they really can handle the club boats, but be aware that this is an assessment and not a training session.
Diving Trips – Just as a ‘taster’ these are just some of the away trips that I am involved with:-
19th March 2020 – For your information I am going with Blue 02 on a week’s live aboard to dive the far South of the Red Sea down towards The Sudan, which will include such delights as St John’s, Fury Shoals and the Elphenstone, all of which are renowned for the big fish. The cost is £1,000 or there abouts and anybody is welcome to join myself and a mate.
Commencing on Saturday, 28th June 2020 for three consecutive weeks Tony Fitzpatrick is planning to take over Fleet Divers at Rosas on the Costa Brava. At the time of writing there are only a few places remaining on the first and third weeks. I must say, this is a must for anybody who wants a cheap diving holiday in the sun as it comes in at £300 for diving, accommodation and transfers. Bottle fills and boat fuel are extras as are the flights to Gerona.
Scapa Flow – As most of you are aware, the club has charted a live aboard for two consecutive weeks commencing on the 5th and 12th September 2020. This trip is fully booked, however, if you would like to be a ‘reserve’ do let me know. In addition, there will be a meeting of all runners and riders at the club house at 9.0pm on Thursday, 23rd January 2020 to sort out transport and discuss the general logistics of the trip.
Late, Late Diving Bash Malta 2020 – I am planning on running a long weekend diving with Divewise/Techwise departing Wednesday evening 30th September and returning Monday lunchtime the 5th October. While five of the Techie boys have expressed interest, this is not limited to the ‘Darkside’ as there will be plenty of recreational diving available for those of Ocean Diver status and above. The important thing is to have four great days diving and plenty of ‘crack’ at the end of what should be an exciting year.
Returning to more mundane matters, but following a recent incident, can I remind everybody yet again that the club’s Facebook site is provided as a forum for the exchange of information, not as a mechanism for ‘slagging’ people off. You should be aware that the committee will take punitive action and remove such posts and suspend the individual involved from the group.
In passing, following on from the AGM Vince Clegg and Monty Smith are currently working on revising the Club Constitution to make it more fit for purpose to meet our current needs. Moreover, with regard to the refurbishment of the club house Nigel Thomas and I have got a meeting with the Council later this week and as soon as there are any definite developments I will let you know.
Finally, can I take this opportunity to wish all our members a very happy (and safe diving) New Year. Remember folks, dive fitness does not begin in June so do get your slippery backsides up to the quarries and hone those skills.
Towards the end of 2018, Mark Williams suggested that we
could make a trip to Lundy on the North Devon coast. He didn’t need to go
looking for volunteers and in next to no time, the trip was full. The hotel and
boat were all booked and all we had to do then was wait for the weekend to come
around at the end of September 2019. Everything was good to go until the
Weather God decided not to play games. Well by the Wednesday before the trip,
the weather forecast was looking that bad that the skipper cancelled it. Most
of us knew fairly well that this was likely to happen so alternative plans were
quickly made by some of the gang and a few of us decided to go to Devon anyway.
Six divers went up to St. Abbs where unfortunately the Weather God decided not
to play games for the entire weekend although they did manage to get one days
diving in and four of us, Chris & Kate Mills and Terry & Margaret
Maloney stuck to the original plan of going to Devon.
The drive down could have been better! It poured down
with rain for most of the way.
We arrived in Ilfracombe just before 5pm and although it
was a bit blowy, at least it had stopped raining. After booking in to our rooms
at the The Royal Britannia Hotel, it was time to explore some of the town.
First stop was the harbour where the Damian Hirst bronze ‘Verity’ can be seen.
A stunning work of art! She is looked over by the St. Nicholas Chapel that sits
atop Lantern Hill which is a prominent point overlooking the harbour entrance.
After a walk around this part of Ilfracombe it was decided that it was about
time for a sit down and a small pre dinner tipple. We found a nice little wine
bar overlooking the harbour which became our regular port of call each day.
There are quite a few pubs around the harbour area so not
wanting to go too far afield, we elected to go to The Prince of Wales which is
a stones throw from the hotel and dog friendly as Terry & Margaret had
Bailey with them. We had a few drinks and a curry here and spent a pleasant
couple of hours together just chatting and enjoying the evening.
Day two saw us rising early and having a ‘full English’
at the hotel before setting out to explore the surrounding area. Some of us
checked out ‘The Tunnels’ which were hand cut through the hillside in order to
gain access to the sea and what were to become Ilfracombs bathing beaches. We
visited various places around the countryside but I think the jewel in the
crown was Lynton & Lynmouth. It’s a really beautiful town at the bottom of
a gorge where the East and West Lyn Rivers meet. It’s a very picturesque area
and certainly not one to be rushed around! It even has a funicular cliff
railway which is powered by the weight of water and gravity. We all arrived
back in Ilfracombe at approximately the same time so decided that the best plan
would be to take in another part of the town and do a little bit of shopping.
We wandered around Capstone Hill and Wildersmouth beach and the surrounding
area before somehow finding ourselves back at the harbour and outside the ‘Open
Up’ wine bar. Well divers are not ones to miss an opportunity to socialise so
we called in here again for a few pre dinner drinks again. The weather that
evening was as predicted, absolutely awful so it was decided unanimously to
remain in our hotel and have a meal there. The chef specialises in Asian food
and we all enjoyed a very pleasant meal and a couple of drinks while discussing
what we had all done during the day and where we had visited.
Day three started with yet another ‘full English’ before
setting out to explore again. Chris and Kate checked more of the town out and
at one point, actually walked up Capstone Hill in a howling wind. Good effort
guys. Terry and Margaret went further afield to Clovelly and Bideford. They
didn’t get all the way down to Clovelly unfortunately as the road actually
resembled a river!
We met up again at about 4pm and made our way to our
favourite wine bar. We’ve got to keep the local economy buoyant after all!
I telephoned the skipper that afternoon just to introduce
ourselves and see if he had anything planned for the Monday as the weather
forecast wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately he had no plans for the Monday and said
that the swell around Lundy would be too much for diving. Oh well.
That evening we went to another local pub, the Ship &
Pilot which was even closer to the hotel than the Prince of Wales. You can
literally fall out of the hotel and straight into the Ship lol. The atmosphere
in here was excellent! There was skittles practice going on to one side of the
bar and lots of socialising on the other. The hospitality here was amazing and
we were made to feel extremely welcome. We had our dinner here and I think that
we all agreed that it was the best that we had eaten over the weekend. Will
definitely call back here on the next trip! Oh and the beer isn’t bad here
either ha ha.
The final morning dawned and the weather had again took a
turn for the worse so Terry & Margaret decided to head for home while Chris
& Kate headed further South into Cornwall. We said our goodbyes and went
our different ways.
Well despite the fact that there was no diving, we all
agreed that we had a fantastic weekend. It was a typical (mini) BSAC club trip
spent with existing and new likeminded friends, enjoying each other’s company.
Obviously it would have been even better if we had of managed to get into the
water but that’s diving as we say! Hopefully better luck next time.
Here we are folks approaching the end of another diving season and for sure the time has flown, probably because there has been so much going on down the club. It would be remiss not to mention the recent highly successful Scout ‘Jamboree’ Try Dive session, which has received nothing but plaudits and certainly helped to raise the profile of the club. Thanks to everybody who participated in the event, in particular John Rice, Chris Woods and Geoff Oldfield stand out for orchestrating and making the whole thing work.
Morrison’s -The next event on the calendar is Geoff Oldfield’s RNLI fund raising event at Morrison’s, New Brighton over the weekend of the 12/13th October 2019. The tides are bad that weekend so I know you will all chip in and support Geoff for this is a vital maritime rescue service upon which we all rely. Moreover, the spinoff is that we normally generate quite a few punters for Try Dives some of whom go on to form the next generation of the club.
Dinner Dance – The65th. Club’s Annual Dinner Dance is fast approaching and will take place on Saturday, 26th. October 2019 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, Park Road North, Birkenhead. Tickets are priced at £40 per head and will take a similar format as the last two years, albeit we always are looking for a fresh twist.As with last year, the ‘Forty Thieves’ will be making a return visit by popular demand to provide the entertainment. Also the brand new Steve Palmer Diver of the Year Memorial Trophy will be presented for the first time. Tickets are available from Dave and Robbie Edwards and I can tell you that they are flying out of the door.
AGM – The Club’s Annual General Meeting will take place at the Club House at 9.0pm prompt on Thursday 14th November 2019. Amongst the positions up for grabs this year are Honorary Treasurer, Equipment Officer and Welfare Officer, but remember no committee post is for life and everybody is encouraged to put themselves forward for any post. One thing that you should be aware of is that the club Diving Officer, Tony Fitzpatrick has completed his three year term of office, however, a motion will be put forward at the AGM to extend Article 3 (b) of the Club Constitution from three to four years for the officers of the club (Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Diving Officer). The other committee posts are not affected by this rule. In the event of the extension of tenure not being approved by the AGM the role of Diving Officer will be taken over by the Assistant Diving Officer, Robbie Edwards, who will appoint an ‘Acting’ assistant at his discretion.
Refurbishment of the Club – I know what you are going to say as this is starting to feel like ‘watching paint dry’, however, I can now tell you that we, the club, have now provided everything that Wirral Council have asked for and are now eagerly awaiting their response. Now it may well be that Nigel and I will have to make a guest appearance at a Council meeting to present our case for obtaining a rent free period from them. After that it will be ‘full ahead’ to make a modern open space club house to replace the rather cramped slightly jaded facilities that we have at present.
Training – I am aware that a fair few members are currently waiting for Rescue Management Training to complete their Advanced Diver tickets. It is hoped that we can sort something out during October, which should mean that you will receive your certificate at the Dinner Dance. In addition, it is hoped that there will be several catch up sessions for those who missed the practical part of recent Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression and Navigation), after which we can start looking forward to planning further SDC’s for next year.
Scapa Flow 2020 – Events for next year are rapidly coming into focus and, of course, we have the long standing Scapa Flow trip to look forward to in Septembers 2020. You will recall that the uptake was such that we have hired the charter boat for the first two weeks in September. Who goes on which week has yet to be sorted out, however, I do now need the second part of your deposit which is £80 per person and will be collected during October.
That’s it folks…….safe diving and I look forward to seeing you all at the Dinner Dance.
23rd August 2019 – at last….the long anticipated day had arrived! Branch 5 – the MerseyDivers – were on their way, flying into Hurghada, Egypt, from three different UK airports, on the same day!
Our party consisted of 23 divers (Sports Divers and above) and 17 assorted friends and family! The trip had been planned well in advance, and had been well thought out, with an all-inclusive hotel, Three Corners Rihanna Inn, El Gouna, just North of Hurghada, as our base. This enabled our non-divers to enjoy the pools, the lagoon, the waterslides, the tuktuk journeys to ‘downtown’, the ferry to local islands, snorkelling, and several local excursions.
‘All-inclusive’ also meant that when we returned from a day’s diving , dining and a ‘little beverage’ could be in any combination of numbers… from couples, to a couple of nights when the entire group met and ate together….true celebrations!
On arrival, airport pickups and hotel check-in all ran relatively smoothly, although several of the singles in our group were a little surprised to be sharing a double bed with their room buddy! The hotel managed to sort that out the next day, though to be fair the twin beds were almost as cosy as the double!
The format for each day was simple. Emperor Divers sent minibuses to pick us up, after an early breakfast, and these would take us down to the waterfront, where the ’Pegasus’ and her trusty crew would be waiting for us. We stored all our gear in named crates under the benches, and left it there each evening.
On Day One Tobi, one of the dive leaders, got us all together on the top deck for a briefing. We were to dive 2 reef dives that day, so he used a whiteboard diagram to show us the dive plan for the first dive, the depths, the timings and what we could expect to see…..and what would be a possible bonus! Then Question Time. We were put into 3 groups, and given a buddy for the day. We met Tiger, and Mahmoud, our 2 other dive guides, and the dive plan board stayed on the wall all day, so we all knew the names of where we were going and who our buddies were, and didn’t have to ask the staff a million times!
As soon as everyone was aboard, we would set out – calm seas, glorious sunshine, great company, two decks to wander around on, sit and chat, and generally relax. Our fabulous crew made sure there was always hot water for tea and coffee, and cold water / soft drinks in the fridge.
We were all excited for our first dive, on Carless Reef. The first group kitted up, closely followed by the rest of us, and we entered the water a group at a time. Wow! For those of us who had never experienced Red Sea Diving before, it was awesome. Getting on for 35/40m visibility, we swam in a fabulous aquarium! Stonefish, a crocodile fish, blue spotted rays, HUGE moray eels peering out from the rocks, the tiniest purple Orchid Dotty Backs, shoals of wrasse, barracuda……
Eventually we reluctantly climbed the ladder back into the boat, with the crew lifting cylinders off our backs ,helping us de-kit, and our cook going round the boat offering us warm, freshly baked cakes!
Second dive was more of the same…..!
In between dives our cook managed to serve up a fantastic lunch buffet – salads, pasta, one or two meat dishes, and local Egyptian dishes…..all from a kitchen about the size of an old red telephone box!
Then it was time for another relax as we headed back for an hour or two back to El Gouna, and a celebratory cold beer….or two!
Day Two was more of the same, except that our dives were both Wreck dives. First was on the Carnatic, which ran aground on the Abu Nuhas reef. SS Carnatic is adorned with over a hundred years of coral growth – amazing colours and variety. She lies on her port side and is in 2 quite distinctive parts, the bow and the stern. The deck is now rotted away leaving a series of main supporting beams of the 3 decks- the ribs of the ship. These are covered in a profusion of colour and life, where the square portholes are covered with marine life, from soft corals to tiny pipefish and nudibranchs.
The highest point of the wreck is the stern at 17m, with the rudder and prop at 28m The bow itself still bears the graceful lines of a once proud and elegant ship, Her masts lie on the seabed away from the wreck alongside recognisable parts of engine, gears, and boilers – a magnificent sight.
She had been carrying a cargo of cotton, port, copper ingots and 40,000 Pounds Sterling in gold coins. Unfortunately we found none of it!
The second wreck was the Giannis D. which sank in 1983 after hitting the same reef. As the sea was quite choppy, this was a 15 minute RHIB journey to the wreck site, for us.
Giannis D. is is lying on the bottom in roughly three separate sections. My group dropped onto the stern of the wreck, lying at 24 meters and at about a 45-degree angle. The ship’s bent propeller lies partially buried in the sand on the bottom. Penetration into the superstructure , which quite a few of us were keen to do, involved entering the pilothouse, which has been stripped of all of its equipment, and then heading along and down the companionway into the engine room, which hasn’t been salvaged.
Because of the angle of the ship it can become a bit disorientating -the engine room is filled with catwalks and handrails, all at odd angles, with the diesel engine lying to one side. Here we were very taken by a huge spotted pufferfish in the depths, who took no notice of us at all!
We followed various dark passageways, with the occasional glimpse of brilliant blue out of a porthole, eventually exiting near the middle section of the ship. Then we finned along to the bow which lies completely on its port side, past winches, bollards and various ‘shippy’ things (I’m so technical!), and saw the masts stretching out parallel to the seabed –fascinating. Back along the length of the ship, seeing some of the original cargo still on the deck – wood! – and gradually ascending to our safety stop, along the ship’s mast which rises to about 4m from the surface. On the dive we were lucky enough to see numerous varieties of aquatic life such as glassfish, scorpionfish, wrasse, napoleon, crocodile fish, grouper and lionfish and blue-spotted stingrays along the bottom. Wonderful!
Day Three gave us more reef dives. It was like being in an aquarium –all sorts of angelfish, parrotfish, pufferfish , morays, shoals of tiny fish, cornet fish, and others too numerous to mention.
Our lovely dive guides offered us a third dive, stopping on the way back at Gota el Dier. For those of us who decided to dive it was an experience of a lifetime…… about 40 minutes into the dive, a huge grey shape shot through the group. It circled and returned, this time with a friend – DOLPHINS. For the next few minutes they circled us, raced to the water surface and back and brought more of the pod to check us out…a real honour! After passing us at an arm’s length away, the 7 dolphins eventually glided away into the distance leaving us absolutely buzzing!
And so the week continued – more spectacular reef diving in varying locations, and 2 more ‘Third Dives’ where we spent more time with dolphins – absolutely unbelievable!!
Before we knew it, the week was drawing to a close – with a final hotel day, to relax and chill before our evening flights home. Friendships had grown stronger, birthdays been celebrated, diving skills progressed, new food sampled, copious amounts of alcohol consumed, challenges met/ dealt with /overcome, and truly awesome dives accomplished. Red Sea Diving had lived up to its reputation – we’ll be back!
Many thanks to Emperor Divers, El Gouna, for a great week.
Purple Jan (Ryan)
[For anyone reading this and searching for gossip and ‘scandal’,- about who jumped in for their dive with items of kit missing (weightbelts? dive computers?) or who stayed up the latest each night, or drank the most beer?, you’re out of luck –‘’ what goes on in Egypt, stays in Egypt’’!!!]
The November Quiz night was another fantastic success. A great time had by all and another late night. But best of all, lots of money raised for club and in particular, the new boat fund.
This years winning team was led by Geoff and they took home the main prize, but there were plenty of other winners in the prize draws and everyone seemed to enjoy the food.
A big thanks to all those who came and took part and an even bigger thanks to all those who helped in the organising and running of the event on the evening. Especially Bell for the cake, Tony Fitz for his curry and both John and Dave for running the bar.
It was the Friday before August Bank Holiday 2019 and ten members of the branch made their way South for a long weekend of diving around Plymouth with In Deep Dive Centre.
The group were staying at The Borringdon Arms in Turnchapel which is only a short distance from the Mount Batten Centre which is where the boats leave from. Once again, we were on Seeker which was ably skippered by James Balouza and assisted by Conan (if you ever meet him, you will know why he’s called Conan!)
Saturday morning dawned with bright sunshine and a mild breeze. After a hearty breakfast of our choice, we all prepared our kit on Seeker ready for the first days diving. The weather was holding good and everyone was looking forward to getting into the water. Our two dives were to be in Whitsand Bay on HMS Scylla and the James Eagan Layne. The viz was an acceptable five or six metres. More than adequate to enable the divers to make their way around and through the wrecks. I personally love diving the JEL as it’s got genuine history and can be quite atmospheric at times.
Saturday night was spent in a number of the local hostelries sampling their food and an odd beer. Everyone stated that they had thoroughly enjoyed the first days diving and were looking forward to more of the same the next day.
Sunday dawned and the weather was even better than the previous day despite the cloudy start. There was still a pleasant breeze blowing which we all needed as it developed into a fairly hot, sunny day. Seeker set out for the Bolt Head area so that we could dive the SS Maine. This was a brilliant dive. Viz was excellent at about six to ten metres and the light levels were that good at thirty metres that there was no need for a torch! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the dive. We even had Congers and a Thornback Ray swimming around the wreck. The surface interval was completed while we made our way to Bigbury Bay to dive the SS Persier. Sitting at a similar depth to the Maine, it turned into another great dive with similar viz and light levels. The group couldn’t decide on which dive had the better viz. once again, there was plenty of life on the wreck including a number of Crayfish which are making a welcome return to the area. No torch required again!
Sunday evening saw us dining at the yacht club and we all had a really pleasant meal which was washed down with the odd beverage.
Monday, and it was our final day of diving. Generally the last day is ‘request day’ and the group can decide where they want to dive or rely on the skipper. Most wanted to dive on HMT Elk which was a smallish minesweeper that was unfortunately sunk by an acoustic mine. She sits at just over thirty metres and although on the small side is still a nice little dive that you can cover a couple of times quite comfortably. Our second dive was a group request to do a reef dive that we had been told about. With a maximum depth of about twenty three metres or so it was to prove a really pleasant dive and a good end to a perfect weekends diving. Amongst all the various critters we saw, there were Crayfish, Lobster, Feather Stars, Feather Duster Worms and the highlight of the dive (well for me) Barrel Jellyfish that were as big as dustbins. Awesome! That evening, we dined in The Clovelly Bay Inn which is only a stones throw from The Borringdon Arms so not too far to stagger back home.
So Tuesday came around all too soon and it was time to make our way back home. After a ‘full English’, we said our goodbyes to our hosts (till next year) and headed back up North.
Thanks to Karl Steadman, Garry Bolland, Stewart, Nathan & Joss Matthews, Kerry Place, Andy Rath, Andy Baigent and Aden McGuigan for a truly brilliant weekend.
Again Folks……….News just off the press is that the Club Annual Dinner will be on Saturday, 26th. October
2019 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club. Now
this is a fortnight earlier than usual, but it was the nearest date on offer
from the rugby club and a change of venue at this late stage would have caused
problems in terms of catering etc. Also
I am very pleased to announce that our friends Alan and Vivienne from Divewise
on Malta will be attending as guests of the club. I am not sure what the cost
of tickets will be, but I suspect they won’t be less that £38 a pop. The summer bash at the beginning of June
apparently was a resounding success and managed to raise about £500 for the
club’s coffers. Thanks go out to Dave
Edwards and his band of helpers for making it a great night out.
of the Club House
– Last Thursday, 4th. July 2019 Nigel Thomas and I had a meeting
with council officials in relation to this project and I am happy to say that
while progress may be slow, the council certainly appear to be warming to the
idea. Essentially, we now have to submit
a report not only outlining the work, but specifically highlighting the
benefits to the club, the community and the council itself. It is hoped that a rent free period of years
can be negotiated that will go a considerable way towards meeting the overall
cost. I think approval is unlikely before the autumn, however, in the mean time
your views and concerns would be much appreciated.
The Major’s Late,
Late Diving Bash
– Robbie Edwards and I are going out to Malta on Thursday, 3rd.
October and returning to Manchester on the following Monday, 7th.
October to do some technical diving (with Divewise/Techwise) and we thought it
might be a neat idea to invite the club to join us. This venue caters for all diving grades hence
there is no bar as to who can attend.
Moreover, I have just done a quick check and flights at that time of
year are as little as £68 return; okay, I know, you will need to pay for diving
equipment which is normally about £40 return for standard kit. Accommodation on Malta can be as cheap or
expensive as you like, certainly Robbie and I paid £124 for an entire week
including breakfast earlier in the year.
So if you are interested in a cheeky long weekend’s diving in warm blue
water just get in touch with me.
The use of Facebook – I am sure many of you will be aware that the Club’s Facebook page has recently been used as a platform to air minor grievances over damage to club equipment. In my view there is a real danger that members become ‘keyboard warriors’ and end up criticising or sniping at individuals in a more forthright manner than they would ever do in a face to face situation. At a time when so much good work is being achieved by the club this can be very corrosive and counterproductive, hence I will be asking the Facebook administrators to be more robust in removing anything potentially hurtful. Speaking of club equipment, the committee accept that accidents do occur, so please do let us know in a timely manner if anything gets bashed and we will endeavor to put it right.
Outstanding SDC’s – I am aware that
not everybody completed the recent practical sessions for both the Accelerated
Decompression and Chartwork SDC’s. If
you let me know (or put it on the Notice board) I will sort out the necessary sessions,
albeit they are likely to be in the autumn.
regards and safe diving……………Alan Jones, Chairman
As part of this years river festival Branch 5 sent two boats and a tug of war team down to New Brighton to take part in the event.
There was one boat on the waters of marine lake, with some brave members demonstrating their low visibility diving skills, and another on the side with other club members collecting for the RNLI and selling try dives.
A big thanks to Chester SAC for jumping in at the last minute to take part in the tug of war. The best of three pulls was close but the practice Branch 5 gained against the RNLI at New Year paid off and they took the day 2-0. Hopefully the edge was taken off the defeat by the food laid on back at the clubhouse for everyone.
Thanks to everyone from the club who gave up their time to to take part and to collect for the RNLI. Update to follow on the amount raised.
Hello Again Folks…..Let me move straight on with further ado to the most pressing matter that is Dave Edward’s ‘Summer Bash’at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, on Saturday, 8th. June 2019. Whilst the price of £38 per head may seem steep the doors open 3pm and children are welcome for a mere £7 per person, albeit that they should be off the premises by 9pm. There are various entertainments all afternoon including a bouncy castle for the kids. The evening ‘scoff’ is a full self service buffet, the theme being food from places around the world the club has dived. We are assured this is a real banquet and should not be missed. In addition, Dave has obtained the services of a singer for your entertainment. Now the point is while many members have put their name down for the event you have also been painfully slow in ‘coughing up’ the cash. So please do pay Dave in the next week or so. Moreover, numbers have to be finalised by week commencing the 2nd. June, therefore you need to act now to avoid the disappointment of missing a great night.
of things coming up at short order, it is the Festival of the River on
Sunday, 2nd. June 2019 and we should have another tug-of-war
contest at New Brighton. My understanding is that the event is likely to
take place about 2.30pm. Two boats are going to promote the Club and Try Dives
and collect for the RNLI so we would like volunteers to help from about
11.30am. We will put one boat at the entrance to the car park near the Fort and
launch the other into the marine lake. The tides are bad that weekend so
why not lend your support to our team and raise a ‘few bob’ for the RNLI at the
same time. Also, while not certain, I am fairly sure there is a food and
drink fair at the back of Morrison’s that same weekend.
thing on the horizon which I meant to mention last night is the prospect of
Thursday evening diving, such as this coming week. The tides really are
excellent for an afternoon dip if you can free yourself from work or retired
like me. So for example, on Thursday next the meeting time would be 1.0pm
on the beach, diving about 4.0pm and back to the club for 7pm.
at the club in general, I am very pleased to tell you that the membership of
the club (currently 120+) continues to grow slowly thanks to the efforts of the
training team and our Communications Officer, John Rice, who certainly know how
to pack them in, particularly amongst those who either fell out of diving or
belong to other agencies. When you think that it was only a few years ago that
the membership fell to around the 70 mark, so this really is a real
achievement, well done.
turning to the Refurbishment/enlargement of the interior club space there is no
real progress to report, in that we have done everything asked of us by the
council with regards to plans and calculations, but it seems that we might be
at the very bottom of their undoubted busy agenda. At the recent
committee meeting it was agreed that we should review our position at the July
with the diving season now upon us make sure have a great year and don’t forget
to complete the Nitrox log in the boat shed when you are filling your
bottles. Safe diving!
This club night Chris Woods again ran the excellent AED course for first timers and as a refresher for those members who had done it before. This is a course with lots of practicals and plenty of opportunity for everyone to use the clubs training equipment and dummies to practice this life saving skill.
AEDs are getting to be more and more common and can be found in many public places. They are a valuable add-on to BLS/CPR and this course teaches their use and promotes the confidence to potentially save a life!
Another very enjoyable course run by Chris Woods this weekend with the help of Garry Bolland. The practicals in this course are always fun and those from this course were no exception. Plenty of practice tending to a variety of symptoms using anything to hand.
Great turn out again for this SDC, with lots of members having their first go as well as plenty returning as a refresher.
The BSAC First Aid for Divers SDC is a one-day course that teaches the basics of non-resuscitation first aid likely to be needed in the diving environment. There is lots of practice on the course giving you the confidence to give first aid in a real emergency. It includes making use of the resources likely to be available at the time including improvisation of dressings and splints using materials and equipment commonly found at the dive site or in a boat. If you already have first aid training, this course is a quick and easy way to ‘practice, practice, practice’ your skills, while learning the best way to apply them in diving.
Contact Chris Woods for details on further courses.
Another successful Oxygen Admin SDC was run by Chris Woods this weekend, ably assisted by Garry Bolland. The classroom was full with plenty of club members doing the course for the first time as well as a number returning for a refresher.
The course Chris runs is heavily biased towards practical sessions giving everyone plenty of opportunity to select the right equipment for the situation as well as to assemble and use the kit correctly in a variety of simulated scenarios.
Although the course has a serious side everyone enjoyed a fun day practicing with both the club kit as well as Chris’s own personal kit.
A successful day was rounded off with everyone passing the exam at the end of the course. Good result all round.
The BSAC Oxygen Administration SDC has a mix of classroom-based and practical lessons, teaching: • Basic life support • Use of the pocket mask • Oxygen and diving incidents and how they benefit from oxygen • Casualty assessment • The use of oxygen administration equipment
Contact Chris Woods if you are interested in any future courses.