CLUB BBQ COOKOUT

Last Thursday we had our first club BBQ of the summer season with a fantastic turn out of members and a couple of former members coming along too.

The food was supplied and cooked by J&J catering – and I am pleased to report no one suffered any food poisoning or long term effect…so they must be legit, AAAIT!!    

They also did a sterling job of providing a good selection of vegetarian sausages and burgers to the overly stuffed vegetarians amongst us who needed to make sure it was all eaten up so they could safely reach their recommended calorific levels! 😉

J&J Catering

J&J (Jonathan & Jon) – That’s a lot of prime meat right there, no matter how you look at….corrrrrrrr…….. 😉

Kevin Morgan celebrated his 60th Birthday with us, as well as a few jokes!  He is available for weddings, birthdays, BBQs, bar mitzvahs and soon to be added to the line up – retirement homes….!

Look out for more social events coming up…but mostly this summer we will be busy socialising after good days of diving…so if you like to do both, why not come join us!  

For those who don’t…there is always home DIY to do, lawns to mow and TV to watch indoors!

Dates and trips on the club noticeboard and updated regularly so make sure you come down to the club on Thursday nights 8pm onwards.

Kevin Morgan Telling Jokes and Celebrating his 60th Birthday

Kevin – Stand Up Comedian for Hire

 

Posted in Feature, News, Social

The Portland Posse

So what are Bank Holidays useful for? Gardening, bit of DIY, go see the relatives or the mother-in-law?  If you said any of these then you are sadly mistaken; Bank Holidays, as everyone knows, are only good for one thing…and that’s Scuba Diving!

And that is exactly what, at least, 12 members of the Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club were doing down in Portland for the weekend.

The trip was organised by Brian (Club President & Dive Manager) and Shirley (Welfare Officer – looked after me), Sally, Martin, Jon W, Jon P, Richard (never go into a dive shop with him…you come out a lot poorer than you expected you would), Alex, Chris, Jonathan (Deputy Dog Dive Manager), Nick and Nathan (Me).

Our Portland trip charters Skindeeper a 11m Catamaran that has a custom built diver lift on the back, so none of this hardship of climbing up ladders or finning up into a Ridged Inflatable Boat (RIB) with all your heavy equipment on.

I’ve now been on two trips to Portland that Brian and Shirley have organised and I must say everything is very well organised, fun and relaxed. 

Skindeeper’s Skipper Len and his Wife Maggie really take good care of us, making sure the shot line lands on the wreck every time and when we come up from our dive we are plied with lots of tea, coffee and hot chocolate!

We stayed, as usual, in the Bunker which is a hostel close to the marina where we enjoy a full English cooked breakfast (… fish love too), packed lunches to go with us on our dives and a slap up 3 course evening meal with homemade dessert prepared by Margaret. 

So what did we dive?

Well weather wasn’t particularly good on the Saturday (wind = choppy seas) or Monday (Fog), but the dives we did on those days and Sunday were still great fun.

Saturday

27/05/17 AM – Black Hawk Bow 16-17.8m

Blackhawk

In the morning we headed out to the Black Hawk bow that sits about 16-18m deep depending on tides.

It was such a calm, enjoyable journey out to her, just how I envisaged going diving would be when I started…

….okay it wasn’t any of that, at least not for me ‘old chunder guts’, it was like being in a badly malfunctioning washing machine, still the fish thoroughly enjoyed themselves – and it wasn’t just coming from me!!  At one point (ok practically the whole journey) I think my dive buddy thought I had died, as I went as white as a sheet and I didn’t acknowledge anyone or open my eyes despite repeated calls by everyone to watch the horizon.   Still I pride myself that I kept it all in until I was actually in the water and instantly felt so much better that down we went and had a very enjoyable dive…at least until I had to get back on the boat again!

(Next morning Maggie the ships mates asked whether I wanted my cup of tea thrown overboard to cut out the middle man!  Cheeky xxx!  I would have thought she would have been grateful that I didn’t hurl on the boat! ;))

27/05/17 PM – Bombardon and Landing Craft 15-16.7m

The Landing Craft

So back to port we went, once in the harbour life returned to the usual “up is up” and “down is down” and one can stand still for more than 2 seconds in the same spot – much more civilised.

 

Bombardon

 

 

After lunch we kept inside the harbour and dived “The Bombardon” and “The Landing Craft”, although only Alex and Nick found the The Landing Craft (Apparently…) due to a Saharian Scale Dust/silt Storm, which wasn’t me (…this time), and as only two divers found it due to the very poor vis and silt, one would be forgiven for thinking “where theres silt there some divers go?!” Hmmm

Sunday

 28/05/17 AM – St Dunstan 29.2m (and click here too for more information about the St Dunstan)

The weather was completely different to Saturday, thankfully, and this wreck was A M A Z I N G.  Even those with more experience than me came away saying how they have never seen the vis so good.   This was a Sports Diver post qualification depth progression dive for me as I work towards 35m, so it was the deepest I have ever been and boy do the wrecks look a lot better down deeper.  She was teeming with fish and all sorts of marine creatures…however only diving a single tank of air time was against me.   “Sadly” I missed out on the 19 minutes of deco time some of our twin set buddies had to endured for their extended time down on the wreck!

28/05/17 PM – Countess of Erne 11-13m

Again we came back into the Harbour, had lunch and a quick pit stop before heading out to the harbour wall to dive the Countess of Erne.   Now, some of the guys were complaining that the vis was all very silty…I still don’t know what their problem was…I could see everything just fine when I went round. (Hooodeeeehummm…nervous whistle….”CUT” to scene of tumble”sea”weed moving slowly across the silty sea bed.  AAAAND quickly moving on….)

What? So I like to get down low and look up things…that sounds dodgy I know, but I wanted to find eels and explore everywhere more thoroughly than everyone else.  And besides by the time I got round the second time it had cleared…just got to fin quicker than me next time. 😉

It’s in the movies right… “Just keep finning” “Just keep finning”…..

Monday

29/05/17 AM – SS. Craigside 16-17m (Formerly known as “the unknown wreck” or with a “symbol” if we go all Top of the Wrecks – get it…)

FOG!  Thick FOG! We dived the Craigside first thing, just inside the harbour walls, in the hope that the Fog would lift enough to allow us to drift dive later. 

Another great wreck, still lots of silt…and still nobody had learnt to kit quicker than me and get in water first. 😉

In the end we the Fog didn’t clear and so we had to abandon our drift dive, a dive I so look forward to as it feels like you are superman flying across the seabed, but hey ho there is always June and August trips to go.

Another fun club trip with lots of banter, merriment and laughter in the evenings…just how a Bank Holiday should be spent!

Posted in Club holidays, Feature, News, Trip Reports

Vobster Fun!

12 club members, plus my two off spring, had a fantastically fun day down in Vobster Quay Inland Diving Centre last Saturday.  Some of us were training, some trying out new equipment, others were just having fun exploring.

The facilities are fantastic, shop, changing rooms, teaching areas, practice pool, food.  I even loved the idea of a tab system using wrist bands to pay for everything at the end of the day…except when I realised my 7 and 8 year olds cottoned onto this and bought £10 worth of skittles, soda and hamburgers while I wasn’t watching.  Smirk and ketchup still on their chops should have told me everything! Still the wifi was great at keeping them within a 20m radius of the main building. (#FutureChildCareNow – kidding Mrs Targett!)

So why was it so good.  Well the car park is located right next to the quay side….and the quay side is next to water – which made it nice and easy to stay together as a club and gave us the ability to lay our kit out on benches that were under a roofed area to protect us from the elements.  Then all we had to do was jump in and stagger out. Simples.

The food was great, hot drinks were flowing and everything in the same place and close proximity to dive area.

Now I love Chepstow, done most of my dive training there and will be going back as some great diving, but to be able to jump right on in from the water’s edge is a big plus in my book.

There are lots of things to explore.

I really enjoyed the tunnel that starts at 8m and descends to 22m.  Great fun, first time diving in pitch black confined space and didn’t freak – yay me!

I admit it….I got “torch envy”, everyone gets it at least once….right?  I quickly realised my “pistol grip/doorstop/2 KG extra lead/2 x D battery/Bike Bulb” of a torch wasn’t up to much compared to the two “Mr’s with I have a bigger Lightsaber LED/truck lights” in front and behind me.  

So I turned mine off…not that anyone would have noticed…and used their “Ursa Major Star Constellations” to light my way while trying at the same time not to get blinded.

It was great that everyone was together in the same place and we could chat and hang out next to the waters edge – really made it a great club trip out.

Big thanks to the 3 instructors.  Elaine, Paul and Richard and shout out to those who made it…Barry, Emma, David M, David N, Alex, Ian, Jon, Nathan, Adrian. (Plus Joshua and Alicia – Daddy says thank you for letting me DIVE! And I forgive you £10)

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Posted in Feature, News, Training reports, Trip Reports

New Kit Hire Rates

Okay so they are not exactly “NEW”, being that it is now May and they came out in February, but hey, “new for this site!”

Just remember….

While you are studying for your Ocean Diver qualification and even up to when you complete your Sports Diver pool sessions you are allowed to borrow club kit for FREE. (I know what you are thinking…but it does work…honest – I’m still here!) 

We do obviously encourage people to build up their kit bit by bit once they know what they want.  (yeah I know I will get my own kit…eventually) 

But until then, the only route is to hire…so here’s a link to these amazing club member rates.

(I am sure I could written the whole post in four words…. – NEW KIT HIRE RATES)

Posted in Committee news, Feature, News, Training

Day 1 In the KESAC Celebrity Jungle….

Okay so I exaggerated, it was half a day*…as we all had a Sunday Roast on, BUT it was a killer jungle of Knott Weed we found ourselves in with a whole list of challenges our KESAC Celebs took part in.  (*Ed. and yes I am mixing Reality TV metaphors…”Day 1 in the…” is from BB)

Anyhoo…

No witchetty grubs had to be eaten or were harmed as part of our Bush Tucker Trials, but the Japanese Knott Weed down the back of the club house was certainly a jungle task no one came away un scarred from, me included! 

Big shout out to those who took part in club dungy cleaning challenge, they earned bonus points for their respective teams.  

Thankfully Len, didn’t get a chance to try out his new white mankini in the obligatory first “shower moment” of the series – perhaps on day 2?

Challenges Completed

  • Removal and treatment of the Japanese Knotweed from behind the club house and boat shed. No mean feat and hard work given the access and amount of undergrowth.
  • Completed the PAT testing for all portable appliances
  • Installed strengthening screws to 50% of the club house chairs. 200 pilot holes drilled and 200 screws installed. (Ed. Jim were you seriously counting…)
  • Speaker refitted to wall (so we can Rock Out on Thursday nights)
  • All internal and external lights checked and fixed as required (Ed. I would like to say that I didn’t get involved in this particular challenge…last time I worked electrics in my home club chairman electrocuted me>>>)
  • Socket repaired in training room
  • Deep clean of kitchen
  • Ladies and gents toilets cleaned (Ed. Respect)
  • Patio area cleaned and tidied up
  • Rubbish removed from around car park and patio area
  • Cleaned, dusted and hoovered inside the club house

The Celebs Who Made It

Great team effort from everyone involved and big thanks to….
  • Brian and Jackie
  • Paul
  • Kev and Gill
  • Gieta
  • Jacqui
  • Elaine
  • Nathan
  • Hywel
  • Jon
  • Alan
Apologies if I have missed anyone off the list (Jim said that)

A Word from Len (Ant) and Jim (Dec)

“Big thanks to all concerned. I think the club has never looked or been in better shape than it is now, something to be proud of by all our present members. It was well attended, we had a good sunny day and had a few laughs as well. Hopefully many more maintenance days will follow with even a bigger attendance.” Len
 
“We had a very successful work day today, managing to complete many of the tasks I wanted to get done”. Jim
 
 
Posted in Feature, News

Galapagos Glamping!

A few of our members went Glamping off to the Galapagos in March, so I asked for a write up, which I have in the whole not tampered with (…okay may have).

So this is thanks to Kev Tulip, who has also made a fantastic video of the whole trip, looks absolutely awesome and mega jealous.  I have added the headings.

Thanks Kev, great work.

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Photos courtesy of Kevan Tulip, Elaine Porter and Brian Maskell

So Kev, where did you all go?

Nine Kingston and Elmbridge Club Members have just come back from a 3 week trip to Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos. The trip was organised and booked through Latin Odyssey and cost around £6,500 each.  It is a lot of money but also a lot of trip! 

[Ed. I would just like to point out that the club offers members a whole raft of differently priced diving trips that don’t usually cost as much as a fairly new second hand Fiat 500].

Trip in a Nut Shell…or Should That be Tortoise Shell?

Itinerary was KLM flights from London Heathrow to Schiphol Airport Amsterdam then a KLM flight to Lima in Peru . Seven night stay to visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, followed by several flights to Guayaquil then San Cristobal and 7 nights on Galapagos Sky. Park fees, tourist fees and Recompression fees are included [Ed. One would [bleeping] hope so, for that price]. Internal flight back to Guayaquil and three nights stay then return KLM flights via Quito.

Tell Us A Little About the Boat

MV Galapagos Sky is a 30m Ecuadorian owned steel dive boat built 2000 and run by some of the same crew for the 10 years. The Holding Company is called Ecoventura and they have 3 other land tour cruise ships in the fleet. Dive Encounters is the American company that market the boat.

MV Galapagos Sky was previously known as the MV Sky Dancer. Ecoventura has been handling all local organisation for 10 years. 

The dive boat is the best I’ve been on. Great food three times daily in saloon and evening drinks are free. Hot chocolate and snacks on dive deck after each dive. They have a huge selection of dive gear in a 5′ walk in locker so if you are cold you can borrow another layer or if for example your reg set broke, there are ones to use.

[Ed.  Would like to point out Kev is our club kit man, responsible for all our training and hire equipment (unashamed plug) at the club for new and existing members…. and it is blatantly obvious from reading this he was rather geeking out at this point…I am sure Gill had to remind him at night where their cabin was a few times]

Nitrox was free [Ed. TANSTAFL rule Kev…it was in the above price]. Plenty hot water in comfortable rooms. All crew were exceptionally helpful. Whenever the divers were going or returning there would be 6 or 7 crew often including the Captain, to ensure getting in and out of the two Pangas (RIBs) went smoothly. Several of the crew are divers. The two dive Guides Max and Joffrey were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and obviously smart – being experts in all Galapogoan wildlife and topography..

There were 16 guests, so 8 divers per guide in a Panga.  Groups are identified by either being fins in Yellow or Grey box. All your gear is brought back on board, from the Panga, by the crew and tanks refilled. They are 12l or 15l tanks pumped to 200 to 230 bar.

Captain’s Log, Star Date…

Day 1 – Sunday.

Arrive Guyaquil airport. Met by Ecoventura rep who tags checked luggage and arranges it to be transported to boat. Gives you your boarding card and Galapagos entry permit. Wait in Aerogal lounge then short trip to San Cristobal airport. Ecoventura staff and bus meets you. Five minutes and you are at dock. Thirty mins for anyone who needs any last toiletries.

There are Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs on the beach and in water. Sea Lions lie on the moored boats in the bay. Frigate Birds, Boobies [Ed. sngggr…..no….I better not….I must resist….], Gulls and Terns Wheel overhead. Onto ship by Panga and allocated cabins. Dive logs, insurance and certification cards checked. Given Marine Alerts to wear on BCD. Once the port authorities agree, the ship heads out to sea.

Dive 1. Isla Lobos (Sea Lion Island), San Cristobal Island. This is a checkout dive for weighting. Topography is a rocky bouldery shore to 7m then gently sloping sand. 7m max for 25 mins unfortunately no Sea Lions for us! 10m viz. 26 degrees.

Then beer and a safety brief on the Sundeck, trying on lifejackets and an explanation of the safety gear on board. Beer, evening meal with wine. 

[Ed…you know what, I’m sure so many more people would turn up to these briefings if there were beer anyhoo…moving on…]

Day 2 – Monday.

Starts early with a 4 hour motor to Pinzon Island. Breakfast starts 7am. Dive brief 8.30 and onto Pangas for 9am.

Dive 2. Pinzon Island. This is a rocky reef on sand between Santa Cruz and Isabela Island. The topography was similar to Isla Lobos. Shoals of Grunts [Ed. that was just from the noise of the group getting into their wet suits after breakfast], Bass and other reef fish.  Big black and orange Chocolate Chip pincushion starfish. Both Sea Lion and White tip sharks plus One Red Lipped Batfish [Ed. “Holy Smokes Batman”].  35m max for 50 mins. 10 to 15m viz. 28 degrees.

Short SI [Ed. Surface Interval – otherwise known as tan top up time] and then back onto Pangas for 11am

Dive 3 and 4. Cousin Rock. Rocky wall. High current drift. Lots of blue Striped Nudibranch, Cushion Stars and Urchins. Shoals of Grunts, Surgeonfish, Bass and Salima. Eagle Rays, Sea Lions, Turtle, Whitetip and Galapagos sharks. 25m max for 50 mins. 15m viz. 28 degrees.

As soon as we get back the boat leaves for the 16 hour journey to Wolf Island to the north.  

[Ed. there are no wolves or any natural predators of any kind on the Galapagos, above the water at least; the island was named after Theodor Wolf (Got ta Love Wikki – makes one sound clever).  However, saying that, anyone watch that BBC Documentary on Galapagos and those snakes chasing the baby Iguana… that definitely ain’t natural, that’s real scary …., give me a Great White any day]

Day 3 – Tuesday.

Arrive Wolf Island about 10am. Dive brief as approaching so ready to dive when ship arrives at destination.

Dives 4, 5 & 6. Wolf Island Landslide and shark Bay. Three dives at similar sites. Bouldery Reef which we mostly hang onto and watch the action. The first dive was in such high current that you felt you could spin off out of control if you lost your grip. Adrenaline stuff!

The three dives ended by going into blue and ascending from there. The first dive was astounding. Small fish soup. Wallpaper of Hammerhead and Galapagos sharks – hundreds at a time finning slowly past in current. This is just like every picture you see of massive schools of hammerheads. All true!

We also saw, Turtles, Sea Lions, huge shoals and bait balls of fish, Eagle Rays, free swimming Morays, Triggerfish, Tuna and Pufferfish. Silky Shark circling us as we ascend. All 3 dives 25/30m max for about 50 mins each. Viz 10 to 15m and temp 28 degrees.

Day 4 – Wednesday.

Starts with a 2 hour motor to Darwin Island. All 4 dives are on Darwin Arch which lies just off the main island. There are pods of Bottlenose dolphins jumping and tail slapping around us.

Dives 7 to 10. Darwin Arch. 4 dives at same site. Bouldery reef which we hang onto watching action then out into blue looking for whale sharks. There are less Hammerheads and Galapagos sharks, but still plenty about. We see dolphins, bait balls of Bigeye Jacks, Tuna, Turtles, Dolphins.

Day 5 – Thursday.

Two dives at Darwin then back to Wolf during lunch.

Dives 11 & 12. Darwin Arch Two more dives following same pattern. Same fish soup. 20m max for 50 mins 10 to 15m viz and 26/28 degrees.

Dives 13 Wolf Landslide. Hammerhead and Galapagos Sharks and Eagle rays flying overhead. Finished with a great fast drift across a bouldery reef at 16m before heading into blue. 20m max for 50 mins. 10 to 15m viz and 25 degrees.

Dive 14.Cape Douglas Marine Iguana Dive . We did a shallow dive onto a boulder strewn landscape looking for Marine Iguanas. Warned that there could be a large swell we still were not prepared for its power, which was a little like being fired from a slingshot. We found at least 4 Iguanas at 6m. Strange looking creatures and unique to the Galapagos. [Ed.  Probably was thinking the same – strange looking that is]

Day 6 – Friday.

2 hour motor during lunch to Bartholomew Island then land visit to the Island. RIB trip round bay. Penguins, Sea Lions and sea birds. Walk up to the lighthouse on a boardwalk. Very volcanic island. Lots of ash fields and craters. This is where part of Master and Commander was filmed where the surgeon discovers the French frigate in the bay.

Dive 15. Vincente Roca Isabella Island. Saw a Sea Lion approaching dive site. Bouldery wall. Mainly looking for Mola Mola [Ed. Sun Fish…about the size of the Fiat 500 mentioned earlier]. Saw 3 well on the cleaning station, absolutely stunning. Lots of small reef fish. My buddies told me the next dive was pretty similar. 33m max for 50 mins. Temp 23 degrees and viz <15m.

Day 7 – Saturday.

Ship moves early in the morning to Gordon Rocks, by Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon land visit to Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz island, to see Giant Tortoises, various Iguanas, small Tortoises as part of their breeding program. Before this we settled up any bills (only for T shirts and fleeces) and get our passports back. Also left crew tip in a sealed envelope ($400 recommended).  Our gear is washed and left to dry by crew. [Ed. too right they left it…to go down the pub to celebrate with $400]

Day 8 – Sunday.

Ship leaft at 6am to go back to San Cristobal [Ed…should have gone there first to “forewarn” (spooky sound effect) you of the TIP that wasn’t included in the all inclusive]. Pack up gear. Bumble around San Cristobal [Ed. Womble’s get everywhere don’t they] for an hour before bus to airport and then flight onto Quito in Ecuador for a couple of days to unwind.

So did you enjoy it?

It was a great trip. Lots of new friends. If you are thinking of going think about these:

  1. Only 6 dive boats currently go to Wolf and Darwin – 2 Aggressor boats, Galapagos Sky, Humbolt, Estrella del Mar and Deep Blue. The last 3 only go at the high season and do land based tours at other times.
  2. Only 3 dive boats can do these land tours – 2 Aggressor boats and Galapagos Sky.

That’s all folks…

Thanks Kev for the great trip report.  I for one am mega jealous, but pleased to see the photos and video of your time at the club.  You also visited so many places on the way and way back that wasn’t to do with diving too.

I hear there was a certain BSAC photographer out there, who might have some photos of you all clinging to the rocks that may or may not end up in some famous BSAC monthly magazine….who knows, watch this space.

One of the nice things of diving BSAC is that you get to go to these places with friends, make new ones, see unbelievable places, meeting amazing people and seeing awesome wildlife. 

Challenge yourself…why not join us, try something new – thrive not just survive!

[Ed. although for £6,500 I would probably would –  just that – survive the rest of the year on rations!]

Posted in Club holidays, Feature, News, Trip Reports

Chappati’s in Chepstow

Hang on a minute….but you are diving club, not a food club.  Very true, but we do like a good curry and drinks after a great day diving and boy was this weekend great fun!

The weather was perfect and the water was a lovely 10 degrees.

Woahhhh 10 degrees, “I brush my teeth in water warmer than that,” I hear you say.  Well, yes 10 degrees is on the cool side, but not when you wear thermals and remember to zip your dry suit up before diving in…hey H*

* (name intentionally left short…as I am sure other bits of him were too after that cold call…get it ‘cold call’).

Anyhoo moving on, it was a good lesson for us all and one of the reasons we go to the National Diving and Activity Centre in Chepstow…. practice, practice, practice so we can dive safe and have fun.

(and stay DRY and WARM, sorry was that #toosoon?”)

There were 17 of us club members who went down for the Saturday, with some staying over and others joining to make up 14 for the Sunday sessions.

The weather was so good on the Saturday that many of us managed to get in 3 dives in before 5pm closing, with vis (visibility) between 5-6m and some members managing to get 3 dives in again on Sunday too.

On Saturday night 12 of us went out to our now usual ‘curry hang out’ at the Sitar Balti, in Chepstow. 

The training this weekend was, as always, excellent with many of our trainees, me included, taking to the club’s group email when we got home thanking and singing our praises for all our instructors – for their time, knowledge shared and most of all patience with us newbies.

For me, this weekend was about completing my second level in BSAC training, called Sports Diver. 

You know when everything just lines up perfectly, the weather, the dry suit zip (sorry H), the theory, the practical training sessions in the New Malden Pool (Thursday nights 8pm #unashamedplug) and the great 1-2-1 teaching/mentoring given by Elaine…that was this weekend and one I will always remember! I passed my navigation, found everything I was meant to ‘en route’, I did my dive leading, DSMB deployment (google it) I did my surface cover (logging divers in and out, on the pontoon in the lovely sunshine #burnthead) and had fun exploring the different vehicles and objects NDAC have placed around the old Slate Quarry. (I had previously passed Rescue, Controlled Buoyant Lift and other skills on our previous training sessions)#

I’m so glad that members of the KESAC club were out promoting the club on Kingston High Street when I walked by and encouraged me to have a go at SCUBA again (*I had undergone a bad training course 15 years ago on holiday). 

I badly needed a challenge in my life from the mundane, test myself and in the process found a great load of friends who encourage, support and have fun with.

Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club prides itself on its programme of club training events, lead by Elaine, our Training Officer, and a band of fantastic club volunteer trainers who have many years and hours underwater. 

These club training events occur throughout the year and are free in that they are part of your diver qualifications, the teachers don’t ask for payment and the only costs you have as all divers have are for entrance costs to the National Dive and Activity Centre, your tank fills and accommodation if you are staying down over night.

The club currently has diving courses running for Ocean, Sports and Dive Leader qualification levels with opportunities for club members actively encouraged to move on to become instructors themselves one day and pass on what they have learnt.  We also have also recently run boat handling, O2 administration (as in Oxygen, not how to use your mobile), rescue management, first aid and so many more short courses. (These courses are all run by highly trained club volunteers with the only cost is for the training course materials between £35 – £40 and club equipment provided while training)

BSAC is the most affordable way to learn to dive and being a club there is always dive trips abroad and in the UK to go on.   Why take up your time on holiday learning, when you can learn in the UK in a safe, affordable and unpressurised environment of a club?

Organise a Try Dive today! (you have nothing to loose and everything to gain!)

 

 

Posted in Diving, Feature, News, Training reports, Trip Reports

02 Breath Freely

Richard Hoyle Reports:

The day was gloomy, but the mood was sunny on the O2 Administration course we ran this Sunday (6th March). This was a BIG event with at least 22 participants (excluding, but not forgetting, a clutch of long suffering Resus Annies).

The morning started at 08:30, with lectures beginning at 09:00.

The first lecture done, we were all out with the Resus Annies, and everybody seemed to be very competent with their skills. After lunch Tony gave a very memorable demonstration, of what happens if you hold your breath when ascending. Tony’s fantastic model and its shocking finale will be sure to make everybody a little bit more keen on not holding their breath!

After all lectures and practicals finished, the scary written exam was taken, followed by a final examined practical. Everybody passed, everybody worked really hard, and everybody seemed very happy with the day!

Big thanks to those who helped out with the event, and three cheers for Elaine, our Training Officer, for her mega organisational abilities!


(photo: Richard Hoyle)

Trainee Dive Leaders:

Ian Angus, Gieta Elul, Alex Kennedy, Jason Stark, John Phelps,
Rob Knell, and Nick Firth

Taking the O2 Course Refresher:

Nikki Jackson, Matt Jackson, Primo Pini Len Hards, Brian Maskell,
Barry Duplock, Jim Molyneux, Kevan Tulip, and David Nicholson

Instructors:

Elaine Brightman, Paul Feakes, Paul Eyden, Richard Hoyle, and
Tony Porter

Elaine’s Little Helpers:

Adrian Harris, Len Hards, Brian Maskel, Barry Duplock, Jim
Molyneux, Kevan Tulip, and David Nicholson

Also congratulations to Darren Lavell for passing his Sports Diver qualification well done Darren.

Photos below by Barry ‘Badger’ Duplock unless otherwise stated.

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Tony and Adrain marking the theory test papers
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Posted in Feature, News, Training reports

Mary Rose Club Special Trip

I remember vividly as a kid watching Blue Peter for updates on the progress in lifting a ship called the Mary Rose that had sunk in the Solent 500 years previously with Henry the VIII watching on and presumably rather annoyed.  

I remember watching her come out of the water in her yellow metal cradle and thinking ‘wow, all that wood’…and that was about it…or at least all I could remember.

Fast forward 35 (ahem) something years and I found myself realising that I may have not been watching or understanding that there was more lifted than the wood.  I was only 4 going on 5 at the time, so I am pretty impressed I can remember that (nowadays with kids I am quite content if I can remember what happened last week), but here I am 39 years old only a few days before going on this trip and finding out that I still had a thing…or 20,000+ things… to learn from what was brought up back then.

The day, Saturday 10th February, started off with 40 club members and families descending upon Portsmouth Historical Dockyard for a 10:30 briefing with none other than Paul Griffith (Head of Operations) into the history and underwater archaeological dig.  

Paul told us about Alexander McKee, Historian and Amateur Diver who rediscovered the Mary Rose and Margaret Rule The Archaeological Director who coordinated the under water dig, who didn’t swim well and couldn’t dive.  It was during this talk our Club President, Brian Deluce, chipped in that it was two of Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club members who taught Margaret Rule how to dive so she could go down and see the site for herself.

(Photos Courtesy of David Nicholson)

After our briefing and importantly teas and coffees were over Paul lead us out into the museum to look around on our own.  

When I say museum, I mean wow…WHAT A MUSEUM!  

The museum has over the last few years a £40m investment programme put into it, the majority coming from the National Lottery’s English Heritage Fund.  The new museum has quite literally been built in a shape of a ship around the Mary Rose, in dry dock number 3, where she had lain since being brought up 34 years ago.  This ship shape and interior floors mimic the opposite half and decks  of the Mary Rose that were left exposed above the Solent mud and had, over time, been eroded and washed away.  

What I had failed to understand as a 4/5 year old was that when the ship went down, not only did it go down with 500 souls onboard (albeit 35 survived), for no apparent reason, but when it hit the bottom it laid on it’s side and 20,000 artifacts fell into the side that would eventually be preserved so well in Solent mud.

It was these 20,000 artifacts, we learnt, were first documented and brought to the surface by an army of volunteer divers, many of whom were BSAC divers who worked their paid jobs during the week and gave up their weekends to come down and help clear the mud and carefully bring up these artifacts.  What a project to be involved in! WOW

(The Three orange squares were the only bits of the Mary Rose that were showing out of the mud when Alexander McKee found her!)

Unfortunately Paul Griffith thinks that another project like the Mary Rose is unlikely to get off the ground today as insurances would require Professional Divers and Health and Safety that would hinder a project of this scale and cost too much. (If there were I am sure we the club members would all be there, making it possible!)

The remaining timbers of the Mary Rose were sprayed first with salt water for a number of years to stop the wood disintegrating and then with fresh water for 20 or years to get rid of the salt water, this was then changed to spraying with Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) which sinks into the wood and plasticises it to preserve it.  The spraying finally finished spraying in 2013 and has been slowly drying out in a humid ‘hotbox’ up until the new opening last May (2016) after the final phase of the museum’s transformation had taken place.  This transformation allows people to look over the ship without having to have a glass screen and fine mist in the way.  AND IT WAS MAGNIFICENT! 

The lighting effects, the interactive display, the panoramic lifts between decks, glass bottomed floors, the display cases with all the artifacts, the video projection of people working, or in their cabins, right onto the wooden beams at the various deck levels were all GENIUS.  I don’t know about my 6 and 8 year old, but I was immersed fully into Tudor Times and learning about the skills and techniques used to bring up all this history some of which, like the Shawm – a musical instrument, only existed in paintings and writings, but one was found on board the Mary Rose!

We were told in the future as the boat finishes drying and settles more original timbers will be placed back in their correct positions and some artefacts, such as ladders, ropes, tools etc… will be returned to the areas that they were found before they were brought up.  

Would I go again, ABSOLUTELY and I am sure everyone in the club who went that day would say the same…there is just so much to see!

Thank you for Jacqui who organised it all!  Another cracking event Jacqui!

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Mary-Rose-1-2
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Posted in Feature, News, Social, Trip Reports

Scuba Squiz!

Our first social event of the year, outside diving and the usual Thursday club meets, kicked off with a fun and highly competitive quiz night on Saturday 28th January.

There were visitors from as far as Essex…….accepted they were visiting family, but nevertheless the draw was far and wide and everyone had a fantastic time. 

The quiz held in our own Club House had 5 teams pitted against each other, each vying for the title and reputation of Kingston and Elmbridge Scuba Club Cleverestsssssss’sss and a packet of Bon Bons (…well it couldn’t have been for the money as there wasn’t any)

The 5 teams were bombarded with questions by our very own Carol Vorderman of quick wit, beauty and intelligence – Jacqui Cole. (but at least 20 years younger. Ed.  think I got away with that one…)

The winning team were the “Badger’s Bodgers” with winnings of 6 packets of Bon Bons and a warning not to eat them all at once or they will get sick!

I’m personally looking forward to next year, as this annual quiz grows I hear there might be a tin of Roses as the prize! (got to love the purple ones)

Here are some photos from the night…hope you enjoy and look forward to seeing you next year!

The winners – Badger’s Bodger! (with Barry ‘Badger’ Back Left)

Emma, David, Jo, Andrew and Shandy (without Badger)

Barbara and David, Eileen, Jon and Len

Dan, Shirley, Jonathan and Brian

Tony (with hand in mouth from the suspense), Jackie, Elaine, Lisa, Brian, Paul and Tony again (without hand in mouth)

Jonathan, Julie, Dave and…’you take my photo and I’ll break your legs’ Gieta

Posted in Feature, News, Social