For those of you not on Facebook and won’t have seen Gieta’s Post tonight, Kingston Borough Council are introducing, as of next week, a flat £1.50 charge for parking in the car park out the front of New Malden Swimming anytime after 18:30.
For those of you not on Facebook and won’t have seen Gieta’s Post tonight, Kingston Borough Council are introducing, as of next week, a flat £1.50 charge for parking in the car park out the front of New Malden Swimming anytime after 18:30.
Shirley Deluce has just celebrated 40 years with BSAC’s Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club (No.17). In recognition of her time and commitment to the club Shirley was presented with a special trophy at the club’s Annual Dinner Dance.
Shirley is the club’s Welfare Officer, but has worn many different hats or should I say ‘dive hoods’ in those 40 years so I thought it would be a good idea to find out more by interviewing her for the club website.
Nathan: “Thanks Shirley for taking the time to talk to me. I hope you don’t mind, but I have come prepared with some questions?”
Shirley: “No not at all?” “I’ve got my original dive logs here to help with dates.”
Nathan: “So when did you learn dive and why?”
“I met my husband Brian at a party. He’s an ex submariner who I met at a party and one of the first things he said to me was “I do diving, and nothing gets in the way of my diving.” As scuba diving was something I had thought of doing already, I joined Kingston BSAC where he was a member on the 19th November 1977.”
Nathan: “What was diving like back then?”
“Well, you didn’t start diving or be able to join the club until you could pass the swimming test, which I did on the 4th September 1977 and only then could you start to learn to snorkel. The swimming test, known at the A Test was:
My 1st Open Water Dive was to be a 20ft (6m) dive at Little Hampton, but before I could do that dive I had to show that I could snorkel and dive down 10ft (3m), which I did at Littleton Pit.”
Nathan: “Who taught you to dive, Brian?”
“No it was a lady and good friend called Adele Morris, not many lady instructors back then and so was glad she was in the club with her husband, in fact there were only about 3 couples in the club back then with family about the same ages as our children so we could dive as couples while the other couples looked after our children or we ladies could go off together and then let the boys going out when we were back.”
Nathan: “So what kind of equipment were you using back then?”
“I have it written down here:
Nathan: “What’s the biggest changes in UK diving since you started?”
Nathan: “So how many dives have your done?”
“I have 2,000 logged, but I know I haven’t logged them all!”
Nathan: “Wow! So what’s your favourite bit of kit you like to take along diving with you?”
“I think my computer and a comfortable mask are the two things I like.”
Nathan: “Tell us a bit about what you have been involved in with Kingston and Elmbridge club?”
“I’ve been on the committee a few times, worked behind the bar in our club house and in the compressor shed. I was also actively involved in the working party that took down an old workman prefab offices, used on the M25 construction, and re-erecting it into our current club house off Queen Mary’s Close, Tolworth. (Next to St George’s Playing Fields – Corinthian Casuals)”
“We did a lot of fund raising to buy and transport it to site and put a lot of time into building the club house into the state it is in today, although we have done a lot of thermal insulation and decorative modifications since. We are all very proud of that achievement and allows us to have a permanent facility for class room training, compressor shed, equipment and rib storage and Thursday night club night with the bar area and food.”
“I was also a Branch Instructor for a number of years until that position disappeared after which I remained just as a Dive Leader. I loved training, but now I really enjoy taking people for their first try dive and seeing their expressions. Some people look so afraid at the beginning, but I like to help calm them down and take them through everything at their own pace and by the end of the try dive you can see happiness and a sense of achievement on their faces.”
“I also like to help people with disabilities to have a go at diving. A clubs team and I have helped a lot of people to experience diving who may have felt that they wouldn’t ever get the chance.”
“I am currently the club ‘Welfare Officer’ and have been since that post was first introduced by BSAC. I was put forward and have been holding that role for some years now. I really enjoy it.”
Nathan: “Tell me more about this Welfare Officer role?”
“It’s a committee appointed role that I have held for 10 year and I my responsibilities are to make sure everyone keeps happy, a keeper of the peace should I say. I am also a confidant for members to go to and act as intermediary if needed between other members or the committee and the member.”
Nathan: “What do you like about being a BSAC member.”
“As an umbrella organisation they have very good training and clubs that dive regularly. I feel I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to go anywhere else for my diving.”
Nathan: “How has the club changed over the years?”
“I would say that the club is much more inclusive, it wasn’t easy at the beginning for women, but it’s great now.”
Nathan: “Going back on what you said earlier about helping people with disabilities to learn to dive, can you explain a bit more about that?”
“I have this connection and desire to help people ‘have a go’ and not feel they can’t do something, in this case – scuba diving.”
“I was trained in Scotland to be a National Instructor for people with disabilities under SCOTSAC. After this training we developed what was called “The Dream Team”, this consisted of a few instructors and divers in the club who also wanted to give people with disabilities the opportunity to experience diving. I am proud to say we have done and continue to try and help people to dive.”
“One of my favourite times was helping a group of children from a local Wimbledon school for the Visually Impaired train to dive at their school. This then lead onto the school; asking us to get them ready for a trip to Jamaica so they could try diving out there and I was fortunate enough to be able to go with them and help 1 on 1 complete 8 shallow dives. The following year this same group of children went on to do Tandem cycling across America!”
Nathan: “That sounds fantastic and can imagine the impact that experience had not only on their lives but all those involved.”
“Before we end this interview, tell me what kinds of diving do you like and where do you like to dive in the UK and abroad?”
“Any diving really, warm or cold. I still love to dive in the UK. It did take me a long time to build the confidence to dive inside wrecks and caves, but now enjoy it.”
“In the UK I love to dive out of Weymouth, there is a lot of variety of diving, whether that be wrecks or drift diving. We have also made many good and long standing friendships down there that makes diving out of Weymouth that much more fun.”
“As for diving overseas I think that my best has got to be diving in the Maldives. I saw everything they say you would, the Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Brilliant.”
With Ian Angus leading last weekends club trip we didn’t do too bad in “Finding NEMO33”!
True it is a honking big silver building somewhere on the outskirts of Brussels, which helped!
Having said that Ian did a fantastic job in herding, or should that be shoaling, 9 club divers and 4 non divers safely via St Pancras on Eurostar and to our hotel in Central Brussels for the weekend.
Ian is someone who likes to ‘seize the day’ and had therefore booked us all on the 8:05am train from St Pancras on Friday 23rd March…which meant most of us being up by 5am to make it through check-in before the train departed.
Travelling by Eurostar was a first for me and I found it to be a very comfortable and relaxing way to travel across Europe….it seemed we were in Belgium within minutes, but that could have been because I fell asleep pretty much for all of the journey!
Thanks to Jonathan’s French and interjections of limited Spanish by Ian (‘por favor’) travel passes for the group were eventually secured and off we set to the Hotel Hyggee, chosen by Ian’s delightful wife Wendy. And must I say what a lovely little hotel she chose for us.
The Hyggee Hotel, pronounced “hoo-ga”* on their website and by us as “Iggy” (as in “Iggy Pop”) is a boutique Scandinavian styled hotel. (*…would explain the exasperated looks given by the receptionists) The hotel is quite minimalistic in design and filled with really expensive Ikea kind of objects. (Hygee – A Danish conceptual word that means ‘Wholeness’)
We arrived at the hotel starving, so first things first, we dumped our bags and off we went to find a place to eat and drink. We ended up in a yuppy bar that was recommended by the hotel receptionist, so we must have scrubbed up well?!?
The evening for some of us who could remember to put their clocks forward to European time was spent in News Café eating and drinking.
Next day we headed off by Tram with Ian in the lead to find NEMO33.
What a great place NEMO33 is! Very well organised, fantastic dive shop, bar, restaurant and lots of activities utilising every square space of the building – catering for Free Diving, Aqua Aerobic Spinning Bikes, Scuba Diver training and of course what we came for….a relaxed dive in the 33m dive pool……33.5m on my computer…just putting it out there…b**ches! (pays to have the longest arms! ?)
The non chlorinated, thankfully, water temperature was a warm 33oC and crystal clear.
We had a group time slot to go in at 12pm once we had filled in all our paper work. There was a quick briefing and a warm up swim before kitting up with tanks, regs and fins supplied by NEMO33. The only things we had to bring were are own mask, computers and swimming trunks…the latter being very important…especially as there were windows facing into the restaurant/café for people to watch the divers. Wouldn’t want anyone put off munching on their Mussels….a very Belgique dish I found out.
Talking of dishes I forgot that Belgium is the home of Waffles that come with all sort of fillings and toppings, glad I had taken some time off my training diet! As we were in Brussels the weekend before Easter every shop front and chocolatier had some sort of chocolate egg and Easter celebration set up in their window.
In NEMO33 you have little underwater ‘caves’ to explore that allow you to come up and enter into an air pocket where you can take off your mask and regs and have a chat with your buddy before continuing your dive.
Those who had been before warned me about the concentration of bubbles that would be coming up from the divers below in the main 33m shaft. I was told it could be quite disconcerting as these little bubbles play around your mask, so I needed to be prepared to stick close to the sides of the wall and follow the tiles down if get disorientated. As I was diving with Len my buddy for the day – our club Chairman, he kept us away while all the other groups and most of ours had gone down and were on their way back up.
We then made our descent to 33m slowly, I had a few problems clearing my ears around the 27m mark, but eventually made it down and promptly stuck my arm down as far as it could go past the suspended floor at 33m in the hole one of the ladders continued through. Hence why 33.5m! I don’t consider it cheating…as everyone else was doing it too!
Soon enough the strobe lights were flashing signalling that our dive time was coming to an end. So Len and I returned slowly to the surface, did our 3minute safety stop at 5m and got out.
The rest of the afternoon was either shopping, in the pub or site seeing. The Grand Place (A UNESCO World Heritage Site), Galaries Royales and the Manneken Pis (Pissing Boy Statue), along with the countless chocolate shops, cafes and waffle outlets meant that the afternoon soon sailed by.
In the evening Ian had booked us an Italian Restaurant not far from the hotel called La Fringale. However before that we ended up in the bar next door called the Mini Louise, owned and run by an English lady Kelly who has lived 20 years in Brussels. The Italian was lovely food and involved a clown with a big tongue that took a real shine to Len (pictures provided) and kept making balloon flowers for the ladies.
After our meal we all ended back in Mini Louise, some of us until 4am in the morning, with Ludo the bar manager in the end offering to give us free drinks if we would just leave once we finished them. For those who managed to make it to 4am it took them a lot longer to find their way back to the hotel (should have taken 15minutes…but I’ll let the guys tell you how long tomorrow night at the club house….put it this way, you may have made the shores of England on the Eurostar in the same time.
Those of us who could wake up, Jonathan basically, got up, had breakfast and managed to go and visit the Atomium statue.
The rest of us got up by midday, checked out and gingerly headed back to a bar we frequented on Saturday afternoon called The Brussels Grill, near the Grand Place to have a spot of lunch and nurse sore heads before returning to the UK on Eurostar.
Thanks Ian for organising such a fun trip that will be remembered (most of it ? ) for a long time to come!
Photos courtesy of Paul and Sarah, Jonathan and Nathan and Jo (I find it best to click on the first one to engage the lightbox and flick through that way quicker):
Apologies all. Few niggles getting the web site to send emails tot eh new email group. This is a trial, please ignore.
All members who were on our old Yahoo email group have now been transferred over to the new Google group. This web site posting should therefore be delivered to you by the new Google group. If this test is successful, the Yahoo group will be turned off. Please see the footer to group emails for details of how to email the entire group.
LDC are delighted to announce that the Dive Lectures 2018, brought to you by the London Diving Chamber in aid of Scuba Trust, will take place on Tuesday 6th March 2018, at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Please also find details of NHS planned closure of Hyperbaric Chambers in England and what you can do while we are in this one month period of public consultation.
Now in their 19th year of the Dive Lectures, we welcome you back to the RGS for an evening of escapism, adventure and laughter, with great speakers, promotional stands and, most importantly, fundraising for a great cause.
It is with immense pleasure that they welcome to the stage, Ahmed Gabr, Egyptian scuba diver who holds the Guinness World Records for both The Deepest Scuba Dive and The Deepest Scuba Dive in Sea Water. Ahmed dived to a depth of 332.35 metres.
Following Ahmed on the main stage this year, they are honoured to present the Em
Entrance will be free so please ensure that you help us to fill those Scuba Trust buckets on the night. This is the Trust’s biggest fundraising event of the year so please do dig deep to make sure that we beat last year’s fantastic donation total.
Tickets are known to go extremely quickly, so register now to avoid missing out on your place.
Date: Tuesday 6th March 2018
Time: 7.00pm (doors open at 6.00pm)
Location: The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR
In other news before we move on to our incredible speaker information please read and have your say:
When you are new to joining a club….and we’ve had a few in the last few weeks, it can be hard to know whose who.
We’ve all been there, some more recently than others, like myself.
To have photos and names of approachable, friendly and helpful committee members that can help you find your way round the club and introduce you to new friends is why I am promoting the Committee Page on our website today!
Just click the link below to find out committee member names and what they do for the club.
We do have the same photos up on the wall in the club house if you forget to look them up on your phone before you come, but at least everyone, both new and old, regular and less so knows who this year’s Committee Members are…at least until November 2018.
Hope this helps! Remember – you don’t just have to approach committee members – everyone in the club is open and happy to chat too! See you at the club! (Thursdays)
For anyone interested in learning to mix their own Nitrox or Trimix and a pre-requisite to mixing your own gas at the club, the South East region of BSAC are running a Gas Blending course at our club house on 10th February. The day long course includes theory and practical sessions, ability to use the compressor is not a requirement. Book and pay on line here: http://www.bsac-se.org.uk/SDCPOE.asp The course can be attended by anyone even non divers, further info can be found here.
I always wondered why our Club Chairman Len Hards wore a T-Shirt with “Eat Sleep Dive Repeat” on our weekly Thursday Club night.
You see, I’m still a bit of a newbie to SCUBA Diving having only been diving 2 ½ years…and I am only used to wearing drysuits in old flooded slate pits or waters around the south coast of England and seeing no more than 4-5m in front of me.
I’ve been trying to write this trip report for a while (Trip was in September 2017!) and although I have had many good and varied personal and work reasons since coming back that have hindered me from starting I think one of the biggest fears has been ‘can my write up really do this trip justice’ – such was the lasting impact it had on me.
Then I realised, you know what, just like I didn’t understand Len’s T-Shirt before the trip….I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been on a liveaboard in the Red Sea can grasp just how amazing such a trip it is even if I wrote the best right up I could do or you had the time to read it all!
….And for those of you who have dived the Red Sea, well you are able to fill in the bits I miss with your own memories and stories…….
“If you can dive in that [dry suit] you can dive anywhere” they said….and so with that advice ringing in my ears off I set with 26 club members of the Kingston & Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club to Hurgarda in Egypt – to our awaiting Gin Palace for the week.
Now, I have always wanted to live aboard a “Gin Palace”, if only for a short while so I can pretend that I’m in some sort of Music Video like JAY-Z’s “Big Pimpin ft. UGK” or to be able to sing ‘I’m On A Boat’ by The Lonely Island ft. T-Pain. [Explicit WARNING – haven’t put links in as I am sure you will all go Google anyway now]
Obviously the ratio of males to females weren’t as high as in those videos and I am sure a lot of my diving buddies would probably be thinking more of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ or Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ sort of music videos 😉 The latter thankfully didn’t get played and our boat stayed afloat…unlike the Titanic!
So, to the Gin Palace and what a beauty she was. BlueOTwo Horizon – The 5 Star Crown Jewel of the BlueOTwo Fleet and one where my diving life for a week was made unbelievably easy.
There was a “bell” for everything – the ship’s bell would sound to wake you up; to go to a briefing; to get kitted up; to have your breakfast, lunch and dinner….my body clock was so in tune with this bell that I couldn’t go to the loo without it (joke)…such was how our lives were on this boat for a week! (Glad to say that it didn’t take too long when got home to relieve oneself without a bell going off)
None of us really minded this bell, well most of the time, as it meant that we would be either be eating some amazing food prepared by our own chef and pastry chef, or we were going to be helped into and out of our kit to go diving to explore some amazing wreck and marine life.
The trip we had all eagerly signed up to 18 months previously was BlueOTwo’s ‘Best of the Wrecks’.
BlueOTwo’s website warns that there is no guarantee we would see all the wrecks on the sample itinerary due to weather conditions.
However, weather (get it, yes grammer nazi’s spelt it on purpose that way) God was on our side, or just because Paul Feakes our Diving Officer who seems attract good weather was on the trip, we got to do all of the main wrecks and even the long open water crossings were calm after all the stories I had been told!
Looking back at my dive log I went from from…Newhaven Sands (Milky Milky) and a check dive in Wraysbury in cold water and a dry suit to diving in a 3mm and 26-29oC water with really warm moving thermoclines that made me question, ‘did I wet myself?’ or worse still, had someone near me?!
Once I had gotten over diving in ‘bath temperature’ water, day and NIGHT (for we did 3 night dives which were freaking awesome) and being able to see the length of a football field in front of me I knew the rest of the week would be amazing…and it was!
The ship’s crew and guides did an amazing job giving us 30 minute briefing about the wrecks we were about to dive, the history of each vessel, the dive plan and places to look out for along the way and then getting us kitted up in two separate groups to go diving.
What stood out for me, apart from the amazing diving, was the care given to making our diving as easy as possible by the crew. Just as you got your wetsuit on, there was a member of the crew there zipping you up; just as you went to put on your BCD with all your kit on, there was a member of the crew helping get your arm through the jacket and sorting all your kits so it didn’t tangle….or kindly unattaching you from the pillar thanks to one of my so called diving friends having latched me back onto just before standing up. You know who you are…the time will come…oh yes…your time will come….) And then after the dive when you got out they would be there to help you get your heavy kit off and give you a thirst quenching refreshing drink. I don’t believe diving get’s any easier than that.
Each dive was to last no more than 1 hour and have no deco time and for each dive there was the offer to go with a guide, which on most occasions my buddy and I did as they knew the wrecks better than we did and all the best places.
Here is what we dived:
I was amazed at the immense sizes of some of the wrecks we dived. The Thistlegorm was an amazing wreck even with Alex’s butt or fin in my face…my fault entirely as too eager to get ahead, but eventually I slowed down and enjoyed seeing all the old lorries, motorbikes, tyres, ammunition, shells, train and wagons to name a few things. The Giannis D engine room was AWESOME – HUGE. The El Minya was a tight space, but by the end of the week we felt confident of each other abilities and control to go in down the corridors and really check that wreck out. The Saleem Express was an amazing wreck, but also a very solemn dive for everyone; and not everyone wished to dive inside this wreck understandably, due to the relative recent history and large number of souls lost.
The Gubal Barge at night was so exciting – like something out of Abyss as we descended seeing all these groups of torches from other divers and the shear amount of life that comes out at night was incredible. I literally had a regulator shaped smirk on my face thinking how cool this is – in the middle of a sea at night…no one at home will believe what I am doing or can see right now!
The Brothers, had some of my deepest dives ever there, sharks (Oceanic and Thresher popped over to check us out), dolphins for some of the group (okay most of the group, except me…sniff, although they did chase us in the Zodiacs (inflatable boat with rigid bottom – A.K.A RIB in UK)) and a turtle for Jackie and Brian.
My top 10 stand out moments for me were:
I think the photos below really speak for themselves as to the fun we had (Thanks Paul Feakes, Jacqui Cole, Jason Start, Lucy Evans and Nathan Targett for the photos)
If you are interested in learning to dive or already dive and want to do more diving and be part of a large BSAC scuba club with it’s own club house, bar, compressors for your fills and boats then contact us and look forward to an action packed 2018!
(Ed. Tip – Click on a photo to open up the lightbox viewer – photos load quicker)