Galapagos Glamping Gang Make Headlines Again!

Issue 70 Front Cover of BSAC's SCUBA Magazine

Issue 70 Front Cover of BSAC’s SCUBA Magazine

Back in May (2017) a group from the Elmbridge and Kingston Sub Aqua Club set out on a 3 week holiday of a life time (Ed. OK ANOTHER ONE!) to the Galapagos via Peru…as you do! 

For those of you who missed that trip report please find Kev’s write up and photos here.

While on this trip the group found themselves on the same boat as BSAC’s very own SCUBA magazine Editor Simon Rogerson…who is rather good at underwater photography. (Ed. Simon is the guy on page 3 of this month’s SCUBA magazine wearing rubber and kissing a seal (…that sentence seem wrong on so many levels ;)…not that I am at all jealous that Simon gets to go be Editor on such luxury trips, owns lots of expensive camera gear, and get paid at the same time…while I only get to edit club trip news on the club website…sniff)

Anyhoo…

Check out Simon’s Travel Special article “Galapagos Calling” pages 86-96 of this months SCUBA magazine – Issue 70 (August 2017).  (Ed.  I still think my Galapagos Glamping is a better title…sulk)

Issue 70 Scan of Page 95 with photo of Elmbridge and Kingston BSAC Group

Issue 70 Scan of Page 95 with photo of Elmbridge and Kingston BSAC Group

On page 95 you can see the Happy Glampers Glamping – Simon’s titled it “Below Left: Kingston and Elmbridge BSAC depart for their shakedown dive”…I’ve zoomed in…and yep we know that motley crew very well!  Well done guys.

Photo of Happy Galapagos Glampers in a Rigid Inflatable Boat!

Happy Galapagos Glampers!

Also if you missed it, David Attenborough narrated a BBC documentary on the Galapagos Island’s that came out on TV just when the group returned….as if to rub salt into the jealous wounds of those left behind.  Here’s a trailer and insight into why you would want to go Dive there..worth watching again.

Posted in Club holidays, Feature, News, Trip Reports

Vobster Training Day

Elaine Brightman, Kingston and Elmbridge Training Officer Reports:

Vobster Quay last Saturday (12/08/17) was another successful training day.

Thank you to the instructors and assistant instructors who gave up there time to help with training.

Nice to see new faces there too –  Paul his first dive in an English quarry not quite the same as diving in Australia. (Ed. Yeah…and a lot safer!!! See BBC article on Australian boy lunched upon by Sea Fleas! not for the squeamish!!)

Well done to the students who were carrying out skills.

Next training weekend is Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October at Stoney Cove.

Ocean and sports divers this is a good opportunity for you to finish your skills and Drills before the weather starts to change.

Please make sure you put your names on the list if you require training so that I can make sure I have enough instructors available.

Posted in Diving, News, Training, Training reports

Falmouth’d Cornish Conger Eats Club Chairman’s Pinky

Eleven divers and one non diver met up in Falmouth on Sunday 16th July 2018 to experience Cornish diving for the first time for the club in a number of years. The hotel chosen was The Grove, conveniently placed near many of the town’s pubs and eateries and not too far from the quay from which we would load the dive boat.  

The Grove Hotel

The Grove Hotel

The hotel also boasted a bar where we could meet in the early evening whilst planning our evening entertainment. 

A Boat (Ed. Enough Said)

A Boat (Ed. Enough Said)

Our dive skipper was Gary Fox, a well known dive charter skipper in the area and we would be using his hard boat called “Cornish Pussy”. (Ed…..thought best not to let you Google “Cornish Pussy” at work, so have gone a rather detoured, ahh hmmm, way round and brought you a safe link – amazing what you things you can do with a Cornish Pasty…)

We came to realise just how good Gary is as a skipper and the positive comments on his shot accuracy and great pick up skills were plentiful.

One important point to keep in mind when considering UK diving and Cornwall in particular is that it is very much weather related. During the week we had neap tides throughout and normally this would have meant we could dive all of the best sites.

However, we were let down by the weather and westerly winds meant that the proposed two days in Mounts Bay had to be abandoned and we hugged the side of the Lizard to keep in with the better sea states.  

11 Members of the Kingston and Elmbridge Dive Club

11 Members of the Kingston and Elmbridge Dive Club

Wrecks such as The Volnay and Coroni River were dived at the start of the four day dive break and when the wind shifted more to the south we were able to tuck in to the Fal estuary and dive in well sheltered waters. Later we dived the Mohegan, a popular wreck in the Manacles rock system and the general opinion was that these were excellent dives even if the visibility was not at its best. However, five metres or more on the Mohegan was received by all as good conditions bearing in mind the weather and sea state. 

Hards Vs Conger 0 – 1

A special mention for Len. On one dive he put his hand down to steady himself only to gain a nasty bite on his finger. No culprit was found but it was assumed to be a juvenile conger. There were no reports of how well the conger survived!

The four day dive trip was a great hit and the week has been provisionally booked for July 2018. Next year we hope to get some diving in Mounts Bay, perhaps even the best dive in the area – The Runnel Stone 

(Ed.  Thanks again David Nicholson for a sterling write up on a recent club trip!)

Extra Links

Volnay Video (From: AtlanticScuba.co.uk)

Volnay – Divernet Article

Caroni Video (From: AtlanticScub.co.uk)

 

Posted in Club holidays, Diving, Feature, News, Trip Reports

Glass of Portimão Anyone?

On Sunday 2nd July 2017 22 members and spouses congregated at Gatwick to try the new Len Hards diving trip to the Algarve. None of us had dived this area before and had no expectations of the trip except, perhaps, for the fine weather. The Tivoli Marina Hotel in Portimão was to be our home for the next week with the first day at leisure enabling us to transfer our diving equipment to Subnauta Dive Centre.

Hermenegildo Capelo before sinking

Hermenegildo Capelo before sinking

On Tuesday all our cylinders were laid out ready for use along with our equipment if we had brought it along. Every Nitrox cylinder was tested and the mix signed off prior to boarding. Following a comprehensive briefing we all piled onto a series of electric golf buggies for the trip to the harbour.

Hydrographic Ship Almeida de Carvalho

Hydrographic Ship Almeida de Carvalho Bridge

Our diving was to be onto a series of four former Portuguese naval ships previously cleaned and sunk as artificial reefs. The first was a dive onto the frigate Hermenegildo Capelo, the largest of the wrecks. All of these wrecks were firmly buoyed so descent was straightforward from the bow of the dive boat. It quickly became obvious that the two main concerns were the water temperature, it varied from 16°C to around 19°C, and the poor visibility, starting at around 1 metre and by the end of the week could be as much as 5 metres.

Despite this the diving was worthwhile and enjoyed most of the time and each wreck had a high volume of sea life around and on it.

The wrecks varied in size from the Ocean Patrol Zambeze at 44 metres long to the frigate Hermenegildo Capelo at 102 metres long.

Ocean patrol boat Zambeze

Ocean patrol boat Zambeze

During our explorations we were split into teams of four and each team had a local dive guide from Subnauta to take us through the paces of each wreck.

Fish life was plentiful on each dive site, the problem was the visibility. This did improve through the week but we only got about five metres on the last day. 

One of the wildlife pluses was a profusion of octopi on the wrecks. Each one seemed to be camped on a pile of discarded shells so this made it easier to locate them. On one dive some of us were lucky enough to see two fighting fiercely over their territory.

Hydrographic Ship Almeida de Carvalho

Hydrographic Ship Almeida de Carvalho

There was the chance for some wreck penetration for those that wished to try. Reports were that the visibility was much improved inside. The downside was the size of some of the swim through access holes. Whilst Jackie Maskell was able to ease her way though one particular entry Ian Angus had to be forced through with the help of the next diver. It would seem that Ian’s dignity was slightly dented by the experience! 

The local area provided us with a wide range of food and drink establishments and we were able to sample the night life every evening. The first port of call tended to be the hotel bar set on a grass verge beside the hotel restaurant. The most popular drink was a gin and tonic and the hotel had a choice of gins to suit all tastes.

Along the long sandy beach there were ranged many restaurants and they often were able to copy with most food allergies without difficulty. It was also a great place for non divers to relax either round the pool or to take trips around the area. The only down sides to the diving was the poor visibility on the dive sites and the rather cool water temperature.

Corvette Oliveira e Carmo

Corvette Oliveira e Carmo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, all in all a great trip and thanks to Len for all his efforts in organising it.

(Ed.  Big shout out to David Nicholson our very own Membership Secretary, for such a great write up! Thanks David!)

Some Extra Links

Corvette Oliveira e Carmo Crows Nest

Corvette Oliveira e Carmo Crows Nest

Ocean Revival Overview Video

3D Model – Frigate – Hermenegildo Capelo

Preparing to Sink – Hermenegildo

Sinking Video – Hermenegildo

3D Model – Ocean Patrol – Zambeze

Sinking Video – Zambeze

3D Model Video – Almeida Carvalho

Sinking Video – Almeida Carvalho

Diving Video – Oliveira e Carmo (Ed. taken by Ocean Revival – will help the group see what they dived in poor vis 😉 )

Posted in Club holidays, Feature, News, Trip Reports

RIB Tickler

On Sunday Seaking, our 6m RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat), set out with Cox – Dave T, Senior Boat Hands – Gren, Tom, Leanne and new newbie to RIB diving me – Nathan.

The weather wasn’t particularly great…wasn’t raining…at least, but the waves and direction of wind meant that our first destination, The City of Waterford, a wreck at 35m was not possible.    We had hoped to meet up with other club members who were diving the City of Waterford onboard Proteus, the MET Police BSAC Diving Club catamaran – for Tea and Chocolate Hob Knobs…as well as use of the onboard toilet facilities!

We thought very briefly trying for the Fortuna SS, but decided on the Lancer II as in the past it always came up with some interesting diving at 22m.

Image of Lancer II

Lancer II

The Lancer II was a trawler that was hit by HMS Yacht Vagrant in 1918.  HMS Vagrant did attempt to tow the Lancer II back to port, but soon after she sank with no loss of life.

The dive was excellent, had a little problem clearing ears at beginning, but was down at 23m with 4m vis and a total dive time of 38minutes.  Some amazingly big lobsters, crabs and fish as well as places to explore on the wreck.

So being that this was my first trip RIB diving I was bound to come a cropper somehow.  Wth RIB diving – a clean and tidy deck is paramount, store all your kit in your day bags before and after diving (I could have done better…I think…people where kindly suggesting where to put stuff…at least not to put it where the sun don’t shine, so to speak).  It’s also important that everyone knows what is going on and helps getting divers ready to go in and out of the water.  

Captain Dave Sparrow – at least people can’t spell your surname wrong if you change it to “Sparrow” Dave… 😉

Well, I might not always have understood exactly what was going on or being said, although I thought I heard a few “Ah ha me shipmates”, “shiver me timbers”, and “nice looty”, although that could have been “Nice Booty” in reference to Gren’s “rear entry” (get it) boarding.  

Captain seemed to know where his magical little compass, called GPS, was taking us so all I had to do was sit back and try not to vomit.

At this point I must congratulate myself (no one else will) –  I did well on the old V front – at least I was kind of talking to people and partaking.  Learnt from Portland trip not to have a hearty breakfast unless wanting to feed fish.  I might have had a few spew…rious moments after waiting 50 minutes for some twin tanks to decompress.  How you get 9minutes deco at 20m I don’t know, but hey ho!  I felt a lot better and ready for our next dive…the Sands on the Starboard side as leaving the harbour.

Well they definitely were white sands, and reminded me very much of Mr Strange Sketch by Punt and Dennis  – “Milky Milky”.

Dave T and I jumped in for what we found out, quickly, was going to be a very short low vis drift dive.   I could make out the occasional shell fish or a small spooked Gobie and in the not too far distance the audible moans of despair and frustration from an experience diver holding long enough to allow me to log this as a dive in my log book before signalling up.

On the surface I did what I guess is the most rookie thing you can do on your first RIB dive – I dropped my weight belt as I went to take it off and hand it into the boat….which on a normal year would have instantly resulted in being awarded the coveted wooden spoon prize at our Annual Dinner Dance, however this year I am pretty confident that the incumbent prize winner will remain with it another year for his corker (dubious bribery not allowed) 😉

At the end of the day I thoroughly enjoyed the diving and company, who were very patient with me… and all for £7 each in fuel for the boat – a very cheap and enjoyable way to dive!  

Just wish it was as calm as last weekend dive on the T R Thompson – check out Dave’s great video from that weekend here!

There are always trips going on, if you want to get out diving more and make some great friends and experience new things then why not get in touch either on our Facebook page or through this website on our contact page or why not come down the club on Thursday nights from 8pm.

Be good to “Welcome you aboard – Ah haaarrrr” (ok so I have to work on my Jack Sparrow speech…but I think I can carry off the mascara bit well…)

Posted in Diving, Feature, News, Trip Reports

T R Thompson Club RIB Dive – 9th July 2017

There were a few fish on today’s dive. Can’t think of a better backdrop to train in or to just enjoy, can you?

 

Posted in Diving, Feature, News, Trip Reports

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