Brian writes about the club’s trip out of Dover last weekend:

We had a plan!

The weather had a different plan!

The weather won…

We’d aimed to go searching for the remains of a Spitfire along the Kent coast, but a week of strong Westerlies put paid to that. Chris, the skipper of dive boat Maverick* and veteran of the Dover diving scene, did some calculations, recited some magic spells and decided the Pommerania would be our best bet as a plan B. *(Mutiny Diving – Facebook Page)

SS Pommerania (27m depth)

An ocean liner from the 1870s (Steam and Sail), it’s one of the classic dives in this part of the world, littered with spars and debris, providing hours of entertainment for fans of rust, rope and broken crockery. Six such fans, Debbie, Tom, Chris, Jonathan, Glenn and Brian set out in the crisp dawn into a bracing Force Four to explore it.

The wreck is truly enormous and atmospheric, broken superstructure looming out of the darkness, congers snaking through pipes, ribs disappearing into the sand. Who needs visibility when there’s so much stuff within a few meters of you?

Nice and calm start!
(Ed. 2 out of the 6 – the others obviously didn’t have their make up done in time)

Back on the boat, cylinders refilled with air and divers refilled with sausage rolls (and, in Tom’s case, the Greatest Pastie Cornwall Ever Made), we formulated plan B Part 2.

We couldn’t dive the Spitfire, but we could go looking for something a bit bigger: a B17 Flying Fortress, Miss Lollipop, which crashlanded in 1944 having been hit by flack over Dunkirk.

“Where the *@”!%$ are we?” “I’m sure I’ve seen this rock before?” “Whose hand is that?” “That’s not my hand you’re touching…” [Ed. licence]

The sea was flatter, but the viz was down to fingertip level, and in spite of an hour’s careful searching in circles using lines, we didn’t find it. However, there were the remains of something far older; Chris brought up a wrought iron grappling hook that must have come from a ship sometime from the 17th to 18th Centuries – it certainly didn’t come from a WWII bomber. Still, it was good practise for when we get a window in the weather and finally get to search for that Spitfire engine.

Nice Door Stop

This is the way UK diving works: you make a meticulous plan, the weather, waves and visibility conspire against you, you improvise and come up with something else. Go looking for a bomber, find something off a pirate ship. As long as there’s banter, tea and hot sausage rolls the rest is details.

“Looks calm enough…oh wait we are still inside the harbour wall!” [Ed]

Trip report by Debbie. Photos by Debbie, James & Nick

Organising your first club dive trip can be a little daunting but as a trainee dive leader this was something I felt ready to do. 

At the dive show in 2019 I met a skipper based in Ilfracombe who took divers out to dive off the coast of Lundy.  I did my research and decided that this was the perfect trip for me to organise as the dives were suitable for all levels of diver and it was different to other trips previously organised by the club.  We agreed on a weekend and I made all the arrangements. 

Unfortunately 2020 has not been a good year for diving and our trip was scheduled to happen during the travel restrictions.  We decided to reschedule the trip and in order to be COVID compliant we had to find a new hotel where everyone could have their own room.  After much planning and with the weather in our favour we finally set off, forgetting how busy the roads to the south west are in school summer holidays!

Despite this all 12 of us arrived at the dock early Saturday morning happy, excited and looking forward to diving.  It took about an hour and a half to make the 13 mile crossing from Ilfracombe to Lundy Island, unfortunately the forecast rain made an appearance on our journey over to the island which stayed with us for most of the day. 

On arrival at Lundy we were greeted by easterly winds which ruled out many of the dive sites.  The skipper had warned that we would need to keep our dive plan flexible to cope with this, luckily the skipper found a sheltered spot in Jennie’s Cove

We all got ready and jumped in the viz and section on marine life was amazing.  We explored the reef for about 40 minutes with a maximum depth of 22 meters. 

We all paused for lunch regrettably the sea conditions were too much for two of our divers including my daughter who decided that it was time to feed the fish!

The second dive site was the Knoll Pins we were greeted by a couple of cheeky looking seals on the surface.  My daughter rallied around and jumped in with me and we spent over 50 minutes exploring the knoll pins going to a maximum depth of 15 meters.  The seals made numerous appearances but were too busy to interact with us.  Again there was an abundance of amazing marine life 

That evening we all enjoyed a meal out followed by an early night so we were fresh for the next day’s diving.  We met early at the dock of Sunday morning but we were down to 10 divers as the two who had struggled with seasickness decided to stay on dryland.  This was a shame as the sea was much calmer and there were no dreaded easterly winds. 

This made it possible to dive our first choice wreck the Robert.  We arrived at the wreck on the low water slack and as we descended down the shot line we were greeted by an amazing intact wreck on her side absolutely full of life.  We explored the wreck for 36 minutes descending to a maxim depth of 26 meters.  We spotted numerous crabs, fish. lobster, eels and a hungry starfish eating a dead crab.  

After a break for lunch our last dive was to be with the seals, the skipper positioned the boat so we could see all the seals resting on the rocks.  The seals were vocal about the incoming tide and seamed grumpy about their resting place disappearing underwater.  

My buddy and I jumped in and we spent over 70 minutes exploring the Threequarter Wall Bay and the Pins, at first we saw loads of seals and while they were watching us they didn’t interact with us.  Other divers on the boat were luckier and the seals checked them out.  Again the viz was amazing and the underwater marine life was stunning. 

Six divers, one partner and a dog headed headed down to Plymouth at the end of last month thanks to the Covid-19 lock down easing. Jon Phelps has kindly provided the following long, but entertaining write up of their antics…

Friday 24th July morning, bright and early your narrator got up, checked his kit, loaded his car and drove the short distance to his buddy for the weekend Chairman Len.

After loading the car with his kit and discussing what delights we had in our packed lunch we started a journey down to Devon….

The sun was out, it was a nice day, the traffic was light and we were on our way….. Our fellow divers Mark & Ian had set off earlier we later found out. My antiquated sat-nav was trying to divert me anywhere but the route we knew.

Chairman Len – Patiently Waiting for hid dinner!

Otherwise the drive down was fairly uneventful, apart from the bottleneck at Stonehenge. We pondered the alternatives to the ancient monument. A tunnel underneath, a flyover? Knock it down and build a tower block? – Ban the tourists, what would the Druids do?  But before we knew it we got through and we were soon motoring down the section of the M5, then the Devon Expressway, the hillside of trees you see southbound  looks magnificent I thought.

A phone call from Ian to announce they were there came through, a call to Dougie to next.  We were almost at Aquanauts.  Unloaded the kit, a short drive to the Kynance Hotel.

Kynance B&B

Chairman Len went in to book us in. he was greeted by ‘Basil Fawlty’ pay upfront, paperwork done, temperature taken, all masked up (I have a shocking pink one)

We were allocated a room in the Retreat – ground floor, basic and comfortable. But the lack of TV remote control and not enough tea and coffee was disappointing. We freshened up, then headed for the Barbican. Masks in hand, going to meet Ian & Mark…or batman ‘n’ robin.

We sat outside a nice pub. The others turned up, Jason, Leanne and Richard, then on our way to the posh fish ‘n’ chips’……

The next morning we arose early. Had a breakfast in our room. Bacon roll, cuppa tea.  Headed down to the harbour, loaded the boat.

No Outkast this year – She was faulty.  However, Aquanauts Plymouth who organised our dives introduced us to Pete Fergus & Son. The boat called Venture, smaller and not as well equipped.  There were no hot drinks and no pasties this trip. Yours truly, absent minded pinched a seasick pill from Jason as he boarded the boat.  The sun was warm.  After a safety brief, we headed out of the harbour, through the lock, and on our way. The waters were choppy, the skies had broken cloud.  We motored on…The James Egan Lane was our destination, or the Scylla. Both good wrecks, the seas were crashing over the breakwater, it was high water. Once out the swells got worse. Both of those wreck were rejected, we headed to the Poulmic, a wreck I didn’t know. It wasn’t so rough there.

Venture

Time to get kitted up – zip myself up. Hold on, plug that in, hold on, check the air, put my arm through that, weight belt, fins, hold on.  Ian my buddy was almost ready and he clambered over to me to assist. I felt queasy, Spray washed over me. I held on, I went green.  Your narrator almost ready to jump in, shook his hand, no dive, Go with Len! I shouted over the noise of the engine, the wind and the swell.  In a flash Ian seemed to skip over me, ‘I’m with you!’ He points at Len and Jason, ‘we goes as a three!’  In a few moments, they were all gone, under the sea.  I spent most of the time leaning over the edge of the boat, I was ill, holding onto my glasses. I didn’t want to lose them!!  The rain came down, it was windy, I was sick, Chris Fergus, the assistant gave me water. I wasn’t good company.

Luckily Jason had this to say for the dive I bailed –

 ‘First dive of the day, actually my first sea dive of the year. The weather was sunny – the sea was not calm, so we decided to dive on the famous Poulmic wreck – I hadn’t heard of it. With the high excitement and anticipation Jon blew his upper gasket and bailed out of the dive. Poor fellow, shame he missed it… Luckily for Ian, he joined Len and myself.

Le Poulmic

Wow!  The first impression after jumping in was the viz – about 10 metres and it was warm (not surprising with all that sunshine up top!) Following Skipper Pete’s shot down it was spot on. Sadly, the Poulmic wreck is now a collection of horizontal plates of steel littered on a reef. With the good viz it was an easy threesome dive but the best bits were the hiding spots the Polemic provided for Conger eels and awesome spider crabs’

After what seemed like ages I saw a SMB pop up – I shouted Diver UP!!! Venture was manuovered to do the first pick up, another SMB stood proud above the waves. Another pair were picked up.

By all accounts the sea was OK at depth, the wreck was nice. Mark recalls diving it ‘back in the day – when he was just a lad.  There was sea life, I can’t recall everything the intrepid underwater explorers said, but if I described the Kraken, it would not have been far off the mark.

Venture headed back to port, there was no chance we would stay out here any longer than we needed to. The team tucked into their lunch. I was still unwell. When asked what I would have had. ‘I don’t fancy my Curry sandwich’ was my reply.  They all chuckled at my distress.  I sat there, will my woolly hat pulled down over my head, the rain or spray came lashing across my face. I remember Ch. Len looking at me as I got more sodden. There wasn’t much shelter.

Venture headed towards the Fort. That’s what we decided to dive. I declined again.  Ian, Leanne & Mark dropped over the side, to the sea bottom.  Again, I sat there, I was no company to Chairman Len and 300Bar Jason who both did not dive.

Plymouth Fort Image: Penny Cross

The 3 stooges must have got dizzy going around the Fort, they were down for almost an hour.  When they surfaced they all said what a good dive it was, the viz was great and there was lots to see, sea life and all kinds of rubbish discarded by generations people over the years. The currents encircled the fort which made it a challenge I believe. The Fort was built during the Napoleonic Wars, Ian was fascinated by the construction of it.  Yours truly was cold but feeling slightly better.  The short trip back to the harbour was swift, once back, dressed and warm. We got off the boat. My mission was to find a chemist.  A cuppa tea first in the pub, we all went our separate ways.  I walked into town, found the chemist and headed back to the hotel…..No TV remote, not even a fresh cuppa tea. I felt better. I called the reception, they replaced the TV, topped up the tea and milk.  I ate my curry sarnie. My equilibrium was restored.  I was ready for the next days’ diving! 

Covid Ready? (Ed – Or new type of vomit bag?)

That evening we headed to a seafood restaurant Rockfish – It was recommended – Seafood Linguine, a few glasses of red wine. Very civilised. Refreshed and replenished with good conversation. A good nights’ sleep was needed for Sunday, fingers crossed the weather will be better.  I took my medicine and drifted away, after draping the duvet over Chairman Len who was half on/off the bed. Watching Chelsea must be boring if it makes him fall asleep sitting up!!

Sunday morning, it was warm. The sun was out. Thank goodness.  The boat already loaded, after our breakfast rolls we headed out, straight out to the James Egan Laine. I felt great.  Ch. Len and yours truly were the last to drop into the sea and go down the line.  Like a dolphin Len found the shot and quick as a flash he lifted it up, ready for the skipper to retrieve.  We were off. The viz was great. We drifted through the superstructure of the American liberty ship sunk in WW2. There were shoals of fish here and there, large hulks of metal, encrusted with limpets. I looked under the rusting plates that would have been the sides of the ship, seeking a conga ell. I didn’t see any.  We saw Mark & Leanne, the sea was peaceful down there, and I monitored my air, as too did Chairman Len. I was relaxed, me, the sea, the shipwreck. Len pointed out a lobster. I drifted under some heavy metal as Len drifted over, as he launched the SMB. We soon were together and on our assent. We were very soon on the surface and Venture was there ready to pick us up.

James Egan Laine

Once aboard us all discussed the dive. Leanne mentioned all the names of creatures I forgot, Mark spotted a ‘crocodile fish’ big eyes and teeth! I felt good. Ready for the next dive.  After our surface interval we decided to head into a cove and dive a reef called Piers Cellars.  We dropped into the sea, and straight down to the sea bed, the viz was again super, we drifted gently in a grid pattern, making sure we didn’t go too far off course, checking the compass.

Spider Crab

The kelp was vibrant purple, it swayed gently in the swell. There was lots of sea life, starfish, crabs and a cuttlefish whizzed past as Chairman Len did a good impersonation. I turned around and saw a large disc like creature not too far away, I alerted Len with wild circular movements with my arms. I was excited. A sunfish I thought. It had soon disappeared into the gloom before I had my camera pointed at it.  Chairman Len looked at me unimpressed, we carried on the gentle drift.  The seabed was like a slate type of rock, upturned slates and pieces could be broken off.  I spotted a bright spider crab and decided to chase it down. It finally got away after I got I a picture.  Lots of little fish and more crabs, Chairman Len indicated he was getting cold. We started our assent to the surface. The sea was clear. I wasn’t cold. I was drifting upwards, I glanced down. On the seabed below I could see Leanne inflate her SMB with Mark. Len pointed at something behind me.  A large Moon Jelly fish was almost on my shoulder, I took a photo. We surfaced soon after. Back to the safety of the boat. The days diving was done.  We were soon in the harbour, fully dressed and unloading Venture.

Compass Jelly Fish

It was a change having a different Skipper – Pete Fergus, an experienced former Commercial Diver, BSAC trained, First Class, originally from BSAC Club no. 15 Hull.  His son, Chris a HGV driver, and an occasional diver.  They joined us in the cider barn, distanced apart for a cider or two.  Pete was a very knowledgeable fellow, softly spoken, he has lost his dad to Covid. He shared some pictures of him recovering large ingots of copper from a wreck on the east coast.  He spent a lot of time at sea, I think he was in the forces too. And now a writer. He gave us all a novel, based around diving in Cornwall. A good read he says (well, he would say that!

Five Divers Plus Me Taking the Photo!

We said goodbye to Leanne, Richard & Jason who all went on their way back home that night.

The four remaining dudes had the evening ahead of us. We headed into a pub to watch the football, different games, and different screens.

 – Ian later suggested an interesting pub. We headed there, The Dolphin, full old fishermen and someone had a mouth organ. After a few beers here, a few beers there. The evening soon was full of conversation about the club and diving, where next shall we go?  This year was a lean one. What was important was that Chairman Len was clocking up his dives, over 1900 logged now, in recent years, plenty with yours truly.

We were soon in a Curry House Eastern Eye , and not before too long we were back in the hotel…fast asleep….

Monday – Home time! We had a full English breakfast, seated in the restaurant of the Kynance.  Soon loaded the car and homeward bound.  A stop at an American Diner Mattia Diner.  Ian, was ahead of us, by a long way. I think his van is rocket fuelled. A nice drive home, Len fell asleep from time to time.

But,where shall we go next…?????

Mattia Diner on the way home

So 2020 has been a bit of a bummer for club trips abroad, even in the UK and has definitely effected the practical scuba club training…Although during the lock down our online Theory lessons have been a great success thanks to Dave (coordinating the online courses), Danny our Training Officer and all the club instructors who helped lead the lessons!

With easing of restrictions for COVID-19 and some of our favourite and new haunts as well as dive boats operations starting up again club members have also started to dive.

Debbie one of our club members has sent in a few words on the last few trips she has been on with the club and some words….

26/06/20 – Wraysbury
Divers: Len, Jon P, Ian A, Danny, Brian M, Nick, Amanda, Zoe, and myself (Debbie).

(Wraysbury COVID restrictions was no signing in, changing rooms closed, toilet one in one out, food and drink had to be eaten in car, groups to stay smaller than 6.)

A fun day at Wraysbury and great to see some fellow club members after such a long surface interval. We had some dive leaders to be practicing their dive leading and management skills while less experience divers brushed up on their DSMB skills. Not the best visibility but lots of crayfish were found in the grassy areas.

01/07/20 – Wraysbury
Divers: Len, Zoe, Danny, Nick, Brian M Dave W, Ross, Jackie, Brian and myself (Debbie).

Another fun day at Wraysbury, more practicing of dive leading and management skills from the dive leaders to be. Some club members tried out new kit such as side mounts and carrying a pony bottle for the first time. Vis was a bit murky but we found and explored the dive bell.

11/07/20 – St Andrews
Divers: Len, Jon P, James. W, Ross, Jason, Krissy and myself (Debbie). 

St Andrews COVID restrictions was mainly a reduced number of divers on site and kitting up benches re-positioned so that there is space to social distance. Also changing rooms closed.

First time at this site for many of the divers. We had more practicing of dive leading and management skills from the dive leaders to be. Visibility was better and we all found a scary looking figure on the yacht at 33 meters.

In line with Government Advice and BSAC’s principle to follow that advice [“to stop all non–essential contact with others and stop all non–essential travel, avoiding pubs, clubs and theatres”], Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club has taken the decision to suspend our regular Thursday Club Night and activities for the time being. 

This decision is under constant review and the Committee will update club members of any change in this decision via our website, Facebook and members email group.

For those wishing to get in touch, or just keep in touch, you can still do so via our website, telephone, the various club member WhatsApp groups and Facebook page.

Thank you for your understanding and stay safe.

K&E BSAC members all know that the benefits of diving with our club are easy and regular access to dives, free unlimited air fills, great training included as part of your membership, knowledgeable and skilled divers to share experiences and learning with, and of course friendship from being a club member.

I want to write about one of the other perks – diving in the UK for £5.50….YES £5.50!

We are fortunate at Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua club to have Sea King, our club 6.7m RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat), kept at Newhaven for fast and easy launching.

MV Sea King

With the club only an hour and half away and the sheer number of wrecks around the south coast to explore (Link), Newhaven makes a great little place to start many our club dives from.  Our voyage plan had a 10:30am meet time at Newhaven marina for our divers, who were myself (Nathan), Dave T (also our coxswain), Jonathan M, Jon W, Gieta and Craig, also our club training officer and my dive buddy for the day.

As Sea King is stored in the boat yard, the first thing that happens is to uncover her, put on board all the first aid, flares, O2, hand held radio, GPS and echo sounder/fish finder electronics and to load her with all our dive gear.  A tractor launches the RIB, we zip up drysuits and after a boat and dive brief (using the handy checklist available on the members’ area of the club website!) we’re ready to head out, having first obtained clearance to leave the harbour.

In she goes….MV Sea King

The wreck we were heading for was the SS Braunton, a 4,575 tonne, 116m long, steam ship carrying government stores from Boulogne to Newport which was torpedoed on the 7th April 1916 by UB-29 (Herbert Pustkuchen) 4.5miles south west of Beachy Head.  There were no casualties, but 1.8 tonnes of ammunition shells still litter the ocean floor in and around her.  Fortunately for us all the ordinance is thoroughly wet and in general only becomes explosive once dried out … but we were still under strict instructions not to touch underwater, nor bring anything back to the boat with us.

The weather was glorious and after 30 minutes of fast RIB driving by Craig (and a few lumpy bumps on the way if you sit forward in the RIB – remember that for next time Jonathan) we were at the GPS co-ordinates for the wreck. After a couple of circuits around the site keeping an eye on the echo sounder and there she was 35m below us, parts of her standing 13m tall off the bottom and 116m long.  Pretty impressive to see on the echo sounder and we were all soon to see her in “real life” (NB first time I had been on this wreck).

The dive plan was to get the first two buddy pairs into the water, and then as usual for the third pair only going in once the first pair had completed their dive. Jon and Gieta were the first to kit up, ably helped by others on the RIB.  Little known to Gieta (or any of us), as she was sitting on the tube and getting ready, her reel must not have been clipped fully onto her BCD and it silently dropped into the sea never to be seen again …. or so we thought!

LOST – DSMB Reel.
Reward for Finding: A Pint.
Call Gieta on 077777123456
Usually seen together with SMB (surface marker buoy)

Craig and I were next to kit up, and after a buddy check I tried to focus on heading down to the wreck lying 35m on the sea floor. I don’t think I quite appreciated or understood how big SS Braunton was (amazing what use Google is after the event)!  The vis was about 5-6m and there was enough ambient light down there to generally see without torches … however you need a good torch to see inside the wreck, a good torch being the one with you, and not that left by the front door of your house *** (name removed to protect the forgetful person) to see into all the nooks and crannies for conger eels, lobsters, unexploded ordinance kind of things…

Dive Torch – Also makes a good door stop….

Much of SS Braunton’s different decks have collapsed or been ripped open by storms over the years, which is a good thing in some ways as there are now lots of different layers of metal and holes for fish and marine life to thrive in and for me to shine a torch into and find them.

When we arrived at the bottom of the shot line, which was on the bow of the wreck, we were surrounded by a shoal of bib mixed in with whiting, cod, pollack, wrasse and other fish I’m not so sure what they were.   We saw two huge lobsters and a number of conger eels in amongst the pipes and holes with their noses just sticking out ready to pounce.   We also saw lots of ordinance shells at the beginning, Craig spotted six shells still complete in their box (I missed it) and as we swam over the engine room you could just make out the shape of the engine.  Above us towered structures that must have been the ribs and spars of the boat still standing tall. 

Conger Eel (Photo Credit Christine Quentin)

As our shot line, expertly positioned by Dave and Craig, took us down onto the bow we then moved gently along over the wreck to the stern, taking our time in order to conserver air and prolong the time we had to appreciate the wreck.

As our dive time was nearing 25 minutes and my air was reaching 100 bar on my single 15l cylinder we signalled each other for me to deploy my DSMB and then slowly made our ascent to our deco stop at 6m which lasted for 12 minutes (the no stop time soon gets used up when diving on a wreck and staying below 30m for most of the dive).  At 6m I switched to my 7l stage cylinder and we waited as the compressed air now saturated in our bodies was slowly being released allowing us to surface safely.

As soon as we surfaced we found Jon and Gieta had positioned the RIB next to us and we passed up our weight belts while holding onto the side of Sea King, followed by our BCD with cylinder attached.  We then fin kicked up into the RIB and once our kit was safely secured I tucked into a nice ham and cheese sarnie for lunch (this diving makes you hungry you know) while we waited for Dave T and Jonathan.

hmmmm yum…cheese and ham sandwiches

Once they eventually surfaced (that’s always a good sign on a club dive trip) Jonathan appeared with two DSMB reels attached to him.  It transpired that while diving he noticed Gieta’s reel just sitting there on the wreck … they aren’t cheap, so this brought some great relief to Gieta and I am sure a pint for Jonathan at the club on Thursday!

While this was all going on Jon W, who took over cox’n, was keeping an eye on the Dieppe to Newhaven Ferry “Seven Sisters”, who if I say is slightly larger than our rib would be a massive understatement, as she was steaming for Newhaven with us in her way.  Thankfully she saw our A Flag up, that means divers in the water, and changed course.  However, she got her own back on us later…

MV Seven Sisters – It’s a bit bigger than the RIB so we give way!

We could have gone for a second dive, but as time was against us and the vote was for a cup of tea, we headed back to Newhaven.

Happy Cox’n!

I got the chance to drive the RIB back, which is another perk of joining a club (you get to try your hand at everything) …. we were zipping along on a now flat calm sea, trying to see if we could get back into the marina before the ferry could make it.  But, despite overtaking and being well ahead of the ferry when we called the Harbour Master for permission to enter we could already see the pilot boat pulling out to stop small boats entering the harbour to let the much larger vessel, now committed (no turning back) to making her own entry, so we veered off and kept well away in Seaford Bay until the she steamed past us into port – thereby getting her ‘own back’ on us diverting her original course into Newhaven ?.

Hope the ferry captain isn’t as sleepy as Craig! 😉

Now you tell me, where else can you go diving and have that much fun and adventure for £5.50! Yes £5.50 is the price of the fuel used split six ways.  That is why Club RIB diving is the most accessible and cheapest way to dive in the UK.

£5.50 – that’s all it cost me…

If you are interested in learning to dive, or you are already a diver and want to join KESAC and go RIB diving, as well as take part in many other trips in the UK and abroad that the club organises then contact us – we can cater for any diving you like, and on any budget.

Kingston and Elmbridge Red Sea Trip 2019

Leanne Collinson writes:

On the 21st June 24 K&E divers travelled to Gatwick to fly to Hurghada for our Blue O Two  liveaboard. We had a minor hiccup to deal with almost immediately, when the Thomas Cook reps insisted we were not confirmed on our flight. As panicked images of spending the next week doing consolation dives at Vobster tormented your author, the trip organiser sorted things out with admirable calmness, and shortly after, we took off.

A painless transfer to Blue Fin, our home for the next week, followed by a sleep at the marina later and first thing on Saturday morning, we were off! The plan was the Northern Wrecks and Reefs itinerary, and after a comprehensive briefing from our brilliant guides, Tifa and Ahmed, we were in for our first 2 (of 19, over the course of the week) dives.

Blue O Two – MV Blue Fin

Clear, warm waters (water temperature at depth ranged from 24oC for the early morning dives, to 29oc!), abundant marine life and historic wrecks have cemented Egypt’s place as a mecca for British divers, and this week didn’t disappoint. We had beautiful coral reefs, tropical fish, millions of Nudis, turtles, dolphins, and for some of the group, a whale shark.

For those of you who’ve never been on a Liveaboard, the routine goes something like this- wake at the crack of dawn to the clanging of the dive bell, quick briefing and in the water for dive 1, followed by breakfast with endless eggs, a couple of hours relaxation, followed by another dive bell, briefing, dive, followed by lunch, followed for a couple of hours relaxation, etc. Repeat until 3-4 dives have been completed, eat dinner, enjoy restorative G&T/beer, do some star gazing on the top deck, sleep. Repeat. It is a great way to tot up lots of dives, in different conditions- night dives, drifts, walls, wrecks etc.

Hard Life On a Liveaboard

We were brilliantly looked after by Blue O Two – the guides were knowledgeable and friendly (and for many of us, by now familiar faces), the seamen helpful and on hand to pick up the more adventurous buddy pairs who went somewhat further afield than expected in the Zodiacs, and the chef a marvel. I cannot recommend it enough.

Some close encounters…of the wanted kind!

Thanks to Jon for organising the trip, and all who went for a memorable and happy week.


Ed: Thank you Leanne for your write up of the trip. Thank you also to Gieta, Jon, Jacqui, and Lucy for your lovely edited photos that you have allowed to shared…I could only pick a few. And thanks also to Dave Miller for his photos and amazing short video of a juvenile Whale Shark he managed to catch on his GoPro! Very jealous!

Red Sea Photos

Best to view by clicking on the first image, maximise the image and then press the play button or use the arrows to move through the images.

(Each photo is named and copyrighted by the member taking)

Red Sea 2019
DaveM_002
119 item(s) « 2 of 119 »

Congratulations to Nick and Amanda on completion of their Sports Diver Training today in Vobster!

With the help of Tony and Elaine, two of KESAC’s active Instructors, Nick and Amanda have ploughed through their Ocean Diver and now Sports Diver training in time for their big holiday to New Zealand this September.

Amanda, originally from New Zealand, and Nick a local Kingston Publican have been totally focused on their goal since they joined the club last year. It’s been great to see such enthusiasm and determination to become qualified divers.

Lancer II

Club Member and RIB Regular Leanne Collinson writes:

The first day of summer dawned bright and sunny, as 6 divers headed towards Newhaven for a ‘crackingly’ early 8am meet time. Jon, Gieta, Dean, Kirstie, Sean and Leanne launched Seaking on flat calm seas to dive the Lancer II, a 38m steam fishing trawler built in 1914. Requisitioned by the navy during WWI, she sank on 18th July 1918, after a collision with a yacht.

She now lies just out of Newhaven in about 26-27m.

Divernet – Sussex Dive Map

We enjoyed some of the best vis I’ve ever seen on the South Coast. I could see the first buddy pair re-positioning a somewhat errant shot from about 12m; not that this stopped my buddy using the same line to pull herself towards the seabed. An underwater tug of war, which neither party is aware of!

So, conservatively 8-9m of vis, and masses of life. This wreck has very recognisable upright boilers providing shelter for all manner of life – shy tompot blennies, conger eels, monster spider crabs, velvet swimming crabs and edible crabs were all much in evidence. One pair spotted a cuttlefish, as well as lobster, numerous nudibranchs and masses of fish shoaling around us. Glorious!

After a restorative sandwich, we headed towards Seaford Ledges for dive 2. Unbelievably, only a few minutes away, the vis here was awful, perhaps 1-2m, so we called it a day and returned to harbour.

Thanks to Jon for organising and skippering, and Dean for boat handling!

On Thursday 9th May KESAC’s Social Secretary Emma organised the first BBQ of the summer season.

It was a really busy night, with lots* of members new and old turning up for the meat (and vegetarian) burger and sausage feast. (* although the images don’t justify the numbers…probably all outside getting a burger!)

Big thanks to the chefs – Brian Deluce, Jonathan Markwell and Chris Drewett.

Also thanks to those who brought salads, desserts and other dishes on the night – Elaine, Len (Mary more likely), Eileen, Jacqui, Wendy, Emma and Paul.

And finally, but not least thanks for those who donated gifts for the raffle: Barry, Emma, Jacqui and Jackie!

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com