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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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
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.
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
On the 12th April 2019 I put together a Practical Rescue Management Course at Wraysbury Dive Centre.
We had seven students Brian M, Danny F, Emma C, Mark R, Jason S from our own branch and were also joined by Liz from Putney BSAC and Chloe from Edenbridge BSAC branch.
We had a full day with lectures and practical scenarios going on all day, which was very successful with lots of laughs along the way.
Many thanks to Tony, Ian A, Paul E for all their hard work putting their lectures together and the gold star to Ian for such a fabulous Helicopter lesson. Thank you to Craig, Len, Brian D, Jackie M, Brian M and Jim M for all there help being casualties* and making the day so successful .
A very enjoyable day was had by all.
Ed. Video (and Music……) courtesy of Jackie M.
Very apt first song…scrub forward 20 seconds and you see Craig giving CPR to Rusuci Anne – classic…you are my hero Craig – surprised you weren’t in your scrubs!
Ed. *excellent dummies all of them (excluding ladies)…well done lads!
Brian Deluce celebrated his 50th year as member of the Kingston and Elmbridge Sub-Aqua Club towards the end of 2018. The keen-eyed ones of you who follow our website and Facebook news will have read my article about Brian’s ‘better half’ Shirley Deluce celebrating 40 years in the club in 2017.
Although this wonderful couple didn’t meet through diving; rather through Shirley’s brother, a pub and a party, their relationship early on and subsequent family and friendships were formed in and around their love for Diving and Kingston and Elmbridge Sub Aqua Club.
Brian and I are two very busy
individuals so trying to find time to meet and talk uninterrupted even on a
club night, has taken several months to organise, but met we did at New Malden
Swimming Pool where KESAC train and swim (if not diving) on Thursday
“Brian you are often down at this swimming pool, giving try dives to the public on behalf of the club, you are our club el Presidente too, I know you have a Navy background, but how did it all start with diving?”
“I’ve had an interest in boats and water from a young age, my dad was in the Navy during the war and when I was 11 he took me down to the Sea Cadets – T.S. Steadfast at Kingston. At 13 I transferred into the Royal Marine Cadets and then joined the Navy at 23.
“So was it while in the Navy you got into Diving?”
“No, it was while I was training
to be an apprentice tool maker (between the ages of 16-21), that I worked with
a guy called Brian A’Herne in 1968 when I was 18. He was a member of the club and took me down
to have a go.”
“So do you remember of that time and your first dive – what it was like?”
“At that time the club met in the Esher Outdoor Workers Social Club in Thames Ditton, which isn’t there anymore, it’s all houses today. I had to do the ‘A Test’ at the old Kingston Swimming Baths before I was allowed to join, as did everyone. This test consisted of 200yds on your front, 100yds on your back, 50yds with a 10lb weight belt on, float for 5 mins and tread water for 1min with your hands above your head. You then had to dive down 6 times to pick up six different objects.”
“As as a competition swimmer and
my background with the Sea Cadets I didn’t find it too difficult to do.”
“My actual first dive was in
Black Pond in Esher Common. Saw
absolutely nothing, just lots of weeds.
But my first proper sea dive was a 30ft dive out of Newhaven with a guy
who owned his own fibre glass boat. You
see, back when I started diving the problem you had was getting on a dive as
there were very few charter boats and club members would take their own boats
or the 2 small club inflatables down to the sea to launch and these would often
get filled up with people they already knew.”
“I was lucky to be in the pub at
the right time with a club member John Adams who was looking for another person
to join a dive trip that weekend and I said I want in. The briefing for my dive was to “follow my
“Wow, so that was it – you did a bit of pool work, some open water snorkelling, went for a murky dive in the Black Pond in Esher (the name itself gives it away a not so good place to dive) and then you get instruction to “follow my fins”!?! BSAC training has moved on somewhat…kind of glad!”
It wasn’t quite as bad as that
makes it appear and the guys that were instructing in those days were very enthusiastic
and thorough but yes, things have moved on a long way
“So tell me about your Naval Days, did you carry on diving there too.”
“At 23 I joined the Navy, did my six weeks basic training at HMS Ganges, Shotley Gate, Ipswich. It’s now closed. I got selected to go in as a Sparky (Electrician) at HMS Colingwood, Fareham, Portsmouth and became a Radio Electrician working on Radios and Radar sets. I was ‘volunteered’ to join Submarines, which was a bit daunting at first, and got posted to HMS Dolphin in Gosport for three months further training. This training consisted of three parts, 1) Theory, 2) Escape and 3) Sea Training; the Escape training included a 100ft tower of water where you put in an airlock in the bottom, that rapidly filled with water, the hatch was then opened into the main tank, and you had to get to the top remembering to breath out as you went to practice escape drills!”
“My first sub was HMS Alliance during theory training and I did my part three training on HMS Onslaught. I served on several boats but served most of my time and finished my Navy time on HMS Ocelot. My first and last sub are now museum pieces, not sure what that says about me. Alliance being at Gosport Submarine Museum and Ocelot at Chatham Docks.”
“I spent four years in the Navy and was a member of the Joint Services Sub Aqua Club, although still stayed a member at Kingston and became a Sports Diving Supervisor which allowed me to run diving trips within the services. This consisted of five days being observed and examined at Fort Bovisand at Plymouth. I also did the Ship’s Divers course at Portsmouth, which was a very different sort of diving to what I had been doing with Kingston, everything was controlled from the surface like your air and depth as you were tethered to the ship. We were mainly checking inlets for ordinance, the hulls of ships for any damage, ropes around propellers. We had twinsets on and full-face masks. Maximum we were allowed to dive to was 100ft (30m).”
“So you went back to civi street, met Shirley, so what was club diving like back then?”
“We did a lot more, small RIB
diving (10ft RIBs) than what happens now, we used to own our own inflatable rib
and go off with another family, John and Adele Morris, and other families camping
and diving. Either John and I would go
off and the girls look after the kids and when we were back they would go off
diving together, or Shirley and I would dive together and John and Adele looked
after the kids and vice versa. It was
the only way we could do it and it was great fun.”
“The club was a lot larger back
then as there we only a few clubs in London at that time.”
“We’ve had many different homes or pubs that we used to meet in until the current dedicated premises we now meet in at Tolworth.”
“We used to train at the old Walton on Thames swimming pool on Tuesday nights, after the old Kingston baths closed. Elmbridge BSAC was set up as a separate entity from Kingston for about 8 years but when Walton Pool closed we merged together. A lot of the members at the Elmbridge club were Kingston members, which had been going for longer, so it made sense to merge these two clubs together.”
“So what has been the biggest change in diving since you started, in your opinion?”
“That’s definitely got to be the ABLJ (Adjustable Buoyancy Life Jacket) which evolved into the Buoyancy Control or BC jacket. Also the delayed SMB (surface marker buoy)…this really increased the distance you could dive without having to come back to the shot line to come up. It also meant was could have more freedom to explore wrecks and therefore even more enjoyable diving. Diving computers have also been a big change, making it safer and helps you to track and look back at dive profiles you have done.”
“I understand you have held nearly every office in the club committee, sometimes more than a few times over the years. You are an Advanced Instructor and an Instructor Trainer. You are now the club President and have been since I started 3 or 4 years ago and you also love to organise and take the club try dives for anyone interested in learning to dive. How do you see the club today and where it is going?”
“We are seeing a lot of new
members joining and undergoing training, which is great. The club has a good core of members who put a
lot time into organising, training, kit maintenance, finances and admin, the
bar, tank filling. Everyone helps
out. The more people put into the club
and diving will find they get a lot more out of it and that is what keeps us
going. We are always looking for new
members and those interested in diving, the sea, conservation and who enjoy exploring,
holidays and adventures with likeminded people.”
“Talking of holidays what are some of your most memorable dives?”
“In the UK – Shirley and I love diving out of Weymouth, we became good friends early on with Andy Smith as he set up his dive boat charter business; his first boat being Hunters Moon, which then became a series of different vessels, named Skindeep then Skindeeper. We were among the first to stay in the “Bunker” that until recently was run by Margaret for 20 years, and before that (23 years) we all used to stay in her house! Shirley and I still organise and lead three or four dive trips for the club out of Weymouth with Skindeeper”
“My most rememberable dive was out of Weymouth on the The Salsette, which lies 48m down in Lyme Bay after being torpedoed in 1917. I have never in all my years diving out Weymouth had vis so good as on that day, that we could see the emtire wreck as we descended. We were able to swim the whole length (134m) twice and peer over the side from the top deck at 32m and look down to the seabed at 48m. Never have I ever seen the sea so calm and clear.“
“I also love diving The Farnes
diving with the playful seals and Mixon Hole off Selsey Bill.”
“Abroad – our best diving has
been in the Maldives. The sea life,
coral and warm water temperatures make diving really relaxed and fun. But it isn’t cheap!”
“Thank you for your time, Brian, talking to me, it’s been great to document your memories and experiences over the last 50+ years. I know there is much more I could have written from what we spoke about and I am sure there’s much more you could have said, but thank you for your time tonight and all you have done and continue to do in the club.”
[Ed. I just want to add, because I can…that I did my first Open Water Dive with Brian on Skindeeper out of Weymouth. It was a dive, on the Blackhawk, I will always remember and cherish. Not just because it was my first, but because I learnt something from Brian that I still use to this day…I told him I struggled to clear my ears and took a long time to go down the shot….what I didn’t tell him was that I was set to give up diving as my ears kept hurting no matter how many different ways I tried to clear them. Brian said to me, almost flippantly, “ah don’t wait till you are a meter or two down equalise as soon as you drop below the wave and often as you take a breath. This worked a treat, every time I took a breath it would remember to equalise. On that dive I went straight to the bottom of that shot line with no problems and was blown away by the fish and sea life in UK waters. Brian helped me to realise that I could dive and not to give up. I will always be thankful for that advice.]
And that’s the thing with club diving, you have people with many diving abilities and knowledge and by just by hanging around these people you learn a lot more with club diving. To find out more about diving and learning to dive Contact Us