In this issue:
· Update on Committee Positions
· Wreck ferreting in Dover
· Social Update
· Diving Update
· Reading Diving Club outing to the NEC Dive Show
Update on Committee Positions
As you all know the AGM was held on the 3rd of this month. Roger and Nigel both gave a very impressive presentation on the club finances and last years social and diving highlights. Pob also presented the plans for next years very exciting dive calendar. To ensure that you all have plenty of time to plan your next years diving, Pob has kindly posted the planned dates and sites on the club website - http://www.thedivingclub.co.uk/ClubEvents/DiveCalendar.aspx. The full presentation of the new dive calendar will be held during the January meeting and we hope to see all of you there. I am sure you will all agree, next years dive calendar has something to offer everyone in the club. A very well done to Pob, Rob, Roger, Eve, Tim, Martin and Nigel who have and will be involved in organising it for the club.
Sadly due to heavy workload and other commitments outside the club, Roger, Nigel, Rob and Georgi have stepped down from the committee. I am sure you will all join me in thanking them for the great effort and commitment they have given to club over many years, to make the club the success that it is today.
Whatever the reason, the loss of experience can sometimes be disruptive to a club, but all the old committee members have very generously offered to support and guide the new committee should the need arise. That coupled with the fresh enthusiasm, different expertise and new ideas that the new committee members will bring to the club, will I am sure be a positive for the future success of the club.
The new committee:
- Chairman/Publicity Officer - Julio Lema
- Secretary - Eve Mcllmoyle
- Social Secretary - Peter Allison
- Treasurer - Tom Briggs
- Orientation Dive Organisers - Tim Smith/Martin Lewin
- Club Dive Organiser – Pob Crow
- Membership Secretary - Kev High
“Wreck ferreting in Dover”
On the 17/18 May I headed down with three other divers to try out a new charter to us, Mutiny Divers.
Mutiny Divers operate a diver shuttle service from an industrial unit in an estate on the hill above Dover with their boat moored in the Marina below, and offer PADI courses, boat charters, guided dives, air/nitrox (and I believe Trimix) and a dedicated teaching area in the unit, along with a small artefact museum (though I didn’t get chance to see it myself). Chris runs it, aided and abetted by Tom and they are a great team, really helpful and happy to accommodate divers and their foibles. They even dragged my metal filled carcass back on the boat so they cant be bad J. The boat ‘Copperhead Diver’ is a 9m RHIB with all the mod cons you would expect, o2, painter lines to help you get on board, a ladder, decent sized motor, central kit racks, plenty of space, sonar, fresh air toilet ;-).
Enough of that!!.. I hear you say…. What about the diving??....
Well diving out of Dover is slightly different to your normal diving as you are diving in the shipping lanes. It was good to remind myself about diving off a RHIB (and quite frankly how much fun it is). The rules of the road are that you descend on the shot, first pair tie in, send up the shot weight, you fix your reel line onto the wreck then line off as you dive around the wreck then follow your line back to the shot and use that for ascent. Last pair checks everyone else’s line is in then unties the shot and comes up. Not difficult just slightly different to the normal descent, drift off and use an SMB that you get along the coast. SMB’s are only for emergencies on these dives.
There are a few local drift dives but really you come here to dive wrecks, and boy are there plenty to get your teeth into !!!. We had booked to dive 4 wrecks including a U-Boat (whoohoo). As ever the British weather and start of the bloom conspired against us viz wise so the actual wrecks were changed but the alternatives were just as good.
We were blessed with sunny skies and flat calm seas, amazing !!.
Dive 1 – A lunchtime ropes off saw us heading to the UC-77. Unfortunately viz was looking poor so we diverted to the UB-78. A WW1 victim this was sunk by a mine which blew the stern off. Almost upright and pretty intact it made a good dive (even in the dark 3-4m viz we got). Following the gun, conning tower etc eventually took us to the obvious shear in the stern where you could clearly see pipes, prop shafts etc. 26m ish to the Sea Bed.
Dive 2 – Loanda. This ship sank in 1908 full of cargo. Upright with most of the superstructure gone it is still a great dive. Lots of wreck and the holds are only 1-2m deep. Lots of cargo still onboard and a couple of the local divers on the trip brought up ornate clay pipes, crystal glass perfume bottles (still stoppered and they smelt fine) and a couple of half bottles of champagne. Corks removed they smelt a bit ropey but still had fizz. Reminders from Chris and Tom to ‘droit the finds did nothing to stem the happy diver grins. 22m ish to the sea bed.
Dive 1 – This was an unexpected treat. HMS Flirt. A WW1 Destroyer sunk by German surface raiders whilst picking up survivors from a convoy ship it was escorting. It is located 16 miles out across the channel, upright with lots to see. The superstructure may have collapsed somewhat but there are pipes, fittings, lobsters, crabs galore. However with a max depth to the sea bed of a bit over 40m (36 to decks) we didn’t get much time before our NDL brought us upwards. It was nice to see the drop tank on the shot at 10m ‘just in case’. Two massive lobsters came up to join one of the divers for dinner too ;-) . Definitely one to go back to dive again.
Dive 2 – Our final dive was on another destroyer. HMS Brazen. This destroyer was sunk by German bombers in WW2 and apparently managed to down three of the aircraft before succumbing to her injuries and slipping below the waves. Again upright there is lots to see. Me and my buddy were especially pleased to find the row of four torpedo tubes on the starboard side at deck level J. Lots of fittings for those who wish to have a root about and even some guns. Both destroyers have brass shells and casings in and around the wreckage. Sea bed at 28m ish.
These four fascinating dives haven’t even scratched the surface of what is available from this location and despite the viz varying on the dives from 0.75-5m all were great to dive. Chris gave a short but interesting pre-dive briefing on each ship and what to look out for.
Whilst this trip was an AOW + Deep level outing, there are wrecks from 10m, down to as deep as you want to go. I’m already looking at Mutiny’s website and planning more dives.
The RHIB was comfortable and easily handled, singles cylinders/singles with stage/twinsets and rebreathers. One dive had a Rebreather, 4 twinsets and 4 singles plus 2 crew but it all went smoothly as the singles waited till the others had entered before kitting up and descending. Everyone works as a team on a RHIB and it was great fun.
On our weekend air fills were included and Mutiny even took our dry suits to the shop for us and hung them up to dry out overnight. Costs are roughly £35 a dive if booked as an individual (HMS flirt is a bit more as it is so far out) but a full charter booking brings the cost down to £25 ish, You return between dives, so you have chance for Mutiny to take your cylinder and fill it on the surface interval. I stepped up to a 15 litre for the Sunday and it cost me £5.95 hire including fills. There is a nice café and a seafood cabin within a couple of minute walk from the car park (café allows divers in dry suits in) and the car park is 150 yards from the mooring.
No hard boats operate from Dover in fact Mutiny are the only dive charter in the area but they were so helpful I’d dive with them anytime.
Cant wait to go back.
The next Social Meeting at the Reading BSAC Club is on the 1st of October, Speaker Night.
Diving Lembeh Straits (or was it 'Doing the Lambeth Walk?)
A personal review of the world’s best muck diving by club member Bryan Johnston
Lembeh Strait is truly a one-off opportunity for all photographers and anyone looking for the unusual and unseen. If you have no idea what this is about, come along and find out!
8 for 8:30pm Start
A group of club members will be heading off to Pothkerris this weekend, for some social scenic a wreck diving. The viz is currently reported at around 10m, so its looking like some great diving conditions are in the offing. There will also be some shore diving available for those who can manage to get there early on the Friday. A barbecue has been organised for the Saturday evening so good diving and a fabulous fun packed social weekend is guaranteed.
Scapa Flow, The Orkneys on the 12/10/14, due to a cancellation there a space left. This will be a week (6 days) of diving the German WWI wrecks of Scapa Flow with land based accommodation in Stromness. Boat is rebreather-friendly. Price includes accommodation and boat charter plus weights, air and 15 litre cylinder. See website for full details.
Bring a pumpkin :-)
We plan to go down to Vobster for a combined Pumpkin Carve/Night Dive/Fireworks Display. Bring a pumpkin, spare weight, a spare light and we can populate one of the wrecks in a spooky fashion. It sounds like a fun evening.
Reading Diving Club Outing to the NEC Dive Show
The dive season is drawing to its inevitable close for the year as we desperately try to grab those last few UK dives of the year before the winter storms wreak havoc on the famously clear visibility of the English Channel… yeah I know.
Diving gives us many pleasures. There is that lovely feeling of weightlessness, the underwater wildlife and the camaraderie on the boat. There also the pleasure of cleaning and stowing kit and getting it all ready for the next trip. I have not yet, of course, mentioned that other guilty pleasure that our hobby provides for us in spades… spending money on shiny shiny bits of kit and buying expensive diving holidays. Diving and retail therapy go together like Gladys Knight and Pips (if you are under 60 just substitute Elvis Costello and Attractions). So your wonderful dive club is prepared to provide you with a vehicle to spend your hard earned cash… quite literally. In past years the club has hired a mini-bus and attended the Birmingham dive show and we propose to continue this proud tradition.
The dive show (http://www.diveshows.co.uk/ ) is running on the 25th and 26th of October at the Birmingham NEC and if there is enough take up we will go up on the 26th. The show will include stalls from all the major outfitters and holiday providers and usually offers some good deals. We will hire a mini-bus and the non-drivers can have a beer, we can sing silly songs in the car and generally have a good time as we plan and enjoy or spending.
If we have enough take-up we will leave early (8 am) on the 26th departure point to be advised later) and get back in the late evening.
If you are interested please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org . Spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis, costs will be shared out equally amongst all participants.