Welcome to The Diving Club August Newsletter
Inside this Edition
- Club AGM
- Social Updates
- Diving Updates
- Photo Competition Trophy
- Pob’s trip report on Scapa Flow
Welcome to the August Newsletter. It is amazing how this year has appeared to fly past; we are nearly at the end of the clubs September year end but certainly not at the end of the diving year. It will soon be time for renewals and you will receive renewal reminders for the end of September. We hope you have had a good year with the club and we look forward to your continued support. But remember there is still more diving to be done and more on that in the diving updates. I hope you enjoy.
The Annual General Meeting of The Diving Club will be held on Wednesday 2nd of September at 8.00 p.m. It is a very important date in the clubs year and a chance for you to make a difference. The committee will report on the 2014/15 year and the plans for the following year. It is your club and it is your chance to get involved.
At the AGM all the current committee members step down and all positions are available and will need to be filled.
The posts are
- Club secretary
- Dive organisers - Orientation and Club
- Membership secretary
- Social secretary
- Marketing and publicity
You do not need to have previous experience or have been on a committee, nor lots of diving experience, just enthusiasm and commitment. The committee meets 6-8 times a year for approximately 2 hours, with some commitment outside meetings appropriate to each post. If you are interested in standing for election or would like further information please contact Eve at firstname.lastname@example.org Please respond by Monday 17th of August.
Unfortunately due to issues will travel arrangements we have had to cancel tonight’s speaker night and it will be a normal social, there will be nibbles and plenty of good company. So please come along.
The BBQ was a great success and I think nobody was poisoned, which is always a good sign. We had a good number of friends from the RBSAC who also came along and enjoyed the event. We hope to continue to foster closer links in the future, both socially and diving, so a big thank you to all the committee members involved in organising it and especially to you for bringing such lovely food and making it a great day.
For the November social we are pleased to announce that we have John Bantin speaking about his many diving exploits. John has many amazing diving stories and is among other things, a diving journalist who has dived all over the world. This will prove to be a very popular social so make sure you are there.
The Christmas social will be held on Wednesday the 9th of December, this is a busy time of the year for all of us, so we are giving you plenty of time to put this date in the diary. There is always plenty of food and is a fitting end to the year’s social calendar.
A full boat of divers is going out this weekend from Brighton Marina, with Brighton Diver. It looks like they are forecast some great weather.
St Abbs & the Farnes and Eddystone & Hand Deeps are now full, although always check with the dive organisers if there are any late cancellations.
There are still some places left for the Lymington dive on the 5th of September so please contact the dive organiser as soon as possible to ensure your place. If you can’t make that sea dive, there are some inland dive dates in August & September.
After the success of our last joint dive with RBSAC, there is another day planned with them on their RIB on the 22nd of August, there are still some places left and if you can make it, I would thoroughly recommend it. On the 27th of June a few of us had a great day in Kimmeridge diving on their RIB, some even got to drive it. The viz was fantastic and being in control of the day helping to launch the boat and choosing the best location rather than relying on a skipper was great fun. We even took home plenty of Scallops. Please contact the dive organiser.
Photo Competition Trophy
A new club trophy has been purchased and will be presented each year at the photo competition to the overall winner. The first recipient of this trophy is the current winner Benjamin Selwyn and hopefully if the French do not affect delivery it will be presented to Benjamin at the AGM in September.
Safe and happy diving
SCAPA 2014 “If you sink them, they will come”
Some moons ago I, ‘bright eyed and wet behind the ears’ (groan) went to Scapa – with a hired 15litre and a pony cylinder on my back, using recreational diving limits (AOW+ Deep) I had a ball and dived all the wrecks on the itinery including the battleships. Apart from getting my DPV speciality and being with a great bunch of people my overriding memory was of huge scale and large lumps of tin.
October 2014 found me back diving again after a break - if a little heavier and chunkier, and I was able revisit this famous dive destination tagging along on a trip that club member Nigel and others had organised. Would it be as I remembered? would we visit all the supermarket chains on the way up?, would we get the ferry on time?, would the bar still sell Dark Island beer?. Important questions I needed to answer.
In case you haven’t heard of Scapa Flow, it is located in the Orkney Islands and was the base for the Royal Navy during the First World War and onwards. At the armistice at end of WW1 the German High Seas Fleet was interned here and in 1919 due to an alleged ‘Mis-understanding’ the German commander gave an order and over 50 ships ranging from destroyers to battleships were scuttled and sent to the watery depths. Over the next few decades many were salvaged and there are now 7 main WW1 wreck sites to enjoy (plus a WW2 wreck, various debris sites from salvage works, blockships and a few other wrecks). Scapa quite rightly holds its head up high in regular lists of the world’s best wreck sites.
Auxiliary steering gear inside the Coln
4 divers packing light !!!
Remembering to pack light ;-) four eager beaver divers piled into Tim’s truck and headed up through the wilds of Britain via the Inverness Travelodge to a sunny Scrabster to meet and greet the rest of the motley bunch and catch the ferry to Stromness. The short ferry journey saw us arrive safe and sound and we met our hostess with the mostest for the week Emily, and her fantastic crew hand Ross. Our boat for the week was moored maybe a hundred yards from the ferry so transfer of kit and seat bagging was accomplished in super quick time and the minimum of bloodshed before we then had to walk the very short distance to our excellent accommodation. 6 bedrooms, clean, great condition, a well-appointed kitchen, shower and bathrooms and refurbished with divers in mind. A quick well-mannered scrum ensued for rooms ‘after you, no I insist - after you’ and we then headed to the nearest bar – well it would have been rude not too.
Emily runs the charter Radiant Queen and the boat is superb, excellent facilities and in fantastic condition, Emily takes great pride in her boat and her care and maintenance of it oozes from every deck timber.
Anyone call for the Radiant Queen Taxi ??
The start of the week arrived next day with sunny blue skies and flat calm water which set the tone for the majority of the week. Timing is everythingJ. Our plan was to dive all the 7 main sites during the week, the battleships demanding at least two dives each.
Now to get something off my chest…… You DON’T need to be a hairy, tekkie, super deep, kitted up, knarly diver to go to Scapa …. Whew…. that’s better…
Our group ranged from people diving on a single cylinder and Pony arrangement through various configurations to a couple on rebreathers. Some didn’t go below 30m, some stuck rigidly to NDLs, some giggled on helium and some racked up deco. We all dived the 7 main wrecks to the dive plan we wanted. We planned our dives and dived our plans …. Simples.
As one of the boats mugs proudly stated, “Anything goes in Scapa”
Tim and Colin adopt their usual in-between dive pose
Emily is a superb skipper and her dive briefings were second to none. Entertaining, informative, detailed (expect to learn about battleship design, history, interesting characters when you are on her boat) and tailored to each buddy pairs expectations and dive limits. We told her what we were looking to do and her briefings would cover all of our requirements, what to look for/at etc. etc. She knows these wrecks like the back of her hand and combined with her sketches you don’t need a dive guide, you have it all in your head/on your slate.
Bow of the F2 and Barge – The only non WW1 wreck, two wrecks in one dive and only 17m
Two dives a day is the way of things here and we quickly got into the rhythm of getting up, having breakfast, grabbing kit and tumbling onto the boat for a leisurely sail to the first wreck of the day. Dive briefing, dive, dekit, pint mugs of tea and ordering your cylinder fill for the next dive followed and then the highlight … Emily’s lunches hurrah …. The 2 course meals Emily produces on the galley for a boat load of hungry divers are fantastic and are more than worth the money, homemade chilli, homemade soups, homemade cakes all prepared while you are under the water…. I’m drooling just typing this and remembering J J. Definitely recommended.
Briefings and second dives follow before the trip back to port and a cheeky drink or a bit of sightseeing, whatever you choose.
Mike inspecting a smaller gun barrel on the Kronprinz Wilhelm
Bottom half of one of the twin rudders on the Mark Graf – they are huge
Hawsers on the Karlsruhe
Books and articles on the Scapa flow wrecks are a plenty so I do not intend to repeat what others have written before me (and considerably better than I could) or spoil it for those of you who go to dive here but the list of wrecks on a trip like this looks a little like :
SMS Dresden – Light Cruiser, Coln Class, 115m long, 12m beam
SMS Coln – Light Cruiser, Coln Class, 115m long, 12m beam
SMS Karlsruhe – Light Cruiser, Konigsberg Class, 115m long, 12m beam
SMS Brummer – Fast Minelayer, 140m long, 13m beam
SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm, Battleship, Konig Class, 146m long, 28m beam
SMS Mark Graf, Battleship, Konig Class, 146m long, 28m beam
SMS Konig, Battleship, Konig Class, 146m long, 28m beam
F2 and YC21 Barge – WW2 German escort boat (similar to a corvette).
Bow of the Mark Graf with Mike photobombing
As you can probably guess these wrecks are big with a capital ‘B’
There is just so much to see, decks? – check, turrets? – check, barbettes? – check, massive gun barrels? – check, rudders? – check, swim throughs? – check -- the list goes on and on.
Every wreck is permanently shotted so you can plan your dive to use these if you wish.
Considering they have been underwater for the best part of 100 years they are in extremely good condition, fish hide in and around the wrecks and anemones abound.
Divers’ heaven J
Out of the water Orkney is a fantastic place to explore, fantastic scenery, Neolithic settlements, the Highland Park distillery, excellent beer and whisky bars in Stromness, a good Indian restaurant etc. in Kirkwall, so there is plenty to keep you occupied.
We did some sightseeing too – Scara Brae and Ring of Brodgar
So to the nitty gritty …. The week diving with Radiant Queen charters costs approx. £480 per diver (based on 12 divers), if there are less than 12 the price is slightly higher.
Fantastic value, your travel there and back, ferry, lunches, evening meals and gas are on top of this but for the quality of diving this is excellent value.
Obligatory group photo
To really get the most out of a trip itinerary such as this one you would have PADI AOW with Deep and Nitrox Specialities or similar equivalent and UK diving experience. It goes without saying for those with appropriate training and experience decompression and wreck penetration diving is available.
You will get a trip to remember…….
Oh.. And yes they were as big as I remember, we did visit all the main supermarket brands, we caught the ferries and yes Dark Island is still sold and is still yummy J
Photo Credits to Nora Holford and my thanks to all those who organised and arranged the trip. I can’t wait to go back.
And did you know the club have booked a trip on Emily’s NEW boat MV Huskyan for September 2016??…..