Thursday, 29 March 2012

Buckland or Bust! - 24th March

by Victor Grayson
Following on from last week’s training day at Holborough Lakes, today the club ventured out to another Kent dive site – Buckland Lake, near Cliffe. 14 of us – including 6 who have joined the club in the last year – arrived early for a day of training, testing kit and getting a few shake-down dives logged, ready for the start of the dive season.

The morning fog disappeared not long after we arrived, and the sun was blazing by the time everyone finished their first dip. Most reported a good dive – better visibility and slightly warmer water than last week, more Ocean Diver skills completed, and interesting things to see underwater (although the famous shark was away being repaired, apparently). Lee and Chris logged the longest dive of the day at an impressive 41 minutes, despite Chris being (but not freezing) in a wetsuit. Dave and Joe found a mysterious new gelatinous species in the bottom of the lake. Brett continued his foray into documentary filmmaking, and Maggie made the surface all fizzy with her free-flowing regulator, before sensibly terminating the dive.

Buckland Lake has a raised decking area with picnic tables which – being south-facing – proved to be a real sun trap, and pleasant enough for sunbathing (in March!). During our surface interval, divers made use of the tea-and-burger van, ate not-space cakes, and gave the resident dog a tummy rub.

The second dive was shorter for most of us, but also enjoyable. After packing up, we were ready and gone before 3pm, with one dry diver making use of the sunny afternoon to explore Cliffe Pools and the Saxon Shore Way nearby. Buckland Lakes is a decent dive site – easy to get to from southeast London, well organised with numbered kitting-up benches for each club, a clear briefing, and enough space. Kit hire seemed steep, and there’s a downhill/uphill walk between the car park and lake, but trolleys made this easier.
And so - next week Shoreham! Our first trip to the seaside this year!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Holborough Lake - 17 March 2012

By Pat Connelly and Mariette Ferreira
The great bit about cold water diving is it makes you appreciate how warm a drizzly day in March in the UK really is once you get out of the water.
With this in mind 12 hardy souls gathered at the lake at 9am for a morning of character building training and kit testing; whilst everyone was kitting up those with dry suits explained to those in wetsuits the water would be warm enough to take your breath away. The computer as well as various body parts confirmed it was a refreshing 8 degrees.

Colin who turned up with a note from himself claiming to have a cold was pressed into keeping the dive log and duly noted everyone’s times and declared he would be on the next one.   

There were a number of other divers at the lake and we were the second group in.  Fortunately the visibility was not bad provided you kept off the muddy bottom and our divers in there pairs began a tour of the lakes attractions.  These included several small boats, a transit van, some large tyres and a couple of training platforms which were used for various training exercises.

The conclusions from the first dive were that Peter now thinks the pool is warm; Richard is looking up the ‘How to fix leaks in Joe’s old suit’ course whilst everyone else appreciated the cuppa the dive centre rushes into your hands as you come out of the water

After a break for refreshments the second dive was conducted repeating the tour and completing further training concluding a successful first outing of the season.

-     Clive & Jane - Clive was a little rusty, but Jane luckily had a tube of KY handy. She sorted him out!  

-     Steve & Richard - Went well. Richard was comfortable and competent in the water, but could probably work on his kit-up time.

-     Victor & Pat - Victor practiced DSMB deployment and distance line use, which both went well.  Victor was appointed as Assistant DM and efficiently delegated all his duties to Colin. Future Club Chairman in the making!

-     Lars & Peter - a few unplanned surface intervals, but went well overall. All skills for OO1 and OO2 completed comfortably. Also did AS and CBL.

-     Mariette, Grant & Brett - Grant was very comfortable in the water with good buoyancy control. All skills for OO1 and OO2 completed successfully.

-     Colin - had a cold so couldn't dive, but helped with surface cover.

We have another session booked for 24 March at Buckland for anyone needing open water training or would just to like a shake down dive before we start diving for the year to make sure all you kit still works.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Committee Meeting Notes - 8 March

We had another Committee Meeting on 8th March and the following points and actions were discussed:

- A Dive Manager's Pack containing details relevant to the dive and the club phone will be put together - to be circulated to each dive's DM 

- Dive Managers will be appointed now for the rest of the season based on the dive list to give members visibility in advance

- All members should contact the club phone the evening before a dive to find out whether the dive is still on. The DM will keep the club phone. Club phone number: 07518398845

- The website has been updated with Hints & Tips, Training Schedule, updated joining fees, new committee details and updated Dive Schedule (thanks Brett!!)

- Dive list for first dive of the season (Shoreham - April 1st) was reviewed

- Attendees and instructor support for the open water inland dives in March (17th & 24th) were discussed

- James from our favourite dive shop, Amphibian, was invited to join us one Wednesday evening to show off some of his new kit and to give new members the opportunity to ask questions and get advice about kit. Wednesday 11 April has been provisionally agreed for him to come down

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, ideas or offers of support (always welcome!), please get in touch with any member of the committee.