Sunday, 15 December 2013

Club Committee Meeting - 28th November 2013 - notes

In attendance: Pat, Brett, Ken, Ross, Victor


  • Noted that the role of Training Officer has proven to be very demanding, and this – together with other reasons – has resulted in no takers for the job this year.
  • Agreed that Diving Officer (Brett) will oversee training, with Grant and Victor taking responsibility for Ocean Diver training, Chris being responsible for Sports Diver training, and Kim being responsible for Dive Leader training and SDCs. These volunteers won’t deliver all the training, but will be the first port of call for trainees, and will sort out what the various training cohorts now need. Brett willing to send call-out emails to instructors, and to send reminder emails setting out what training has been planned each week.
  • The aim is to have all theory and pool sessions done by March, so trainees are lake-ready.
  • A lake training/shakedown weekend is planned for 8th and 9th March.
  • Noted that Shoreham boat (Buccaneer) is good for training, as it is small and has an accommodating skipper.
  • Agreed to continue promoting dive training, and recruiting Ocean Diver trainees.
  • Agreed that depth limits (20m for Ocean Divers, 35m for Sports Divers) should be adhered to.

Advanced training

  • The club has no Advanced Instructors, so can’t run Advanced Diver training. Other clubs have AIs, and we could approach them for help, possibly offering reciprocal help with training. Brett to send out initial emails to contacts he has, Ken to follow up and organise.

Co-opted positions

  • Agreed to ask Teresa to be Welfare Officer again.
  • Agreed to ask Daniel to be Marketing and Publicity Officer. This would involve taking responsibility for website and blog content, postering and any other club promotion.

The Barry Maisey Award

  • Lars has paid the person who will bronze and mount Barry’s dive knife.
  • Agreed that Steve will be the first recipient of this annual award, for his regular, reliable and quiet helping out with training and other club activities.
  • The award will be presented at the club’s xmas do.

2014 dive list

  • Kim’s Falmouth trip is to be a “funded” club trip, provided a satisfactory arrangement with fills can be made with/by Kim and the skipper, and written confirmation regarding the deposit arrangement is obtained. It is understood the £150 deposit covers all 4 days, that this would be forfeited if the club cancels with more than 4 weeks to go, and the full cost of the dives will be payable to the skipper if the club cancels with less than 4 weeks to go. Given the number of takers so far, this trip needn’t be punted to divers outside the club yet.
  • Agreed that Plymouth, Weymouth (both), and St Abbs/Farnes will be “funded” club trips.
  • No deposits for club trips will be collected, however deposits or the full cost of private trips (e.g., Nemo/Bruges) may need to be collected in advance.
  • Agreed to change the 2-week cancellation rule to 1 month, to reduce risk to the club.
  • Agreed to book Shoreham day dives on 5th or 6th April, 21st or 22nd June, and 4th or 5th Oct. Pat to make bookings.
  • Swanage trip proposed on 31st May. This may be attractive (but will be optional) to divers on the Lymington trip on 1st June. The Lymington trip may include a dive on the SS Mendi, a South African wreck at 40m which Mariette was interested in diving.

Succession plan

  • The committee discussed how to encourage new people to stand for committee positions, to prevent the club stagnating. Demands on time such as exams were amongst the reasons why members had declined their nominations for committee positions.
  • The position of Secretary is a good way of starting to get involved. Encouraging new people to help with training and other club activities is also helping to lay the foundations for future committees. It is noted that individuals (not on committee) are welcome and encouraged to organise dive trips, and can ask the club to promote and possibly fund these. Members may get their dive bug and enthusiasm for the club back after xmas. The 2014 dive list is already filling up rapidly.

Other matters

  • Brett will continue to maintain the club website (but not its content).
  • Victor to check CRB requirements for instructors.

The meeting ended at 9.30pm.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Oxygen Administration course - 17th November 2013

BSAC's Oxygen Administration course was delivered by the London region on 17th November in London No. 1's basement room at the Seymour Leisure Centre. The instructors were Gary, Giulia and Lee. 11 divers from various branches (London No. 1, Medway, Ariel SAC, Holborn and 3 of us - Jill, Frank and Victor - from Bermondsey) attended. Most of us were qualified to Sports Diver level, and were doing this one-day Skill Development Course as part of our Dive Leader training, however others were doing or repeating the course simply to gain or refresh skills. After gathering at 8.30am-ish, lectures DT2, DT3, DT4, DT5, DT6 and DT7 were delivered, complete with practicals involving a legion of Resusci Annies. The day ended with a 25-question multiple choice assessment (we all passed) followed by closing remarks and feedback. We were finished just before 3pm. Thanks to the instructors, London region, and London No. 1 branch.

Bermondsey BSAC 42 Annual General Meeting - 6th November 2013

In attendance: 22 members
Apologies: 6 members
Chair: Clive

Chair’s opening statement and welcome

  • Clive noted the meeting was quorate and that enough members were present for the meeting's decisions to have a well-supported mandate.
  • Members were reminded that all of the committee had decided to stand down following the resignation of the Diving Officer, and that the committee had decided to bring forward this AGM to November.
  • The next AGM will be held in early 2015, and the new committee will be in position until then.
Minutes of the previous AGM and matters arising

  • These minutes are available to view on the club blog.
  • Following discussions at the previous AGM, the club adopted a privacy (data protection) policy, set up email groups for committee and club use (which are expected to be made active soon), and made changes to the way training is organised.
Summary-of-2013 report

  • Lee explained that this report was being presented in lieu of the annual Diving Officer's report.
  • The year's highlights were revisited. It has been a good year for diving.
  • No accidents have occurred this season.
  • A number of safety issues were raised. Of particular concern this year was the number of divers ending dives low on air, ignoring the rule of thirds and setting a bad example to newer divers.
  • It was also noted that proper gas and decompression planning wasn’t always being carried out, and that decompression dives should be done with alternate air sources.
  • Mariette added that solo dives have happened (and have been tolerated) on club trips, when we are neither qualified nor trained for this. Kim noted that BSAC does not allow solo diving, and will soon be issuing guidance on trio diving.
  • 2 incidents of suspected bends occurred this year, and these were resolved successfully. These incidents have not been reported to BSAC, however. It was noted that anyone in the club can report an incident to BSAC, and should be encouraged to do so. It was suggested that at the first meeting of the new committee, the idea of making the Dive Manager responsible for reporting incidents should be discussed.
  • Members were reminded of terms and conditions for club dives.
  • The emerging 2014 dive list was discussed. This will be circulated to the club very soon. Names are now being taken for dives.
Training Officer’s report

  • It was noted that 1 Snorkel Diver, 4 Ocean Divers, 2 Sports Divers and 1 Dive Leader qualified with the club this year, and many more are close to qualifying.
  • Lee was pleased that so many willing instructors stepped forward to deliver training.
  • Lee suggested some training objectives for the following year, including maintaining the training record, continued club support for the Instructor Foundation Course, and running Skill Development Courses such as buoyancy and trim, drysuit and twinset training, as well as oxygen administration.
Treasurer’s report

  • Lars presented a statement of this year’s cash flow, along with comparison figures for recent years.
  • It was noted that pool/club fees will increase from January, and standing orders need to be amended. Fees are now £16.50/month for individuals, and £25/month for joint membership.
  • Dive report forms were introduced at the beginning of the year, however their use has been patchy. These forms include cost information for dive trips.
  • Late payment of money for dive trips has been a problem this year. Clive reminded members to remember that if their kit is wet, they probably owe the club money. As of the evening of the AGM, however, no members were in arrears.
Equipment Officer’s report

  • It was noted that the current arsenal of club kit has proved sufficient to cover all training and trip requirements this year, therefore it was not recommended that any additional equipment be bought.
  • Several items, however, will need minor repairs or servicing this winter.

  • Clive noted that the committee had decided to create a co-opted position of Publicity and Marketing Officer. The willing volunteer will be recruited by the new committee.
  • Ken proposed a motion requiring members to allow the release of their phone numbers and email addresses to other members as a condition of membership. Ken’s concern was that members will miss out on information about dives if other members are unable to contact them. It was noted that 30 members have now signed the club’s privacy policy, allowing the club to release their phone numbers to other club members. The member-to-all-members email address has been set up but is not yet in use. The meeting agreed not to change existing arrangements for the collection and release of personal information, but that the new Secretary will endeavour to collect signed privacy policies from the remaining members who haven't yet returned one, and circulate a complete list of phone numbers to members.

  • Victor reported that 6 members had cast their votes in advance, and had sent apologies.
  • Pat’s nomination was seconded.
  • A secret ballot was held.
  • Pat was elected Chair, Brett was elected Diving Officer, Ken was elected Treasurer, Ross was elected Equipment Officer, and Victor was elected Secretary.
Other business

  • Medical declaration forms will be collected in the new year.
  • Jill and Tom are collecting £5 deposits for the club xmas do (11th Dec, Il Giardino, Peckham).
  • A brief discussion about dissolving the club was held, although nobody had any intention of moving a motion to dissolve the club.
  • Dave announced that on Friday 22nd Nov he would be helping to set up a new flat in Southwark for a person with disabilities, and would appreciate help from members.
  • Steve has the club phone, and will return it to Victor.
  • The club would not be holding pool sessions on 11th Dec, 25th Dec or 1st Jan.
  • Clive closed the meeting with suggestions that the new committee discuss, prioritise and address the lack of a Training Officer, why so many nominees (to committee positions) declined their nominations this year, and the 2014 dive list.
  • The meeting closed at 9.10pm.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Club Committee Meeting - 1st October 2013 - Notes

·           Ross.

Annual General Meeting
·           To be held at Cherry Garden School, 8pm, Wednesday 6th November.
·           Victor to issue notice and details of AGM to the club by the end of the week, and to invite nominations for committee positions and proposals for motions.
·           Elections for Chair, Diving Officer, Treasurer, Training Officer, Secretary and Equipment Officer will be held.
·           Welfare Officer is a co-opted position for which no election is held.
·           Agreed to propose a motion to create a new co-opted position of Publicity/Promotion Officer.
·           Agreed not to propose a motion to create an Expeditions Officer/Trip Organiser position.
·           Agreed that nominations will be received by email, and will close on Saturday 26th October, at which point Victor will check all nominees are happy for their names to be put forward, and a list of nominees will be circulated to the club.
·           Seconding of nominations can happen at the AGM, if any nominees haven't already been seconded.
·           Advance voting will be possible for club members who can't attend the AGM - this will only be done by email, and voting will close 24 hours before the AGM.
·           The AGM agenda will follow the skeletal agenda set out in the club's constitution.
·           Outgoing Treasurer and Training Officer will deliver their reports at the AGM. Instead of the Diving Officer's report, a summary-of-2013 report will be prepared by Lee and others. This will note that there have been no incidents this year, although there have been instances where divers have surfaced low on air. There will also be comments on fitness levels, and 2 cylinders being needed for decompression dives.
·           Noted that the current committee starts and finishes the AGM. The new committee take over immediately after the AGM closes.
·           A 15-month term for the new committee was suggested, so that the club would return to the normal pattern of January/February AGMs, however it will be up to the new committee as to whether they want to see this extended term out.
·           Medical declaration forms will be distributed, signed and collected at the AGM. Victor to attach PDF to AGM announcement email.
·           Noted that any paid-up member can vote, but only members who have been in the club for 1 year can stand in the elections.

·           Lee has drawn up a training plan for the rest of his term as Training Officer. Jobs are being snapped up by instructors, and Lee is waiting to hear from others to fill in the gaps.

Club/pool fees
·           Lars noted that increased charges imposed by Seven Islands over the last few years have been absorbed by the club's growing membership, and club/pool fees charged to members have not been increased. 
·           3 committee members voted to increase club/pool fees to £16.50 a month, 2 voted against.
·           Clive will explain this decision to members at the AGM.
·           Standing orders will need to be amended as of January.

2014 dive list
·           Teresa is looking into a February half term Red Sea trip.
·           Pat, Ken and Victor are making bookings for 2014 trips. 
·           Agreed to add another Weymouth weekend in July.
·           Noted that another day dive could be added on the Saturday before the Lymington day dive.
·           Agreed that advertised minimum qualification requirements should be adhered to (unless circumstances warrant an adaptation/exception).
·           Lars suggested requiring a larger deposit for Scubafest (if the club runs another trip in 2014), as some members have still not paid for the 2013 trip. The committee noted that such arrears excludes members from voting at the AGM.
·           The emerging dive list will be projected on a screen at the AGM. Victor to email Teresa a PDF in advance of the meeting.

Diving terms and conditions
·           Committee agreed that the terms and conditions regarding club dives and cancellations (as set out in Kim's email of 8th November 2011) still apply, and noted that cancellations made within 2 weeks of the date of a dive mean the cancelling diver is liable to be charged for the dive, unless a replacement diver is found.
·           A reminder of these terms and conditions will be circulated with the 2014 dive list.
·           Agreed that the cost per diver per day remains at £45, despite some boats now charging £50.

Xmas do
·           Jill and Tom have come up with a shortlist of 4 venues. The pros and cons of these were discussed. Jaflong was thought to be a better option than Village East, The Ship & Whale and The Yellow House. Jill and Tom's thoughtfulness regarding location and accessibility was noted.
·           The East Dulwich Tavern (upstairs) and Il Giardino (Peckham) were also suggested.
·           Victor to relay the committee's thoughts to Jill and Tom.
·           The date of the event will be Wednesday 11th December.

Any other business
·           A discussion regarding kit expenditure was deferred as Ross was not present. To be discussed at a future meeting, hopefully before the AGM.
·           There will be no pool sessions on 11th December, 25th December and 1st January. There will be pool sessions on 18th December and 8th January.
·           The forthcoming 2013 BSAC Diving Conference (26th October) in Birmingham was noted.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Dieppe...a trip too far? 9-13th September 2013

by Brett 

‘Let’s go to Dieppe.’  Oh how we all thought that would be a great idea and to be fair it had all the makings of an entertaining trip.

5 days on Our W with Dave and Sylvie to entertain us, diving some great wrecks from the War Eras and possibly sampling the local produce.

Unfortunately a couple of people had to drop out so we were a bit light on the boat but as we loaded in Eastbourne the mood was bright, although the weather didn’t seem to agree.  There were some scheduling problems with the traffic which meant that half the group turned up late but we eventually got into the lock and waved to the seal on our way across the channel.

The weather could have been better and after a couple of hours of dipping, yawing and banging into the next waves everyone was feeling a trifle bruised.  Lars and I grabbed a bunk each and everyone else wedged themselves into whatever position was best for them and offered a chance to get some shut eye.

We finally arrived at the site of the Braga mid-channel and although we were rolling a bit it wasn’t going to stop us taking the plunge.  Once we were down on the wreck viz was actually pretty good, about 6-8 metres and absolutely swarming with fish although there were also a lot of large trawling nets which got in the way a bit.  The wreck was a good size though but at 36 metres we weren’t sticking around for too long and headed up.  There we had a nice surprise as the weather had eased, sea had flattened and from there to Dieppe we had a fairly decent ride in.

The view though, coming into the port gave you some idea of what the Canadian troops must have been facing when they attacked on 19th August 1942.  Sheer cliffs as far as you could see and they must have felt like they were on a firing range, scary.

We moored and found our accommodation which was two really nice apartments and then decided to grab something quick to eat and then get some kip so we’d be up for the morning.

Up at 0630 and breakfast on the go so we could be at the boat for 0730 and off.  However, at about 0700 Lee got a call from the boat that the weather was kicking up and we’d have to hold off for the morning and see how it went, in the end that meant we lost the day but considering the conditions it was a good choice.

So once we were all up again we decided on a stroll around Dieppe, visiting the seafront, Canada Square and the castle before heading down to the harbour for lunch and a conflab with the boat to see what the plan was for the next day.

We eventually ate, although we had to split up and decided that a nice home cooked evening meal might be a good plan that evening.

After some shopping and a bit of telly we settled in for a meat feast with some great plum tomatoes, decent wine and beer and an evening of sea stories.

Unfortunately this ended up going the same way as Tuesday as the weather did not want to play and so we were left to our own devices again.  These ranged from the tourist train around the town with comedy transaltion by Ross and Lee to sitting in various cafes, bars and restaurant and generally taking it easy while still wishing we were diving.

Lars did make a very nice stew though and we followed that by watching Bullitt which rounded the day off nicely.

We had decided after looking at the weather for Friday that it actually made more sense to travel cross-channel on Thursday than leave it to Friday and possibly have a worse trip.

So after loading all our bags back on the boat we headed out to the Chateaux Margaux, a French ocean liner that went down in 1889.  We’d been told a lot about this by the owner of one of the harbour restaurants as he claimed to be the one to have discovered it and we had big expectations. 

It was a bit deeper at 42 metres but we hoped that the wreck and the viz would make the short er bottom time worthwhile and it did.  The wreck sits on heavy coarse sand which meant that the water was quite clear and the wreck itself was impressive.  There were at least half a dozen complete portholes, with glass cracked but still visible and it was actually a really nice thing to see. 

Again lots of life on it but the nets were also in residence so a little caution was needed. After all racking up some deco we surfaced and headed across the shipping lane with the Alaunia as the next wreck.  Although some of us had done that a month or so ago it was still a nice wreck to dive and the visibility, whilst not as good as the Margaux was still fairly good.

With some people staying in Eastbourne  overnight and some travelling back home and coming down in the morning we loaded back up for the final day for a wreck called the Nyon which no one had dived before.  We got told that you could get 40 metres on it but you had to look for it and we weren’t that bothered so decided to potter around and see what was about. 

The viz was reasonable again, around 6 metres and although very dark, once the torch was on all was good.  Masses of life again and some great bits of structure made the whole thing very atmospheric. 

Then we spotted a very large lobster and after quite a bit of wiggling to get closer to it also spotted that we’d got to 42 metres! and actually needed to think about heading up.  A bit of deco to do but everyone was soon back on the boat and we started heading back towards Eastbourne for a drift and home.
All told, it could have been better but  by the same token it could have been worse and we did some great dives, ate well and everyone came home safe so a good trip and definitely something to think about doing again.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Club Committee Meeting – 2nd September 2013 – Notes

  • Ross
Diving Officer
  • Brett has resigned. A new DO needs to be elected.
  • Agreed to bring forward AGM (usually held in February) to Wednesday 6th November, to be held at Cherry Garden School.
  • All of committee will stand down at the AGM, and new committee shall be elected.
  • The new committee could do a 15 month stint if they wish.
  • Nominations to be opened, and motions invited, a month before AGM (6th October).
  • Lee and Victor to send email to club, announcing Brett’s resignation, the date of the AGM, and interim arrangements.
  • Training shouldn’t be affected, although October lake dive will need to be cancelled.
  • Chair to stay in post until AGM, as will rest of committee.
  • Committee and DMs to carry out DO duties until AGM, Kim to be asked to help.
  • Dive list to be maintained by Victor.
  • Daniel to be asked to help maintain club website.
Dive list
  • Lars thought 2013 has been good, and would like more day dives. Teresa would like a club holiday in 2014, plus possibly Plymouth at the August bank holiday weekend.
  • Members seemed generally happy with Eastbourne, Brighton and Shoreham boats, although Shoreham has no lift and may not be so pleasant in bad weather, as it’s a small boat.
  • Members have given Victor feedback on Lymington, which he will relay to the skipper. Getting fills was the biggest pain.
  • Scubafest was good in many ways, although some members have said they wouldn’t go again in 2014. Scubafest doesn’t need to be booked until the new year, so the new committee can decide on whether to run a trip.
  • Better co-ordination of accommodation and sharing of information would be helpful, so we all stay in the same place or close to one another.
  • Agreed to carry on using “funded” and “unfunded” terms
  • For 2014, agreed to again have a core of day dives and weekend trips (running May to September), which are funded dives. A similar number of trips as last year would be good.
  • Agreed to have at least 2 full weekend and 1 day dive a month.
  • A once-a-month training dive to be scheduled in between weekend trips and day dives, from April to September.
  • Pat has already agreed to plot neaps and contact the Eastbourne skipper.
  • Agreed to organise a club holiday, and a long weekend in Plymouth.
  • Unfunded trips were discussed – possibilities include Scillies in August, Oban in May/June (possibly half term week), and a November or February trip to somewhere warm, possibly the Red Sea.
  • For 2015, Ken is organising a trip to Shetland.
  • Training is going well, instructors are volunteering for jobs, training packs are being provided promptly. Training is generally being delivered when it’s needed.
  • Ken, Frank, Chris and Victor are close to becoming Dive Leaders.
  • The club will continue to fund half the Instructor Foundation Course, as long as the recipient then helps with training.
  • The club has a limited number of active Open Water Instructors. More are needed. Lee felt it was unlikely the club would gain any more OWIs soon, but more DLs could complete the IFC.
  • Skill Development Courses need working on, perhaps towards the end/beginning of the year.
Finances year-to-date
  • Lars reported that finances were looking OK so far. Only 1 dive has had to be subsidised this year.
  • The club is currently covering its pool hire fees, which increased from £85/week to £90/week in August.
  • The committee discussed raising members’ contributions towards pool fees (i.e., increase the current £15/month). These have not been raised in over 5 years, despite Seven Islands increasing charges. Lars to check figures.
  • Lars prefers paying for kit maintenance through training charges, rather than through pool fees.
Next year
  • Possible co-opted committee posts were discussed. A trip organiser to organise day dives could be co-opted, as could a PR officer (reporting to the Chair).
Privacy policy
  • Rather than wait for all members to sign and return their privacy policy form, an incomplete phone list will be sent out.
  • The privacy policy and medical forms list will be added to the updated membership list.
Barry award
  • Barry’s dive knife will be bronzed and mounted (£60 cost to be paid for by the club).
  • The award will be given annually to the club member (not on the committee) who was gone beyond the call of duty. It will be awarded at the xmas do.
Xmas do
  • Wednesday 11th December was suggested as a good date. Lars will need to have the date confirmed before he makes the next 3 months of pool bookings (the club will definitely have no pool sessions on 25th December and 1st January).
  • Choosing from the menu in advance could make it cheaper. A buffet was suggested.
  • Jaflong was a good choice last year, and many members would be happy to return there.
  • Clive won’t organise this year’s do. Jill and Tom to be asked to organise it.
Next meeting
  • Tuesday 1st October at Teresa’s, 7.30pm.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

We also do snorkelling – Ireland, 25th June 2013

by Victor
Engine problems on the mothership Embarr gave us an unexpected Tuesday morning in the sheltered waters of Holeopen Bay on the east side of the Old Head of Kinsale (An Seancheann). With an inviting coastline not far away from where we had anchored, it was only a matter of time before someone suggested we jump in for a snorkel. Lee, Sue, Victor, Colin, Bjørn and Grant made the swim out to the nearby caves, where we saw spider crabs and edible crabs in the shallow waters, as well as thousands upon thousands of sand eels doing their synchronised dodging of divers’ fins and hungry gulls.

These caves are aesthetically and geologically interesting – the folds of the rocks, and their many different colours, made this a very scenic swim. One cave was open to the sea at its west end, meaning some of us could climb out, doff fins, and walk through to see the rougher waters on that side of the headland. Other rocks provided good resting places from where the scenery could be appreciated.

It was refreshing to be in the water without the burden of huge amounts of kit. Wetsuit snorkelers moved with ease in the water compared with those of us who attempted to snorkel in our cumbersome drysuits. A torch proved useful in the caves, as did an inflated DSMB (for steadying a camera, and for resting one’s head when admiring the avian life and the multi-coloured rocks above).

We resumed our diving that afternoon with a visit to the wreck of the SS City of Chicago.

Taxi! – Divers Cove, 4th August 2013

by Victor
With 5 Sports Diver trainees needing to complete open water lesson SO1, another trip to the lake was necessary. Lee was today’s organiser. Maggie and Ed also came along for a short bimble.

Lee demonstrated a tow, de-kit, landing, rescue breaths and the recovery position, with Frank as the pretend casualty and Victor helping with dragging him out of the water. Jill, Colin, Grant, Bjørn and Tom then completed the exercise themselves (beginning each time with a controlled buoyant lift from the 6m deep platform and later hailing a taxi so as not to raise false alarms), thus ticking off SO1. Most of the group then went for a bimble dive, with Lee and Tom doing some DSMB deployment practice.

Divers Cove still suffers from poor visibility, however it remains easy to get to from our part of London, is well equipped with brand spanking new facilities, has friendly and helpful staff, is very scenic, and was – today – nice and quiet, giving us plenty of space to do our exercises and bimbling. Entry to Divers Cove is now £9 per person, fills are £4.

After packing up we went up the road to The Plough in Bletchingley for a drink and a bit of lunch.

Friday, 26 July 2013

I see the sea and the sea sees our big smiles - Shoreham, 2nd June 2013

by Frank

You probably wondered what a ‘perfect day out’ would look like. Very likely that our recent trip to Shoreham in early June (a non-club dive organised by Ken) falls into this category.

After weeks of rather unsteady weather the 2nd of June looked favorable and it indeed was. Although considering the most unpleasant part is the drive from London down to the coast and back, we were greeted with relatively empty streets, which I can’t say was the case on the way back.

With Shoreham within reach, we saw the sea – and the sea saw us and our big smiles – it was a sunny day, flat sea and within twenty minutes after our arrival at the boat yard we were on Chris West’s boat the ‘Buccaneer’.

Two dives were planned with Victor, Ken and I as a ‘three-some’ and Brett and Jill paired up. Skipper Chris timed the ride over to the Ariel, a twin masted steamer that sank in a collision in 1892, perfectly. Although we experienced strong currents and with initially low visibility within the 1m range, it started to clear up once down at the wreck at 28-30m, especially on the lee-side of the ship’s remains, where there we had plenty of nooks to explore. We even came across a massive lobster hiding away amid broken bit of the cargo hold – unfortunately it hid more than an arm’s length away inside its home and in retrospect the claws were so large, it could have easily caused some damage, so we let the current gently drift us off towards the bow, which looked impressive against the gentle glow coming from the sunlight from above.

Torches were helpful that day to make sense of the broken-up structure of the hull, and shine into even more nooks and crannies in the hope to find something edible. As we found ourselves back at the shotline, I decided to launch my DSMB... well, I should have briefed Ken on my persistence to launch the DSMB regardless to keep those skills up to date  - although the shotline would have been sufficient. With my marker buoy up, we were ‘hanging out’ for a while decompressing and gradually moving up the shotline flying like flags in the current.

We happened to be the first team back on board after just over 30 mins. What did Jill and Brett do? Well, they had an equally good time and considering Jill had only really submerged a couple of times into the treacherous depths that surround Blighty, one could make out a clear sparkle of joy in her eyes after surfacing.

The sunny day continued and it got even sunnier when Skipper Chris dished out coffees and teas, rounded off with loads of Jaffa cakes I bought the day before. None of it was left at the end of the day as you can imagine.

Off to the second dive – drift diving along the so-called Worthing Wall, a collection of rocks with gullies and covered in beautiful anemones. Being a drift dive you've got to be very much awake or you miss most of the critters as you whizz along at speeds of over one knot. At 13m there was sufficient light to appreciate whatever came in to view. Several juvenile and adult catsharks were probably the highlight and if you managed to fin against the current, you were actually able to appreciate these wonderful creatures in a bit more detail, until either the shark had enough of you or the current decided to sweep you along further.

Back on board and after stocking up with more coffee, tea and the remaining Jaffa cakes we were back in Shoreham; slightly sunburned, a bit hungry and dreading the upcoming journey back but hey, it was one of those ‘perfect day dives’, right?