Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Solstice lake dive – Sunday 21st June 2015

Buckland again for the club’s 4th lake dive of the year. Thought had been given to doing shore dives at Seaford instead, however it was decided that a less tidal site was needed for today’s training. Ben went in with Clive to do his first open water dives, while Vinay completed his with Lee, bringing him tantalisingly close to becoming Ocean Diver qualified. 

Buckland was quieter than it was the last time we visited, so we had a decent amount of space for kitting up, briefing, debriefing, sunbathing, dragonfly spotting, solstice celebrating and eating cake.

Ross, Victor and guest star Frank dived as a trio, doing a 64-minute sightseeing tour to depths of up to 12 metres. It was good to be able to do a relaxing dive, seeing the various aeroplanes, boats, pumphouse well, plastic shark and gnome garden in relatively good visibility (5 metres in places) and decent temperatures (17 degrees at 6 metres, 13 degrees at 12 metres). The sun shone for some of the morning. 5 of us went in for a second dive, and we were all done by 2pm.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Achievement in instruction

Bermondsey BSAC 42 has recently received recognition for achieving the 3rd most new Open Water Diving Instructors in 2014 of all of BSAC's branches. Well done Ken for qualifying as an instructor last year.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Bermondsey BSAC committee meeting - 17th June 2015

Venue: Seven Islands Leisure Centre
In attendance: Pat, Teresa, Lee, Clive, Ken, Chris, Ross, Victor
Apologies: Colin
Chair: Pat

  • Agreed that the club will buy 2 sets of regs. Ross/Lee to enquire at Amphibian [post-meeting note: James at Amphibian advised a £270 Oceanic reg set would be suitable, and includes parts for life].
  • Training is going well. Ben and Vinay are to do a lake dive on 21/06/2015. Georgi, Miro and others should be ready for a lake dive in July. Swanage dives are booked for the 4 people who have signed up so far, and more students could join that trip. Sara is now qualified as an Ocean Diver.
  • The club has seen a good proportion of try-divers joining the club to do their dive training.
  • A new cohort of Ocean Diver trainees could start in late July. Victor to let recent try-divers know when they could start training.
  • Try-dives are scheduled for 01/07/2015 and 08/07/2015. Another 2 people want to do a try-dive on 08/07/2015, but this may have to happen on 15/07/2015.
  • For pool training, students need to be in the water at 9pm to avoid slippage in the training programme. This means kit assembly and briefings need to be done before 9pm. Students also need to arrive on time [post-meeting note: weekly emails will no longer mention 9pm starts for pool lessons, and will request students arrive at 8.30pm for briefing, changing and kit assembly]. Everyone in the club can assist instructors and help make sure that training starts at 9pm. If late starts continue we may need to designate a pool marshal who would be responsible for ensuring training starts on time.
  • BSAC sent the club a certificate, confirming we were the branch (or one of the branches) to have achieved the third most new Open Water Diving Instructors in 2014. Well done, Ken!
  • Weymouth trip in June still has 2 or 3 empty spaces, despite it being widely promoted. Ken has found 2 divers online.
  • For the Poole weekend in July, Victor emailed skipper last year to confirm booking, but skipper never replied and was not chased. His group for that weekend has booked all spaces, and plans to dive to 60 metres. We would have had to have cancelled that trip anyway, with only 4 people signed up. Of those 4, only 1 expressed interest in an alternative trip, so nothing else has been organised.
  • Shoreham day dive in July is now full.
  • Weymouth trip in September could be suitable for newly-qualified divers.
  • Agreed that standard charge for diving will be increased to £50/diver/day, as many skippers have increased their prices. Victor to update dive list.
  • 2016 dive calendar discussed. Pat has prepared a list of neap weekends. South coast skippers aren’t likely to be taking 2016 bookings yet. Provisional plan agreed as follows:
    • Red Sea – February half term.
    • Scubafest – early May bank holiday.
    • Pembrokeshire – late May bank holiday (Chris to organise).
    • Lundy – possibly early July (Victor) [post-meeting note: this is more likely to happen in late July, and may be dependent on another club agreeing to take half the boat’s spaces].
    • Plymouth – August bank holiday (Victor).
    • Scapa Flow – already booked for October by Ken.
    • Somewhere warm – late November, Malta and Cyprus were considered.
  • There was disagreement regarding organising a Weymouth weekend. These trips have proved difficult to fill this year [post-meeting note: Pat, Clive and Lee subsequently discussed this in the pub, and a Weymouth trip is now provisionally planned for the weekend of 25-26/06/2016 – Pat to speak with Woody].
  • Next meeting date to be confirmed, but likely to be 07 or 09/07/2015.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Not the pizza bus social - Friday 12th June 2015

Much to our surprise, the Crust Conductor pizza bus – which had been parked outside the arches of the Brick Brewery in Peckham – had moved on to do the festivals by the time we got round to visiting for this club social organised by Teresa. No problem, though – after gathering for drinks in the yard of the brewery the 9 of us (including all 3 of the club’s Peckham contingent) went on to Anderson and Co on Bellenden Road and ate very well there. Good call, Teresa. The evening involved a little rain, some planning of dives, and much highlighting of the lack of a pizza bus. Most of us dispersed after 10pm, with a few carrying on to a nearby pub. Next club socials: whitewater rafting in the Lee Valley on 5th July and the club barbecue at Teresa’s on 18th July.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Pembrokeshire – 23rd-25th May 2015

The club hadn’t been to Pembrokeshire for a while, so a trip was organised for the late May bank holiday weekend. 10 of us from Bermondsey went, with Barbora and Giulia from Imperial branch filling the remaining 2 places on the big orange dive boat Overdale. Brian (of Dive in2 Pembrokeshire) was our skipper, with Mike, Paul and Alex helping and doing some skippering over the weekend.

Following a relatively easy load-in on the outside of Milford Haven marina (free parking available close to ramp) and a leisurely kitting-up as we made our way out of the ria and out towards Skomer and Skokholm, diving began on Saturday with visits to High Point and the Pinnacles, where depths of up to 21 metres and dive times of up to 56 minutes were achieved. Not a bad start to the weekend – visibility was up to 4 metres, water temperatures were 10 to 13 degrees, and dogfish, nudibranchs and many spider crabs were seen on these scenic dives. Unfortunately a weight belt was lost at High Point, but Brian helped out with a loan of a harness.

On Sunday we dived The Lucy, an upright wreck whose deck sits at about 36 metres. Some of us went to the wreck first for a quick look and then headed south to Rye Rocks, others spent the entire dive either on the wreck or the shallower reef – these 2 dive sites offer something for everyone in a group with varied interests.  The second dive at White Lady was scenic.

Monday involved dive sites less far out, chosen so we could get back to harbour earlier and begin our journeys home. The Dakotian is an interesting freighter, sunk in 1940 near Dale. Some of the group entered the wreck, taking care not to disturb the silty bottom. Plenty of wildlife in good light and visibility meant decent photos of candy striped flatworms and other critters were taken. A current over the top of the wreck gave us some exercise, but wasn’t too challenging. Some of us sat out the second dive, but those who did it (The Greek) reported the best visibility of the weekend at around 8 metres.

Brian and his crew were excellent – patient, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about diving. Special mention needs to be made of Mike’s excellent boat manoeuvre which he executed when we arrived back at harbour on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the crew we also got some views of seals and puffins during our surface intervals, and on Monday we moored at Dale and were able to stretch our legs for 20 minutes between dives. Fills were easy – we loaded cylinders onto Brian’s trailer at the end of each day, put in our requests, and they were ready for us the next morning. Overdale has a head and a lift, and a decent amount of space (including a cabin that could probably accommodate all of us)

We stayed at various B&Bs including Scoveston Grove and the Ferry House Inn (both recommended). We ate well at Halen Mor on Saturday, and most of the group met up again at Martha’s Harbour (also good) on Sunday evening. Brian provided packed lunches (£5/person/day) for those that requested them.

Journey times were around 7 hours outward (for those of us who took the Friday off work and left London in the morning), and 6 hours back (leaving Milford Haven at 3pm-ish). The weather was generally brilliant – other than some drizzle on Saturday morning (a lot less than had been forecast), we enjoyed sunshine all weekend.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Buckland training trip - 17th May 2015

Gates opened early again today, and we joined the many other divers visiting Buckland that morning. The Bermondsey lot - doing our 3rd lake trip of the year - comprised Lee, Sara, Clive, Ken, Ed, Victor and Vinay, with Sally kindly doing shore cover, and despite our numbers we got demoted to the cramped benches nearest to the water when a diving school arrived. Sunshine and cake made up for this, though.

Sara and Vinay ticked off Ocean Diver sheltered water lessons (Sara completing hers), Victor finally got DO1 done (thanks, Ken), and Ed shook down. For some of us it was good to get in the water in preparation for the Pembrokeshire trip the following weekend.

Water was 14 degrees at the surface, 9 degrees in the coldest parts. Visibility varied.

After 2 dives, an unlawful confiscation of ankle weights, and more cake, some of us visited Buckland's new cafe (and ceramics shop) for signing off qualification records and post-dive banter.