Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Buckland - 19th July 2015

Buckland again! The club has welcomed so many new members this year, these monthly lake trips are proving to be a good idea. Today's trip was the best-attended so far, with 11 of us in the water. Errol, Miro and Georgi did open water dives (for their Ocean Diver training) with Lee and Ken, Sally and colleague George dived together, Victor dived with Sara, and even Big Kev dusted off his leaky drysuit for a rare dip in UK waters, buddying with Daniel who was testing his twin set. Clive provided shore cover and useful assistance.

Water temperatures were as high as 19 degrees in the shallows, dropping to around 16 degrees at 10 metres. Visibility was good, away from the busier parts of the lake. The sun shone for part of the day, decent dive times were achieved, training dives were completed, and we visited the cafe at the other end of the lake after our dives.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Bermondsey BSAC BBQ - 18th July 2015

Around 20 members (past and present) gathered for this year's club barbecue, kindly hosted by Teresa in the Peckham/East Dulwich borderlands. Alex did a great job as chef again. Thanks, Teresa, for having us.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Shoreham - 11th July 2015

by Ben

On the 11th of July 8 members of the club went on a sea dive out of Shoreham. With clear blue skies and a comfortable 16 degrees water temperature, we set out on the 1.5 hour journey on the Buccaneer to the first of the day's dive - the "Ore Wreck". Previously know as the Concha, she was a Belgian steamer weighing 883 tonnes and sank following a collision with another ship called Saint Filians, after a 20 year long career in 1897. Vis of 6m meant that what little remains of the Wreck other than the exposed cargo of iron ore, such as the stern propeller, were visible. 

Following the first dive, sea-sickness was beginning to get to myself and Ken, making us even keener to get into the water for our second dive - the Jaffa. The Jaffa was a 1400 tonne armed (4-7 inch guns) merchant ship built in 1897. She was sunk by a German torpedo on 2/2/1918 with the loss of 10 lives. The wreck was very much intact with 3 boilers clearly visible. Huge lobsters seemed to appear around every other corner (though somewhat elusive to Pat). Another highlight of the dive was Ross and Colin's world record-breaking attempt at the longest decompression stop - only ascending after a painstaking 25 minutes. All in all, both dives offered a great opportunity to explore and a great first taste of a sea dive for me. 

by Clive

Saturday 11th July just couldn't come round quick enough! We had a day's diving booked at Shoreham-on-Sea onboard the excellent dive boat Buccaneer. The reports of warm water, excellent underwater visibility in the Channel and warm weather above were making the wait very painful indeed.... The days sure did tick slowly past! 

At last it was upon us, The Saturday dawned bright, but a tad windy and it took some clever planning by Sally Homer (dive Marshall) and boat skipper Chris, to give us a plan to fit in two wreck dives and then be back home snug in harbour before the expected wind speed rise increased too far in the afternoon. Their plan worked superbly, ropes were duly "off" at 09.30 and on board were the usual suspects of Sally, Pat, Ross, Lee, Colin, Ken and myself, joined on this notable day by Ben Udall who was itching to get in the water for his first ever sea dives.

Our ride out was a little lively but we arrived at the the first wreck "The Ore Wreck" in ample time. Once kitted up we pulled ourselves down the line to find that the effort was well worth it, the viz was 8 metres or more and the ship was laid out below us like an architect's drawing! It looked like a ship and was ready to be explored. Not that the ship was easy to see - there were so many fish, that at times you couldn't see where you were going! And as for the other residents, every nook and cranny had an occupant. There were crabs, lobsters and scallops in abundance, some of which made their way into young Ben's goody bag! 

Everybody came safety up and the talk was all about just how good a dive that was. Possibly one of the best? But ....that reputation lasted for only an hour... Now we were ready to explore the "The Jaffa". The Skipper was again spot on with the shot and down we went to find yet another spectacular wreck, again teeming with life and even better visibility to see them with. Numerous good size crabs and lobsters, sometimes even in pairs! The wreck was shallow, the water warm and there was lots to see. It genuinely was a shame to have to come up! But of course we did and Ben's mask was now filling with water due to his huge grin and sheer excitement! Congratulations to Ben for completing his first two sea dives, although it was impossible for everybody not to enjoy what could easily be two of the best UK sea dives of this season.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Bermondsey BSAC committee meeting - 9th July 2015

Bermondsey BSAC committee meeting, 09/07/2015
Venue: Teresa’s
In attendance: Pat, Clive, Lee, Teresa, Ken, Victor
Apologies: Ross, Colin, Chris

2016 dive list
  • Chris has booked Pembrokeshire. Plymouth trip is also booked.
  • Lundy trip is likely to be in late July. Victor contacted other branches that will be turning 60 next year, with the intention of splitting the boat. Ipswich and Bath branches have expressed interest.
  • Pat to speak with Woody re: Weymouth trip.
  • Agreed to run Swanage weekend trip 15-16/08/2016 [post-meeting note: we meant 13-14/08/2016].
  • Red Sea trip planned for February half term (starts 15/02/2016). The level of difficulty should be set so that newly-qualified divers are not excluded, although we don’t yet know who from the club will be interested in this trip. Needs to be announced to members soon, to get an idea of numbers. Trip will be a 1-week liveaboard, and will form part of the club’s 60th anniversary celebrations. Equipment (including wetsuits) can usually be rented on such trips.
  • Agreed to run day dives from the south coast from June to October. Organisation of these can form part of Dive Leader training. Keen divers can book themselves onto additional dives if they wish.
  • Agreed to carry on doing monthly lake trips. The timing of these trips will be set so as to avoid neap weekends, if possible.
  • Timings of neaps next year are challenging. This might mean reverse profiling, getting up earlier or starting dives later in the day.
  • With the bookings so far, the assumed date of Scubafest, and the monthly lake trips, an initial 2016 dive list can now be circulated to members.

2015 dive list
  • There are a few empty spaces on the Falmouth trip, due to drop-outs. Also, Sally and Clive will not be diving on the Saturday.
  • Weymouth trip needs more takers. This trip can be made suitable to newer members.
  • Brighton dive on 27/09/2015 has been cancelled, mainly due to its proximity to the Dieppe trip. The club didn’t lose a deposit for this cancellation.
  • Unclear why the 25/10/2015 dive is on the list – although it was minuted in previous committee meetings as being proposed and then booked, nobody recalls booking it, and skipper has no booking for that date on his website [post-meeting note: this trip will be deleted from the dive list, as will the cancelled Brighton dive, and the Poole weekend].
  • Several students have signed up for the next lake trip, and Swanage.
  • Victor to ask Daniel to post updated dive list on website.

  • Training is progressing well.
  • Next Wednesday 3 people will need to do a lecture and a pool lesson in preparation for the July lake trip. Ken suggested doing the lecture at/before the barbecue, and is willing to do it.
  • There have been 11 try-divers in recent months who have not (yet) joined the club. Victor to inform them by email that an Ocean Diver course will begin on 12/08/2015 (with both a lecture and pool lesson in one evening).
  • Another try-dive, and a new member’s skills review, need to be included in the training schedule.
  • More volunteering from the club’s instructor pool is needed, to help spread the jobs. Emails to individuals may help.
  • Kim is to retrieve the box of club fins this week.

60th anniversary
  • Pat to top and tail his draft email to the club, setting out ideas for events, and requesting expressions of interest. Red Sea and Scapa trips will be highlighted.
  • Individual members have been asked if they could take on organising a 60th anniversary social event, but nobody has volunteered yet.

Grant funding application
  • This is being worked on by Sally. Teresa to provide information re: safeguarding for application.
  • Buying wetsuits was discussed again. Grant funding might also be used for buying new jackets. Club’s jackets are serviceable but old.
  • Noted that capital funding probably can’t be spent on equipment rental.

  • 18 people have paid so far. Victor to email club again, including Teresa’s bank details.
  • Music needed for barbecue – Clive to sort this out.

  • Clive has uploaded text to the new website, which was created by Daniel.
  • Ken to devote some time to website.
  • Victor to do white water rafting trip report.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

White water rafting, Lee Valley - 5th July 2015

White water rafting is more or less the same thing as scuba diving (minus some of the equipment), so the club ventured up to the northeastern edges of London to visit the Lee Valley White Water Centre, one of the retained Olympic legacy venues. Clive organised the trip. 

We arrived half an hour early to check in, were issued with wetsuits, boots, helmets and PFDs, and were split into 2 groups of 7 people, each with an instructor. After a briefing and an optional first dip in the lower pond, we all had to jump in and do a swim test in the rapids, which was great fun and which Ben referred to as "sick" (youthspeak for "good"). We then received instruction on how not to fall out of our inflatable rafts (and how to climb back in if you do), learnt which end of a paddle went in the water, and began our circuits of the Olympic slalom. 

Eamon took Georgi, Maria, Ross, Steve, Ben, Victor and Daniel, and gave us 5 runs, each time adding something more challenging like riding the surf that powered through the human-made channels. It wasn't long before someone fell in. Some managed it more than once, and Ross even achieved a half circuit of the course without a raft underneath him. Everyone was safe, though, given the equipment we were issued with, and the several members of staff that lined the route to help people who had become detached from their rafts.

The other group, comprising Maggie, Teresa, Sally, Sara, Vinay, Clive and Colin, claimed to have had nobody fall in, which obviously cannot be true. Another group - not linked to the talented rafters of Bermondsey BSAC - saw their raft capsize, leaving the whole group clawing their way to dry land as we cruised by with most of our group still on board. We sympathised.

The venue is incredibly well designed, and enables efficient kitting up and briefing. There are lockers, and a cafe upstairs overlooking the slalom, where we debriefed later on. An on-site photographer hovered. Paths all around the site enable spectators to come and watch people like us master the art of rafting (or falling in). The cost was £50 per person, and groups of certain size receive a bar voucher. 

Brilliant day out. Thanks, Clive.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Weymouth – 27th-28th June 2015

by Pat

We had the first of our two weekends in Weymouth this year on the 27 and 28 June. The weather forecast was good and did not let us down – the only time it rained most of us were under water. 8 of us from Bermondsey dived this weekend, plus Ian and Pete from Derbyshire and (on the Sunday) Giulia and Katharina from Imperial/Chelsea and Fulham branches. Dave was aboard and assisted.

The first dive on Saturday was a drift on the bow of the Black Hawk, a small wreck in 15m. We dropped into the water and drifted onto the wreck. The visibility was about 15m, masses of fish life, crabs, nudibranchs and crustaceans. After twenty five minutes on the wreck we drifted off across the sea bed for one of the highlights of the dive – a particularly aggressive wrasse who picked a fight first with Andy (see photo) then with Pat. We then came across a large cuttlefish, changing colours as we watched it.  The second dive of the day was on the Alex, again with swimming pool visibility, where we saw plenty of life including several congers.

After a great day’s diving we all went out for dinner in the evening to an Italian on Brewers Quay to relive the day.

On the Sunday we drift-dived the Lulworth Banks in the morning and finished the weekend in the afternoon with a 30m dive on the Aeolian Sky, a big wreck that is a real treat with the great visibility we had again, although the strong current (we missed slack water) meant it was a challenging and short dive for some of us. Nudibranchs and plenty of fish were seen.