Monday, 25 July 2016

Gildenburgh Water training dives - 17th July 2016

Another sunny day. Another successful lake dive.

Shoreham - 9th July 2016

Rough seas today put a few people off, but a hardy hardcore ventured out, and did just the one dive - the SS City of Waterford, near Beachy Head.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

South Uist snorkel - Wednesday 6th July 2016

by Victor

The seas around the Outer Hebrides were looking pretty clear in the week before this snorkel trip, so I was looking forward to getting in the water with Tom Rossi of Benbecula Freedive and Fitness (, who operates from Balivanich.

Tom was able to accommodate my request for a late start. We met at his well-stocked kit room where we had plenty of time for kitting up, and then drove the 30 minutes in Tom's van to Loch Sgiopoirt, a sea loch on the east side of South Uist. Parking on an unmade road, Tom did a briefing, providing information about tides, currents, weather, and safety. We had easy access to the water next to an old jetty. After a quick weight check (9kg made sure I didn't knacker myself treading water, but could still duck dive), we ventured eastwards along the beautiful steep rocky shores of the loch. 

There was an enormous amount of life in those few metres of water - starfish, butterfish, anemones, urchins, wee fish, little green shore crabs, other crabs I didn't recognise from dives back home, and a variety of seaweeds including kelp. Visibility had been reduced to 2 or 3 metres due to the weather (it's usually a lot clearer), but we could still see a lot, and we didn't need torches. We were in the water for something like 4 hours, but I didn't feel cold - the kit I used was a good fit, and swimming against a gentle current (for half the session) helped warm me up. Also, we stopped for hot tea before and halfway through the session, eating Twixes on a large area of flat rock carpeted with bladderwrack. We laughed at the rain.

Safety was covered thoroughly. Today's site was chosen as conditions weren't suitable elsewhere, Tom has a UHF radio and let me know where to get a mobile signal in the event of an emergency, and we both snorkelled with knives in case of fishing line/net entanglement (which didn't happen). 

Tom provides kit hire, company and a lift to the site. He runs these trips all year, knows the area well (he grew up here and has a long list of suitable sites, some accessed using his small boat), is very patient and enthusiastic about snorkelling, and is good company. 

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Bermondsey BSAC 60th anniversary BBQ - 2nd July 2016

Over 40 members (past and present, plus families) gathered at Ross's place on the 2nd of July for the club's annual summer bash. This year's BBQ was a 60th-anniversary special, with people coming from all over the UK.

Thanks Ross (and family!) for hosting. Thanks also to Alex for being chef again, Audrey for the cake, and everyone else who helped out.

Weymouth weekend - 25th and 26th June 2016

by Daniel

Another visit to Weymouth for Bermondsey BSAC. The weather for the weekend was reasonable but with a constant Westerly wind whipping up a 4/5, so we did the logical thing for our first dive on Woody's RW Two (our skipper this time was Paul as Woody was temporarily out of action) and headed round Portland Bill and into the wind. After about an hour of lumpy sailing sense started to creep in and we decided to head east and for more sheltered water. I had brought my twinset down this weekend to practice using it and as such I was buddied up with Ken for the Saturday. We were joined by a few of Pat's friends from another club to fill the boat – everyone was in a reasonably jovial mood despite the darkness looming over us all given the recent political storm in the UK.

The first dive, a wreck, went reasonably well – apart from my usual buoyancy troubles. There was a bit of a current running over the wreck so moving around it in some orientations became challenging. Lots of life moving around – saw plenty of shoals of different fish as well as the usual lobsters and crabs and other smaller critters.

The second dive, the Black Hawk wreck, was basically a disaster for me. My buoyancy control worsened to the point where I abandoned my safety stop and just went up the DSMB line and waited for Ken and Pat at the surface. So I didn't see much, spending all my time over-correcting. But I was told by my buddies that there was some nice life on the wreck.

Saturday evening saw the group head out to a local Italian restaurant for dinner Рnot the greatest of experiences. Confusion over whether two wines, that were clearly different colours (one clearly a ros̩, the other white), were actually different, and a lesson delivered by Ken for the benefit of the waiting staff over whether or not mushrooms were vegetables.

Sunday was much better – I re-routed some hoses on my twinset and removed a couple of kilos of lead from my belt and went in with Lee. We decided to dive the Black Hawk a second time as the tide was more favourable this time. Lee and I had a great dive – though there was still some running current that couldn't make up its mind which way it was pulling us. But it meant that we kept circling the wreck and seeing the vast array of life swimming all around it. I topped up for the second dive from a 15 litre I'd brought with me so Lee and I would have more bottom time. Another wreck, again covered with life. My buoyancy finally under control I was able to just enjoy the dive and at the end I successfully completed a mid-water DSMB deployment – something I'd been trying to do for months. A great end to a packed weekend.

Sunday, 10 July 2016