Plymouth – 2020

It was a last minute dash for Michal to join us for the weekend as a space became available at the last moment (Friday afternoon) and he had only 1 hour to finish work and pack up all his gear ready to get a lift down with Neil who kindly took a small detour. I suspect he had the dive gear packed all ready to go!

Once we had all made it down to the luxury caravans at Bovisand Lodge and after a night listening to the wind howl, we motored out of Bovisand harbour at a very leisurely 10am with fairly calm seas.

First up was the HMS Scylla, now absolutely covered in ife – Tim and Michal stumbled across a John Dory at the bow, and the rest of us enjoyed the pretty good vis along with lots of fish. A hot drink and a pasty later, we were back in on the James Eagan Layne – one of the best dives in the UK – with lots of friendly Tompot Blennies, the occasional Congel Eel and crabs.

On our return, suspected tuna were spotted in the distance which turned out to actually be a school of common dolphins. We followed them and watched them jumping and swimming around the boat to everyone’s total delight – definitely the highlight of the trip!

A small mention has to be made of the cylinder incident that happened as the boat was being unloaded on Saturday evening when the slope of the harbour wall meant that a carefully laid down cylinder managed to roll around 90 degrees off the harbour wall and into 2m of water!! The salvage price was 4 cans of Guinness (bargin!) and the not amused owner was reunited with it fairly well undamaged the next morning.

That evening, we continued the fish theme at Rockfish enjoying hake, mussels and the veggie burger along with the (allegedly but hard to get hold of) unlimited chips. We all turned in at a boringly sensible hour for a Saturday night as we had ropes off at 07:30 the next morning.

The trip out to the Persier was a bit bumpy and some divers got completely wet before we had even arrived at the site – thank goodness for drysuits! There was a bit of a current running, and not everyone managed to find the wreck but appetites were whetted for this fantastic wreck – it’s top of the list for the next trip accompanied by Nitrox to make more of the dive.

Final dive was on the Mewstone for a chilled out pootle around the ledges (formed by an ancient riverbed) looking out for the many crayfish hiding in the cracks. There were also a lot of spider crabs around, having not been eaten by the French this year due to lockdown.

As soon as we got back, the next trip was booked in for May 2021 – fingers crossed we can have a full boat and a lot more time underwater.

Swanage – August 1st and 2nd 2020

The trip that wasn’t to be…

Originally planned for the 18th/19th April, Putney’s trip with Divers Down in Swanage was pushed back to the 1st/2nd August due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However it was definitely worth the wait!

The weather was glorious with water temperatures of 18°C and surface conditions calm and sunny. The visibility was a modest 4m all weekend. The numbers on the boat were limited to 6, which gave us plenty of space both above and below the water.

The dives for the first day were planned to Valentine Tanks (15m) and the Fleur de Lys (13m) and both were teeming with life! Plenty of huge Conger Eels, large schoals of Bib and even a few John Dory. Due to the very early start there was
even time for a 3rd dive under Swanage pier for a weight check.

Day number two brought us to the slightly deeper wreck of the Betsy Anna (my personal highlight of the trip). She lies in around 25m with the standout features being the boilers and winches. As to be expected there were plenty of Congers, Crabs, Lobsters and Tompot Blennies. Perhaps best suited to Nitrox as most of the dive is spent close to 25m. Dive two was a relatively fast drift from Old Harry’s Rock towards Swanage Bay. Camerons highlight of this dive was definitely finding a GoPro.

All in all a brilliant weekend and great to get people back in the water after the Lockdown. We’ll be back soon Swanage!

Selsey – July 19th 2020

Desperate to get back in the sea Putney BSAC finally made it out as a club. Keeping covid secure and making sure we stayed aware, we opted for a shore dive as our first outing. Shallow but pleasant, the bimble along East Beach near the lifeboat station reminded everyone what it felt like to damp, wrapped in neoprene, and loving life! Thanks to all those that came and John for his sterling work as shore cover.

 

Putney BSAC in the time of Corona – March 2020 until TBD

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down, Putney BSAC has remained active in the last couple of months. During difficult situations, people rally round and this has definitely been the case for us with members giving up their time to provide talks and lectures via Zoom. We have finished off sports diver and dive leader theory sessions virtually to our trainees and will hopefully be signing off exams in the coming weeks. On top of these we have given lectures on decompression theory, marine life, how to organize a RHIB trip and tsunamis with more topics to follow. Although we can’t wait to get back to the pool and pub, these virtual get togethers are becoming one one of the week’s highlights for some of us.

Pool Games – March 2020

In mid March we held our annual pool games. Originally set for a huge turnout, the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic meant we unfortunately had lower numbers on the night. We chose to still go ahead which was the best decision considering we had a great night and went into lock-down two weeks later.
There was a mix of previous champions, old timers and pool game newbies, all equally competitive for the non existent trophy. The evening saw the return of the underwater relay race and plank challenge, alongside a new addition- tug of war. A huge amount of fun even if it was a little one sided and we all ended up on top of each other. Our last game was the notorious balloon challenge – where teams have to get as many balloons in a crate on the bottom as possible. As always the rule book went out the window and there was plenty of sabotage, masks being pulled off and drama under water. Luckily we weren’t too black and blue at the end of the night and went to celebrate at a local pub.
A great night which we hope to repeat once normality resumes.

CCR Try Dive – February 2020

25th of Feb was a day that opened the secret chamber in the scuba diving life of 7 of our club members. Gill and Nick from Clidive kindly organised a taster for a closed circuit rebreather in our own Putney leisure center pool. After setting up 2 shiny AP Evolution beauties and receiving short a introduction into how these things operate, we took turns trying them out. What should I say – the breathing is different, buoyancy is different but grin on all our faces say it all…. and … guess what … no bubbles…. Debrief happened in the Rocket pub as usual and we started talking about selling boats, limbs, kidneys and livers (well…) to buy some of these CCR  (for me I spent next day on checking the prices of different brands,… but yeah they are expensive). Massive, massive thanks to Gill and Nick and who knows maybe we can explore more options in the near future …

O2 Course

On 26th January we held our annual oxygen administration course at the Hurlingham Yacht Club. There was a good turn out of 5 instructors and 10 trainees. Over a mixture of practical and theory sessions we covered basic life support, casualty assessment, oxygen administration and diving incidents. Though we hope never to have to use these skills, the club encourages all members to keep up to date with them. A fun day was had by all, however Resussi Annie was exhausted at the end.

Nemo Trip, Belgium – November 2019

 

 

Late November saw five club members head off for a weekend trip to a lesser-known diving location; namely Belgium.

Our destination was the custom-built Nemo 33 diving facility, an indoor pool, as the name suggests, some 33 meters deep.

Our first choice of transport was the Eurostar to Brussels, but tracks were up for maintenance that weekend. British Airways provided a smooth flight from Heathrow and the local train from the airport saw us in town before lunchtime. We had time for a quick spin around the tourist sights in the center before Ubering out to Nemo33.

The dive center is situated a just outside the center in an industrial and business park. In addition to the pool, there is a bar, a Thai restaurant and a dive shop.

We had reserved our dive in advance, and shortly before were shown through to the changing rooms. The pool is very warm (some thirty degrees or so) so all is needed are swimming costumes, masks, fins and a dive computer (compulsory). Tip – bring plenty of 50c pieces for the lockers.

Kit was efficiently issued (included in the 25 Euro fee) and we had a short dive briefing before heading in. There was one other party of roughly seven divers and we swiftly headed down. The upper pool is larger with a variety of environments (overheads, air pockets etc) , we headed for the tube-shaped lower section and achieved maximum depth ahead of the pack. The pool was comfortably warm but surprisingly dark at the bottom .

Gradually ascending, we were able to enjoy the rest of the pool , exiting some 50 minutes after we first got in. A quick change saw us enjoying the first of many Belgium beers in Nemo33s bar.

We returned to town where the evening’s entertainment consisted of some excellent Belgian food, including the well known mussels and chips. Club members were determined to make the most of the warm Belgian hospitality and we discovered a charming Bohemian-style bar below our Air B&B (thank you Helen for booking), where we joined the locals untill the early hours.

We will look forward to our next visit, although we have now heard of an ever deeper pool in Italy!