Littlehampton – 29th May 2022

After being asked if there was any diving for Ocean divers in April in the coming months. I rapidly setup up a dive for Ocean divers and above out of Newhaven for the 29th May. With a couple of weeks to go before the dive the Newhaven skipper called to say he had sold the boat, so we were left high and dry. A quick look around and a Facebook post and we were back in business on Aquanaut just a little further west along the coast in Littlehampton.

So early on Sunday the 29th May, 8 of us met up at Littlehampton the sun was shining as we left the harbour and headed out on the hour steam to the Concha wreck once there and all kitted up it was in to the water. As we made our way down it was clear (or not) that the visibility was not bad, but a plankton bloom was upon us reducing the overall visibility. The Concha is well broken up wreck with the main area being the boiler another structure that none of us could identify and a small prop at the stern. The wreck was full of life with Bib/pouting, crabs, tompot blennies, lobsters (one large one), squat lobsters, congers, a nudibranch and for one lucky dive pair a fair size cuttlefish.

The 2nd dive was on the Waldrons reef just outside Littlehampton harbour is a nice little drift with plenty of life. Highlights included Dogfish (Catshark), thornback rays, ballan wrasse and tompot blennies.

The Crew

Anna, Brian, Byron, Emma, Helen (Guest), Mark, Michal and Nick Harrison.

Credit – Brian (Chairman and Trip Organiser)

Selsey East Beach – 30th April 2022

After a week’s delay due to high winds, eight Putney BSAC members drove to Selsey East beach for a day by the sea and two shore dives. We based ourselves just east of the existing lifeboat centre and walked the kit from the road to set up ready for the first dive.

After a dive briefing, the first wave started ~ 9am, this was aiming to be roughly 4 hour before high water scheduled at 12:15. It was a good first dive for all, with plenty of life including many spider crabs and also a juvenile ray and a cat shark. As high tide was approaching, exiting after the dive was manageable and the group enjoyed the surface interval lazing in the sun. 

We waited patiently for the current to stop running, with the recommended dive time of 3 hours high tide, the second wave started at 2:30. Another good dive, with slightly better vis (almost 5m), with more crabs and cat sharks and even a pipefish found showing the variety of life you can see at just 5m depth. The downside of shore diving was more obvious on the exit of the second dive, with low tide on its way, it made for a long and tiring walk back up the beach to dekit.

It was a successful day and a good way to get ready for the UK diving season. Note to self – you can burn in April in the UK even if it’s only 12degrees.

Credit – Nic (Comms Officer and Trip Organiser) 

Swanage – 9th April 2022

Second week of April seen our club on first sea diving trip to Swanage. Weather forecast was not great, and temperatures were low, weather changed and we had a lovely sunny weekend, temperature not so much and we had to scrub the ice on car windscreens in the morning… 4 dives conducted – Valentines tanks and Fluer de Lys on first day is classic Swanage diving day in the bay with lots of life and surprising okish vis.

On Sunday we went out to SS Clan MacVey wreck, which was a wreck that none of us dived before followed by a drift over Peveril ledges + done some scalloping (where in total we collected £100+ worth of scallops, under watchful eyes of skipper Bryan to make sure all were well above the landing sizes – so big success as well).

Nice weekend with lot of fun (although most on my costs as usual)… Elodie finished her Ocean Diver qualifying dives and Andrew the same for Dive leader – well done to both. I must say that diver of the month goes to Elodie who braved the dives in the wet suit and did really well, more over Elodie also mastered perfectly (i.e. confidently and assertively) her first time as assistant dive manager! Well done Elodie (although next time Elodie pls pls go to pilot house between the dives – I was freezing just by looking at you) !!

Many thanks also to Bryan from Swanage boat charter who skippered the Viper and also crew in Cumulus Outdoor center where we felt well looked after (I will not quote all pubs we visited during the weekend – it would be long list…). Lastly but not less importantly – some people though need to think about their behaviour … – no Nick – its not ok to steal the DSMB from your DO during the dive and trying to nick his scalloping bag as well !!!

Credit – Michal (DO and Trip Organiser)

02 Admin Course – 26th March 2022

As we are nearing the diving season and with plenty of DL trainees working through their theory PSAC ran the annual O2 Admin course.
It had been a bit of time since the last course (due to COVID) so it was a great day refreshing skills and getting up to speed with Basic life Support, Administering Oxygen and considerations for AEDs.
Credit – George (Training Officer and Training Organiser)
In addition, huge thank you to all the instructors that helped out on the day – we can’t do this without you! 

Stoney Cove – 19th March 2022

Long time no see Stoney! PSACs last quarry dive before getting salty saw a few more divers come out of hibernation to make sure all gear was functional before Swanage next month.
This trip saw an extension to a full weekend with a stay booked at Casa del Mary-rose courtesy of Helen back over from Northern Ireland.
The first day started with an ill advised trip to the 6m shelf, with almost none existent vis for a bit of skills practice and various tours of Stoney, taking in all of the highlights
Saturday saw the group take in a well deserved trip to TGI Friday, for a vast amount of food and laughs in equal measure.
On Sunday, more brave PSACers turned up for dives involving a mix of training and fun dives, with divers practising twinset and adp skills ahead of the summer.
A fun weekend had by all and lots learnt ahead of the summer: always remember to put your weightbelt in the car, If you put your iphone in your outer drysuit pocket then take it out before you go for a dive, If it looks slippery it probably is!
Divers: George, Charles, Brian, Michal, Helen, Andrew, Cam, Tim, Liam
Credit: George (Trip Organiser and Training Officer) & Charles

Stoney Cove – 19th February 2022

Freezing February is where proper divers are made and three brave souls risked frostbite for a dip in Stoney cove.
Originally planned for NDAC, but with the sad news of its closure to the public the venue was changed to Stoney Cove… a first for me since watching my parents dive there many moons ago.
Andrew, Mark and myself completed some twinset drills and backup DSMB deployments to keep ourselves fresh ahead of the season. Mark managed to get through a bit more of his Dive Leader training too!
Although a bit cold a cracking day washed down with a nice pint of Guinness in the pub!
Credit – George (Trip Organiser and Training Officer)

Egypt: M/Y Firebird, Wrecks and Reefs Itinerary – 10th February 2022

In July 2021, just as Covid looked like it was starting to go away, Egypt opened up its borders again to divers. With it, a wide array of liveaboards, inaccessible for so many months, looked an enticing way to kick start the 2022 diving season. With a week of leave locked in for me over February half term, I announced at our dive planning meeting in October 2021 that I would be going on this trip, and anyone else was welcome to join me. A few people expressed some tentative interest, but ultimately Byron was the only other person who was willing to take the Covid risk. And as Omicron tried its hardest to ruin Christmas, it felt for a while as if everyone else in the club were the smart ones.

Luckily come February, not only had Omicron been dealt with, but the Government had decided that Covid travel testing was also a thing of the past, so we boarded our flight to Hurghada. After battling our way through the airport scrum, we got our visas, had our passports stamped and were taken to the M/Y Firebird – home for the next week. On board we met our dive guide, Chris, British friends Helen and Peter and solo Polish diver Arec. We were told four more Austrian divers would be arriving during the night before we set sail in the morning.

Our first check dives were at Gota Abu Ramada reef, a short hop from Hurghada. We each demonstrated that we could complete all our drills (some more successfully than others) and saw an Eagle Ray, Spotted Ray, Barracuda and Lion fish. We also got to know our group – Arec was more at home in the water than on the boat as he swam laps around the rest of us, while Helen and Peter dazzled us with their amazing photography skills. We then got back on the boat for a vomit-inducing all-night journey to the Brother Islands. After seeing a school of Banner fish at the Little Brother, we then completed two dives at the Big Brother, with a trip on to the Island and to the top of the Lighthouse in between.

The next day was our first wreck of the week (it was the Wrecks and Reefs Itinerary after all) as we dived the Chrisoula K. After a photo by the prop, we went in to the hold and finally to the engine room. A fantastic wreck. After breakfast we did the Giannis D, again going in as far as the engine room. Thank goodness for Chris, our amazing guide, as with the ship lying at 45 degrees on the sea bed, we all would still be inside now without his excellent navigation. After spying some dolphins on our way back to the Firebird, we ate lunch on our way to the SS Thistlegorm.

Our first dive in the afternoon we circumnavigated the entire ship, seeing the prop, the guns on the stern, tanks and motorbikes. Then that evening I did a night dive with Peter, exploring the main superstructure. It was like diving in an aquarium with fish life all around us, however unlike an aquarium the current was incredibly strong and we both looked like flags in a strong breeze as we hung on to the boat line during our safety stop. The following morning, we penetrated the lower cargo hold while after breakfast we did the upper cargo deck, kitchen and bridge.

And so, the wreck part of the itinerary was sadly completed, as the wind (and therefore current) picked up for the rest of the week. Next, we ventured to Umm Ush reef, where we saw eels, nudibranchs, gobi and urchins during the day, in addition to hermit crabs, cornet fish, feather sea stars and a puffer fish that night. We then visited Siyul Soraya and Siyul Keber the next day before a couple of dives at Shaab El Erg, where we saw a massive Napoleon Ray and a Napolean Rass. We finished up the trip at Umm Gamar before heading back to dry land to off-gas with some beers at an all-inclusive hotel!

Many thanks to Byron for keeping me company all week, to all the boat crew for being amazing, and to new friends Helen, Peter and Arec.

Credit – Adam (Trip Organiser)

Boat Handling Course – 22nd January 2022

After some hard work giving our new RIB (Femti) a bit of TLC towards the back end of 2021 and early 2022 it was time to run our annual Boathandling course.
Tactically chosen for the cold winter months to ensure we have plenty of keen boat handlers ahead of the diving season, four members (Andrew, Charlie, Henry and George) braved the cold Thames.
Saturday was our theory day excellently provided by Steve. We even managed a brief launch and recovery with the old RIB (Putney Diver) and a small amount of boat handling practice.
Sunday was the big practical day: Nick took Putney Diver out with Andrew, Charlie & Henry for their drills and Steve took Femti out with George (with Michal and Brian) to check her over again after a bit of trouble shooting on the engine and to practice the relevant drills for the Boathandling course.
A great day out and lots of knowledge passed on, ready for using on the south coast very soon!
Credit – George (Training Officer)

Vobster – 15th January 2022

Organising a trip to an inland lake should be easy right.

Announced in October 2021 a trip to Vobster in January, I wasn’t expecting much interest but slowly I was getting more people interested and by Christmas I had 11 nutters sorry divers and 1 spectator. Usually organising a trip to an inland lake is easy tell people where and when to turn up and jump in the lake, but during a pandemic the lakes have changed the entry rules. Vobster being my initial preference now has membership rules, so I looked at NDAC which just before Christmas announced it was closing for January, Stoney Cove was mentioned as alternative as well as a few lesser-known lakes. Then though a contact of John Heagney now encamped in Bath, Jonathon Hudson a member of Bath SAC with John and the South West regional coach arranged for us to use the Bath SAC membership so we could all get in to Vobster without having to pay membership.

The Day

So, with a meet time of 7.50am at Vobster it was a very early start for people travelling from south west London, I had opted to stay with John a mere 25 minutes away so not sorry to miss the early start.  Once everyone had arrived and parked up, we split in in to 2 pre-arranged groups 1 for twin set divers and 1 for single cylinder. With Vobster turning misty the kitting up process was not done with any urgency and after about an hour and half later the mist had cleared, and the 1st divers jumped in to the barmy 8 °C degree water. We were greeted by amazing vis of around 15m and everyone had a pleasant dive if not dry dive. Step forward Adam, Michal and Charles who’s drysuits didn’t seem to be that dry. After a stop for getting cylinders filled, hot food and drink from the snack wagon to warm up. Drysuits were repaired well Adam’s and undersuits hired to replace the wet ones. We had our 2nd dive of the day. Another nice dive with the vis very slightly less than the 1st but still amazing although still damp for Michal and Charles. Once diving was complete, we packed up and headed for home some of us via the Talbot Inn in Mells which I can highly recommend for a post pint after Vobster.  My impression of Vobster had not changed out of all the inland lakes this is my favourite easy entry and exit to the water, great vis and friendly staff.

Thank You

Jonathon Hudson for arranging entry and Nic Denby for doing the dive sheets, assisting divers and the photos.

The Nutters

Adam, Andrew, Brian, Charles, Charlie, Cameron, George, John, Liam, Michal and Mark

PS

We have our 1st nomination for the Skomer Claw for 2022 as Charlie turned up with an out of test cylinder

Credit Brian (Outing organiser) 

Accelerated Decompression Procedures – 13th November

A few members of the club have been interested in progressing our diving to longer bottom times, and the deco requirements that come with that. The opportunity to learn to use a richer gas mix to reduce the amount of deco time was something 3 Putney divers were keen to explore.We booked onto a weekend course with the BSAC wales region, to be held at NDAC, along with 4 others from various other BSAC clubs. After completing the online lectures we were ready to go!

The first day started with learning how to mark up the stages and checking out the various equipment configurations, followed by an in water skills lesson. Great to recap some skills as well as learning the gas switching procedure. Second dive of the day was lead by the instructors, taking in the highlights of NDAC and a gas switch on the ascent. Having learnt a huge amount we retreated to the gurka curry house for a well earned rest and some time to contemplate everything we had learnt.The second day was the time to put everything we had learnt into practice. Cam and I had a solid dive plan, neatly written up in our wet notes and we were ready to go. The dive went really smoothly and we had clearly learnt our lessons from yesterday, gas switching was much smoother and the deco stop much more controlled. Following the post dive debrief we were delighted to hear we had met the requirements and passed the course.

Overall ADP was an interesting course and would recommend to others looking to accelerate their deco. Really interesting to switch to a more technical mindset, where planning and preparation are even more important.

Many thanks to all of the instructors (5 instructors to 7 students!) and especially to Mark Lewis for leading the course.

Credit Charles