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

Friday 5th November Social night goes off with a big bang.

Fireworks night saw a Putney social night, 6 of us gathered at the Boathouse in Putney for a few beers and some food. Once complete we headed down to Putney embankment and caught a firework display from one of the many yacht clubs that are housed there. Once that display had finished it was Putney’s turn to set off our special fireworks the 1st of which made such a big bang that we drew quite a crowd to the Embankment after letting of a few more fireworks it was time to depart. So we headed off to one of our old haunts the Bricklayers Arms to wrap up a good night. The pyromaniacs were Emma, Mark, Grace, Henry, Steve G and Brian.

Credit Brian

2nd November 2021 AGM: Committee and Awards

2nd November brought round out Annual General Meeting. Along with a report from each officer, we vote in the new committee as well as voting for our photo and club awards.

We have welcomed three new members to our committee: Liam (Secretary), Grace (Social Sec) and Steve (Boat Officer). Stephen takes on the new challenge of Chairman, while George moves to training officer and Emma becoming our membership secretary. Sarah, Nic and Mark continue their current positions as Treasurer, Comms and Equipment Officer. A huge thank you for Cameron, Helen, Michal, Ellie and Nick L, who all stepped down this year, for all their hard work on the committee over the years!

It was then onto the fun part of the evening – The Awards! To find the results of our photo competition – look here. After the photography awards, we go on to vote for the Club Member of the Year – awarded to a member that has made great contributions to the club across the year, and the Diver of the Year – someone who has developed the skills as a diver over the past 12 months.

Brian won Club Member of the Year for his incredible dedication to supporting trainees with pool lessons and quarry trips, as well as always being down the HYC with a smile on his face (and a pint in his hand).

Grace was awarded Diver of the Year for starting on her UK diving adventure this year, for completing her Sports Diver qualification and all with a wet-suit, something that we all know is amazing commitment!

Finally, we give out our Skomer Claw trophy – an award given out for the years biggest faux pas. This one is always highly contested and this year had 5 nominations:

  1. Andrew – For forgetting his regs and having to drive back to London for them on a quarry trip
  2. Steve – For driving to Newhaven via Portmouth towing the rhib
  3. Cameron – Shearing off his gauge when giant striding in Pembrokeshire
  4. Nick – Forgetting to attach the boat to the trailer properly
  5. Paul – For jumping in with his dry suite zip undone

and the winner is… Cameron (and here he is presenting the award to himself)

Another fantastic year for Putney BSAC – here’s to many more!

2021 AGM Photo Competition

Every year, at our AGM, we hold a photo competition for our budding underwater photographers to submit their best photos from the last 12 months. Our club members are allowed to submit one photo to each of our two categories, UK and Abroad, these are then voted for on the night!

We had 8 entries for the UK competitions that really showcase both our members skills but also the incredible life and scenery the UK has to offer.

Winner of the UK Photo Competition: Sarah with her shot of a Tompot Blenny

We had three submissions for the abroad category, not bad considering the limited amount of travel this year.

Winner of the Abroad Photo Competition: Nic with her image of a Galapagos hammerhead

Wraysbury – 30th October

On 30th October, 6 members of Putney BSAC went to Wraysbury to do some training and experience dives. Despite low visibility our trainees ticked off their compass skills as well as other lessons and at the end of the day we had two newly qualified sports divers. Congratulations to Henry and Grace on this great achievement.
Credit – Emma (Training Officer and Trip Organiser)

Swanage Training Trip – 18th September 2021

In September, we organised one of the most ambitious training trips Putney BSAC has done.
8 instructors, 8 trainees and our trusty RHIB went to Swanage for the weekend, doing a mix of hardboat, RHIB and shore diving. This included 6 members who have joined since the pandemic and for some, this was their first time in British waters. We did some (pretty fast) drift dives, the Fleur de Lhys, Swanage Pier, Peverill ledges and one of our favourites – the Valentine Tanks. The tanks didn’t disappoint with good visibility and teaming with life, including some massive moray eels. On the whole the weather was pretty good and we were able to enjoy a large barbecue and toast marshmallows one evening at our accommodation. We signed off 4 ocean diver, 7 sports diver and 6 dive leader lessons, as well as gaining experience in the water, a huge testament to both our instructors and trainees.
Credit – Emma (Training Officer and Trip Organiser)
Extra Credit must be given to Emma for organising the most logistically complex trip we’ve had and all with a smile. Everything went pretty smoothly and a great time was had by all! Thank you Emma!

Training Days – September 2021

In early September we did two quarry trips in preperation for our training weekend in Swanage.  Our ocean divers trainees went to Wraysbury for their first experience in open water. Our sports divers signed off the dreaded rescue skills and another lesson in St Andrews lake whilst a couple of our dive leader trainees practiced their skills. We had great weather and a fabulous time was had by all
Credit – Emma (Training Officer and Trip Organiser)

Thames Rhib Trip – 20th August 2021

Three members (including myself) enjoyed a day on the club RHIB in late August. The objective was to take Putney Diver upriver, enjoying a day on the Thames and getting in some boat handling practice and hours logged. The latter is useful for members who wish to aim for a BSAC Coxwain qualification; note that 5 hours PQE is required after the Boat Handling course.

Brian, Nancy and myself met at the HYC to check and hitch up the boat, all of which is useful practice for divers following up from their boat-handling course. Launching on the flood at the Putney embankment, the boat crew circled back to the pontoon at the HYC to pick up the tow-crew before heading up-river.
We passed under the newly-reopened Hammersmith Bridge and spend some time practising low-speed manoeuvres and coming alongside at Chiswick pier. Somewhat embarrassingly this was in front of the RNLI station, who are much better at this sort of thing than us.
Steady progress was made upriver, the scent of Himalayan Balsam wafting from the banks and bird-life aplenty.  The sluices were open as we passed through Richmond lock and we were close to high tide as we neared our destination; the White Swan at the downstream end of Eel Pie island.
This a top pub; great beer and importantly easy access and mooring. Nancy and I enjoyed battered haddock and chips, Brian had a healthier option.
Post-lunch we made the short journey to Teddington lock, catching the start of the ebb-tide for our return.
Returning via the HYC and the embankment, we thought we would make the voyage on one tank, but a last minute change was required for basically the last 500m. A visit to the Sainsbury’s petrol station on the way back topped up the tank. On that point, it maybe advisable to use E5 “premium” petrol for the boat. The effect of the new E10 (10% ethanol) on two-strokes is uncertain.
Note that Putney Diver is available for use by suitably-qualified members. We had a great day and I can thoroughly recommend the upper river, even when no diving is involved. 
Credit – Mark (Equipment Officer)

Brighton – 31st July 2021

On the last weekend of July going into August, 12 Putney BSAC divers headed down to Brighton for a weekend of diving with Channel Diver.The first dive on the Saturday was a rather novel dive on one of the Rampion windfarm columns. The column met the seabed at a depth of approx. 28m and was covered in mussels, with dozens of starfish surrounding the column at its base, as well as little congas under the supporting beams. Some PSAC’ers were lucky enough to have a couple of jellyfish for company on their safety stop. This was followed by quite a low visibility drift dive at 11m depth.

The Saturday evening was rife with cake, celebration (and a glass of champagne each) as it was the DO’s birthday!

On the Sunday, the first dive was a 27m dive on the Fortuna wreck. Upon dropping onto the wreck down the shot line, some divers couldn’t even see the wreck due to the immense numbers of fish surrounding them! After we descended through the fish, we had a very enjoyable dive moving along to the bow and investigating the wreck before coming back up the shot. This was followed by a better vis drift dive along a rocky shelf which was teeming with life.

Some of the group took advantage of the good weather and being at the seaside to take an extra day to relax before heading back, with the rest of the group getting an unusually short duration trip back to London following a great weekend of diving!

Credit – Helen (Social Sec and Trip Organiser)

Portland Expedition – 9th July 2021

In July three members joined with divers from the BSAC southern Region to complete part of their Advanced Diver training. Some of the lesser-known targets of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour were dived, making use of various searching, surveying, and dive planning techniques. Lots learnt by everyone involved and a great opportunity to visit some sites that are too small to dive with a charter boat of 12 divers, so lots of life on them too! Thanks to Quality Time Training for provision of boat and cox, and to BSAC southern region for the support and guidance of the instructors.
Credit – Cameron (Chair)