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.
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 …
John, a previous member of Putney BSAC, and active personality in the the diving world, has sadly passed away at the age of 76.
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.
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!
At the end of October, 11 of us headed off to Malta and Gozo
for a long weekend of diving, driving and drinking. It was the perfect way to finish what has been a great year of scuba diving in the club.
Our first day consisted of a checkout dive followed by the incredible inland sea and a night dive where we saw octopus and played with the bioluminescence. Our second day was on Comino where we dived the Santa Maria caves and P31 wreck- being relatively shallow there was plenty of time for photo opportunities and to enjoy the many swim throughs. Our last day consisted of the MV Cominoland and MV Karwela where we got our photos on the famous staircase and explored the reefs in the shallows.
We returned to the Medes Islands in Spain for the second year in a row. Last time we were there our skipper said the best time of year at the Medes is in September, the water is warm and peak holiday season is over. So that’s exactly what we did, we came back in September.
The water was indeed warmer, 21C, the first time diving in wetsuits in 2019 for many of us. The warm water also brought with it lots of extra life. Large schools of barracuda and jack hanging around the reef. Moray eels out hunting in the daylight. Plus all the fantastic life we saw last time including massive groupers, scorpion fish and nudibranch.
Once again the dive centre were super organised, making the whole weekend stress free and relaxing. If you’re looking for a long weekend of diving abroad you can’t do much better than the Medes Islands.