Capernwray – 11th September 2022

As a joint trip of scuba diving and hiking, four of us headed up to the Lake District for a long weekend of activities. On Saturday we made an early start and set off to Orrest Head for an easy walk up to a view point over Lake Windermere. We continued on to Ingleton Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, where we endeavoured on a harder, 4.5 mile hike around the valley where and saw some of the magnificent waterfalls.
When Sunday rolled around we were keen to get to Capernwray to dive. We made an early start and arrived for site opening. This was a prime opportunity for some Dive Leader training, so across our three dives we ticked off three lessons, as well as having an explore around the dive site. It was a comfortable 19ºC, so we had the chance to do some long dives and find a lot of the wrecks, including the planes, the gun and, of course, the massive sturgeons. It was a great weekend and we hope to travel up again soon and make it a bigger trip next time!
Credit – Jack (Trip Organiser)

Boat Trials – Summer 2022

1st Trial (Thames)

In conjunction with Steve Gibbons I have been running a series of boat trials both on the river and the sea. After eventually getting the broken bolt drilled out and a new bolt fitted and after checking we had no leaks it was time to get the boat on the water.  So on Sunday 17th July we had the1st trial down the Thames to Richmond lock after asking to go through the fuel tank emptied on us so after apologising to the lock keeper we decided with the fuel we had left on the boat it was time to turn around and head back to Putney, with a stop at the White Hart in Barnes for a swifty where George joined us (We now know we can fit a bike on the boat).

Crew Steve, Mark, Paul, Brian and for a bit George

2nd Trial (Sea trial)

On Sunday 7th August we had the 2nd trial launching from Bracklesham Bay it was very quickly obvious that although reliable the boat is down on power, so our attempts at project Florida was doomed to fail. We then headed in to Chichester harbour for a bit of practice in boat traffic, then back to Bracklesham Bay for boat recovery.

Crew Steve, Mark, Nick H, Michal and Brian

3rd Trial (Thames)

Thursday 18th August saw us launching on the Thames. As we thought it may be a problem with Fuel we were using a spare tank connected directly to the engine thus eliminating any problems with the fixed fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel filter and primer. Unfortunately, this was not the problem but we are now are step further by eliminating these. It was a nice evening so rather than just give up when we realised this wasn’t the solution, we did a little trip down the Thames, giving more people experience with Femti. Once the boat was safely back at the HYC a post trip pint in the Boathouse was the order of the day.

Crew Steve, Paul, Liam, Emma and Brian

What Next

We will continue to look at the lack of the power we have a few ideas and hopefully be able to get her out diving before the year end. 

Credit – Brian (Chairman)

Littlehampton – 8th August

On a gloriously hot Sunday in August, 8 members of Putney BSAC went to Littlehampton for the day. Ropes off at 10:30 was a welcome change and meant we almost got a lie in compared to our usual 5am wake up call when we do a day trip to the south coast. We dived the Jaffa wreck in the morning, followed by a drift over the Waldrons. The water was a balmy 22- 23 degrees even at the bottom.  The Jaffa is a fantastic dive. We were greeted by a shoal of fish as we reached the engine room at the bottom of the shot and saw some conger eels, crabs and plenty of other life as we explored the wreck. There was a little less life on the drift, but a good dive nonetheless with plenty of scallops and not too bad vis. Overall a thouroughly enjoyable day. Big thanks to our skipper Graham- we will be back next year.
Credit – Emma (Membership Sec and Trip Orgainser)

 

 

Weymouth – 23rd July 2022

Putney SAC gets deep and technical… almost!
Friday night we had the trio of BSAC clubs meet up in Castletown, Portland ahead of the day’s diving. My Dad – Mike, Jamie & Mark (all from Warrington SAC), and Charles & myself (Putney SAC) risked it all heading to Balti Island for a nice curry before meeting up with Mark & Andrew (also Putney SAC) and Cat & Andy (from Richmond SAC) in the Little Ship for a few pints and a recap of the plan for Saturday.
Saturday was beautifully sunny and we met Richard and Sue aboard Weychieftain IV at an unusually pleasant time of 09:30, a rarity for our normal Weymouth trips. Richard was flabbergasted! “I’ve not seen a boat full of twinsets in years” – in reference to the usual split of clubs either chartering the boat to dive the Weymouth/Portland classics on single cylinders or the proper techies out doing the mid-channel stuff on their rebreathers. We even made it onto Weychieftains’ Facebook account for the pioneering techies to reminisce about their twin-20s and presumably now their back problems!
Anyway, enough about the gear – we headed out down the east side of Portland bill, just off the shambles bank to dive the Ethel, a British Steamship (88m long, fitted with a triple expansion engine) that was torpedoed by UB-104 on the 16th September, 1918, en route from Rouen to Barry. She sits in around 36m and is a great dive in her own right, but is particularly good as a check-dive/build up to the Salsette (which is what we had planned).
I was diving with Mark and Andrew, and the other buddy pairs were: Mike & Charles; Cat & Andy; Jamie & Mark. Mike and Charles were first in with their 80% deco stages with a solid bottom time planned, soon followed by Jamie and Mark with their stages, then after a couple of minutes, the rest of us jumped in. Lots of life (apparently) and a nice set of boilers later we ascended for a few minutes of decompression before boarding Weychieftain and heading back north for shelter in Balaclava Bay with a hot drink and some jam donuts.
Sadly the wind had picked up over the morning and was getting quite blowey. We quickly got kitted up after our surface interval and jumped in for a drift across Bally Bay. A varied experience between buddy pairs – Mike and Charles came up with more Scallops than air left in their cylinders (well Mike did… poor example from my father there!) and they also saw a lone octopus tentacle swimming along. On the other hand Mark, Andrew and I went for possibly the slowest drift I’ve done in my life and to make things worse Andrew lost his GoPro (ouch!).
After a good amount of time looking for Andrews GoPro on the surface, we had the windy ride back to Weymouth with the realisation we weren’t going to get out at all on the Sunday, let alone to the Salsette – our primary target and a jewel of south coast wreck diving. Sadly my curse from Swanage was back and we were blown out from diving this beauty.
The sad news from being blown out again and Andrews GoPro in conjunction with the blisteringly hot day we had had, meant we were certainly due some dirty food and a few beers at Billy Winters bar and grill. This quickly turned into a night out sampling a few too many beers in the Little Ship until the early hours of Sunday… almost going back to the old days of the club, where the drinking:diving ratio was certainly in favour of the booze!
After a slightly groggy start to Sunday, Warrington SAC headed off on the long drives back north and the others back to London. Charles and I headed for a quick fry-up on Chesil Beach, looking out at the white caps pondering what could have been… we’ll get you next time Salsette!
All-in-all a great weekend away, great company and great to be out diving with 3 cracking BSAC clubs! Sadly we can’t plug the Richmond club for obvious reasons (obviously we’re the best club in SW London!) but if anyone finds themselves in the North West, check out the Warrington SAC.
Credit George (Training Officer & Trip Organiser)

Swanage (Take2) – 9th July 2022

Dives planned, tanks filled with the perfect  mixes, and a sunny forecast, we were back down to Swanage to complete the plans from a few weeks earlier.

After a nice first dive around the Carentan, with plenty of bottom time and good gas switching practice, George and I were well set for a dive we had been wanting to do for a long time. Chips for lunch followed by some optimsed decanting and we were ready to go.

The Kyarra did not disapoint, a huge wreck with lots of life and plenty to explore. With 40mins bottom time we managed to cover from the boilers to the bow and back again, but still so much more to see.

Credit – Charles (Trip organiser)

Swanage – 25th June 2022

Kindly organised by our TO, George, a crew of PSAC divers headed down to Swanage for the weekend of the 25/26th June with a plan to dive the Carentan and the Aeolian Sky on the Saturday, and the Kyarra on the Sunday. The trip was also part of the “work up” for the diving later this year with divers practicing both deeper dives and accelerated deco with EON 80% stages.

Sadly, the weather had other plans and the skipper of the Mary Jo had to cancel Saturday’s dives due to increasing wind and sea conditions. However, local conditions in the bay were not bad and the club enjoyed some under-pier diving, albeit somewhat over-equipped with twinsets, Nitrox 32 etc in what was at times a chest-deep environment.
The weekend was certainly not wasted with a couple of under-pier dives, evening drinks on the roof terrace of Gee Whites and a pretty decent dinner at the Anchor Inn. As a Dive Leader trainee I was also able to gain valuable experience as top cover, and as deputy trip organiser, as well as participate in the Practical Rescue Management session on Sunday. The latter was ably run by Charles Denby and George and assisted by new member and instructor Jack.
Thank you to George for organising, and all the instructors for the as ever generous time and patience.
Last but not least, shoutout to George and Liam who managed to discover Swanage’s only nightclub and were “largeing it” until the early hours of the morning.
Credit – Mark (Equipment Officer)

Ireland – 16th June 2022

We spent our time mostly diving on the South Coast so diving in the Atlantic was certainly an  interesting prospect. We had proposed doing this trip with Aquaholics on the Northern Ireland  North Coast a year earlier but Covid scuppered those plans. Helen had recently moved to Ireland  so we decided to split the plans between Belfast Lough and the Causeway Coast, named after the  nearby Giants Causeway. The group of 10 divers split initially into two groups, one accommodated  in Bangor and could explore Belfast before the dives and the other based on Carlingford Lough, a  good base for those who fancied visiting Dublin and doing some outdoors pursuits such as hiking &  kayaking etc. 

The first dive in Belfast Lough was a bit of a shock to the system as while people in London were  experiencing 36°C temperatures, we had rain and hail on Belfast Lough and about a metre of vis  on the first dive on the SS Troutpool. It did improve though markedly on the second dive.

At the end of day one we drove to Ballycastle on the Northern Ireland Coast. The landscape is very  dramatic up there, home for many location shoots for ‘Game of Thrones’ etc with impressive cliffs,  and big rollers coming off the Atlantic. Our accommodation was in the suitably named ‘Aqualodge’  which had a large garden and a very modern fit out mainly aimed at the diving fraternity. Equally  impressive was the proximity of the hard-boat just across the road in the marina which was the one  of two bases for the Aquaholics dive boats.

We had 2 reef or wall dives around Rathlin Island which because of it’s shape usually offers some  shelter from the winds but by far the most impressive dives on the North Coast was on the Lough  Garry, a wreck standing upright and very much intact at 32m with about 20m vis. 

I for one wasn’t looking forward to diving back in Belfast Lough after the diving up North but was  more than pleasantly surprised when we had decided on diving on the SS Chirippo and diving with  DV Diving. The wreck lying on it’s side with the hull exposed was covered in dead man’s fingers  and coral and the vis was superb, allowing for a great end to our diving in Ireland.

The Crew: Paul, Helen, John, Aidan, Brian, Emma, Jack, Andrew, Michal, Byron Organisers: Paul & Helen.

Credit Paul (Trip Organiser)

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)