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)

Selsey Rhib – 5th July 2021

In mid July, 5 members of Putney BSAC took the RHIB to Selsey to dive the cuckoo and mulberries. We couldn’t have asked for warmer weather, calmer sea or better visibility. As well as being fun, it was also an educational trip. 2 of the members had never dived off the RHIB and we did a brief chart workshop down at the HYC the week before. We also ticked off a sports diver and dive leader lesson, whilst our chairman got more experience coxing. A fabulous day was had by all.

Credit – Emma (Training Officer and Trip Organiser)

Weymouth – 26th June 2021

We were lucky this year to get two slots on the Wey Chieftain IV, the second being the 26-27 June. This weekend was a spring tide but not a big one, so we planned on diving the Benny, the M2 submarine and a couple of drifts.
On Saturday we headed down to the Benny wreck for just over half an hour at 27m. The vis was a little worse than our May trip, around 4m, but plenty of congas and lots to see. We followed this dive up with a drift between White Nothe and Bats Head where there were plenty of crabs, leverets, as well as a conga eel just sitting out in the open!
Sunday’s weather looked debatable but due to the improving forecast throughout the day and the shelter of the M2 (32m), we were able to get out for the day. There was loads of life on the M2, the submarine war grave, including shoals of bib fish and massive conga eels hiding about the submarine. She was a fantastic dive, virtually intact, with the conning tower rising about 9m high. We then chose to dive the James Fennel wreck (16m) rather than a drift for the second dive. The vis was great (8-10m) and the buddy pairs managed to find the other pairs (by accident rather than design!) during the dive. There was loads to see, from lots of crabs under the massive rocks amidst the wreckage, to the large engine boiler.
Credit – Helen (Social Sec & Trip organiser)

Boat Handling – 19th June 2021

In June, 5 Putney BSAC members did the boat handling course run by our very own Boat Officer Nick. We are fortunate to be able to run this inhouse and try to offer it once or twice a year.
On the first day we covered all the theory and boat prep work, on the second day we took our RHIB out on the Thames. The rain held off and we all had a wonderful time doing launch and recovery, practising ‘man overboard’ skills, figures of 8, docking, three point turns and general boat etiquette on the water. Other highlights include stopping off on the embankment for lunch and witnessing a drama about the Sex Pistols being filmed on the water.
Credit – Emma (Training Officer and course organsier)

Pembrokeshire Trip – 12th June 2021

With a promising weather forecast, 10 divers set off from London to Pembrokeshire for 3 days of diving on the South Wales coast. The first challenge was navigating the highly confusing  Welsh covid rules, but by Friday evening Divers were settled into the scenically placed Broad Haven YHA and excited for the diving ahead.

Day 1 started with loading in the Milford Haven Marina, followed by an hour steam out to Skomer Island and our first dive sites. The team were having great fun observing the wildlife along the way (puffins a particular favorite). Diving did not disappoint either with plenty of marine life including spider crabs, lobsters and Nudibranchs – these would become staples for the trip. After a good days diving, we headed down to Broadhaven beach for a few beers and a BBQ, watching the sunset was a great way to end a fab first day of the trip.

Day 2 started with another steam out to Skomer Island, with the objective of a more challenging dive on the wreck of The Lucy. Good Viz made for a great dive, with divers longing for more bottom time to explore the wreck in more depth. The second dive was back on the fantastic reef for a chilled out dive and supersized examples of the usual suspects, the reef clearly benefitting from the marine reserve protection. A trip to the pub rounded of another great day.

Day 3 began with a dive inside the haven on the fantastic wreck of the Dekotian, shallower depth and a flooding tide turning slack provided great viz and very happy divers. A nice way for our Chairman Cameron to celebrate his 300th dive! Back out to the islands, Skokholm this time for another scenic dive, with a glimpse of a seal underwater for a lucky dive pair!

We had a fantastic 3 days diving on board Overdale (Pembrokeshire-boat-charters) & thanks to Dave & Richard for having us. We were lucky with the weather, Pembrokeshire is stunning and a great group to spend a long weekend away with!

Credit – Charles (Trip organiser)

Selsey Rhib Trip – 6th June 2021

After a successful RIB trip to Newhaven last weekend, 5 members of Putney SAC decided to take the RIB down to Selsey to dive a wreck that we had not dived before (spoiler alert – it was excellent!).
The wreck in question was the Brigitta or “Teapot” wreck as it is known locally, its name owing to a found item by Selsey Bill SAC. Although never officially confirmed as the Brigitta, the cargo and location of its sinking mean it almost certainly is.
The Brigitta was a steam Cargo Coaster carrying coal from Barry to Dieppe and she was mined and sunk in December 1917. She now lies upside down in around 16 to 17m of water close to the South Pullar Cardinal Marker Buoy. Her stern is largely intact with a rather large propeller still in place… definitely my highlight! The boilers are very prominent and stand very proud of the seabed. There are also plenty of great swim throughs and lots of congers, crabs and tompot blennies hiding in the holds. Plenty of fish too.. don’t ask me which variety. The visibility was an incredible 8m and very light down there.
Notes for future dives:
  • Slack ~4hrs after HW Selsey
  • Coordinates: 50 38.978′ N 0 49.317′ W
  • Best done on Neaps as mid tide was ~0.3kts at its lowest flow… you get through quite a lot more gas!
  • Brigitta is roughly 6.8nm out from Bracklesham bay, so make sure the foreshore office have a written plan with timings, NoK details etc. and although one tank of fuel got us out and back, best to be on the safe side and take a jerry can.
The second dive was a drift along Bracklesham Bay with not loads to see, but there were a few dogfish and brittle stars to keep us entertained.
Big thanks to Steve for towing/coxing and Nick, Brian and Adam for making it a great day out!
Credit – George (Membership Secretary & trip organiser)

Newhaven Rhib Trip – 29th May 2021

Summer has finally come at the end of May with some good weather. After a bit of last-minute bar-based planning we headed for Newhaven, launching from Simpson Marine & headed for the City of Brisbane on HW slack.
Thanks to some good work on a previous trip we had some perfect marks for the wreck, and got the shot in on the first attempt. Nice 4-5m vis, loads of fish life, plenty of spider crabs, congers, lobster, and even some big cuttle fish. The second dive was on the landing craft (?) outside the harbour arm. Diving on an ebb tide there was a lot of silt and snot in the water, dark and 0.5m vis at 12m.
Credit – Cameron (Chairman & trip organiser)

Plymouth – 22nd May 2021

After a very long drive down to Plymouth on Friday evening, we all made it to our luxury lodge accommodation with fingers crossed that we might get one day of diving in! Alas the weather gods were not in our favour and with the via looking like pea soup, the boat diving was cancelled for the weekend.
However, this did not deter some of us from exploring the murky depths (5m!) of Bovisand Harbour. The swell was pretty washing machine like and the pieces of kelp didn’t help to improve the already shocking vis so it was a short 20min dive.
As it was our Chairman’s 30th birthday that day, we had planned a BBQ with surprise champagne and cake. Michal did a sterling job at lead BBQ chef having selected the finest meat from the supermarket. We did keep a section of the BBQ meat free and Tim put a lot of time and effort into his jacket potatoes.
On Sunday, once the hangovers had cleared slightly, most people started the hopefully not so long drive back to London while three of us went to Plymouth Aquarium to pretend we had managed a dive. Particular highlights were the Eddystone Reef tank and the Great Barrier Reef tank where we reminisced on time spent in Indonesia.
Credit – Sarah (Treasurer & trip organiser)