Swanage – July 2013

Swanage was our first dive trip of the year using the club rib and our first opportunity to take advantage of all the modifications Darren had made to it, including the A-frame, which after 4 years of procrastination the club had finally bought.

On the first day, the rib performed admirably, sadly our navigation skills did not. Our first wave of divers couldn’t find the wreck, consequently our divers got to enjoy a high speed drift dive in Swanage bay. The second wave found the wreck by stalking some of the local dive boats, and following them to the buoy marking the site. They got to enjoy a great dive on the Fleur de Lys, a small wreck with plenty of nooks and crannies hiding lots of life. Having now found the wreck site the first wave of divers got to dive it on their second dive. The second wave of divers having already dived the wreck decided to try a drift dive near Harry’s Rocks. The dive went well with the exception that the sea floor was bereft of all animal life. Not England’s most exciting dive.

On the second day the rib unfortunately didn’t perform so well, as we were about to reach the first dive site the motor started to stutter. After several minutes trying and failing to remedy the problem, we chose to err on the side caution and cancelled the dive. There was to be no more diving from the rib that weekend, but everyone did enjoy a relaxing dive under Swanage pier before heading home.

Not our most successful trip, but it was still a great weekend and it did proof how easy it is to organise and run a dive weekend using the club rib. Plus practice makes perfect, the more rib trips we do, the better they’ll get.

Big thanks to Philippa for organising the weekend and to Darren for not only towing the rib, but all his work upgrading it throughout the year.

fotka
The newly opened Putney BSAC Dive Shop located on Swanage Pier (or more accurately, our absurd amount of kit drying between dives)

Barnes Fair – July 2013

On the 13th of July, Putney SAC were invited to put up a stand at the Barnes Festival here in London.  The festival is held annually and takes up the whole of the small “hamlet” of Barnes SW15. If you have never been to Barnes in London, you are missing out on a truly wonderful part of London, it was voted the “Best and Ideal Village in England”. Which is no small feat, when you consider the beautiful villages that we have in and around this wonderful England. The criterion for this accolade, was worked out by a number of “village” factors…does it have a pond, does it have a pub, does it have a church…etc etc. Barnes has it all, and is very pretty too!

As you can imagine, this also draws in people who can afford to live in such eloquence, especially so close to the hub of London. So when we were asked by the committee of the Barnes festival if we would like to set up a stand there, we jumped at the chance to promote our branch and the BSAC.  Our branch is situated in the neighbouring borough of Putney & Wandsworth, only a five minute drive away, and is in an ideal catchment area for new members to the club.

So early on Saturday morning of the 13th, Darren Jones (Boat Officer) and John Heagney (D.O) picked up the club RHIB and made our way to Barnes.  The festival organisers had marked out an area the size of a small table for our pitch to be set up in, needless to say, they didn’t quite expect us to have a RHIB & trailer, a 8m x 5m gazebo, and two 4 x 4 Land Rover’s.

As luck would have it, the area that we were given as our patch, was on the edge of the pond, and was a little out of the way from the rest of the festival….this proved to be a bit of a god send, as we were able to spread out and accommodate our entire display wonderfully!  With the help from BSAC HQ, we were able to embellish our stand with BSAC flags and banners, and give out freebie items to our visitors, which went down very well indeed.  We were inundated with enquiries from a number of source, such as…..lapsed BSAC members, PADI divers who were interested in taking up the sport more seriously..(we gently pointed out the difference between PADI and BSAC ) and gave due respect to both agencies.  We were also approached by a D.O from another BSAC branch that was folding due to lack of numbers, and were looking out for a local BSAC club to regroup and join up with…so all in all a very successful and promising day.

Our branch put in a lot of hard work for this event, and I would just like to thank…Phillippa, Darren, Brian, Waleed, Michal, Sue, and Pete Strong our organiser and liaison man for the day, for all their efforts and teamwork.

Mombassa, Kenya – June 2013

In June 2013 Putney BSAC travelled to Mombassa, Kenya for 2 weeks of sun, diving and safari. Staying at the Bamburri Beach Hotel, located a few kilometres North of Mombassa, we enjoyed the luxury of a sea view from our room, the beach on our doorstep and most importantly a free bar!

Our hotel

We spent most of the first week diving. Each day consisted getting up at the crack of dawn to make the short stroll down the beach to the dive centre. We boarded our two small boats and headed out to the reef located just off the beach. The diving was superb, the reef was in fantastic condition with an abundance of reef fish as well as crustaceans, turtle and sharks. With the reef being so close to shore we could do two dives in the morning and be back in time for lunch. Leaving the whole afternoon free for sun bathing and making the most of the free bar.

This was Justine’s first time diving in the open sea, she said she’d be fine “as long as there aren’t any sharks,” so she wasn’t overly enthused to learn that our first dive would be at ‘Shark Point’. Needless to say Justine took it all in her stride. Our dive guides said, if they hadn’t known otherwise, they would have thought she’d been diving for sometime and wasn’t just a beginner. Which our club instructors naturally assumed was entirely down to their excellent teaching.

The whole gang

The second week was all about the safari. We split into two groups, John and Rob went by land to Tsavo West and Amboseli national parks. By all accounts they had a fantastic time, seeing lots of animals including a very close encounter with a herd of elephants, just don’t ask Rob about his experience of sharing a room with John.

The rest of us got a flight to the Maasai Mara to see the famous savannah where so many wildlife documentaries are filmed. We were treated to scenes straight out of the movie the Lion King. The view from our lodge alone was of expansive plains with antelope, wilder beast, giraffes, zebras and buffalo all together. On our tours out from the lodge we got to see these animals up close and personal as well as some of big predators including a pride of lions. The trip highlight was without a doubt when two cheetahs stood on the roof of our Jeep. The cheetahs used our Jeep as a vantage point to look out across the savannah seemingly unaware of the six terrified tourists hiding in the open top Jeep trying to take photos unsure if they were about to become the cheetahs’ dinner.

Tim with a Cheetah

After our safaris it was back to the hotel in Mombassa for a few more days of relaxing by the pool before the flight home and the return to England and reality.

Lastly a big thanks to Darren for not only organising another superb dive trip but acting as our tour operator throughout the holiday arranging day trips, diving and the safari. Keep up the good work mate.

 

Brighton – May 2013

Our second dive trip and our second weekend of excellent weather. More calm seas and blue skies, 2013 is shaping up to be a good year. Let’s hope I haven’t jinxed it.

Incidents of note on the Brighton trip:

  • A rare sighting of our token Frenchmen Nick on an actual dive trip. It’s been so long since he last dived in the UK his dry suit wrist seal literally disintegrated when he put it on
  • John caught a couple of edible crabs for dinner, one large, one not so large, then learnt the hard way not to cook two different sized crabs in the same pot (one under cooked, one very over cooked)
  • We managed to find what might be the worst accommodation in Brighton but that’s what you get when stay in the cheapest place in town!

Brighton - John with a edible crab Brighton - Nick enjoying a Polish sausage

Plymouth – April 2013

 

Plymouth - calm seas and blue skies

Our first club dive trip of the year for 2013 got the dive year off to a very good start. The sea was calm, the sun was shining and the dives, as always for Plymouth, were excellent. Getting to do all four dives meant we had a damn sight more luck than many of the trips last year. Unsurprisingly for this time of year the sea was freezing, but the plentiful supply of pasties provided by our skipper more than made up for it.

Brighton - Buzz's first divePlymouth - Woody's first dive

 

Tenerife – March 2013

Things we have learnt from this trip:

  • Beer in Tenerife has alcohol in it (Rob, Brian, John and Darren)
  • Don’t go trekking in £1.50 Primark sandals
  • Don’t drink till 04:30 and dive at 09:00 you won’t remember it (I know I dived my computer says so)
  • Best time of year to go last week (Karl told us)
  • Tie room keys to John’s wrist (he will not find them in his pocket at 02:30)
  • Don’t punch long spine urchins
  • If your told a steak is large by Karl expect it to still have the head and tail on it.
  • A vegetation meal is not pork chop chips and veg with the pork chop removed.
  • Do not sit sunbathing with a shadow under your chin (it looks silly)
  • Take a good torch on a night dive. It helps.
  • We have a new motto “take nothing but photos leave nothing but bubbles and if an octopus goes under a rock get a crowbar and we will get the f****r.”
  • Don’t use a wet suit if you have the runs.
  • Don’t sleep in a dive centre if we are coming you won’t like the photos taken.
  • Do not ever EVER EVER go to a karaoke bar with John, Sasha or Brian.
  • Go with people you like and who like you! Counts me out of all trips…..

THANKS All for coming you lot made it a great trip…..

Farne Islands – October 2012

Yet another pilgrimage to Farnes took place this year – it was “sealy” good and as always on the PSAC trip – a great fun. Diving was with Lee Hall’s Farnes Diver boat (the one with a bit smokier engine – but for the records – with toilet and good divers lift). When Lee asked me what we want to do I answered with 3 aims: seals, seals and seals.

The weather (just above 0 at last day, with half day called off on Sunday) and visibility (you could see your own fins but not much more) made the last year’s trip looks like a tropic dream and reminded all of us what the diving in UK is about, however yes there were seals – you could see them latest when they bit your head or your camera – see picture below – but everybody got some playtime with these beautiful creatures.

Pete's made a new friend

A special price goes here to Tor who mastered these challenging conditions with bravery and enjoyed her first dives in the sea with her new dry-suit – see her portrait with Steve on the right.

What you cannot see on the pictures:

  1. New groundbreaking fin-less dive attempted by Pete.
  2. Water cooled dry-suit  system setup by Rob (poor Rob had to survive the next half day in his short trousers and at just above 1 degree).
  3. Michal chased away by the seals
  4. a group of 40 seals chased away by John and lot more. All in all – a typical fun of a PSAC trip. As per planning there will be no trip to Farnes next year (only because we aim even more to the north) but as for me I’m looking forward for 2014!

Selsey – October 2012

Darren, Radek, John and I all went to Selsey (via Bognor) and had a great drift dive in amazing tides. Not totally planned as such as the original site in Bognor had the gates closed and we couldn’t get in on slack water so decide to drift dive instead. Nevertheless, after much deliberation and a fair few miles of extra driving and landing slip hunting we entered the water.

Darren and I saw very little life, apart from each other, but we did have a very fast drift and really got into the groove and had a very relaxed dive despite the very fast current.

John and Radek went in after us and we looked after the RIB. Unfortunately, I told John (sorry – lucky John) that he would see nothing and if he managed to catch a fish I would buy him a beer…. £4.10 later! Not only did I buy him a beer he won a scratch card off the back of it for another free beer.  I hope the place tasted good John and you didn’t chock on the bones (or the scratch card :-)) (see his face book page for picture. How does he do it? John no doubt will be giving lessons in due course on how to catch a fish with a knife in a 4 knot current….!)

It was great to get the Rib in the water and despite the initial issues over dive site we pushed on and had a great dive and a fantastic day. I haven’t laughed so much for months!

Andy

Isle of Wight – September 2012

Wightdiver, Isle of Wight 1 Wightdiver, Isle of Wight 2

The dive trip to the Isle of Wight started off well; we made the short drive down to Southsea near Portsmouth early on Saturday morning where we met our skipper Roy on the boat WightDiver. The weather was fantastic, the sky was clear and the sea was calm. However, Roy informed us that the good weather was not to last and Sunday’s diving was cancelled due to force 6 winds. So we decided we better make the most of Saturday’s diving to compensate for the lost day. However upon descending to a depth of 18m we discovered the sea had the consistency of pea soup and we couldn’t see more than half a metre. It felt like a night dive. We endeavoured to make the most of the dive and there was a lot of life down there, if you could find it. Some had a good dive; some of us didn’t, it really depending upon the quality of your torch!

Another dive trip compromised by the unreliable British weather, but we still had a great weekend away and took full advantage of the opportunity to sample the exotic nightlife of Southsea. I hope we return to dive the Isle of Wight again, the dives should be fantastic with better visibility and you can’t beat the convenience of how close it is to Putney.

Malta – June 2012

Putney BSAC has not had the best luck with UK weather in 2012. Luckily for some of us, Philippa organised a dive trip to Malta where we were treated to four days of brilliant sunshine and mill pond calm seas. A dive trip doesn’t get much better than a daily routine of wake up, do a dive, sun bathe for two hours, do another dive followed by a BBQ with drinks. Our dive guide, Will, took us to several interesting wrecks and wall dives, as well as the famous dives of the Blue Hole and the Inland Sea on Gozo. All great dives full of life, including several octopus and cuttlefish! Big thanks to Philippa for organising such a fantastic trip, we’ll have to do it again next year!