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!

Lundy – April 2012

First of all, a huge thank you to the trip organiser, Flo. Everything under her control went amazingly smoothly; whilst the weather may have played havoc with the plan (and the vis), we can all learn something from her magnificent organisational skills!

Having all safely made it to Ilfracombe on Friday evening, through incessant rain, and having laughed ourselves to sleep at the notices attached to our toilet (ask Andy at the pub!), we headed down to the port in the morning. Lee, captain on the Obsession II dive boat (and a very fine dive boat it is too) welcomed us on board for our trip across to Lundy. With a force 5-6 tail wind, we made excellent time although not everyone retained breakfast for the entire trip.

Marisco tavern

The diving in the lee of the island was not blessed with tropical visibility (3-5m), but was at least calm as we endeavoured to coax the seals into the water under the watchful eyes of hundreds of Razorbills and Guillemots, a few shags and gulls, a peregrine falcon and… two obliging puffins. The wildlife underwater was sparse to say the least. Although Sasha and I both got to see two diving razorbills and a couple of fleeting moments with the seals, the remaining hour and a half of diving was largely spent wandering through kelp accompanied only by a couple of starfish and the odd wrasse.

Getting onto the island proved more than a little challenging as the wind continued to pick up. Fireman Rob proved those hours in the gym were worth it by hauling up 20 cylinders from the boat by rope… without, seemingly, breaking a sweat. We are in awe, almighty Rob!

The lodgings were beautiful and, were it not for the wind, might also have been warm. The wind, blowing up to force 9-10 over the next 36 hours, whistled through the house, round doors, through windows, leaving us all wrapped in blankets as rain, blowing horizontally, whipped up the hill and battered the windows incessantly, day and night, until Monday morning. All the boys had a go at lighting the coal fire in the sitting room… and all failed… even leaving the coal for 20 minutes on the gas flame of the cooker resulted in no more than a brief, eerie green glow.

Milcombe kitchen

As amazing a skipper as Lee proved to be, the boat couldn’t make it back round the island on Sunday for our planned pick-up due to the wind, waves and rain, so Sunday was spend getting variously wet (those going for a walk returned, soaked to the skin, to empty their shoes), cold, informed about unexpected topics (from books such as one on paddle steamers off Lundy!) or cooking supper. This last endeavour, enjoyed by all, was the product of Flo’s shopping, Andy’s skills as head chef, and the able assistance of Darren and Sue. We’ll have to invite them again!

The wind had dropped slightly this morning; enough to get luggage onto the boat from the jetty, but not passengers. We duly trooped across the island and down the cliffs to the calmer East side and took a tiny inflatable, 2 at a time, to the boat. The trip back, this time into the wind, took a greater toll, lasting as it did a full 2 hours 40 minutes. It was the first hour and a half that resulted in five people making the, mostly successful, trip to the side of the boat.

For all that, the general consensus is that we must return to Lundy, in better weather, to enjoy what is clearly a beautiful part of our British Isles. There are all sorts of birds (Andy enjoyed an unexpected flyby from a peregrine falcon this morning) both on land and at sea, deer, ponies and spectacular views, and if the wind hasn’t been blowing , the promise of great vis and playful seals.

LIDS – March 2012

The London International Dive Show was held on on 31st March 2012, as always, Putney BSAC had a great showing there and our training officer Steve Gibbons won a BSAC 2011 Branch Volunteer of the Year award for the phenomenal amount of time and effort he puts into training and running of the club in general. Congratulations to Steve, the club wouldn’t be the same without you.

Farne Islands – October 2011

This year’s trip to the Farnes Islands didn’t get off to the greatest start. The forecast earlier in the week was for winds of up to 55mph and after the captain cancelled our first day of diving things weren’t looking good. Was this to be yet another trip cancelled in 2011 due to high winds? Thankfully by Saturday the wind had dropped and the West side of the islands provided near perfect diving conditions. What followed was three days of the best diving many of us have done in the UK. Diving in the Farnes Islands is all about the seals and this year they were at their most curious and playful. Every dive they’d follow us around biting at our fins. The more curious amongst them would sniff our drysuits, bite are masks and allow us to stroke them. Often once one had deemed we were safe to play with we’d have three or four more seals doing the same. There was also a large array smaller life, crabs, lobusts, shrimp; not that most of us noticed, we were too busy enjoying the seals. Those of you with a taste for adult entertainment will soon have the opportunity to watch Alex’s video of his intimate and passionate encounter with a very special lady seal he befriended on the last day. ;-)

Scapa Flow – September 2011

Although it started all far more adventurous: some of you may be aware of the troubles of almost all participants booked on the trip: one moving to land of dreams, another getting married, the rest of us getting the week of the trip wrong and at the end the heroic effort of Steve getting hold of the skipper and saving the trip. Well in the end – good news: on Friday morning Steve rang at my door and off we go to the north and beyond – with weather forecast for Orkney to be “severe gale force winds” – the tail of the hurricane Katia hitting UK. The foggy weather in Highlands and over-active police officers did not added to the mood – so my feeling was: “what the …. I’m doing here”. But the diving was great – with all aspects of UK dream dives – the weather changing, the visibility ranging from “good vis” where underwater photo would be almost possible to a day-time “night dive”; but despite forecasts we dived every day, dived all the light cruisers, the battle ship Kronprinz Wilhelm, F2, Barge, …, with animal sightings (well not just sightings unlucky for some of the edible species) ranging from scallops, crabs, lobsters through scorpion fish, lings, conger-eels up to seals; only the Block ships with promised “Caribbean visibility” remained banned due to the wind conditions.