News Letter September 2019

Chairman’s Letter – September 2019

Here we are folks approaching the end of another diving season and for sure the time has flown, probably because there has been so much going on down the club.  It would be remiss not to mention the recent highly successful Scout ‘Jamboree’ Try Dive session, which has received nothing but plaudits and certainly helped to raise the profile of the club.  Thanks to everybody who participated in the event, in particular John Rice, Chris Woods and Geoff Oldfield stand out for orchestrating and making the whole thing work.

Morrison’s -The next event on the calendar is Geoff Oldfield’s RNLI fund raising event at Morrison’s, New Brighton over the weekend of the 12/13th October 2019.  The tides are bad that weekend so I know you will all chip in and support Geoff for this is a vital maritime rescue service upon which we all rely.  Moreover, the spinoff is that we normally generate quite a few punters for Try Dives some of whom go on to form the next generation of the club.

Dinner Dance – The65th. Club’s Annual Dinner Dance is fast approaching and will take place on Saturday, 26th. October 2019 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, Park Road North, Birkenhead.  Tickets are priced at £40 per head and will take a similar format as the last two years, albeit we always are looking for a fresh twist.  As with last year, the ‘Forty Thieves’ will be making a return visit by popular demand to provide the entertainment.  Also the brand new Steve Palmer Diver of the Year Memorial Trophy will be presented for the first time.  Tickets are available from Dave and Robbie Edwards and I can tell you that they are flying out of the door.  

AGM – The Club’s Annual General Meeting will take place at the Club House at 9.0pm prompt on Thursday 14th November 2019.  Amongst the positions up for grabs this year are Honorary Treasurer, Equipment Officer and Welfare Officer, but remember no committee post is for life and everybody is encouraged to put themselves forward for any post.  One thing that you should be aware of is that the club Diving Officer, Tony Fitzpatrick has completed his three year term of office, however, a motion will be put forward at the AGM to extend Article 3 (b) of the Club Constitution from three to four years for the officers of the club (Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Diving Officer).  The other committee posts are not affected by this rule.  In the event of the extension of tenure not being approved by the AGM the role of Diving Officer will be taken over by the Assistant Diving Officer, Robbie Edwards, who will appoint an ‘Acting’ assistant at his discretion.

Refurbishment of the Club – I know what you are going to say as this is starting to feel like ‘watching paint dry’, however, I can now tell you that we, the club, have now provided everything that Wirral Council have asked for and are now eagerly awaiting their response.  Now it may well be that Nigel and I will have to make a guest appearance at a Council meeting to present our case for obtaining a rent free period from them.  After that it will be ‘full ahead’ to make a modern open space club house to replace the rather cramped slightly jaded facilities that we have at present.

Training – I am aware that a fair few members are currently waiting for Rescue Management Training to complete their Advanced Diver tickets. It is hoped that we can sort something out during October, which should mean that you will receive your certificate at the Dinner Dance.  In addition, it is hoped that there will be several catch up sessions for those who missed the practical part of recent Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression and Navigation), after which we can start looking forward to planning further SDC’s for next year.

Scapa Flow 2020 – Events for next year are rapidly coming into focus and, of course, we have the long standing Scapa Flow trip to look forward to in Septembers 2020.  You will recall that the uptake was such that we have hired the charter boat for the first two weeks in September.  Who goes on which week has yet to be sorted out, however, I do now need the second part of your deposit which is £80 per person and will be collected during October.

That’s it folks…….safe diving and I look forward to seeing you all at the Dinner Dance.

Alan Jones
Chairman  

El Gouna 2019 Trip Report

‘Red Sea diving, here we come!’       

23rd August 2019 – at last….the long anticipated day had arrived!  Branch 5 – the MerseyDivers – were on their way, flying into Hurghada, Egypt, from three different UK airports, on the same day!

Our party consisted of 23 divers (Sports Divers and above) and 17 assorted friends and family! The trip had been planned well in advance, and had been well thought out, with an all-inclusive hotel, Three Corners Rihanna Inn, El Gouna, just North of Hurghada, as our base. This enabled our non-divers to enjoy the pools, the lagoon, the waterslides, the tuktuk journeys to ‘downtown’, the ferry to local islands, snorkelling, and several local excursions.

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‘All-inclusive’ also meant that when we returned from a day’s diving , dining and a ‘little beverage’ could be in any combination of numbers… from couples, to a couple of nights when the entire group met and ate together….true celebrations!

On arrival, airport pickups and hotel check-in all ran relatively smoothly, although several of the singles in our group were a little surprised to be sharing a double bed with their room buddy! The hotel managed to sort that out the next day, though to be fair the twin beds were almost as cosy as the double!

The format for each day was simple. Emperor Divers sent minibuses to pick us up, after an early breakfast, and these would take us down to the waterfront, where the ’Pegasus’ and her trusty crew would be waiting for us. We stored all our gear in named crates under the benches, and left it there each evening.

On Day One Tobi, one of the dive leaders, got us all together on the top deck for a briefing. We were to dive 2 reef dives that day, so he used a whiteboard diagram to show us the dive plan for the first dive, the depths, the timings and what we could expect to see…..and what would be a possible bonus! Then Question Time. We were put into 3 groups, and given a buddy for the day. We met Tiger, and Mahmoud, our 2 other dive guides, and the dive plan board stayed on the wall all day, so we all knew the names of where we were going and  who our buddies were, and didn’t have to ask the staff a million times!

As soon as everyone was aboard, we would set out – calm seas, glorious sunshine, great company, two decks to wander around on, sit and chat, and generally relax. Our fabulous crew made sure there was always hot water for tea and coffee, and cold water / soft drinks in the fridge.

We were all excited for our first dive, on Carless Reef. The first group kitted up, closely followed by the rest of us, and we entered the water a group at a time. Wow! For those of us who had never experienced Red Sea Diving before, it was awesome. Getting on for 35/40m visibility, we swam in a fabulous aquarium! Stonefish, a crocodile fish, blue spotted rays, HUGE moray eels peering out from the rocks, the tiniest purple Orchid Dotty Backs, shoals of wrasse, barracuda……

Eventually we reluctantly climbed the ladder back into the boat, with the crew lifting cylinders off our backs ,helping us de-kit, and our cook going round the boat offering us warm, freshly baked cakes!

Second dive was more of the same…..!

In between dives our cook managed to serve up a fantastic lunch buffet – salads, pasta, one or two meat dishes, and local Egyptian dishes…..all from a kitchen about the size  of an old red telephone box!

Then it was time for another relax as we headed back for an hour or two back to El Gouna, and a celebratory cold beer….or two!

Day Two was more of the same, except that our dives were both Wreck dives. First was on the Carnatic, which ran aground on the Abu Nuhas reef. SS Carnatic is adorned with over a hundred years of coral growth – amazing colours and variety. She lies on her port side and is in 2 quite distinctive parts, the bow and the stern. The deck is now rotted away leaving a series of main supporting beams of the 3 decks- the ribs of the ship. These are covered in a profusion of colour and life, where the square portholes are covered with marine life, from soft corals to tiny pipefish and nudibranchs.

The highest point of the wreck is the stern at 17m, with the rudder and prop at 28m The bow itself still bears the graceful lines of a once proud and elegant ship, Her masts lie on the seabed away from the wreck alongside recognisable parts of engine, gears, and boilers – a magnificent sight.

She had been carrying a cargo of cotton, port, copper ingots and 40,000 Pounds Sterling in gold coins. Unfortunately we found none of it!

The second wreck was the Giannis D. which sank in 1983 after hitting the same reef. As the sea was quite choppy, this was a 15 minute RHIB journey to the wreck site, for us.

Giannis D. is is lying on the bottom in roughly three separate sections. My group dropped onto the stern of the wreck, lying at 24 meters and at about a 45-degree angle. The ship’s bent propeller lies partially buried in the sand on the bottom. Penetration into the superstructure , which quite a few of us were keen to do, involved entering the pilothouse, which has been stripped of all of its equipment, and then heading along and down the companionway into the engine room, which hasn’t been salvaged.

Because of the angle of the ship it can become a bit disorientating -the engine room is filled with catwalks and handrails, all at odd angles, with the diesel engine lying to one side. Here we were very taken by a huge spotted pufferfish in the depths, who took no notice of us at all!

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We followed various dark passageways, with the occasional glimpse of brilliant blue out of a porthole, eventually exiting near the middle section of the ship. Then we finned along to the bow which lies completely on its port side, past winches, bollards and various ‘shippy’ things (I’m so technical!), and saw the masts stretching out parallel to the seabed –fascinating. Back along the length of the ship, seeing some of the original cargo still on the deck – wood! – and gradually ascending to our safety stop, along the ship’s mast which rises to about 4m from the surface.  On the dive we were lucky enough to see numerous varieties of aquatic life such as glassfish, scorpionfish, wrasse, napoleon, crocodile fish, grouper and lionfish and blue-spotted stingrays along the bottom. Wonderful!

Day Three gave us more reef dives. It was like being in an aquarium –all sorts of angelfish, parrotfish, pufferfish , morays, shoals of tiny fish, cornet fish, and others too numerous to mention.

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Our lovely dive guides offered us a third dive, stopping on the way back at Gota el Dier. For those of us who decided to dive it was an experience of a lifetime……  about 40 minutes into the dive, a huge grey shape shot through the group. It circled and returned, this time with a friend – DOLPHINS. For the next few minutes they circled us, raced to the water surface and back and brought more of the pod to check us out…a real honour! After passing us at an arm’s length away, the 7 dolphins eventually glided away into the distance leaving us absolutely buzzing!

And so the week continued – more spectacular reef diving in varying locations, and 2 more ‘Third Dives’  where we spent more time with dolphins – absolutely unbelievable!!

Before we knew it, the week was drawing to a close – with a final hotel day, to relax and chill before our evening flights home. Friendships had grown stronger, birthdays been celebrated, diving skills progressed, new food sampled, copious amounts of alcohol consumed, challenges met/ dealt with /overcome, and truly awesome dives accomplished.  Red Sea Diving had lived up to its reputation – we’ll be back!

Many thanks to Emperor Divers, El Gouna,  for a great week.

Purple Jan (Ryan)

[For anyone reading this and searching for gossip and ‘scandal’,- about who jumped in for their dive with items of kit missing (weightbelts? dive computers?) or who stayed up the latest each night, or drank the most beer?, you’re out of luck –‘’ what goes on in Egypt, stays in Egypt’’!!!]

Menai Boat Run 2020

Sunday, 29 March 2020 from 08:00-17:00

Port Dinorwic, Menai Straits, North Wales

A gathering of Dive Ribs from around the UK, making a passage from the launch site at Dinas Marina, through to Beaumaris for a chippy dinner, then passing through the Swellies under the two Menai Bridges to Caernarfon for an Ice Cream, then back to Dinas Marina to recover the boats.

As the event is being organised by Geoff Oldfield and Dave Parry, Merseyside and Chester Sub Aqua Club attendees will be assisting with the Marshalling.

The event is being run to raise funds for the Beaumaris RNLI.

A total of 18 places are available. Deposits of £10 are required to confirm your place one one of the club boats. Pay Geoff directly or contact him to arrange a transfer.

Plymouth 2020 Trip

Date: 29 Aug – 1 Sep 2020 (August Bank Holiday)
Boat: Seeker (In Deep Diver Centre)
Min Quals: SD with 10+ dives post qualification and proven depth progression

£50 non-refundable deposit secures your place

Details
• 3 days diving, staying 4 nights B&B at The Borringdon Arms
• £340pp – based on 12 divers
• Places on first come basis, but will only be confirmed once
deposit is paid

There is a branch participation list on the notice board. Contact Terry Maloney for more Details.

Plymouth 2019 Trip Report

It was the Friday before August Bank Holiday 2019 and ten members of the branch made their way South for a long weekend of diving around Plymouth with In Deep Dive Centre.

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The group were staying at The Borringdon Arms in Turnchapel which is only a short distance from the Mount Batten Centre which is where the boats leave from. Once again, we were on Seeker which was ably skippered by James Balouza and assisted by Conan (if you ever meet him, you will know why he’s called Conan!)

Saturday morning dawned with bright sunshine and a mild breeze. After a hearty breakfast of our choice, we all prepared our kit on Seeker ready for the first days diving. The weather was holding good and everyone was looking forward to getting into the water. Our two dives were to be in Whitsand Bay on HMS Scylla and the James Eagan Layne. The viz was an acceptable five or six metres. More than adequate to enable the divers to make their way around and through the wrecks. I personally love diving the JEL as it’s got genuine history and can be quite atmospheric at times. 


Saturday night was spent in a number of the local hostelries sampling their food and an odd beer. Everyone stated that they had thoroughly enjoyed the first days diving and were looking forward to more of the same the next day.

Sunday dawned and the weather was even better than the previous day despite the cloudy start. There was still a pleasant breeze blowing which we all needed as it developed into a fairly hot, sunny day. Seeker set out for the Bolt Head area so that we could dive the SS Maine. This was a brilliant dive. Viz was excellent at about six to ten metres and the light levels were that good at thirty metres that there was no need for a torch! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the dive. We even had Congers and a Thornback Ray swimming around the wreck. The surface interval was completed while we made our way to Bigbury Bay to dive the SS Persier. Sitting at a similar depth to the Maine, it turned into another great dive with similar viz and light levels. The group couldn’t decide on which dive had the better viz. once again, there was plenty of life on the wreck including a number of Crayfish which are making a welcome return to the area. No torch required again! 

Sunday evening saw us dining at the yacht club and we all had a really pleasant meal which was washed down with the odd beverage.

Monday, and it was our final day of diving. Generally the last day is ‘request day’ and the group can decide where they want to dive or rely on the skipper. Most wanted to dive on HMT Elk which was a smallish minesweeper that was unfortunately sunk by an acoustic mine. She sits at just over thirty metres and although on the small side is still a nice little dive that you can cover a couple of times quite comfortably. Our second dive was a group request to do a reef dive that we had been told about. With a maximum depth of about twenty three metres or so it was to prove a really pleasant dive and a good end to a perfect weekends diving. Amongst all the various critters we saw, there were Crayfish, Lobster, Feather Stars, Feather Duster Worms and the highlight of the dive (well for me) Barrel Jellyfish that were as big as dustbins. Awesome! That evening, we dined in The Clovelly Bay Inn which is only a stones throw from The Borringdon Arms so not too far to stagger back home.

So Tuesday came around all too soon and it was time to make our way back home. After a ‘full English’, we said our goodbyes to our hosts (till next year) and headed back up North.

Thanks to Karl Steadman, Garry Bolland, Stewart, Nathan & Joss Matthews, Kerry Place, Andy Rath, Andy Baigent and Aden McGuigan for a truly brilliant weekend.

Terry Maloney

News Letter July 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Hello Again Folks……….News just off the press is that the Club Annual Dinner will be on Saturday, 26th. October 2019 at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club.  Now this is a fortnight earlier than usual, but it was the nearest date on offer from the rugby club and a change of venue at this late stage would have caused problems in terms of catering etc.  Also I am very pleased to announce that our friends Alan and Vivienne from Divewise on Malta will be attending as guests of the club. I am not sure what the cost of tickets will be, but I suspect they won’t be less that £38 a pop.  The summer bash at the beginning of June apparently was a resounding success and managed to raise about £500 for the club’s coffers.  Thanks go out to Dave Edwards and his band of helpers for making it a great night out.

Enlargement/Refurbishment of the Club House – Last Thursday, 4th. July 2019 Nigel Thomas and I had a meeting with council officials in relation to this project and I am happy to say that while progress may be slow, the council certainly appear to be warming to the idea.  Essentially, we now have to submit a report not only outlining the work, but specifically highlighting the benefits to the club, the community and the council itself.  It is hoped that a rent free period of years can be negotiated that will go a considerable way towards meeting the overall cost. I think approval is unlikely before the autumn, however, in the mean time your views and concerns would be much appreciated.

The Major’s Late, Late Diving Bash – Robbie Edwards and I are going out to Malta on Thursday, 3rd. October and returning to Manchester on the following Monday, 7th. October to do some technical diving (with Divewise/Techwise) and we thought it might be a neat idea to invite the club to join us.  This venue caters for all diving grades hence there is no bar as to who can attend.  Moreover, I have just done a quick check and flights at that time of year are as little as £68 return; okay, I know, you will need to pay for diving equipment which is normally about £40 return for standard kit.  Accommodation on Malta can be as cheap or expensive as you like, certainly Robbie and I paid £124 for an entire week including breakfast earlier in the year.  So if you are interested in a cheeky long weekend’s diving in warm blue water just get in touch with me.   

The use of Facebook – I am sure many of you will be aware that the Club’s Facebook page has recently been used as a platform to air minor grievances over damage to club equipment.  In my view there is a real danger that members become ‘keyboard warriors’ and end up criticising or sniping at individuals in a more forthright manner than they would ever do in a face to face situation.  At a time when so much good work is being achieved by the club this can be very corrosive and counterproductive, hence I will be asking the Facebook administrators to be more robust in removing anything potentially hurtful.  Speaking of club equipment, the committee accept that accidents do occur, so please do let us know in a timely manner if anything gets bashed and we will endeavor to put it right.

Outstanding SDC’s – I am aware that not everybody completed the recent practical sessions for both the Accelerated Decompression and Chartwork SDC’s.  If you let me know (or put it on the Notice board) I will sort out the necessary sessions, albeit they are likely to be in the autumn.

Best regards and safe diving……………Alan Jones, Chairman

River Festival 2019

As part of this years river festival Branch 5 sent two boats and a tug of war team down to New Brighton to take part in the event.

There was one boat on the waters of marine lake, with some brave members demonstrating their low visibility diving skills, and another on the side with other club members collecting for the RNLI and selling try dives.

A big thanks to Chester SAC for jumping in at the last minute to take part in the tug of war. The best of three pulls was close but the practice Branch 5 gained against the RNLI at New Year paid off and they took the day 2-0. Hopefully the edge was taken off the defeat by the food laid on back at the clubhouse for everyone.

Thanks to everyone from the club who gave up their time to to take part and to collect for the RNLI. Update to follow on the amount raised.

News Letter May 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Hello Again Folks…..Let me move straight on with further ado to the most pressing matter that is Dave Edward’s ‘Summer Bash’at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, on Saturday, 8th.  June 2019.  Whilst the price of £38 per head may seem steep the doors open 3pm and children are welcome for a mere £7 per person, albeit that they should be off the premises by 9pm.  There are various entertainments all afternoon including a bouncy castle for the kids.  The evening ‘scoff’ is a full self service buffet, the theme being food from places around the world the club has dived.  We are assured this is a real banquet and should not be missed.  In addition, Dave has obtained the services of a singer for your entertainment.  Now the point is while many members have put their name down for the event you have also been painfully slow in ‘coughing up’ the cash.  So please do pay Dave in the next week or so.  Moreover, numbers have to be finalised by week commencing the 2nd. June, therefore you need to act now to avoid the disappointment of missing a great night.

Speaking of things coming up at short order, it is the Festival of the River on Sunday, 2nd. June 2019 and we should have another tug-of-war contest at New Brighton.  My understanding is that the event is likely to take place about 2.30pm. Two boats are going to promote the Club and Try Dives and collect for the RNLI so we would like volunteers to help from about 11.30am. We will put one boat at the entrance to the car park near the Fort and launch the other into the marine lake.  The tides are bad that weekend so why not lend your support to our team and raise a ‘few bob’ for the RNLI at the same time.  Also, while not certain, I am fairly sure there is a food and drink fair at the back of Morrison’s that same weekend.

Another thing on the horizon which I meant to mention last night is the prospect of Thursday evening diving, such as this coming week.  The tides really are excellent for an afternoon dip if you can free yourself from work or retired like me.  So for example, on Thursday next the meeting time would be 1.0pm on the beach, diving about 4.0pm and back to the club for 7pm.

Looking at the club in general, I am very pleased to tell you that the membership of the club (currently 120+) continues to grow slowly thanks to the efforts of the training team and our Communications Officer, John Rice, who certainly know how to pack them in, particularly amongst those who either fell out of diving or belong to other agencies. When you think that it was only a few years ago that the membership fell to around the 70 mark, so this really is a real achievement, well done.

Finally, turning to the Refurbishment/enlargement of the interior club space there is no real progress to report, in that we have done everything asked of us by the council with regards to plans and calculations, but it seems that we might be at the very bottom of their undoubted busy agenda.  At the recent committee meeting it was agreed that we should review our position at the July committee meeting.

Finally, with the diving season now upon us make sure have a great year and don’t forget to complete the Nitrox log in the boat shed when you are filling your bottles.  Safe diving!  

Best regards
Alan Jones
Chairman

AED Course April 2019

BSAC Automated External Defibrillator SDC

This club night Chris Woods again ran the excellent AED course for first timers and as a refresher for those members who had done it before. This is a course with lots of practicals and plenty of opportunity for everyone to use the clubs training equipment and dummies to practice this life saving skill.

AEDs are getting to be more and more common and can be found in many public places. They are a valuable add-on to BLS/CPR and this course teaches their use and promotes the confidence to potentially save a life!

BSAC Automated External Defibrillator (AED) SDC is a course that isn’t just relevant to diving – you could save someones life.

Contact Chris Woods for details on future courses.

First Aid for Divers March 2019

BSAC First Aid for Divers SDC

Another very enjoyable course run by Chris Woods this weekend with the help of Garry Bolland. The practicals in this course are always fun and those from this course were no exception. Plenty of practice tending to a variety of symptoms using anything to hand.

Great turn out again for this SDC, with lots of members having their first go as well as plenty returning as a refresher.

The BSAC First Aid for Divers SDC is a one-day course that teaches the basics of non-resuscitation first aid likely to be needed in the diving environment. There is lots of practice on the course giving you the confidence to give first aid in a real emergency. It includes making use of the resources likely to be available at the time including improvisation of dressings and splints using materials and equipment commonly found at the dive site or in a boat.
If you already have first aid training, this course is a quick and easy way to ‘practice, practice, practice’ your skills, while learning the best way to apply them in diving.

Contact Chris Woods for details on further courses.

Oxygen Admin Course March 2019

BSAC Oxygen Administration SDC – March 2019

Another successful Oxygen Admin SDC was run by Chris Woods this weekend, ably assisted by Garry Bolland. The classroom was full with plenty of club members doing the course for the first time as well as a number returning for a refresher.

The course Chris runs is heavily biased towards practical sessions giving everyone plenty of opportunity to select the right equipment for the situation as well as to assemble and use the kit correctly in a variety of simulated scenarios.

Although the course has a serious side everyone enjoyed a fun day practicing with both the club kit as well as Chris’s own personal kit.

A successful day was rounded off with everyone passing the exam at the end of the course. Good result all round.


The BSAC Oxygen Administration SDC has a mix of classroom-based and practical lessons, teaching:
• Basic life support
• Use of the pocket mask
• Oxygen and diving incidents and how they benefit from oxygen
• Casualty assessment
• The use of oxygen administration equipment

Contact Chris Woods if you are interested in any future courses.

Quiz and Curry Evening March 2019

Quiz and Curry Evening
March 2nd 2019

This years early Easter quiz and curry evening was an amazing success. A big thanks to everyone that came and made it such an enjoyable evening.

Competition was fierce but in the end the Majors team won by more than ten clear points, sweeping up the star prize…. along with a fair few of the many raffle prizes !

Someone always has to loose and unfortunately this year it was Steve Barnes team that scooped the wooden spoon of shame trophy.

The chilli and vegetable curry went down well and there were no reports of food poisoning so looks like we got away with it.

As well as being about having a good time the evening was to collect funds for the club. In the end the between the quiz, raffle and bar about £500 was raised so thanks again to everyone involved in running the evening and everyone who came.

Derbent & Cartagena Weekend July 2019

Derbent & Cartagena Weekend

Date: 19th July to 21st July 2019
Trip Manager: John Rice

The Derbent is at 45m so is dive leader & above only. The Cartagena is at 30m so can be dived by Sports Divers with progression signoff.

Staying in Amlwch and using the facilities of John Gill’s Adelphi Vaults and Amlwch Diving Services. Launching from Bull Bay with a maximum of 12 Divers.

There is a sheet on the notice board for anyone interested. A deposit of £25.00 needed asap.

Farne Islands Weekend July 2019

Farne Islands Weekend

Date: 12th July to 14th July 2019
Trip Manager: John Rice

Returning to Springhill Farm Pods and chalets for accommodation, and mooring the RIBs at North Sunderland Harbour with the potential use of another Billy Sheils 10 diver RIB if numbers require.


Sports diver & above as its a Neaps weekend and we will aim to dive the Somali, Abyssinia & Chris Christenson wrecks whilst there.

Deposit of £30.00 as soon as possible.

There is a sheet on the notice board for those interested

M2 Bank Holiday Weekend Trip May 2019

M2 Bank Holiday Weekend Trip

4th May to 6th May 2019

An opportunity to dive one of the very best wrecks in UK waters. At 30-35 metres, this experimental Submarine had a sea plane and waterproof plane housing on its forward deck. Sadly somebody forgot to seal one of the doors, and 26 lives were lost.

Diving will be with Skindeep Diving Charters in Portland on a hard boat with a tail lift. Accommodation will be a bunkhouse near the dive centre.

Contact John Rice for more details.

Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC May 2019

Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May 2019

By popular demand there will be another running of the BSAC Chartwork and Position Fixing SDC in May this year. This course builds on the Boat Handling SDC and helps towards the Diver / Coxwain assessment.

The course involves a number of classroom lectures and practical exercises followed by time out on the river putting it all to good use.

There is an entry sheet on the notice board if you wish to take part. A
£25 deposit will be needed before the end of January.

Stoney Cove Trip January 2019

Stoney Cove Progression Diving – January 2019

A group of new Branch 5 sports divers went off to Stoney Cove in Leicestershire last weekend for two days of progression diving under the expert guidance of Alan Jones.

Kelly Baird, Kate Mills, Chris Mills, Dave Roberts, The Major and Dave Barlow

With the help of Martin Campbell, John Dunne and Robbie Edwards all five were put through their paces. The water was cold and although the visibility wasn’t too bad down to about 25m it was pretty poor at the bottom. But everyone coped and by the end of the weekend all had been signed off to 35m.

Accommodation on Saturday evening was at the Mill on the Soar. An excellent inn less than a mile from the quarry with great rooms with breakfast at a very reasonable price. Everyone enjoyed an extended evening meal, a few well earned drinks and a lot of laughs.

Really enjoyable weekend was had by all even if the water was only 6 degrees. Certainly showed who had the best undersuits !

Newsletter January 2019

Chairman’s Letter

Happy New Year everybody and welcome to the start of yet another year of diving with Branch 5; could be as rasper!  We are barely two weeks into the New Year, but already the pace is picking up with the Annual Tug-o-War against the Lifeboat crew on New Year’s Day.  This led to our inevitable defeat though managed to raise something just short of £500 (for the RNLI) and certainly served to raise the profile of the club.  Since then there have been a welter of quarry dives as members train and prepare themselves for the sea.  Obviously, the Dive Calendar is not yet complete but the following provide a snapshot of what will be on offer and is by no means complete, here goes:

  • 19/20th. January 2019 – Stoney Cove, Sports Diver transition dives to 35 meters
  • 10/17th. May 2019 – Malta with Divewise/Techwise
  • 8/9th. June 2019 – Liverpool Bay
  • 14/17th.Jube 2019 – Pembroke with Archaeological Nautical Society diving the Abbercastle
  • 29th. June – 6th. July 2019 – Rosas, Spain with Fleet Divers.
  • 12/14th. July 2019 – Farnes
  • 26/27th. July 2019 – Anglesey (diving SS Durbant)
  • 24/31st. August 2019 – Red Sea
  • 20/22nd. September 2019 – Oban

And just too wet you appetite even further, I am looking to run a full trip to Scapa Flow in  2020 and for those with deep pockets Truk Lagoon in 2021….watch this space.

Turning to equipment, the club has just purchased three Apex training DV’s complete with ‘octo’ regulators.  Towards the back end of last year we also bought a new Lawrence Chart Plotter/Sonar combo to replace the one on the Viking which was found to be full of water.  As a matter of some urgency both boats and the club compressor will be serviced in readiness for the new season.

Training needs continue, specifically Skill Development Courses (Accelerated Decompression Procedure, Chart work) have featured quite heavily in the last three months and will be followed by Compressor Operations, Mixed Gas Blending, Boat Handling and Rescue Management during the coming months.

On the social front I am looking to arrange ‘The Major’s Late, Late Easter Bash’ on Saturday,27th. April 2019.  At the moment I have neither decided on a venue or whether to run it in combination with something else, such as a clay pigeon shoot, go-karting or ‘Ghetto’ Golf at the old Cain’s Brewery in Liverpool.  In addition, I can tell you that Dave and Robbie Edwards are hoping to run a full blown BBQ at Birkenhead Park Rugby Club during the summer and are presently liaising with the caterers.  Also by popular demand this year’s annual dinner will be a similar format at the same venue as last year.  Again we are negotiating over the date, although it is bound to be sometime around mid-November. Just to let you know the annual dinner raised £900 and the Late, Later Xmas Bash £260 for the club, thanks for your support.

One of the things to come out of the club’s AGM in November was an agreement between you the committee that we would put forward a submission for the Heinke Trophy (BSAC’s prestigious award for the most outstanding Branch).  Now the application is retrospective, in other words for the current year, so it is important that we all work towards this goal, which means collecting photographs and short reports and forwarding them to our co-ordinator John Rice.  He has recently taken on the mantle of Communications Officer and is very aware of the need to raise our profile, particularly through community engagement.  One of the things he has organised through Facebook is a ‘Try Dive Bang’ which will be ‘splashed’ across the ether and entice punters to a Try Dive event at Guinea Gap on the 31st. January 2019.  I am sure you will appreciate that this may well attract a bevy of new members and also, most importantly, some great publicity. This could then be extremely helpful and used to support any future application for Sports Council money etc.

As you are probably aware the ‘bold’ Chris Mills has taken over the responsibilities for developing our website and he now sends you the following missive:

          ‘Over the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to tidy up the existing website, updating out of date details as well as trying to get details of recent events published. Mainly to show visitors that the club is active as well as to pass on details to club members who may have missed them.

 I have now installed an events calendar on the site with links to most of the up and coming events I can find details for. I really need help with this going forward if it’s going to be useful. If anyone plans an event; diving, training, social or anything else could they please send me some details. Ideally a few words on the event, dates, organiser details and if possible, a photo or two relating to the event. (Basically, the details that would normally go on the sheets that are put on the notice boards) I will add this to the events list and calendar on the site. If this could be followed up with a very short report following the event, again with a photo or two this would also be appreciated.

I’m more than happy to take any updates for the site in any format; paper, disk, memory stick etc but have also set up an email address for anyone who wishes to send them electronically. The address is content@merseydivers.com

Going forward I’m looking at updating the look and feel of the site. This is a spare time project so is likely to take a few weeks to complete. During this time there is likely to periods, hopefully short ones, where the site will be offline or not work as it should. Apologies in advance for this and many thanks for any help you can give with content for the site’.

That’s it folks and not before time I hear you say, but there is really a good deal going on which I wouldn’t like you to miss.  Safe diving.

Alan Jones
Chairman