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2015 - A Newbies Year In Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Béga   
Sunday, 20 December 2015 16:54

This year I took the plunge for the first time as a qualified Ocean Diver and just a few days after completing my training, I found myself in the middle of the ocean clinging on for dear life! The first time on a hard boat, the first time on a club trip and the first time seeing waves crashing over the bow. I must admit my maiden voyage wasn’t the smoothest by any stretch of the imagination but this weekend diving at Lundy Island was one of the best experiences of my life and finally made me understand why people made such a fuss about “The Dive Bug”.

 

For those that don’t know much about Lundy Island, it was the first designated Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) within the UK and still is to this day. If for some reason that doesn’t paint a picture of how important and incredible this place is, then maybe the thought of towering rocky cliffs covered in puffins and pristine calm waters surrounded by sleeping seals does.

 

I did 4 dives over this weekend with surface intervals each day that were substituted by a quick snack and some snorkeling, but my maiden voyage below the ripple of the waves was The Knoll Pins on the eastern site of the island. After a detailed briefing from the skipper, my buddy / weekend roomy and I kitted up and stepped off the starboard side for my BSAC baptism. Left shoulder to the slope I slowly descended to my maximum depth of 20 meters and looked around in awe at the life that clung to these rocks.  Jewel anemones, dogfish, pink sea fans, red sea fingers and mermaids purses - the list goes on, but due to my lack of marine identification skills I’ll have to stop there.

 

15 minutes in and 100 bar of air later, I made my way through the middle of these two prestigious pinnacles where I slowed down along side my chaperone for a quick safety check. Air ok, depth ok, buoyancy balanced, I turned to take another look around the aquatic universe surrounding me, when something no amount of hours in the classroom or controlled open water centers could have prepared me for... A GREY SEAL!

 

Although I know diving in 3’s is discouraged (and this certainly wasn’t part of our dive plan) in this instance there wasn’t much we could do (and to be honest we didn’t care). I wasn’t sure if what I had seen was real or some unlikely onset nitrogen narcosis never experienced before, but one thing I did know is that after swimming swiftly off into the distance, her elegance and shimmering sapphire eyes reminded me that this was her world, an amazing aquatic environment and a setting I could see myself spending A LOT more time in!

 

After our trio was reduced back to the original founding members of the diving duo, we swam shoulder-to-shoulder through the final stretch of the dive making a gradual ascent up to our safety stop at 6 metres. 3, 2, 1, I ascended reluctantly through the shallows and as the light broke through the waves above my head, I couldn’t stop thinking that I didn’t want this to end. Hand in the air and air in my jacket, I lay back alongside my buddy, fin kicking as we watched everybody else emerge from the depths and swim backwards to the boat.

 

As I approached the vessel and grabbed the rope, fellow club members stared down over the edge with wide smiles as I hoisted myself round to the stern. With both hands on the bars, feet on the grate and a story to share, I gave the nod to the skipper as he raised the lift. I spent the next 15 minutes gleefully sharing my experiences as others did the same and then we shoveled down our snacks, strapped on our snorkels and dove back in with another mighty splash!

 

The rest of the weekend was spent between the surface and the seabed, splashing around with a harem of seals as they took turns chewing fins, chasing bubbles or in one instance even snatching regulators! As I strapped my cylinder back in for the last time on the Sunday and let the air out of my jacket, I couldn’t help but feel deflated. This inaugural trip was coming to an end; an overwhelming experience with an excitable bunch of people, that I would never forget.

 

I spent the remainder of the summer starting the next level of my training, as well as enjoying a few more trips out with the club across the south coast.  These trips included The Gertrude off of Chesil Beach, Swanage Pier and the The Christchurch Ledges and each one never failed to take my breath away.

 

As the sun sets on another gloomy wintery day and I sit here reflecting on what a great year this has been, I glance over at my sports diver student notes and continue to count the days until I can take the plunge once again! When you sit back and relax over this holiday period, turn your mind turns to the resolutions you want to make for next year and please promise me that one of those will involve a boat and some bubbles.

 

If you want to see more of what I got up to during that weekend then please take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsLQK-ECqNw

 

2015_-_a_newbies_year_in_review_-_calshot_divers_

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 December 2015 10:37
 
Calshot Divers search for and recover US Destroyer PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Greenwood   
Friday, 28 June 2013 13:11

When Calshot Divers were contacted by distressed model builder and member of Solent Radio Control Model Boat Club David McNair-Taylor, who had lost his recently completed model of a US Destroyer, the British Sub Aqua Clubs divers sprang into action and planned, organised and completed a successful recovery of the model within a few days.

 

Scale Captain of SRCMBC David, took more than seven months and spent in excess of £500 building his latest highly detailed model of the WWII warship – the USS McNair (DD-679) – and was understandably devastated when the model of the destroyer, sunk in deep water on its maiden voyage at Setley Pond, near Lymington.

 

Desperate to recover his latest model, David sought help from Calshot Divers, a local Scuba diving club based in the New forest. Permission to dive the pond was arranged with the New Forest Park authorities and a meeting was held where search options were discussed and a plan was formulated.

 

Wreck recovered from Setley Pond

 

Diving Setley pond and completing the search was particularly difficult due to the very low visibility and also the vast area of the lake. However, the divers were assisted by photos of where the model sank and had a well formulated search and recovery plan.

 

Divers Stephen Pooley and Ralph Quinn completed the recovery within 25 minutes of submerging and found the model by fingertip search, taking great care not to inadvertently damage the model by accidently landing on it.

 

Calshot Divers Diving Officer Stephen Pooley said “The request to recover a model boat was certainly an unusual challenge but one which appealed to us straight away. Interest within our club was overwhelming and we had a large number of our members along on the evening of the recovery - everyone enjoyed being involved in a different sort of dive. Some of the best diving in the world with an incredible array of wrecks is right here on our doorstep – it was nice to find a new wreck, albeit in a pond and actually a model”

 

Model owner and Scale Captain of Solent Radio Control Model Boat club David McNair Taylor said “I am so very grateful to the members from Calshot Divers. The recovery was a huge success and the model exhibited very little damage after its time underwater. Work to restore the Destroyer to her former glory is well underway and she will be back up and running soon.”

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 June 2013 20:31
 
2013 Try dive season kicks off in style! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Holding   
Monday, 25 February 2013 14:16

Calshot Divers have started the new Try Dive season in style, with a pool session organised for the management team at Decathlon sports superstore in Southampton.

Store Manager Chris Allen and his department heads at the recently opened store at West Quay Retail Park, joined us on a February Sunday evening to experience underwater breathing for themselves, and learn more about some of the kit they sell to customers.

Chris told us that they all had a great time, commenting "I could really get to like this", and that he hoped to get more of his staff to future try dive evenings.

Two of the team have already experienced scuba whilst abroad - but all five of them took to it like ducks to water. You can see the full set of photo's from the evening on our Facebook page, please also "like" our page and you will be kept up to date with all our goings on, including dive trips, try dives, boat handling courses and many other events.

Get in touch soon if you want to have a go, we can teach you through most BSAC grades, you can start to learn more about the amazing underwater environment on your doorstep!

Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 14:48
 
Wow - A dive report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Holding   
Friday, 30 November 2012 16:57

Close inspection of this page will leave you wondering where all the dive reports are! You may even be wondering, do they even still go diving?

This year has seen plenty of action in the pool and the sea, on hard boats, our club rib and a fair amount of training from Ocean Diver (First BSAC qualification) right through to boat handling as well as try dives. So why the lack of reports?

Quite simply, because the club have not had anyone to do them regularly. Or chase people to do so. Until now.

My names Pete, I am Calshot Sub Aqua Club's shiny new marketing officer and I joined the club all of three months ago. So expect more updates - more details of upcoming events, offers from kit and service providers and a whole lot of other stuff.

As a PADI Advanced Open Water diver with a bit over 100 dives logged, I had shamefully only ever done 2 UK dives. Doing all my diving abroad meant nice warm water, great vis and interesting fish life, but with long periods of no diving I was a frustrated experienced diver all kitted up, with no where to go.

So I would occasionally check out websites, wonder if my 5mm wet suit would be ok, despair of all my non diving friends but essentially not do much about it. Until I spotted Calshot Sub Aqua Club's website. A bunch of divers who live and meet in the region of the New Forest was exactly what I needed. All I had to get past was this tricky bit about lack of vis, cold water and the fact that BSAC are all scary hardened divers who scoff at their PADI equivalents and our training.

It's been a bit of a revelation. And for the hundreds of you out there who qualify as divers abroad but don't dive in the UK for any number of reasons, or in fact, for anyone interested in learning to dive, or if you want to further your training, I am here to tell you:

Calshot Sub Aqua Club will welcome you with open arms. The members are all very friendly, and have a wide range of experience from Mat who has been diving since before the sport was invented, to newly qualified Tim. Qualified with another agency? Doesn't matter - you can still come diving with us. Want to learn to dive, or improve your current diving level? CSAC are for you. Not only are there plenty of training opportunities, you only pay for course books and pool or sea dive costs. All BSAC trainers do their teaching for the love of it - BSAC is non profit.

And what about this cold water and lack of vis? It's definitely true, the water here is colder. So you need a decent wetsuit or consider buying a dry suit (we have some going really quite cheap). My 5mm wet suit was more than adequate for the water in October, though I am going to invest in a drysuit in March for the new dive season. And the vis I have had on the dives I have done has been fine. Not 30 metres like abroad, but absolutely fine.

I have now been diving at the famous Vobster Quay, out of Kimmeridge and also completed several pool sessions so that I can take my skills to the next level. Vobster was great - I especially enjoyed the swim throughs created by the aeroplane and the concrete pipes. Kimmeridge was fascinating, loads of fish life and I spotted several crabs and a prawn right out in the open. We dived the "Sea Caves" which is a very weird collection of underwater blocks - not entirely sure how to describe it, but my torch came in handy for looking in all the crevices.

And that's the thing. When it's all boiled down, you may get 30 metres of vis abroad - but you can hardly look at it all can you? As a diver, I know that you spend your time looking at what is close to you. Not 30 metres away. Fish life? LOADS of it, and really very interesting. Wrecks? More than you will ever encounter abroad.

Diving is all about adventure. And the south coast has some of the best diving in the world, and BSAC some of the best divers you will ever encounter. Who will help you settle in with patience, humour and at a pace to suit you.

I'm genuinly excited about going diving next year will all my new dive buddies, and really looking forward to exploring the abundance of diving that the UK has to offer.

Come join me!

 
10 till 5 with an hour for lunch PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Greenwood   
Monday, 27 February 2012 23:14

Well, that was the theory on how we were to run the Ocean Diver Course!

Normally we give the lectures on club evenings over a number of consecutive weeks and fit a number of pool sessions in on a different evening. This time though, some bright spark suggested we run it over a single weekend. It sounded simple enough over a pint one evening. Rather than chase instructors and try to organise loan kit for weeks at a time, just get everyone and everything together for two days over a single weekend!Classroom Lectures

It’s not until you’ve filled the old ‘L’ reg hatchback with 6 loan cylinders and all the club jackets and regs that you realise you’re in trouble! The cars full and you’ve forgotten all the extra kit you need as props for the various lectures – in go the two dry suits, with a couple of nitrox ponies and 6 sets of 88 tables. Hmmm….. my sons doing the Ocean Diver course this time, does he need a lift to the pool on Saturday too? Finally set off at 9am with one small boy in the passenger foot well with the pork pies, a laptop and a large jar of instant coffee (plus a box of sugar cubes).

Steve arrived, and somehow had space in his car for his Guitar – he mentioned needing to practice, but no hope this weekend, he had 3 lectures to give as well as 6 hours underwater!

During the day more instructors arrived to help in the pool and to give some of the lectures, and most were kind enough to leave even more kit for us to use – seriously, thanks guys! (note to self, can our Marchwood member lend us a big green truck on Sunday?). Why do all Ocean Water Divers have size 10 feet? (Another note to self, setup an eBay alert ‘cheap fins size 10’)

Using the tried and testing time management methods (controlled panic) we managed to get through 7 lectures and 5 pool sessions, including 5 Try-Dives and filling in some missed lecture for students from another local BSAC branch. We were even ready for the last minute planned HSE visit to the swimming pool on Sunday (just our luck we’d hired it for the same weekend as their visit), but the HSE inspector cancelled as they were feeling ill (I assume they had a Risk Assessment that covered that scenario?).

Glossing over the actual Ocean Diver Course itself which everyone involved seems to have enjoyed…. I survived to Monday morning! A day of rest for someone who works from home you’d suspect? Wrong, a steaming car full of wet kit that needed to be washed, filled and returned. The Monday wash day was very yellow, orange and black with lots of hoses!

Finally a chance to sit down and pull the photos off of the cameras, a chance to email everyone involved and to send them some fun pictures and read their responses. A few smiles and a descent coffee from a cup with a handle (as opposed to a pink plastic beaker after having to fill the kettle via a snorkel - don't ask), you can start thinking about those potential members who said they just couldn’t make this weekend…. but were still interested in the next one!

I’m convinced there should be a space in the Qualification Record Book for what we did this weekend, but then you might get it signed and just never do it again!

Last Updated on Monday, 07 May 2012 08:47
 
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