Diving Officers Communication (Jul 2001)

Another month has past and it will soon be time to start to think about getting your Christmas finery out, as the Club Dinner Dance will be here. If you have not booked your place yet there’s still some time left.

Diving this month has been very good with visits to Lyme Regis, Plymouth and Teignmouth. These trips have added 74 dives to the yearly total. I am unable to quote what this total is as I am still waiting for copies of some of the Dive Logs that I have lost due to PC problems. If you have one of those that I have lost can you let me have another copy as soon as possible, as it will soon be time for me to do my yearly totals for the AGM.

The diving this month started with a trip to Plymouth (16 dives) and the Marine Survey weekend that was held in recognition of the World Oceans Day. Although details of what was going to happen on the day were very sketchy, it still generated a lot of interest within the membership and because of the numbers there was only the one boat dive each, but there was a shore dive available as an alternative. The weather was very kind with the sun shining down on us all to keep the chills of diving at bay. To entertain us there was also an air display over the sound for us to watch during our dinner break.

Our task was to look for some rare varieties of Fish, (Black Faced Goby), Sea Fans (Pink Sea Fan) and Sea Fans Anemones, whilst diving some of the various sites that were highlighted as possible places of sightings. Sadly we were unable to find any this time but we did report previous sighting from other dives.

Mid-month saw our return to Lyme Regis (36 dives) for my birthday weekend and some diving on the Bretagne. The weather was very changeable throughout the weekend with some heavy showers. One of these very nearly drove a hardy diver home. As she was trying to erect her tent the rain and wind did all in their power to aid her, until she finally ‘blew-up’ and threw one. Thankfully we managed to throw water on her fire and due to the sterling work of ‘a couple of blokes’; her tent was soon up (in fact it took the best part of 30 mins) and she was on the right side of a stiff brandy. This was to be the only problem that was to tax our abilities throughout the weekend and the diving went like clockwork.

Early on the Saturday we had the boat launched and were steaming towards the wreck site using the GPS marks that I had stored on our last trip. As we approached the site we saw another boat on station. We asked if he was ‘into the wreck’ but he was unsure. So using the echo sounder we located the boilers and once sure that no divers were in the area dropped our own shot line. This was to stay on the wreck for the two days that we would be diving, so the first pair down had the task of making sure it would not get dragged off the wreck. The reports back were it was between the boilers and secure, thereby ensuring everyone would be diving on metal and not sand as last year. With the advantage of modern technology, the boat was put to good use and turn round times kept to a minimum. If it was not due to the fact we were bar-b-que’ing that night we could have completed a few more trips before nightfall.

This was repeated on the Sunday and the feedback from everyone was very positive. The later part of the month saw the first of a series of dives on the club wreck ‘The Bretagne’ all these trips using ‘Teign Diving Centre’ of Teignmouth. Due to the large tides at this time of the month, the visibility on the Bretagne was not very good, so you had to take time to look and discover the large amount of life that now covers the wreck.

Sadly there are signs that the wreck is starting to collapse, a lot of the port side appears to have gone and parts of the deck are disappearing as well, so care must be taken when we dive this wreck in the future. As ‘Teign Diving Centre’ can pump air, we only took the one cylinder each, sadly they had a problem with their filter stack and the air had a distinct after taste of oil, which was not noticed until you had been breathing it for a short time. Therefore most of us discovered this when we were diving on ‘The Galacia’ as our second dive.

Thankfully, as this is a relatively shallow dive, in the 15m range, no one suffered from any adverse effects; any effects being less than if we had been diving on the Bretagne. There is talk of recommending two cylinders for the next trip, but ‘Teign Diving Centre’ was informed of this fact and was going to have it serviced.

The visibility on the Galacia wreck was very good so long as you were careful not to disturb the silt that covers the site. There was lots to see and I discovered a large conger hiding in one of the many pipes that lie around and over the wreck. Others reported various sightings as well.

Our last dive was in The New Quay public house that is next to the beach for some much needed refreshment and a dive debrief before making the trip home. We all planned to meet at Junction 25 on the M5 for something to eat and as a rest stop for those of us that had to drive. (Thanks to Tony & Mary who gave me a lift). I’m sure we would all like to thank Chris Barker for organising this and all the other trips that are planned over the coming months.

Training

The Sports Diver knowledge review happened on June 6th and I am glad to report that the results were very good with marks in the high 80’s and 90’s. It just goes to show that some do not listen to what is said or read the front sheet and missed achieving 100% pass marks due to not giving all the answers to some of the questions. At present there is no lecture program on going, but I am planning the next series for those that require Sports and Dive Leader Lectures. Please let me know if you need any others.

Practical skills are being done when conditions allow.

Congratulations to Matthew Bell and Terry Hall, who have achieved Sports Diver grade this month.

I would like to thank Andy Wilson for all his help as Training Officer over the past years. He is sadly standing down from this post; he will be sorely missed. My thanks go to Tim Clouter who has graciously stepped into the void to help with the organisation of the training for the club. No Tim, you do not get the extra vote!

General

As reported last month, the club (that’s all of us) has placed an order for a new boat. I stated one of the requirements to complete the purchase of this boat would be the raising of the additional monies to furnish the RIB with what we deem necessary. To this end the ‘A Team’ has been created and they are doing various campaigns to raise this additional revenue. One of these campaigns was the auction of a packet of those delightful sweets that Tim is so ready and happy to dish out prior to any dive. This auction was to run over two weeks and the highest bidder would receive a packet of Fisherman’s Friends Apple and Cinnamon flavour, which are not yet available in the UK. There was a fast and furious bout of bidding for this much desired packet and before too long the bid was running into the thousands (pence that is) and factions started to form. There was the Anti-Fisherman’s Friends League; who wanted to B-B-Q them and save the rest of us from these foul sweets. The Fisherman’s Friendship League, who wanted to turn them into paperweights, trophies to be given out at the AGM and the like, and the Fisherman’s Friends Freedom Fighters. Who just wanted them to be sweets and donate them back to the club to be eaten (sad what), all bidding for these sweets for their own different reasons. What was good though is that the Wednesday before the auction closed there was a flurry of touting to recruit new members for each faction that the only sensible thing to do was to have peace talks and come to a compromise. This took place between the chairperson of each faction and the winner was the club boat fund as the final bid was for 30000 pence (£300 for those who need it converted and are a bit slow). For more details about this and other attractions, visit our web pages and read the chain of emails as well as some feed back from IMPEX, the marketers of Fisherman’s Friends.

There has been another working party and work has been done to the Dunlop trailer. There is still work to be completed and this needs to be done as soon as possible so that a decision can be made on which of the two boats we are going to sell, as well as how much we will be asking for it. I you have not been to any of these working parties yet, it’s about time that you did because if we do not get these jobs done, we can not sell one of the boats. NO SALE – NO RIB could be the final scenario if we do not get our act together.

Emma Taylor, who correctly guessed that it weighed 680lbs, won the Avon weight competition and won the £25 first prize (Well done to Shaun Morris who actually did the guessing and paid for her).

Rich Ranahan won the Fisherman’s Friends Polo shirt that was ‘Lottery raffled’ by Tim and donated by Fisherman’s Friends themselves, by choosing number 21 as the Bonus Ball number drawn on Saturday 30th June. The fate of this Polo Shirt will be announced by its new owner – Hopefully it will fair better than half of the Fisherman’s Friends sweets.

Various people have devised ways of raising funds.

There will be a club -B-Que. on the 27th July, tickets are £5 per head and the profit from this will go toward the boat fund, so get those dentures cleaned and buy your tickets from Julie Ryalls or Mary Hartigan. The venue is the Ryalls residence come rain or shine.

Forthcoming Fund Raisers

A £1 prize guessing game on how much the Dunlop boat weighs will be run as soon as it is road worthy.

A Treasure Hunt around Bristol City centre and another ‘Guess Who’ competition is also being planned

Are there any more ideas out there on how to raise funds? Come on you must have some.

Lecture Program for 2001

Club Diver – Lecture program completed. Open Water Drills progressing.

Sports Diver – Lecture program completed. Open Water Dives being carried out.

Dive Leader – Lectures near completion. Review to be announced. New program if required.

Advanced Diver – Mandatory SDC’s as and when required. Optional SDC’s to be discussed.

Dates for your diary

7th  – 9th July 2001  Portland (Camp Site to be announced)
15th July 2001 Robbie Williams Concert (Cardiff Arena – Sold Out)
27th July 2001  Club’s -B-Que. (Venue – Harry & Julie’s House – Tickets £5 per head)
3rd – 5th August 2001 North Wales (See Mike Down, Expedition Leader, for details)
3rd – 6th August 2001 Bristol Harbour Regatta
August B/Hol 2001 Club annual trip (Venue is Marazion)
28th – 30th September 2001 Porthkerris Cornwall
22nd December 2001 Annual Club Dinner Dance – Jury’s Hotel, Prince Street

NOTE: – There may be additional expeditions and events being planned that are not listed here.

See our Web Site for information on these and other diving expeditions.

Happenings

Our new Entertainment Officers are still trying to organise another cuisine night in the Bristol area. Any thoughts to either Julie or Mary please. One thing that is taking place is the Bar-B-Que. (Minus the BAR) in aid of the boat fund. For full details see Julie Ryalls. The date is the 27th July at the Ryalls household.

DO’s thought for the month

 WITH GOOD PLANNING, A BROAD SMILE, MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND LOTS OF LUCK.

Everything can go like clockwork

Harry Ryalls

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