Diving Officers Communication (Jul 2000)

It was too good to last, I’m late again with this months report, but in my defence I have been a bit busy over the last few weeks.

Thankfully I have managed to get some diving in, even if I have had to organise the weekend. This month has seen quite a busy calendar with trips from Plymouth to West Wales to Tamworth taking place and the SWEB Bristol Harbour Festival rounding off the month. As last month these trips have not been without incident, thankfully nothing of a serious nature, but one that could have been.

The West Wales trip planned by Tim Clouter was a very ambitious plan that nearly came off, if it was not for a problem with the fuel tank fittings it may very well have succeeded. Still, the diving that was done was very good with Carol Sheppard breaking her personal best dive time – twice! Mary and Racheal had a good time too, coming face to face with a seal. Another trip is planned for the near future so perhaps things will go better this time.

Mid July saw us visiting Hallsands again, where once again due to the popularity of this venue we took over the whole hotel (all bar one room) and the adjacent cottage! The weekend started with some of us doing three dives on the Friday, one being the compulsory night dive that is still very popular with some of the members. Saturday should have been a day where we all enjoyed ourselves to the full, but fate had other plans, or is it just some form of jinx that is haunting us.

If I say so myself, I had a very good idea for launching the boats which went very well and they were all in the water in a very short time without all the huffing and puffing of previous years. The dive pairings were sorted out and the dive site agreed, Cyril was coxing the Dunlop and Stewart the Avon. As normal the engines did not want to start easily but thankfully the Avon was soon purring nicely, suddenly there was a very loud “boom!” and the Mercury engine burst into flames. Cyril very quickly got rid of the fuel tanks and doused the flames with water and fortunately, what could have been a very bad incident was averted. Mind you, Lorraine (Cyril’s wife) did not see it that way, and was telling him so very quickly. When you stop to think, you have to agree that what she said was very true. We can always get another boat, but it would be very hard, if not impossible, to replace ‘The Old Man’. This accident put the weekend plans into disarray as we now only had the one club boat to use and lots of divers. Mike Oats came to the rescue and ran a shuttle service with his small boat, which eased the situation somewhat, and as the saying goes, “All’s well that end’s well“. As it happened the day turned out to be enjoyed by all. The nice weather and the sun shining had a lot to do with this.

Saturday night saw some fun and games, but I will leave that story to someone else! I have heard that pictures will soon be appearing on the web – we will be accepting bribes if you do not want yours to feature. I would like to thank Mike Oats again for the organisation of these events.

Sunday saw a few heads that were not sore, so a gentle dive was had before the boats were recovered. Again thanks to my brainwave boat recovery over the shingle beach was a lot easier than previous years and no hernias or throbbing rope slapped ears were reported afterwards. A few of us stayed the Sunday night but very few made it past 10pm as we relaxed in the bar after dinner. Monday saw the best day of the whole weekend, with a mirror sea greeting us in the morning. Sadly no one was able to make use of it as we all had to make our way home.

The later part of the month saw a few members visiting the James Egan Layne. Reports of the day did not go down well with those of us that were unable to make this trip, in fact, those that did make it have not stopped talking about it and are still reminiscing even as I write this report.

The last weekend of the month saw us providing safety cover for the SWEB Bristol Harbour Festival, where we also entered a few teams into the Gig races. The ladies did very well considering that they have never rowed anything before in their lives and still got a respectable time from their attempt. One of our male teams surprised us all and made the finals against a very experienced team, who came good at the right time. So a second place was achieved by our representatives, who all received a runner’s up medal from the event. Hopefully this event will also result in some form of report reaching the web. So come on you Gig racers, put fingers to keyboards and get composing.

The rest of the weekend saw various events taking place on and off the water. This included displays from the Helicopter Rescue Services in conjunction with Severn Rescue who put on displays over the two days. There were also lots of things happening on the waterside, a French market, open air concerts, ships to walk in and around including the world famousMatthew, and a fun fair and fireworks – to mention only a few. So if you missed it, you missed an excellent weekend. Don’t miss it next year.


Training has been progressing throughout the month and the lecture program for those on it will soon be coming to an end with the final lecture for Dive Leaders early August. The theory reviews have been ongoing and the DL will be as planned on the 20th September. I am now in the process of planning a new Club Diver program for our latest intake and I will be issuing the new dates of the lectures to those eligible in the near future.


Diving this month has added 82 dives to the total number of 617 for the year to date. Carol Sheppard leads with the most number of logged dives so far this year and may be hard to catch if she carries on as she has for the rest of the season. Only time will tell, so keep an eye on the table to see where you will finish up.

Carol also organised a very nice evening at the Raj Mahal in Frenchay village, which was very well attended by club members for a change. All those that made the effort echo my feelings and thank Carol for a very good night. I can only ask when and where the next one will be.

The committee has made the decision not to use the Mercury engine again, we will see about getting it repaired and will then trade it in. This means that there will only be one boat available for the rest of the season. Hopefully the lottery grant will be successful this time and we will be in a position to purchase our new boat for next years season. Fingers crossed everyone. It has gone in and I would like to thank the whole of the committee for all their hard work in getting it ready for presentation.

As last month, Bob Abbott has been busy on his own up the boat shed and has been maintaining the boats all on his own again. So if you can think of anything that needs doing, DON’T TELL BOB, let me know and I will try to organise a working party again. The last one was so well attended we ran out of planned things to do. But that has changed and we have a few more outstanding. Some that were not finished last time and a few new one’s.

Lecture Program for 2000

  • Club Diver review – (New program to start as soon as possible for new starts.)
  • Sports Diver lectures – New program to be planned later this year.
  • Dive Leader lectures – Lecture program finishing soon. (Theory review planned for mid-September)

Dates for your diary

Sunday 6th August – Hard Hat diving at Portland (Happened – Good Fun had by all)

August 2000 – Club Annual trip away (Mariazion or Maenporth)

8th – 10th September 2000 – North Wales

10th September – Hard Hat diving (Session II) at Portland

15th -17th September – West Wales

September 29th – October 1st – Marine ID Course, Plymouth


Carol Sheppard is now organising the Christmas meal, if you’re interested in coming make the effort to see her and not have her chasing you for a change. This year sees a new venue; it’s at the Ship, Thornbury.

DO’s thought for the month



Harry Ryalls


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