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Tenerife April 2014

This was a lovely warm water trip, which everyone seemed to really enjoy. Highlights were that:

  • James W and Mark passed Ocean Diver, James G got his first experience of instructing in open water and Emily H completed her cross-over from PADI
  • newer members gained valuable diving experience in a range of conditions (boat, shore, sunny, windy, rough)
  • Experienved divers buddied up with the less experienced ones and enjoyed the oppurtunity to share their skills
  • Sarah got some great photos with her camera
  • Gareth came out of the closet as a non-diver and a hard-core cyclist

Who Came

  • James Gardner
  • Claire Bale
  • Emily Hughes
  • James Wilson
  • Emily Morgan
  • Gareth Morgan (now a non-diver)
  • Chris MacNab
  • Emma Noble (non-diver)
  • Rachel White
  • Mark Wingrove
  • Olivia Blandford-Guyon
  • Charlie Masding
  • Trevor Peacock
  • Philip Gray
  • Phil Johnston
  • Sarah Armstrong

What we saw

  • Dolphins from the boat
  • Cuttlefish
  • Octobus
  • Arrow crabs
  • Trumpet fish
  • Sea hare on the night dive
  • Lots of little puffer fish
  • Ornate wrasse
  • Bluefin Damselfish
  • Zebra bream
  • Atlantic rays
  • Eagle ray
  • Lizzard fish
  • Blenny
  • Roncador (bastard grunt)
  • Grouper
  • White bream
  • Flat fish (plaice)

Must not touch category:

  • Black, brown and yellow fangtooth morray eels
  • Fireworms
  • Sea urchins (one discovered in Sarah’s knee)
  • Scorpion fish
  • Jellyfish (especially not with face and lips as James G did – ouch!)

Diving

We dived with Aqua-Marina in Vista Sur. It was well placed for the beach, restaurants and the appartments which were right behind the centre.

We also had our own wet room at the dive centre equipped with toilet (unflushable), showers and washing facilities which was really handy.

There were too many of us for the one boat so we spent the first two days in three groups:

  • one boat usually dived from Las Galletas (kit went in orange bags and everyone drove to las Galettas)
  • one group walked kit down to the boat at the shore near the centre
  • the thrid group did training shore dives

After the first two days the trainees joined the others so that we just had two groups.

The third day was rather rough – quite a challenge for the trainees’ first boat dive. They all got down though and enjoyed a picturesque dive.

The diving included:

  • shore dives
  • boat dives
  • a night dive around the local breakwater
  • wall dives
  • cave dives
  • wreck dives – El Condesito
  • swim-throughs
  • scenic marine life dives
  • descending and ascending the anchor line

The underwater landscape was mainly terraces of ledges that go down to a sandy bottom with pinnacles/gullies and overhangs.

Trevor’s GoPro flooded on El Condesito – but it survived!

Après Dive

The biggest decision most of us had to make was whether to go for a large beer (jarra) or a small beer after the day’s diving!

  • Emily M and Sarah A’s birthdays
  • Expensive mojitos at the magic bar
  • Noisy nightclub developed our signing experience – we all hit 50 bar at 6:30am and did an ascent back to the accommodation – some of our ascents were more controlled than others! Improvised bow-ties and straw “art”
  • Frequent visits to little Italy – recommend the vegetarian pizza (and limoncello!) – Trevor managed 4 in a row.
  • Cheap beer and friendly staff at the family bar – our regular meeting place. Mark took the garlic mayonnaise challenge, and survived!

And finally…

… we all had a jolly good time!

Swanage

18th – 19th May 2013

After a long winter, we knew the water would still be quite chilly but we were all excited nonetheless for the first opportunity this season for most of us to ‘get wet’.  It was also the first trip for newly qualified Ocean Diver Phil.

We travelled down to Swanage on the Friday evening and made our way – in part via the pub – to the caravan park and tried to get at least some sleep before a very early start the next day.

Day 1: Saturday 18 May

There were two separate morning dives.  The early risers had a tide to catch at 0725 and had to persuade the kit hire shop on the pier to open early!  The weather was clear and surprisingly calm, certainly in comparison to a similar trip last year.  We took the Mary Jo a short distance to the shotline for the Fleur de Lys.  As well as the wreck, which lies at around 14m, a fair number of fish were to be seen including dogfish and wrasse.

Swanage dressing 2 web

The lazier morning group enjoyed a relaxed time under the pier, a good opportunity to test out kit after the winter and get our “diving legs”.

In the afternoon we took the Mary Jo out to Peveril Ledge for an exciting drift dive at 18 – 22m. The current was pulling fairly strongly, so we deployed buddy lines and SMBs at the start of the dive, before everyone rapidly got pulled in separate directions. A great whiste-stop tour of the Ledge, with lots of local sea weed, starfish, dogfish, wrasse, and even a huge ray.

 

Day 2: Saturday 19 May

A slightly later start on Sunday saw us rested…after another evening in the pub!  We started with a fairly shallow and gentle drift dive, to just 8-10m on the Tanvil Ledge and saw more wrasse and dogfish.  The second dive on Sunday was the by far the most special.  We travelled out further in the bay and descended to 15-20m over the mussel beds for a very fast drift dive!  The current was strong and so most pairs used buddy lines.  The vis was not bad at all and there were again a number of fish to be seen.  For some of the more recently qualified divers, there were comments such as ‘the first dive where I really felt like I was diving’ and for the veterans (!) it was also an enjoyable dive.  Charlie & Trevor even saw a cormorant swooping down to 6m as they did their safety stop!
So overall a great weekend.  A couple of achy ears with dives therefore wisely aborted and a little bit of rain towards the end, but also lots of sunshine, smiles and an aching to get back in the water again soon!

Massive thank-you to Gareth and Emily for organising the trip!

Swanage buddy check web

Sports Diver Training Weekend – 10th / 11th November 2012

Introduction

The Argonauts took on three brand new trainees in 2012 – Charlie, Claire and Kirsty. We qualified as Ocean Divers in April 2012, thanks to a fantastic introduction to diving from the club instructors, Aidan, Gareth and Trevor.
After a summer of fun-filled diving, everywhere from Swanage to the Somosomo straits in Fiji, we were keen to take on Sports Diver, which would let us go on dives down to 35m – particularly good for exploring wrecks – and also improve our safety and rescue skills.
Unlike Ocean Diver, which has a lot of pool and lecture sessions before you get into the open water, the emphasis in the Sports Diver qualification is on the open water dives. Although we’d had a brilliant time at our last Stoney trip (thanks in the main to the good humour of our instructors, and endless supply of snacks!), by the time November 10th rolled around, and winter had set in for good, we were facing the qualification weekend with some trepidation …

Diving

Day 1: Saturday 10th November

After a restorative Full English at the B&B, we arrived at doors-open at Stoney Cove to collect our kit, as we had a full schedule of three dives to complete that day. Although over-cast, some patches of sunlight started poking through, promising a more cheerful afternoon, and the quarry looked very picturesque in its autumn foliage. After the familiar struggle to get into our semi-dry suits, we were ready for diving!

Dive 1

The first dive of the day was mainly exploratory, to get ourselves accustomed to the new kit and being back in the water. Given our initial nerves, we were all hugely relieved after an enjoyable first dive – not as cold as we feared! – and very satisfied to chart our progress since Ocean Diver.

Dive 2

 A long dive this one at 39 minutes, but copious snacks during the surface interval powered us on! After starting the dive with mask-clearing practice, we practised navigation with a distance line round the submarine and platform, before heading down to the cockpit to have our first go at deploying a delayed surface marker buoy. Technique was not the prettiest first time round (some “saggy sausages” at the surface….) but we managed it in the end.

Dive 3

After some fairly unsuccessful compass pilotage on the surface (no comment about women and navigation skills at this point),we managed to get the grip of it underwater, and then hot-finned down to the cockpit for a deep water mask clear, and then another go at the D.S.M.B. (much cleaner this time), before finishing the dive with weight-belt removal.
Saturday finished tired but happy with a curry at the local Indian, followed by a revision session over the BSAC 88 tables and an early night!

Day 2: Sunday 11th November

Only 2 dives today, and we started the day feeling much more cheerful after the successes of Day 1 – even slithering into clammy semi-dry suits couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm!

Dive 1

Our deepest dive of the weekend yet, down to the helicopter at 22m. The cold and low visibility at that depth took us by surprise – and descending down the wall into the gloom was a surprisingly eerie experience. However, it was great to have the experience during training dives, so we’re more prepared next time. That said were all delighted to see the familiar site of the cockpit hove into view, and managed the D.S.M.B with significantly more flair than the day before.

Dive 2

Last dive of the day! After our deeper first dive, we kept this one fairly shallow, and focused on our rescue skills, including the dreaded “nose snogs”, also known as rescue breaths.

All-in-all, a super fun diving weekend – and huge thanks to our instructors Aidan and Trevor!

Stoney Sunshine web

Swanage 25th May 2012

Diving

Day 1: Saturday 26 May

It was too windy to dive on Saturday but it was still a glorious day so we explored the local area – including walking, swimming and the local pubs…
We even made friends with the local donkeys!

Day 2: Sunday 27 May

Dive 1: Fleur de Lys

An early start for our first dive of the weekend (and the season for some of us). We descended down a shot line onto the Fleur de Lys – a fishing trawler that sank in 2000 and sits at about 13 metres. There was a strong current, and the visibility wasn’t great which made it pretty challenging. Most people didn’t stay on the wreck for long and moved off to do a drift dive across the sea bed.

Dive 2: Pier

Some people decided to do a second dive in the morning under Swanage pier. This might not sound that exciting, but even at 4 metres you can find all sorts of interesting things including spider crabs, tompot blenny, anemones, sponges, lobster and plenty of fish.

Dive 3: Valentine Tanks

The final dive of the day was another boat dive to see the valentine tanks which sit at about 15 metres. Luckily it was much calmer than the morning, so this was a much more relaxing dive. The valentine tanks were designed and built in the second world war and were meant to float – but they didn’t! They sank in 1942 but are still fairly intact, and they play home to all sorts of sea life. We saw a massive conger eel, crabs, lobster, a massive cuttlefish and lots of fish.

Who came

  • Charlie
  • Claire S
  • Boggie
  • Sarah
  • Phil
  • James
  • Claire B
  • Emily
  • Gareth
  • Rachel
  • Trevor
  • Aidan

Accommodation

Buckland Lake – April 2012

First trip to Buckland Lake

This was our first trip to Buckland Lake in north Kent near Cliffe for a warm-up dive. It was fairly quiet, there were only about 6 other divers. We did a couple of dives and found various items that had been submerged underwater including the fusilage of a plane and a small boat. These were all fairly shallow, less than 10m. When we went down a bit deeper we found it quite silty and the visibility dropped quite dramatically. But it was an enjoyable day’s diving and only an hour from south London.

Oxygen Administration Day

Posted: 2012-03-13 15:05
Tags: Training
Headline: The club held an Oxygen Administration Training and Basic Life Support reminder course at Gareth and Emily’s house on Saturday.
Date: Saturady 10th March 2012
Location: Streatham
Attendees: James Gardner, Rachel White, Gareth Morgan, Emily Hoy, Trevor Peacock, Aidan Shanahan, Phil Gray, Akiko Miki, Boggie Kuriata, Sarah Boyd-Moss, Steve

The club organised an Oxygen Administration Day at Gareth and Emily’s house to progress those on the Dive Leader course and refresh skills for others.

Thanks to Steve, Trevor and Aidan for giving the training and to Gareth and Emily for hosting us!