Tag Archives: Trips

Lanzarote in October 2017

In October, an intrepid foursome headed to Lanzarote for some autumn sun and underwater fun.

The weather was beautiful, hot, sunny and calm waters. The water was a balmy 22 degrees and crystal clear.

We did 7 dives in total, all of which were lovely and easy (max depth was about 27m, great visibility and no current) and with lots of life, especially fish.

We saw: barracuda, shoals of sardines and other unidentified fish, tuna, triggerfish, jacks, an ANGEL SHARK, sting rays, an eagle ray, octopus, cuttlefish, flat fish, nudibranch, squat lobster, cleaner shrimp, moray eel and SEAHORSES!

Plus, we visited the excellent [underwater museum](https://underwatermuseumlanzarote.com/en/) which was a really fantastic and unusual dive among the statues, all of which have a message. What’s particularly nice is that they limit the number of divers in the museum at any one time which means you really do get to enjoy the ‘exhibits’ – I wish they did this at some other dive sites!

We spent our evenings exploring the restaurants of Puerta del Carmen – a surprisingly good variety to choose from, and playing games at our lovely apartment.

Overall, a wonderful, relaxing and beautiful trip!

DETAILS:
We dived with Atlantis Diving: http://atlantislanzarote.com/nuevo/ who also arranged our apartment.

 

by Claire & James

Selsey in October 2017

A select group of intrepid Argonauts sports divers (James B, Mark, Alex and Jessica) braved October weather for a really enjoyable day out with Mulberry Divers, off Selsey. We woke up very early (for a Sunday morning at least) and headed for the South coast.  After signing our life away on various bits of paper we convened at the sea front for the all important bacon roll and coffee, before kitting up and heading out on the rib to the first dive site.

The Mulberry rib has a rather impressive engine and a very friendly skipper named Steve, who had a flask of hot Ribena waiting for us at the end of each dive. We were also lucky enough to have the boat all to ourselves – an Argonauts charter!

Wind over the previous days, large Spring tides and a HW slack all meant that the viz for our first dive, on the Far Mulberry was a rather murky 1-2m. This meant that we didn’t see an awful lot, I spotted a friendly looking Tompot Bleny and Alex caught a glimpse of a not so friendly looking Conga Eel. The weather on the surface however, was mostly blue sky and sunshine, so that was good for Rachel who was acting as our shore support (Rachel confirms that the cockles from the local fish monger are good!).

Things improved for our second dive at Waldrons Drift – better viz with the Ebb tide clearing the water slightly. We had a few nice sightings as well; quite a large Cat-Shark, Plaice. Long-Legged Spider Crab, Pollock, Dead Mans Fingers and big Edible Crabs all spotted.

All in all, a fun day out and a nice end to the 2017 UK dive season!

 

by Jess

Southern Red Sea in September 2017

Four club members made a relatively late booking to dive some of the sites in the southern Red Sea in September.  The itinerary and the port of departure seemed to change on daily basis, even up to the point of arrival, apparently due to exercises being conducted by the Egyptian coastguard.  However after a long flight and an even longer transfer we finally reached our boat at Hamata late at night and once the boat departed the tiring journey was soon forgotten.

We headed south, diving on sites at Fury Shoals and then St Johns. Most days we did three dives, one day we managed four and they were all excellent dives. We would usually be awoken early for a dive before breakfast and then do another before lunch. And so on… lots of diving, lots of eating, lots of relaxing. It’s hard to pick out a favourite dive as there were so many great ones, but I really liked diving at Abu Galawa Soraya which had a central lagoon surrounded by beautiful coral gardens – a very tranquil and relaxing dive. There was lots of sealife to be seen, including many things I hadn’t encountered before. Barracudas, stone fish, crocodile fish, trigger fish, moray eels swimming out in the open, octopus, dolphins and a couple of bonkers porcupine fish were some of the highlights. After a couple of days at St Johns we headed back north, diving at Fury Shoals again, Elphinstone reef and Marsa Shouna.

Red Sea 2017

The boat itself, the Okeanos Xplorer was nice and comfortable and the dive guides and crew were very friendly and helpful and made getting ready for the dives and getting out of the water very easy. Food and drink on board was excellent and there was plenty for vegetarians – so no danger of losing weight on this trip. We returned to a different port, Port Ghalib so our return journey to Hurghada wasn’t so tiring. After 20 years of diving this was my first proper liveaboard experience and I’d been promised great things. I can say that I wasn’t disappointed, I had a great week and would certainly recommend it to anyone.

 

by Chris

Scilly Isles, September 2017

This is our second trip to Scillies, booked right after the successful, joyful first trip in 2015, this time as a joint trip with another club. Again, we began with the long drive from London to Penzance, met up with people from another club there.

The three-hour crossing from Penzance to St Mary’s was not so bad, but some of us stayed on the deck to have fresh air. Our accommodation was a big house where ten of us stayed while two people who organised the trip stayed in the cosy top-floor flat in another house nearby.

It was drizzling and windy on Sunday morning, our first day to dive. With little hope that we could dive, we went to harbour to load our dive gear and cylinders onto our boat, Tiburon (meaning ‘Shark’). Our Skipper, Dave, was a calm, soft spoken man with a lot of knowledge of the sea at Scillies and also a photographer.  The weather was constantly changing from drizzling to sunshine, then to rain. The wind was picking up day by day however, Dave always found a place for us to dive. The water was 14c – 15c and visibility was relatively good, about 5 – 10m.

We dived at various sites, wrecks and reefs covered with stunningly beautiful jewel anemones at different islands. We, of course, dived with seals.  However what made this trip most memorable is that… we saw Sunfish! Two of us watched it swimming across before us during diving on the first day, and then, while we were moving from the first dive site to the second site on the following day, we spotted it swimming close to the surface!  Dave manuvoured the boat to come close it and the Sunfish was, instead of swing away, pottering around there, waving its fin like a dog wagging its tail!  As we didn’t expect Sunfish in this trip, it was a real treat!

 

Towards the end of the trip, we heard that the ferry might not set off on Friday, Saturday (on the day we were heading back to Penzance) and Sunday, and were a bit concerned. While extra one day or two to stay at St Mary’s is nice, most of us would have to go back to work on Monday…Thankfully, the ferry with us onboard departed to Penzance on Saturday, however it was cancelled for the following Monday.

It was a good, satisfying trip as ever and we are already planning another trip there in two years time.

 

by Akiko

Club trip to Swanage – June 2017

 

Waking up at 6am on Saturday morning to the pitter patter of rain on the caravan window was not what the gorgeous sunny weather of the previous month had promised. Nevertheless, Swanage Pier beckoned so, after a quick breakfast, it was off to the pier to ensure that we would get a parking place on said pier when it opened at 7am. All Argonaut cars arrived at the same time! Next to Divers Down who supplied all necessary needed extra equipment and who also promised to fill tanks in a hurry if needed. (The perfect second hand dry suit for Mark was a necessity Rachel!)

Figure 1: Arriving at the Pier on Saturday morning, Rachel, Trevor and Chris

First dive was under the pier, a useful shallow dive for those of us who had not yet dived that year to get back into the swing of things. On the way out there was plenty to see including crabs and fishes (not technical I know) and other bits and pieces under the pier. As usual, it was easy to find our way out but more difficult to get back with the tide starting to push against us and the suspicion that we were going round and round in circles (Navigation by surfacing seemed to fix that).

Next dive was the Fleur de Lys on the Mary Jo. Pre-dive chat seemed to indicate that it was a pile of wood on the sea floor. However, giant stepping off the Mary Joe and descending the shot line showed that there was still a distinct shape to it. It was a bit busy to start, with all 12 of us bumping around but we all soon separated. It did take us two circuits to find the line to the steal barge which was definitely in one piece. We saw plenty of Wrasse and many Sea Squirts on the barge.

The team decided against a cheeky third dive and repaired to the caravan park to freshen up before going to the Black Swan. We couldn’t get inside so we were outside (which was fine being hardened divers). The meal was great fun with much banter and joking around.

Sunday morning started with a beautiful view from the caravan park and once again we were outside the pier by 7am. Once on the pier we had to wait till 11am till our first dive so clearly we had to disappear to the nearest café for breakfast and chat.

Figure 2: : Breakfast with Chris, Akiko, Boggie, Sarah, Trevor and Alex

The first dive took us on the Mary Jo again to the Carentan in 30m of water. Down the shot line the water got darker till we approached the wreck with the water brightening up again due to the reflection of the sea bed (orn possibly because the clouds had parted). I managed to see the sonar eye but missed the highly polished toilet seat. Saw a Conger eel hiding in a tube. Time at 30m was short so with 5mins before deco started the DSMB was deployed and up we went. Clearly on the boat there was much talk about who had gone the deepest with 10cm being the difference between first and second place.

Last dive for me was a drift off Old Harry on the Viper with the sea getting rough and sea sickness threatening. We had to hang around for the shot line marker buoy to pop up as with any tide, it went below the surface. When all was ready the whole boat disembarked like a parachute jump and off we went to the bottom. I used a buddy line with Trevor as my SMB pulled hard and threatened to separate me from my buddy. Saw many ghostly dog fish but not much else. Most of the sea bed was gravel and gave me to wonder whether it would have been like this 200 years ago before the advent of bottom trawling. Well before gas or deco time became a problem, we surfaced as there was little to see.

Some of the troop stayed till Monday but I left on Sunday having had a great weekend. Many thanks to Rachel, Mark and Sarah for organising the trip. I look forward to next year!

by Alex

Farne Islands and Eyemouth, August 2016

In late summer a large contingent of Argonauts (and friends) headed up to the Northumberland coast for a week of fantastic cold water diving. The Farnes are home to one of the largest grey seal colonies as well as a wide variety of birds.

The conditions didn’t disappoint, with dozens of close encounters with seals, huge lobsters, wolf fish, octopus, crabs and vast walls of coral. For several in the group, it was the first big diving trip after qualifying as Ocean Divers – and it set the bar high!

Here’s a few photographs from the trip:

Swanage, June 2016

We had a nearly record club turn out for the first big dive weekend of the year, as fifteen Argonauts members spent an enjoyable few days diving from Swanage.

To warm up after Winter and to give several new members their first taste of open water diving we started off under the pier. It was easily one of the best dives of the weekend as we saw spider crab, edible crab, a huge lobster, cuttlefish, wrasse, sponges and some impressive soft corals. The shafts of sunlight (when it wasn’t raining!) coming down between the wooden beams was spectacular.

Our next dive was with Swanage Boat Charters, on the famous Valentine Tanks at 15m. Despite poor visibility (and nearly losing the line!), we did manage to find both tanks, as well as a huge shoal of bib, some nice spider crabs, dogfish and a monstrous resident conger eel. Being such a big and friendly club, we then headed off to the pub to talk about the exciting new experiences of our first sea dives.

We woke the next day to a very British summer, with a light drizzle as we were putting on our dry suits. But we were glad we did as we headed off to do the Old Harry Drift For those of us that are new to diving, a drift is certainly a strange and exhilarating experience as you whiz over the seabed spotting things like dogfish and crabs as they zoom by.

Lastly, we headed over to the other side of the bay to dive the Peveril Ledges. Here there’s a drift dive with a difference as huge horizontal slabs force you up and over, while keeping an eye out for fish and invertebrates. Luckily, just as we were preparing to surface we did spot a big thornback ray.

That’s all for our Swanage trip, looking forward to more dives this summer!

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Stoney Cove, May 2016

Having joined in Autumn 2015, this month three brand new Argonauts members achieved their Ocean Diver qualification!

Training was carried out over the Winter at our regular Tuesday evening pool sessions in Victoria, London – none of the group had ever dived before. After learning all the necessary skills, gaining confidence and waiting for warmer weather(!), we spent the weekend at Stoney Cove to try everything out in open water.

With excellent visibility and excellent training from Argonauts instructors, we have four really enjoyable dives down to 20m. We even found nessie, some monster pike and a huge shoal of perch.

At the same time, another established member progressed from Ocean Diver up to Sports Diver.

Now, as proper BSAC divers, we can’t wait to get out into the sea!

If you’re thinking of learning to dive, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Scilly Isles, July 2015

After a year of planning, our club trip to the Scilly Isles began with the long drive from London to Penzance, with the Isles of Scilly another three hour ferry trip beyond. The process for loading dive kit and luggage sits somewhere between a jumble sale and a rugby match. As we’re a mostly organised club, we ended up with only my car on the wrong side of the chain that separated a deranged forklift truck from humanity.

The crossing was fairly calm, but the building swell soon revealed who had remembered their seasickness tablets. Olivia planned to revise for her Sports Diver exam – notes in one hand, sick bag in the other. At around question 18, the revision ended suddenly.

Hugh Town, on the island of St Mary’s, is beautiful. Our accommodation overlooked the neck of land connecting the “Garrison” to the main island. It wasn’t long before the lure of pasties, ice cream and a pub took hold..

We needed to be at the harbour for 8:30 the next morning to load our dive bags and tanks onto the dive boat, Moonshadow. There was a mad scramble to get everything on the boat, which was a little small for 12 divers, and the jumble sale theme returned as we climbed over a pile of tanks and kit, each of us trying to assemble a working set.

Throughout the week, we got to explore the different islands from the water. The diving was a little chilly (14oC) but fine for those in drysuits. The dive sites included wrecks, scenic reef dives and seals! Most of our dives were accompanied by Pollock, and every wall was covered in colourful jewel anemones. The visibility varied throughout the week, following the weather. Some days we could see the surface from 20m; on others, it was a respectable 5m. The wrecks were a mix of new and old, the Cita being the most intact.  The Colossus is the most historic – wrecked in 1798, it comes complete with a guide-book to navigate around the historic site!

Diving with seals in the Scillies
Diving with seals in the Scillies

Jolene the skipper was great. She knew every nook and cranny of the islands and always found us somewhere to dive, whatever the weather. On one trip, she brought her children on board. They were more interested in Sarah B’s fluorescent three-eyed monster hat than us. Thankfully (for us), the hat found a permanent home in the Scillies.

We dined out most evenings, with the odd take away and meal in cooked at the accommodation. On the last night, we had an end-of-trip meal at one of our favourite restaurants. We each recounted our most memorable moments from the trip, which was a lovely way to round off the week.