31 December 2007

Nearly the End of 2007! What will 2008 Bring?

We are very nearly at the end of 2007, just hours to go and we will soon see the pundits giving their predictions for 2008. Updating the blog ,as I am ,I thought it would be interesting to look at what was predicted for blogging during 2007.

One such pundit 'Modern Life' commented "Blogging will get harder - Well, not harder per se - but as more and more people cotton onto this 'get blog, get famous, make money' mentality (old media included) hopefully we'll see greater competition and more rivalry for blogging recognition." See:-


As time has passed it seems that it was a fairly accurate prediction. It's certainly not harder to blog and the increased use of blogs should be good for the blog reader. Whether blogs will make money, is of course, not something that will concern Meridian Divers!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from our North Cyprus Correspondent

Cengiz Bergun laterly of this parish sends his best wishes for the New Year from his North Cyprus Dive Centre. Looks like it's all progressing very well and it looks like you have a possé of ex-pat divers to help you!
Check out Cengiz and his Team on:-

30 December 2007

Cold Water Immersion Needed Desperately

Desperate from Walderslade seeks cold water immersion. Any suitable location considered.
Please post ideas for dates times and places asap.

22 December 2007

Happy Christmas to All

I would like to wish everyone who is linked with Meridian Divers and everyone else who may visit these pages a very happy Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year

21 December 2007

Meridian Divers 2nd Christmas Dinner

It was really good to see so many Meridian Divers at the Christmas Dinner on Wednesday 19th. The Dorset Arms served us proud with with some good food but , of course, the evening was special because of the company. It was really pleasing to see that many of you travelled some long distances on a bitterly cold evening to join in.

Jim H won the Meridian Divers 2007 UK Dive Challenge for the MDer with the most UK dives under his belt for 2007 (yes I suppose we should have waited until 31st December to declare a winner , but somehow I don't many dives will be taking place in the remaining time!) Congratulations Jim! We will have to think of getting a Trophy for this challenge 'cos no doubt the log books will be getting a bashing during 2008!

Sheila was presented with flowers for all her work in taking the minutes and organising us. Simon & Linda were thanked for all their efforts in putting the Dinner together, and I'll put on record my thanks for the unexpected but very welcome gift of a bottle of Brandy! That was a very considerate thought , thank you.

The next MD meeting in January will make a start on event planning, there are plenty of people interested in the NEMO 33 Brussels trip which should be a very fun week-end.

Let's hope that 2008 will bring us some better weather and some good viz! Until then best wishes for a very merry Christmas and a happy & healthy New Year.

18 December 2007

Filling Diving Cylinders

The HSE have issued Diving Information Notice No.10 that amongst other issues gives guidance on the filling of diving cylinders. The guidance includes:-

1. Filling to be completed by COMPETENT persons (competent means having approriate Knowledge , Skills and Training).

2. Operator should wear eye and hearing protection.

3. Restraining lines to be attached to charging whips.

This is interesting advice which no doubt should appear in risk assessments but I have not yet seen these measures in use at cylinder filling stations. The advice does not cover people other than the operator but it does flag up the safety benefit of having filling stations that separate customers from the location in which the filling is conducted.


Video of Live Rebreather Incident

Meridian Divers might be interested in following the link below to a video produced by SKY News that includes underwater filming of a live rebreather incident . It's a well produced video with full commentary . Whilst the incident revolves around rebreather problems one of the 'lessons learnt' is how long it took for the safety divers to recognise the seriousness of the problem and respond. A very interesting video.


Film Night

Now that the long winter nights have drawn in regular dive trips seem a long way off so bearing that in mind I am proposing holding a film night probably at Arlington Village Hall sometime in January.

We held a similar one a couple of years ago showing Cousteau's Silent World which proved to be popular. The evening could be combined with a meeting night and popcorn and snacks would be on the menu.

I have a selection of Diving related DVD's plus a projector so equipment is not a problem.

If you would be interested please add a comment


14 December 2007

Meeru Diving ~ Maldives

Following the personal recommendation of Meridian Diver Debs I headed out to a spot of diving from Meeru Island, North Male Atol, Maldives. It was a close call, Lakeside or Meeru but there was very little motorway driving in getting to Meeru and very few shops when you got there, that swung it for me!
I did nine dives with Ocean Pro Divers and apart from diving with the Mantas I tucked a PADI Diver Propulsion Vehicle Specialty into the diving CV. DPVs have their serious uses but need to be used sparingly / carefully on reef diving if you are not to terrify every living creature in the water including other divers!
Ocean Pro have a max dive time of 60mins and the Maldives has a max diving depth of 30m so it's not surprising that many of my dives were exactly 60mins long and none deeper than 28m.
The highlight for me was watching five huge Mantas playing follow the leader at a cleaning station. sadly no Whale Sharks ...but always reason to go back and try again! There were shed loads of small balck tip reef sharks swimming along the islands shores almost every day.
All very pleasant in 28 degrees of water but of course it's nice to come back to the UK and get a few low season dives watching out for elusive but graceful shopping trollies at their cleaning station just off a Motorway junction! Back to reality!

Lakeside Dive

"We get up to 10m Vis this time of year" The dive shop assistant told us. Peering over the side into the water it looked more like 6".

Ernie and myself turned up at Lakeside Dive centre to explore their lake on probably the coldest morning of the year so far. Equipped with our drysuits and camera we were going in whatever.

Once kitted up we gently worked our way along the lakeside wall trying not to slip on the ice and flopped back into the mirror calm lake. Ernie suddenly realised that perhaps he hadn't put his weight belt on and started to climb out and then realised he had mmmmm .

Once in we descended to the lake bottom and our first fears about the vis were proved right very dark and very murky we could just about see each other.

We swam around for about 30 mins not really seeing a lot with the exception of a few crayfish which was basically the highlight and occasionally bumping into things such as training platforms. It sort of reminded me of the old Ardingly reservoir training dive days.

I had tajen the video camera but all I managed to film was a greeny brown mess with nothing at all identifiable, so I wont be posting a vid clip but at least the camera didnt leak

Was it worth it? Yes any dive to me is worth the troublen even if it is cold and dark, especially when we still have at least 4-5 months to go before we can enjoy the good conditions at sea again.

With all the inland sites available there is no reason why we cant dive all year round> I feel a weekend trip to Vobster coming on.

ps. we finished the dive about 1.30 Ernie was still be dragged around the Lakeside shopping centre at 5pm. Go for it Sheila!!

Dive stats
Dive time 29 min
Depth 5.7m
Water Temp 7.c
Air Temp 2.c
Vis Max nil- to a very dark and murky 1m
Ernies credit card £ Thousands

10 December 2007

Seaford Beach management.

Latest news from Jim Skinner.......
"My submission calling for a change to Seaford Beach management has now been placed with both Seaford and Newhaven Town councils. I included your input so again thanks very much.
I am happy to say Newhaven TC have given it their full support, Seaford Town Council are due to consider it at their next full council meeting January 24th - the delay was at my request as I was away on holiday last week when they were going to discuss it. Perhaps you could let your club members know.
It will also be going to Lewes District Council hopefully soon and also perhaps ESCC."
Jim Skinner

03 December 2007

Bah Humbug dive at Lakeside

This time of year drives me nuts its not that I am against Xmas its just I that I fed up of going into shops shopping centres etc seeing loads of miserable staff and having to put up with Slade's xmas songs for the 100th time that day. So bearing that in mind a couple of us are heading of to one of the largest shopping centres in Europe for a dive on Wednesday 12th December

We are are heading for Lakeside in Thurrock which just happens to have its own Diving and watersports centre and very large lake right on its doorstep http://www.lakeside-diving.com/ .

The reason for doing this is for no other reason than to get wet and dive a site that we haven't dived before. Its going to be cold it, it may be a complete waste of time but we are going anyway. If you wish to join us please add a comment and I will add you to the list below.

Once you have finished your dive you can nip over the road fight the crowds and enjoy the bunfight that is xmas shopping and get yourselves into someones good book's.

Bah Humbug!!

Divers so far and me thinks the only ones (go on prove me wrong)

1.Ernie (Sheila is going shopping) Hide your credit card Ernie
2.Tad brrrrrr

26 November 2007

Dipping a Toe in Tenerife

Just got back from a weeks holiday in Tenerife which was a family holiday but I still managed to squeeze a days diving in. The only problem was on the day I booked up for the diving the weather decided to blow a hooly so my planned trip to the appropriately named Le Meridian wreck was scrapped and I had to make do with the twin wreck site just outside the port of Puerto Colon.

The wrecks are 2 purposely sunk wrecks sitting side by side in 23m. The wrecks themselves are pretty boring but make ideal training sites and provide a home for shoals of grunt and few trumpet fish plus the odd angel shark. My total dive time was 40 minutes water was 23.c and vis around 15m. The dive centre have also sunk a statue of an old lady close to the wreck side as an added attraction.

With the wind still howling the second dive was along the coast in a quiet sheltered cove which looked pretty uninspiring and is mainly used for training and try dives. On entering the water the vis had dropped to a grainy 3-5m and I wasn't hoping for much but guess what? 10 minutes after the dive began and I just as I was starting to get bored I felt something brush my leg, and to my surprise I had a new dive buddy, a large green turtle who was very friendly and joined us for about 5 minutes 10 minutes later a smaller green turtle wanted in on the action and hung around for a while.

Apart from the turtle family there were a few inquisitive cuttle fish who filled up the remaining dive time.

I was diving as a guest of Diversity http://www.diver-sity.com/ based in Puerto Colon a well set up PADI 5 star centre situated right on the quay side, diving from their own 8m rib.

The 2 dives cost me a total of £32 pounds including full kit hire air and 2 boat dives, which I didn't think was too bad.

The dive centre also operate their own apartments so I could see an opportunity for a cheap group trip out there sometime in the future.

Tenerife isn't every ones cup of tea but it seems the local government are doing and have down a lot to change its image and clean up the Island from its boozy Brits abroad image.

Obviously the diving here is not the Red Sea but there should be enough variety to keep a group satisfied and keep the non divers and families happy.

Guess what the weather was perfect for the rest of the week but I had other commitments


17 November 2007

Not So Stoney Cove

I was planning and hoping to write up a great report on the Stoney trip and some superb video footage, but alas it was not to be, but if you want a report on congestion, accidents, pillocks and the cosmopolitan republic of Luton you got it.

As you can gather we didn't get there but not for lack of trying. Having left in the early hours your intrepid duo battled Britain's finest motorways and failed dismally, we got as far as Luton and gave up. Having worked out that travelling 2 miles an hour we would reach the Cove sometime next week.

After discovering the eastern delights of Luton or was it Karachi, via a detour, we headed back south and straight in to another hold up this time at the M11 junction on the M25.

I got to stretch my legs walking up and down the central reservation whilst Mr Pascoe discovered the delights of playing his Cliff Richard collection as loud as possible.

After another detour, due to a driver discovering that his car would not drive on its side, we headed around the North Circular where we ended up in Thurrock, at the Lakeside Diving Centre. We were welcomed with open arms at Lakeside, but your intrepid duo could not face kitting up in the biting wind and rain even though my new camera was screaming out try me try me. Too long sitting in the warm car had seriously dented our enthusiasm

Lakeside definitely looks promising for another day soon with depths ranging from 4-15m and a large selection of Pike Perch Roach and the other usual man made attractions such as sunken taxis boats buses etc. With a well stocked Dive shop and air,nitrox and trimix on tap this is one for the future.

We eventually got back to my house about 4pm and watched a diving film instead of making one. My mind was definitely thinking "what if"

Such is Life

10 November 2007

Meridian Divers in Official Guide to Seaford Town!

You can never be too sure where those Meridian Divers will next turn-up! One of our photos from the Gozo Dive Trip (see Blog posting of 30th September in our archives) now graces the pages of the Official Guide to Seaford Town web site. We are only too happy to support diving in the area and the Sink-One-For-Seaford project.

Check-out our Meridian Divers Gozo Dive Team on:-

04 November 2007

Brussels NEMO 33 Trip ~ February 2008

NEMO 33 ~ The Deep End!

I have circulated an email with a draft outline of the proposed Brussels week-end trip in February 2008. A number of you have already indicated that you want to take part in this cultural visit .... with an optional deep dive thrown in!

NEMO 33 describes itself as the worlds DEEPEST pool. And as it's name suggest its 33 metres to the deepest point. You do NOT have to dive to this depth and there are several linked areas that have much shallower bottoms! Two Meridian Divers visited NEMO 33 earlier this year and are very much interested in going back. The abundance of good restaurants and Begium Beer are a factor that comes into the plan for a return visit, but they will only be enjoyed by divers AFTER the dive!

If you are interested in this trip just let me know (if you add an anonymous comment to this posting it will not (being anonymous) show on the blog , but it will automatically be forwarded to me by email. Simple!

03 November 2007

Diving in the Bahamas

"Annoying the locals!"

Hello all, well Im back after several weeks in the Bahamas, I will get round to popping a full report and some more pictures up here, but I just had to share this one with you.

This picture is for Deborah Mackenzie (Sharp) to say a big thank you...xx

Why is it that it all happens at once ! While I was away I got a call from BDMLR to check on a seal in the local area but was not able to assist I happened to be on a dive boat in the middle of a tropical paradise at the time, Well that was until the tropical storm "Noel" came in and cut it short for diving but I still had a amazing time....so now after all the the ice cream I need to get in UK waters to get the extra pounds off!!!

Here is a little something that I hope amuses you as it did me taking the photo....I think the name of it say's it all.....

Bahamas Star Diver!

02 November 2007

Sink One For Seaford ~ Public Meeting (11)

Meridian Divers 'Staff' at the Sink One For Seaford Public Meeting.

The Sink One For Seaford public meeting at Seaford on 2nd November attracted a high number of guests and the presentations from the 'top table' were professional and interesting. After the presentations there was time for questions from the public. There was a balance of those keenly supporting the project and those less convinced that it was exactly what they wanted . Overall there was support for moving towards the next stage, a scoping document. The project now needs to raise the money (total £3-£4k) for the document. Meridian Divers were well represented and were the dive group chosen to assist with the running of the event. Other diving industry people were amongst the audience , including Graham Owen the PADI Regional Manager (who we had the opportunity of chatting with at the last PADI Members Forum).
I was , however, quite surprised that none of the local dive / dive boat businesses raised any questions or voiced public support for the project. Involved ,as we were with running the event, it didn't seem appropriate for Meridian Divers to play the role both of 'staff' and 'guest'. One ex-commercial diver in the audience asked why another wreck was needed when there was no shortage of wrecks in the areas. A fair point ...but... a deliberately sunk wreck would create a huge publicity opportunity for the area and potentially drive regeneration. Of course Seaford is a small town with limited resources whereas the wreck of HMS SCYLLA is near the strategic naval port and city of Plymouth.
Overall a very positive event.

01 November 2007

Government Petition ~ SCUBA Valves

Details of a SCUBA Valve petion that is now on the 10 Downing Street website for your information:-

"The proposed EU changes to SCUBA cylinder valves will require a different sized valve for nitrox and trimix gas mixtures (see BS EN 144-3:2003) There are no problems with the current A-clamp and DIN (M25) thread size and it has not been the cause of any incidents. The proposed EU changes will lead to confusion and increased risk and it is a wholly unnecessary cost that divers and commerce can do without. The HSE voted against the EU proposal and Britian should support them and common sense."


31 October 2007

Meridian Divers Meeting & HMS Scylla Talk

Nick Murns giving the HMS Scylla presentation.

The Meridian Divers meeting of 31st October was held at the Arlington Village Hall. The Hall was a new venue for one of our meetings and it was chosen to provide more space for our guest speaker, Mr Nick Murns. For five years Nick, who is a Programme Director, was the Project Manager for the sinking of HMS Scylla near Plymouth. Many Meridian Divers have dived the Scylla but were blissfully unaware of the sheer scale and complexity of the project , Nick and colleagues overcame obstacle after obstacle , social, economic, political, environmental, financial and legal to achieve success. It was clearly an awesome task but driven to success by the pure passion for diving of those involved in getting the momentum going. If Nick isn't an expert in local and central government procedures he certainly sounds like he is!

Nick is a keen diver and has travelled around the world , not least to Canada, Australia & New Zealand to dive some of the most famous artificial reefs. Nicks packed presentation included video footage of the sinking of several warships. During the questions and answers both before and after the presentation Nick demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of what issues are likely to be critical to the Sink One For Seaford Project. As a number of those present will be involved in the public meeting on Friday 2nd Novemeber at Seaford I think they will have picked-up plenty of points to think about.

The usual business of the meeting was kept to a minimum to afford the maximum time to the presentation. Notes of the meeting will be circulated in due course.

30 October 2007

BBC at Stoney Cove

I know we have a meeting Wednesday night but if you have a VCR or sky plus etc set it to record the Nature of Britain at 9.00pm on BBC1, as some of the footage has been filmed at Stoney Cove, showing the Perch and Pike that inhabit the now flooded quarry.

Looks pretty good from what I have seen, may whet your appetites for the 13th November.


23 October 2007

Thistlegorm Wreck Closed to Divers for a Month

For those of you who are planning a Red Sea trip between November 15th and December 15th and who wanted to dive the Thistlegorm, you could be out of luck.

According to Diver magazine the world famous wreck will be out of bounds to divers. The reason for this is that permanent mooring buoys are going to placed around the site to prevent further damage to the wreck caused by dive boats mooring to the wreck itself.

Plans are also in place to drill holes on the wreck to allow the bubbles from scuba to escape more easily as air pockets inside the wreck bring about rapid decay.

Also planned is a rethink on how dives to the wreck are going to be briefed and undertaken.

For those of us that have dived the Thistlegorm and who may have unwittingly contributed to the damage, it is great to see that action is now being taken to preserve this amazing wreck for the future.


Source Diver Magazine November edition

19 October 2007

T.R. Thompson Shipwreck

another clip from TRT project dive showing boilers,parts of the engine and railings. I couldnt get the light to work at this point of the dive hence why its so dark

Stoney Cove

I know we have been talking about a Stoney Trip for a while so here are some prospective dates which I have marked in my diary and hopefully you can mark in yours. These are just suggested dates and are midweek due to Stoney being far too busy at weekends. If you have any other dates or preferences such as Vobster quay please add a comment.

Wed -7th Nov
Tue- 13th Nov - Now selected for the trip !
Tue-27th Nov
wed- 28th Nov
Thur- 29th Nov


18 October 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (10) ~ Meeting Timetable

(click image to enlarge)

Details of the timetable for the SO4S public Meeting being held at the Seaford Baptist Church on Friday 2nd October. Wear your Meridian Divers Polo Shirts for free entry!

15 October 2007

Meridian Divers Christmas Dinner ~ Wed 19th Dec

Just a reminder that the Meridian Divers Christmas Dinner is arranged for:

Wednesday 19th December

A three course dinner at £24.95. The full menu choices and details will be circulated by email today (15th October) . If you would like to book a place it would be a good idea to to so as soon as possible as it's mid October and over half the available places have gone!

If you don't receive the details by email within 24hours and would like to find out more / join in , please email me or add a comment to the blog!

14 October 2007

Where does all the Spidge go?

A photo of a shop windo in Marseille gives a clue. This place was packed out with spidge from any number of vessels. There were several telegraphs with "Glasgow" and "Liverpool" on their dials , brass divers helmets, piles of portholes, navigation lights, search lights etc. Probably the best collection I have seen (mind you a visit to a south London divers home still takes the biscuit for the sheer number of ships bells he had accumulated!). I thought about buying a divers helmet but it may have taken my baggage limit into orbit and my bank account well into the rouge!

10 October 2007

Totally Shameless

This may appear to be a Meridian Diver posing on a ships anchor with yachts in a harbour behind him and standing only a hundred metres away from a diving memorabilia shop stuffed full with brass Telegraphs, ships wheels and bells, but there is an ulterior motive in posting the shot!
Ah ha, you say, it's just his way of introducing that he's been to see an early experimental diving bell in France. Well no, the England Rugby shirt is a clue, and if I tell you the diving bell is in Marseille you'll know that I'm shamelessly showing-off that I was in the Stadium when England beat Australia and also the following day when South Africa beat Fiji! Someone's got to do it!!

Some More Gozo Shots ......

The Gozo Dive Team above the Blue Hole!
The Gozo Dive Team descending rapidly!

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (9) ~ Meridian Divers

It's really good to see the Sink One 4 Seaford project gaining momentum and support. It's a very ambitious project but could generate plenty of opportunities locally. The project web site has expanded and now includes a supporters / sponsors page which contains a link to this blog, check out the link:-


The S14S project team have asked if Meridian Divers will support their work at the public meeting on 2nd of November at Seaford. They would appreciate a good turn-out and would be particularly keen to see us in our Meridian Divers Polo Shirts as it is important that local divers show support for the project. Let me know by email or adding a comment to this posting if you are able to make it. Bring your cameras as we'll have a snap or two for the blog!

04 October 2007

Cuttlefish Under Brighton Pier

The following link will take you to DiveaDay TV and to a short video of cuttle fish:-


Now why isn't it that light when we dive under the Pier! There are a variety of other dive videos on the site and maybe, when we get great viz on the TRT we'll upload one of our own!

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ 3rd October 2007

It's probably about time we had a party thrown for us by the Berwick Inn as I'm sure Meridian Divers custom is keeping their accounts in the black! Looking at the size of one diver's dinner may be their profits are so much after all!

The meeting had a show of Gozo Dive Trip images and feedback on the group's last BBQ which after poor weather was transferred to Plompton Green.

Simon took more bookings for the MD Christmas Dinner but the private room we have arranged this year is limited to 36 places so don't hang around in getting your £5 deposits to Simon. Strictly first-come-first-served! A similar principle will apply to the NEMO 33 Brussels Trip next February, luckily one of our number has family in Brussels and we are getting recommendations about suitable accommodation via that route. Other 'out-of-season' activities were discussed and a PADI Equipment Specialty is being made available for Merdian Divers. If interested add a comment / drop me an email.

Simon & Linda were congratulated on completing their Enriched Air Diver Specialty and Simon becomes the first Meridian Divers Master Scuba Diver (MDMSD), well done Simon!

Our Guest Speaker gave us a very thorough briefing on the 'Sink-One-For-Seaford' (SOFS) project and circulated copies of presentations and documents that are being used in support of the project. The project, if implemented, would have a dramatic impact on the local diving infrastructure and facilities. The project has for some months envisaged a new diving centre and with the current port developments in Newhaven that process may be hastened, indeed a the two projects may well go hand in hand. A wide variety of Dive Centres support diving on HMS Scylla and should the SOFS project come to fruition it would be reasonable to assume that the range of local diving services would increase giving divers even more local choice. If the project get's a green light it should bring investment to the area with a concomitant growth in dive boat charter operations, diving centres and of, course, catering and bed and breakfast outfits. With the news that the Coral Cafe is to close we need a purveyor of bacon butties.

A variety of named RN vessels were mentioned as possible artificial reefs, most are named after cities , shame we don't have a HMS Exceptional Visibility to sink ....we could do with some of that!

Meridian Divers were invited to take part in a dive on the Scylla as a sort of prelude to what might be possible in Seaford. If you are interested in such a dive let me know. A number of us have dived the Scylla before.

Full notes of the meeting will be circulated in due course.

03 October 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (8)

A public meeting to discuss the proposals to sink one or more warships off the coast of Seaford is to be held at the Baptist Church , Seaford at 6.30pm on Friday 2nd November. Meridian Divers have been invited to attend. It will no doubt be an opportunity to learn more about this ambitious project and a chance to meet up with other local divers with a similar interest.

The 'Sink One For Seaford' project could spawn a wide range of new developments in the area, for example a new dive centre and a new slipway. The Scylla project took over five years to come to fruition so, as all good divers know, it's not wise to hold your breath. The SOFS project is now seeking £3000 to fund initial research work. This is a very small sum of money and I would imagine that local businesses, who might stand to gain from sinking of a frigate would be quick to put their hands in their pockets! It would be disappointing if that was not the case as the project is very much at the confidence building stage.

As a separate and unrelated development to the above public meeting, the project manager for the Scylla project contacted me after having seen our blog and has very kindly offered to speak to Meridian Divers about his five year involvement in the Scylla project. I am certain he would be able to give us a fascinating insight into the complexities of these projects. They are definately not plain sailing!

02 October 2007

Alaunia dive?

Anyone fancy diving the Alaunia and Brodrick from Eastbourne at the end of the month?

27th October 2007 (Sat Meet 10:00 Alaunia 34m + Brodrick 24m)

Boat is the Sussex from Eastbourne Sovereign Harbour.

30 September 2007

More GOZO pictures ......

Cat Herding I ~ can you please get in line?

The Dive Team ( or Cat Herding II ~ Always easier when a beer bribe is involved! )

GOZO Dive Trip ~ 22nd to 29th September 2007

Divers prepare to enter the Blue Hole

A Stair case in the Karwalla Wreck at 37m

Ernie explores the entrance to Cathedral Cave

Cathedral Cave

Ernie gets bent ....by blue light!

Meridian Divers added a string of dramatic Mediterranean cave and cavern dives to their log books in an energetic seven day trip to the island of Gozo organised by Newhaven Divers Ltd. In doing so all divers gained their Rock Climbing Diver Specialty as some of the most sought after dives sites are not easily accessed. My personal favourite was the Cathedral Cave a substantial cave with an underwater entrance that divers can surface within to find a huge domed rock ceiling iluminated from underneath by the electric blue light defracted through the sea, fantastic ! Of course to get to it you had to descent about seventy steps cut out of the rock to reach the bottom of a deep gorge that then required a 15 minute surface swim in zero vis water before meeting crystal clear water and a wall leadingto the cave. Climbing back up those steps in dive kit seemed to justify a larger portion of pasta at the following meal!

Other highlights were the Blue Hole (involving a descent through the still waters of the Hole before exiting into the surrounding sea through a submerged arch), the Inland Sea ( a shallow lagoon leading to a deep and long tunnel through the rock to sheers walls on the coast of the island) and the Karwalla Wreck ( allowing a 37m swim through the length of the ship, followed by a long slow ascent along the surrounding reef).

We were guests of Gozo Aqua Sports (that's GAS for short!) and were accommodated in two three bedroom apartments a very short distance from the harbour side in Marsalforn on the North side of the island. With no shortage of harbour side restaurants and a friendly hostelry nearby we managed to replace the calories that the rock climbing burnt off (and a few more besides!).

A tremendous week of dramatic dives all very different from most of those we had done in the past. It's really good to get some variety in your log books but I'll let the pictures do the talking!

21 September 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford (7)

DIVER magazine (October 2007, Page 17) carries the story of the Tony Fowler's plan to sink one or more ex-RN Frigates of the coast of Seaford.

The story repeats much that has been reported here but adds that Tony is planning to host a presentation at Seaford by a representative of the Scylla project .

Meridian Divers eagerly awaits details of the date/venue for the presentation!

19 September 2007

T.R.Thompson wreck clip 3

nice little clip from the project dive showing the mooring bollards

18 September 2007

Jims mysterious thingy

In response to Jims question here is a photo taken of the thingy in jims clip taken by Chris in 2004 it apears to be part of the engine system.
Any other offers ?

Anyone know what these are?

Wondered if anyone knew what these posts are. I haven't noticed them before on the Thompson.
There was another one slightly further on identical to the first one in the video.

16 September 2007

Plan B Operated!

Plan A was to go for a dive off the Newhaven West Arm and have a BBQ to follow, alas, the weather forced us into a Plan B! The South Westerly wind was forcing a few small white horses up the side of the Harbour Arm and left the first twenty metres of the water a coffee brown colour as the waves stirred up the bottom! So the diving was off. Thoughts of a BBQ on the beach were equally unappealing so we took shelter and refreshment in the Coral Cabin while the MDers gathered.

Plan B was then hatched and put in to place ... it was off to Plumpton Green for an impromptu garden based BBQ .... shame to waste all that food & drink and we had a thirteen MDers with a gap in the diary!

The rescue plan worked exceptionally well, a huge gas fire BBQ grill made short work of the cooking tasks and with Simon & Tad weilding the tongs we were soon tucking into more food than was good for us.

15 September 2007

T.R.Thompson wreck clip 2

re posted due to the clip being lost due a certain Mr C.P

2nd clip from T.R.T Video taken on 8th Sept project dive.
Shows Chris measuring the deck anchor and other bits of deck machinery.

T.R.Thompson Dive ~ 12th Sept

Wednesday morning I met with Andy at Brighton Marina for a Dive on the Thompson from Steve Johnson's Channel Diver. The only problem was that Steve's new boat had blown a gear box and he was still waiting for it to be repaired. Not to worry Steve had made arrangement's for the full compliment of divers to be transferred to the identical boat Sea Breeze.

Wednesday was one of those very special days when nature treats you very well.The sea was flat and mirror like,the sun was bright and warm not a cloud to be seen. On arriving at the T.R.T site the shot was dropped and peering over the side you could see the shotline disappearing quite a few metres down which promised excellent viz on the wreck below.

We were not disappointed the 10m viz allowed us plenty of opportunity to explore the stern thoroughly down to the prop, gun,boilers,engines,railings, etc. The biggest frustration was that 4 days earlier we had dived the TRT with a video camera and the conditions had been very dark with a lot of fluff in the water.Today in these conditions we didn't have the camera which is a real shame. All to quickly it was time to come to the surface and the luxury of a tailgate lift to put us back on board.

Dive 2 was a very gentle drift on ships ledge about 2 miles off of Brighton.

The ledge is a 2m underwater cliff full of life and very scenic. We were entertained by numerous large and very inquisitive cuttlefish, congers, large plaice and all the other usual suspects. It was the first time I had done this particular dive and would definitely do it again.

We also found a very large anchor which proved of interest to the skipper Terry Lee it appears no-one is aware of this.

Dive 1: TRT
Max depth 34m
Dive time 40 minutes
water temp 19.c on the bottom

Dive 2: Ship Ledge
Max depth 14.9m
Dive time 44 minutes
water temp 19.c

Good news is that Channel Diver is now fixed and Steve is planning to fit bigger engines over the winter period.


13 September 2007

Diving on T.R.Thompson wreck

Short clip from the T.R.Thompson project dive.
The clip is torward the end of the dive where there was more light.
If you would like the full version let me have a plain dvd disc

It was a shame we didint have the camera on wednesday 12th the viz was 10m with plenty of light full report to follow.

12 September 2007

GOZO Dive Trip 22nd~29th September

Last remain place on this trip taken by ...... Tad!

Welcome aboard Tad.

RNLI Newhaven Callout ~ Sunday 9th September

Thanks to Diving Diva for this update. The following is an extract from the RNLI Newhaven web site:-

The lifeboat left the side on exercise and was 0.5 NM south of Cuckmere Haven when we received a VHF call from a dive RIB reporting that 2 divers had surfaced without a stop from a 38m dive due to equipment failure and required assistance. The lifeboat proceeded at full speed and arrived on scene 6.5 NM south of Cuckmere at 11:37. Solent CG had been informed and Coastguard Rescue Helo "Whisky Bravo" was diverted from an exercise off Littlehampton. The 2 divers who were on oxygen were taken aboard the lifeboat to prepare for the helo transfer. "Whisky Bravo" arrived on scene at 11:53 and the lifeboat made full speed to the west to facilitate the airlift. Both divers were lifted into the helo by 12:03 when they were taken to Portsmouth for treatment. The lifeboat returned to station at 12:05 arriving back alongside at 12:50.

There a couple of pictures of the Helicopter air lift on the website , see:-


Hope that all divers involved are OK. I don't think any Merdian Divers were diving but await confirmation.

09 September 2007

Meridian Divers BBQ2 ~ Sunday 16th September

Meridian Divers and chums are invited to the MD BBQ 2 being held on the West Beach, Newhaven on Sunday 16th September.

As per the successful plan for BBQ1 the basic schedule is turn-up, get the BBQ gear set-up, go for a shore dive (those that want to dive) then get stuck-in the refreshements!

Fingers crossed for good weather! The afternoon high tide at Newhaven is 2.32pm (BST) with a 6.2m tide. So may be a good time to meet-up would be 1pm (ish!) . As always it's bring food & drink for yourself and for a few others!

If you want to let others know what you're bringing you can add a comment to this post and in any case it's also helpful to know who is attending and who is diving!

1. Sheila &
2. Ernie: Prawns & BBQ Kit (Ernie Diving)
3. Deborah: Sauasages, Gazebo & BBQ Kit
4. Chris &
5. Sue: Spare Ribs, French Bread & butter (Chris Diving)
6. Tad &
7. Nicki: Home-made Beefburgers
8. Diving Diva: Finger Nibbles.
9. Simon T &
10. Linda T: pudding plus a rice or pasta salad and maybe a potato salad!
11. Jimbob: Relish

08 September 2007

T R Thompson Dive ~ 8th September

This turned out to be an excellent dive! As we sped off to the TRT there was a fair mist hanging over the sea. Arriving at the TRT , the wreck was shot leading us quickly to the midhsips , near the boilers.

TRT Bollards

The viz was around 5m and allowed Tad to take a long video of the dive and me to take a lot of stills using ambient light only. Ernie & Jim in another buddy pair also shot some video. Our mission on the dive was to measure & photo the deck anchor and the Gun. Mission accomplished! Diving on Nitrox 32% gave me a good long dive and plenty of spare NDL.

Now looking forward to seeing the video! With a bit of good luck we'll add a link to this blog!

07 September 2007

MENCAP ~ Halloween Dive ~ 28th October

MENCAP are holding another fund raising dive ... distant for most of us as it is being held at Peterborough!

Details on :- http://www.mencap.org.uk/html/fundraising/events/dive/dive.asp

05 September 2007

Seaford Reef Project

Many thanks Chaps for your comments and I note you have a team working on a submission for inclusion in my formal proposal- brilliant. Regarding the cost of an inshore reef, yes of course this is a major major issue. However I don't know where Tony Fowler got the "26£m+" figure from- the point here is that neither the EA or any other body has ever sat down and done a serious costing! Also being de-facto permanent in nature, when the cost of the existing scheme is considered ("150k£ per annum and rising quickly) and the economic cost to Seaford and the wider district over say 50-100 years is taken into account, the reef cost actually may not be quite as much an issue as first appears to be the case.Anyway, thanks again for your support, look forward to hearing from you again. Kind regards, Jim Skinner

Objectives for TRT Dive

As we didnt get chance to discuss the objectives for the forthcoming TRT dive
here is a brief list for those of you planning to come on the dive assuming the weather etc allows.

Photograph as much of the wreck as possible - if you have a camera and are happy to dive with it please bring it conditions allowing

Video - Video as much of the wreck as possible

Measure gun
Measure deck anchor

Video and photography is the main priority

There are still some spaces left


03 September 2007

Littlehampton Dive Trip ~ 2nd September

Well it might appear calm and gentle aboard Copperhead Diver II as we make our way down the River Arun to the sea but let me say it was anything but peace and tranquility as we motored over the lumpy waters to the site of HMS Northcoates.
I have the blisters & bruises that come with hanging on to the front end of a RIB to stop yourself falling out as it leaps from wave to wave! You could say an exciting ride , well you could but if you did you'd have a mouth full of sea water! Still all good fun!
The viz and current were disappointing on this dive , I guess one day we'll get to have a good look at this upright armed trawler, just not sure when that will be with Neptune and other gods conspiring against us this season!

29 August 2007

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ 29th August 2007

It's hard to believe that another month has passed since the last meeting! It's been a busy month, not least with planning more events! Full details of the meeting will be circulated when available but for now here are some planned dates for diaries:-

Sun 16th September - Meridian Divers BBQ (following the success of the earlier one!)

Wed 3rd October - Next Meridian Divers Meeting

Sun 14th October - Portland Dive Trip

Wed 19th December - Christmas Dinner

Sat & Sun 23rd & 24th February 2008 - NEMO 33 Trip (Brussels) (16 names for this trip)

The meeting was very well attended and it was really good to see some 'new' old faces particularly to celebrate Ernie B's EFR certificate (see photo).

Incidentally the meeting it self was something of a special occasion being almost exactly one year to the day since our first meeting at the Berwick Inn.

With all the activities that have taken place it has been a tremendous year despite the poor diving weather. We have gone from strength to strength and it looks as though we'll have plenty more on th e'to-do' list!

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (6) ~ The Truth is Out There!

Some media and other reports about the plan to sink a Frigate off the Seaford coast have been confused and misleading (see Frigate Bay Watch 5) but Meridian Divers have now established a more authoritative source on how the plan is progressing. The MD meeting of 29th August was pleased to receive a briefing on the plan and is happy to promote the project by providing the following link to the project website :-


The website is now live and will provide up to date information directly from 'the horses mouth' so to speak! This will hopefully overcome some of the inaccurate reporting.

Meridian Divers support the existing plans to provide artificial reefs at Seaford as both plans (the sink-a-frigate plan & the create a reef-of-rock plan) offer the potential of greater diving opportunities and many other benefits besides.

27 August 2007

T R Thompson Dive ~ 27th August

In diving terms it was oddly quiet at West Quay, Newhaven today (August BH Monday), time was there would be a handful of dive RIBS from a variety of clubs heading out to sea but it was strangely quiet this Bank Holiday, which given the splendid sunshine, was not what you might have expected. Still it did give us the choice of wrecks ...and we chose the T R Thompson!

The sea was very calm as we whizzed out to the wreck site in quick time. As soon as the shot line was in the water it looked like the viz would be good - and we were not disappointed! The shot landed directly on the wrecks middle line just forward of the stern. Excellent! The seabed was at 32m whilst the stern stands high above that. In clear view was the gun and steering quadrant. Having cleared the shot we swam towards the bow , passing a length of small chain (approx 4" links) , two winches , a folded (spare) Admiralty Pattern anchor and the remaining three bar railings to the boilers and engine. A truly huge edible crab was on the boliers , his pincers were two-thirds the size of my gloved hand. Whilst another boat may have taken this beast we left him to fight another day!

The viz was probably 5 to 6 metres and there was very little current giving a super dive. I was grateful for Nitrox giving me a little more time margin and it was good to know on a deeper dive such as this that all divers had ponies or twins.

After a good tour we headed back to the surface for soft drinks & choccy bics on the boat! While we had been on the wreck a small cabin cruiser had caught fire near Birling Gap and following an explosion had sunk. Luckily no-one was hurt and by the time we passed over the site the RNLI had attended and stood down.

See:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/6965708.stm

Of course we kept the time honoured traditions of the near obligatory post-dive bacon roll at the Coral Cafe where we met up with some diving chums for a chat and , of course, put the world to right!

The building works at West Quay are so advanced that it's almost hard to recognise the place and of course the developers have not finished yet. Lord knows what we'll do when we can't get a bacon roll, the Coral Cafe is a place of pilgrimage for so many!

26 August 2007

Mackerel Madness !

A couple of shots sent by a fishing friend of mine that shows Mackerel along the Eastbourne shoreline on 26th August in such numbers that they were chasing whitebait / small fry up onto the beach then getting themselves stranded as the went after them!

Click on the images to enlarge them !

23 August 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (5) ~ Think of a number!

It's amazing how a simple plan can become so confusing to the media, here are extracts from three reports on the sink-a-frigate proposal :-

"British divers could soon have more modern-warship wrecks to explores, as plans are under way to sink two decommissioned vessels off Sussex".

"Anthony Fowler, owner of the Tudor Manor Hotel in Seaford, has come up with a plan to sink 12 ex-naval warships after he was inspired by a similar scheme in Plymouth".

"A navy warship will be sunk to make an underwater attraction for divers if a businessman gets his plans approved".

C'mon you reporters, is it one , two or twelve warship(s) to be sunk? Must be very frustrating trying to get a message across Tony!

21 August 2007

Meridian Divers Next Meeting ~ 29th August

The next meeting of Meridian Divers will be held at
7.30pm on Wednesday 29th August
at the Berwick Inn.
Pie, Pint and Planning all in one Place! Hope to see enthusiasts there!

Agendas have been sent out to those on the mailing list.

20 August 2007

T.R.Thompson Project Dive 8th September

A planned TRT project dive is planned for Saturday 8/09/2007.

HW 9H54 5.7m Meet time 08H00 Ropes off 09H00
Objectives for this dive will be discussed at the next group meeting on the 29th August


1. Tad
2. Chris P
3. Ernie B
4. Jim H


Please note that it is the divers responsibility to confirm with the skipper the night before whether the dive is a go or not.


18 August 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (4) ~ Naval Big Gun Out!

Former First Sea Lord , Admiral Sir Jock Slater, who captained HMS Illustrious during the Falklands conflict has entered the fray and firmly nailed his colours to the mast . The Admiral said: 'A ship has a character and a history and I think it's rather sad to see one sunk '.

But the Royal Navy takes a different line when spokesman Anton Hanney said: 'Any credible approach about a way of using or disposing of a warship that is out of service we would consider.'Ships enter service, they do the job we want of them and they come to the end of their life. They don't go on forever.'

Methinks this Frigate may be a Battle Ship yet! To sink a Frigate you need to weigh it down with a lot of money!


16 August 2007

Request for Support for Proposal for Reef in Seaford Bay

Ladies and Gentlemen, some of you will recall I came along to one of your meetings earlier this year at the Berwick Inn to present a proposal for a new approach to Seaford Flood defence- in particular a reef based approach as alternative to the strategy of the last twenty years, the so called "shingle re-alignment" strategy first introduced 1987.

I am now in the process of putting together a formal proposal, I aim to place it with Seaford and Newhaven Town councils October- November. I would very much appreciate it if your club could contribute to this proposal and invite you to produce on no more than one side of A4 why a reef would be attractive from a dive perspective (opportunity for new divers, maybe a scuba opportunty for youngsters, marine life studies etc. etc.).

On a more technical front, my proposal will suggest siting the reef around 260-270 metres from the promenade which should be at around the 2 metre chart datum contour. Is there any chance a dive could be organised off say the salts recreation ground to determine what the depth is at this distance from the shore? If you would like me to meet, please let me know.

Many thanks, Jim Skinner

15 August 2007

62m Vessel Sunk for Divers!

No, not in Frigate Bay, Seaford but off the coast of Malta! We may have to send our very own Matt C over to Malta to dive the vessel and give us a report. In the meantime, as a number of Meridian Divers are soon to be passing that way on a diving trip we'll keep our eyes & ears open for tips for Tony and his local sink-a-frigate plan.


President Honours Ernie

Drew Richardson, President of Emergency First Response Corp has written to Meridian Divers to confirm that Ernie B has been awarded a RESPONDERS IN ACTION CERTIFICATE in recognition of his providing medical care to Sheila following their dive on the 9th June 2007.

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ... E R N I E

14 August 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (3) ~ Show me the money!

I thought Tony's idea was to sink a Frigate to provide diving opportunities, but it may be that his plan has more linkage with another Meridian Divers guest, Jim Skinner. Jim visited us some while ago to speak on the subject of an artificial reef but his plan was to place an arc of rocks near Seaford beach. I thought Tony's idea was about creating a local HMS Scylla but it seems from his comments below that he is also thinking about protecting the shoreline, in other words 'two birds with one stone'

Tony said 'I have lived in Seaford all my life and Seaford used to have a fantastic beach with all the families down there.'I read up about artificial reefing and found out about an example of this.' The Navy has to stop pushing these ships off to different countries to get them scrapped so they have got to look at greener ways of disposing of them. All the toxins and scrap are taken out and you get an environmentally friendly way of getting rid of them which also protects the seafront.' As an artificial reef it is going to stop waves bashing against the beach and enable us to develop our seafront.' There is nowhere around here for diving like this. It could put Newhaven and Seaford on the map.'

The Leader of Seaford Town Council Jon Freeman has admitted that 'It would not be something Seaford Town Council could finance so we have looked to the Environment Agency and NCDA in the hope someone could give us a lead about how we could secure the money to do it.' While it seems like a novel, creative and imaginative plan we have to get the funding from somewhere.'

Looks like it's definately a "Show me the money!" moment at the Council . Tony has got his work cut-out! He may also finding himself competing for the same money that Jim is chasing.

Good luck guys!

13 August 2007

Brisbane Dive Sunday the 12th August

It seems most of you were away or busy on Sunday but a good diving day beckoned me down to Newhaven.

As there were only 2 of us we hopped on Newhaven hard boat Sea Breeze for the short trip out to the old favourite The Brisbane.

On arriving there were 2 other dive boats over the wreck which both had shots down so we didnt need to put on down ourselves. with only 5 divers on board kitting up was easy with loads of space. Alan and me were first in and straight down to the wreck.

Viz was a respectable 5-6m with plenty of light so only needed torches to look into the holes.
The Brisbane is full of life a veritable fish soup of all varieties and sizes and they were not shy.

Working our way along the wreck there were some very large edible crabs, congers and lobsters all claiming a piece of this grand old lady as their home.

The bow is by far the most impressive part of the wreck standing at least 6-7m up from the sea bed and in these conditions a photographers dream with huge shoals of bib and pollock riding the imaginary bow wave.

It was all over far to soon and we sent up the DSMB to be greeted by Mick, skipper of Sea breeze and a hot coffee, cakes and scones, plus 5 very satisfied divers.

Dive statistics

Max depth 25m
Total dive time 39 minutes
water temp 19.c on the bottom
sea conditions slight
wind light SW (which had increased on surfacing)


10 August 2007

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (2)

The BBC reports today (10th August) "A scheme to sink a retired Royal Navy frigate off Sussex to create an artificial reef gets a cautious welcome. " And that Seaford Town Council agreed on Thursday to refer the scheme to the Environment Agency and Newhaven Economic Partnership for their views.

The Town Council said it could not afford to fund the feasibility study, which would cost between £50,000 and £70,000 but said other agencies may wish to become involved.


Some interesting views also expressed in the The Argus :-


09 August 2007

Newhaven Arm / West Beach Dive ~ Friday 24th August

Simon T has kindly drawn attention to a dive posted in the Yorkshire Divers Forum that is planned for Friday 24th August on the Newhaven Harbour West Arm :-


Looks like some old Newhaven faces / Meridian Divers might be making up the numbers so thought it was worth posting the link here.

Sink One 4 Seaford Project (1)

BBC South East Today news (9th August) carried the story of Tony Fowler's plans to sink a Frigate off the coast of Seaford. It's a fascinating idea and it's very encouraging to see Tony making the 'headlines' , when he spoke about it over a drink at the end of the Meridian Divers back in June he was very upbeat and it's great to see he has attracted some attention for the plan.

Seaford Town Council, meeting this evening (9th Aug) will be discussing the idea . Their Agenda Item No.9 states "To consider a request from a Seaford resident to create an artificial reef in Seaford Bay by the scuttling of ex naval warships" (Report No 46/07).

The BBC reported that the Town Council will looking for a local group to pursue the idea. I am fairly sure (but stand to be corrected) that a decision to sink a vessel off Seaford is not within the authority of a Town Council, but it does generate interest! It is certainly an ambitious plan that no doubt a lot of divers will be watching and because that's the case it will be a project that the blog will monitor.

A sunken Frigate would be a major attraction in the area and there are already indications that divers who usually only get wet in warmer regions would make an exception and be tempted to dip a toe into UK waters. Of course with no current shortage of wrecks locally we might wonder what these divers are waiting for ...but what the heck ... the more the merrier!

Best wishes to Tony and fingers crossed for early progress with the Council.

08 August 2007

Dive Trip Planning ~ Expressions of Interest

This post is intended to assess the preliminary level interest in two undated / uncosted dive trips. If you interested in principle let me know. No obligation at this stage purely seeing if the potential is there!

A. NEMO 33 Brussels
Illustrative plan: Travel over by car ( & Tunnel) on a Saturday, visit the 33m indoor pool 'Nemo 33' do about an hours diving (one dive) , all kit provided by Centre except swimming trunks & mask/snorkel. Then meal out on Saturday night . Bed & Breakfast , free time on Sunday morning and back to Blighty later that day. Or another combination of that!

1. Deborah M
2. Alan M
3. Chris P
4. Sue P
5. Tad
6. Sheila B
7. Ernie B
8. Simon T
9. Therese S
10. Linda T
11. Mandy G
12. Paul G
13. Sara
14. Debs
15. Debbie
16. Stuart

B. Portland
Day Trip to Portland to dive the wrecks inshore or in the Harbour. Either a Saturday or Sunday . Probably two boat dives. Probably in September or early October.

1. Chris P
2. Trekker
3. Ernie B
4. Simon T
5. Matt W
6. Therese S
7. Jim H

07 August 2007

Littlehampton Dive Trip ~ 2nd September

More good news! I have confirmed our booking of Copperhead II for two dives on Sunday 2nd September. The following divers are booked onto the trip:-

1. Chris P
2. Ernie B
3. Simon T
4. Matt W
5. Mandy G
6. Paul G
7. Andy N
8. Jim H

Full details of meeting & ropes-off times to follow with information on the two dive sites (1xWreck & 1xReef)

05 August 2007

Outstanding Diving & BBQ !

The Meridian Divers Beach Dive and BBQ at West Beach, Newhaven was an outstanding success! The event was attended by nearly thirty people and many of the divers took advantage of flat blue seas and a gloriously sunny day. The water temperature at the deeper parts of the dives was a very warm 18DegC (even so some were in Dry Suits!) .

Dives times varied with the longest reaching nearly an hour. The visibility was good and withthe strong sunlight everyone had a super dive. The post-dive BBQ was well timed and the food was ready to go as soon as the divers had changed! Excellent!

Enriched Air Diver ~ Exam Success!

Congratulations to Phil , Simon & Linda on passing their PADI Enriched Air Specialty Diver Examination! Well done to all three of you , your marks showed that you had all put alot of effort into the knowledge development!

16 July 2007

HSE Reminds Swimming Pool Operators re Safety

Timely advice with school holidays now here :-

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is advising organisers of youth activities and swimming pool operators to review their procedures to ensure the safety of participants at swimming events during the forthcoming school holidays. The advice comes after a prosecution of the London Borough of Barnet and the Office of the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis for breaches of health and safety law.

Full story:-



This space:-

[. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ]

is reserved for Jim's report on Vobster Quay !

HMS Northcoates & The Waldrons ~ 15th July 2007

Despite "severe weather" warnings eight Meridian Divers trekked down to Littlehampton Marina on Sunday 15th July to meet up with my old work colleague, Sean, Skipper of Copperhead II and chance our fins at spot of West Sussex diving! Well, good call, Sean! As it turned out the sea state was at worse moderate and in the afternoon it was slight with some sunshine to boot! Whatever next, sunshine in July!

Our first dive was on the armed trawler HMS Northcoates, a dive fairly similar to that old favourite 'Lancer II' but Northcoates still has the gun on it and is a little deeper at 30 to 32m. I have to say it was pretty dark down there during the morning there was little sun and the vis was only 'OK'! We wisked back to the Marina for a hot drink and small snack before heading back out to the Waldrons reef off the coast of Bognor Regis for a 15m drift dive. The sun was shining and the lower depth gave a lot more light. All eyes were out for the famous fossilised sharks teeth but only one or two were found, proze for best fossil goes to Simon for a handsome specimen!

Another good dive trip which will set some divers up for more exotic locations , like the Red Sea. That said we know they are UK divers at heart as they have already put their names down for the next Littlehampton trip!

Stoney Cove anymore takers

for those of you who maybe thinking of joining the trip to Stoney here is a little clip borrowed from You Tube to help you make up your minds

Thanks to the bloke who made it and you tube

10 July 2007

Diver in Lobster Wrestling Match

An experienced diver told how he "wrestled" a 3ft (0.9m) lobster into a string bag after it attacked him. Chris Hovard, from Wyke Regis, Dorset, was diving when the creature - weighing more than 10lbs - scuttled towards him near Weymouth jetty on Saturday.
The 51-year-old, who has been diving for 34 years, said he had never seen a crustacean "anywhere near this size". The lobster, he named Lemmy after the lead singer of rock band Motorhead, is now at Weymouth's Sea Life Park.
Mr Hovard said: "I was diving when I spotted an old boiler which I believe may have been used in the Northe Fort in the olden days and then was thrown into the sea when it was no longer needed. I was swimming around it when the lobster came at me, its claws snapping. I could hardly get my hand across the back of its shell. You'd need a saddle to ride it. I managed to get it with a pincer movement. The commotion stirred up a silt cloud which momentarily stunned him and this was when I managed to grab him." Lemmy is thought to be about 50 years old.
PS I can think of another near 50 year old crustacean (Sorry Chris) I also think he may know some other old boilers down Dorset way

09 July 2007

Stoney Cove ~ Mid-Week Dive Trip

As the recent weather has been so appalling and it doesn't look like there is an end in sight I was considering a mid-week trip to Stoney Cove.

Why midweek? Well forget weekends you can't get near the place. Why stoney cove? 'Cos there is plenty to see, reasonable depths, some visability, good on-site facilities & guaranteed diving !

Cons: - its a long way to go , an approximate 300 mile round trip!

So if like me you are getting itchy fins and fancy a bit of freshwater relief post a reply to this message with available dates.

Wednesdays have always been a pretty good day to go although you still need to get there reasonably early to get a waterside parking place.

Check out their website http://www.stoneycove.com/


04 July 2007

Meridian Divers ~ Pool Session

It is planned to have a pool session on Thursday 19th July 6.30- 8.30 with a view to having regular weekly or bi-weekly sessions. after that.

Costs are being calculated, however, running try dives would help offset the cost of the sessions.

Your support would be welcomed as this is a great resource for the group.


01 July 2007

Phocine Distemper Virus in Seals

Seems that this nasty Virus may be coming back to our Seal's. For more info and the latest press release see the British Divers Marine Life Rescue website : www.bdmlr.co.uk/

They need our help, so please keep your eyes pealed.....A subject close to my heart....xx

Expressions of Interest : Airborne 19th August

I am using this post to record in order of receipt expressions of interest in the proposal to dive & watch some the Eastbourne Airborne event on the 19th August. If interested email me / add a comment to the blog. The definitive list will be on this 'front' page.

1. Chris P
2. Tad
3. Trekker
4. Therese S
5. Simon T
6. Jim H
7. Debs
8. Tracey
Volunteer for Crew : Diving Diva
Rerserve: Matt C
Reserve: Trekker

Programmes for Airbourne not available yet (29/7/07) , but the Red Arrows will be there on the Sunday and that flying displays start from noon.

27 June 2007

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ 27th June

Despite it being another atrocious June evening in terms of the rain a hardy ten divers attended the Meridian Divers meeting and dutifully worked there way through the agenda (thank you Shiela!).

Tad brought along samples of the new Meridian Divers Polo Shirts and the first orders were placed , if the weather ever lets us go diving I am sure we will look very smart!

PADI have contacted us over the rescue performed by Ernie B and have said that they will ensure the comments on the rescue will be entered entered into their recognistion programme. Again, well done Ernie , your rescue training paid-off!

I was pleased to report an unrelated meeting with the HSE Diving Inspector who has written to comment on the "outstanding documentation" that we now have in place under the Approved Codes of Practice. This documentation represents a complete re-write of the documentation that I previously used in training. The HSE have referred a copy of my health and safety presentation to PADI as the HSE are continually seeking to raise standards. PADI have written to me suggesting that I independently produce a training package on the HSE requirements. This is all very encouraging .

Simon gave a report on the Swanage Dive trip which is all set to be a dive trip in 2008 (just get the feeling the restuarants were part of the decision making there!!).

Meridian Divers are in the process of checking out some local swimming pools which can be used for training and practice. A check-out session is being arranged for 'members' next Wednesday evening and an email with details will be circulated. Meridian Divers now have access to a lot of diving equipment which will be a benefit.

Dives and social events were planned so even if the weather is poor we will have a busy schedule for the rest of the year.

Notes of the meeting will be circulated as soon as possible.

21 June 2007

More on the MD polo Shirts

Hopefully this should please those in touch with their feminine side. The MD polo shirts are available in Cranberry/Pink & Red (& many other colours) and the HB121 Cranberry/Fuchia & Red

The Fuchia colour is a dark pink and comes in sizes 10-18. The darker colour will show up the logo better as the lettering is in white.

I will bring a sample of the logo to the meeting next week, but for now see above.


20 June 2007

Next Meridian Divers Meeting

The next Meridian Divers meeting will be at the:
Berwick Inn
7.30pm on Wednesday 27th June
Looking forward to seeing you there !

19 June 2007

Swanage Dive Trip

Well here it is .....that place of divers pilgrimage , the Pier at Swanage. Some would say that you cannot truly call yourself a UK diver until you have dived the Pier. Well that might be a load of ol'tosh but Swanage is a lovely week-end dive trip location. It's in ready striking distance from those living on or near the Merdian line on the south coast.

There are plenty of good B&Bs at reasonable prices, loads of places to eat, a pleasant bay, a promenade that meets most divers needs (good cheap food and drink!) and of course there is a diver centre with gas station actually on the Pier. The Pier has free trolleys to carry your dive kit and the dive boats tie-up a few yards from the dive centre. It's convenience diving!

Our trip (15th & 16th) turned out to be a great social but weather, last minute cancellations, equipment and other events took some of the shine of the diving ! Never one to be too concerned about my nosh I just happen to mention in passing that the Anchor Inn does a tasty dish of scallops and the Italian restaurant down the road presented a very enjoyable bowl of mussels in a white wine sauce!

Several of us stayed at Buddies B&B where hosts, Lesley & Jason looked after our needs with enthusiasm. They say they are diver friendly and they are! Here I go again .... the breakfasts were all you could possibly ask for ! Jason is a Divemaster and operates dive tours through his business http://www.scubadivingtours.co.uk/ . Interestingly Jason knows an old acquaintance of ours....Amro Shehata of the MV Valerie fame! Small world eh?

Personally my diving was limited to two dives on the Kyarra. Swanage's most famous wreck. During our stay divers were pulling up perfume bottles from the wreck just as they have been doing for decades, there seems to be plenty more to find! The second dive was better than the first and gave us a nice slow cruise from the bow to nearly the stern. Visibility was around 4m with our max depth at 28.7m. The sea conditions on surfacing from the second dive, on Sunday, were much better than Saturdays when it was almost possible to hide a dive boat between the waves.

It was good to see Sheila & Ernie on the trip but sad that four divers were unable to join us through events having booked. We certainly had a good time 'debriefing' the dives in the evening !

15 June 2007

Pinch more than an Inch

As requested the sizes for the Meridian polo shirts in inches. There is a minimum run for these of 15 so please order one or more!
XS = 34''
Small = 36''
Med = 38''/40''
Large = 42''
XL = 44''/46''
XXL = 48''
3XL = 50''/52''
suits you sir !

13 June 2007

Meridian Diver Polo shirts

Hi all
At the last MD meeting we discussed the Meridian diver polo shirts. The designers have now come back to me with costs (very very good).
Could all those who have an interest in purchasing one of these soon to be very desirable items
let me know the sizes (S M L XL ) and the quantity you require.

You can have any colour you like as long as it is Navy Blue due to the set up costs.

If you do want a shirt drop me an email at paradive@tadtaberer43.fsnet.co.uk costs will be around £16 (payable up front with order) with surplus funds going into MD funds as discussed at the last meeting.


10 June 2007

PADI Assistant Instructor Performs Textbook Rescue

Meridian Diver Ernie B, a PADI Asst Instructor, had his rescue skills tested for real on 9th June. Thankfully he was not found wanting and without a shadow of a doubt if it wasn’t for his prompt actions and diving skills his buddy, Sheila, might have suffered a severe injury. Meridian Divers don’t have a medal to award but if they did Ernie would surely get it.

Ernie and Sheila descended on a shot line that had been placed on the wreck by another dive boat, on reaching the bottom at around 20m they released the shot line and were about to start their tour when his buddy signalled "Up". As Ernie and Sheila started to launch their Delayed Surface Marker Buoy the attentive and observant Ernie became concerned for the condition of Sheila, he then saw her condition deteriorate and as a result immediately employed his PADI training to recover an unresponsive diver from under water. In textbook fashion he immediately conducted a controlled positive buoyancy ascent (as described in the Rescue Course: Rescue Exercise 6) and brought her to the surface where she was assisted by dive boat crews. Ernie’s buddy was given Oxygen and rushed back to Newhaven aboard the dive boat.

Ernie and Sheila were taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital. Ernie was released quickly however his buddy who had inhaled water was kept in longer for observations. Neither diver required hyperbaric treatment. Ernie’s fast thinking saved the day, his efforts were supported by the dive boats present. The full rescue was co-ordinated by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency who responded to the dive boat's emergency call and arranged the ambulance and hospital co-ordination along with the RNLI attendance. The Royal Navy diving doctor was, through MCA engagement, able to give a full brief to the hospital. A text book rescue, which prevented a far more serious outcome.

Meridian Divers will be contacting PADI to commend Ernie and others on their response.

Wreck of the Brisbane ~ 9th June 2007

Another lovely sunny day and seven divers with two crew went to sea to dive the wreck of the Brisbane on a low tide. On arrival at the dive site "MV Sea Zones" had shotted the the wreck and were putting divers down. They were happy with our divers using their shot line and our divers went down in a 2 , 3 , 2 pattern.

The sea was flat calm and the vis was pretty good at about 3 to 4 m. This is the tale of the 3 diver buddy team! The wreck stood in 24m of water and the uppermost points were at about 17 to 18 metres. So a nice shallow dive on a benign sea!

We arrived at the wreck amidships on the port side. From there we slowly made our way to the bow which was very well defined and stood proud of the sea bed. The plating on the bows sides was pretty much intact but both sides had a pattern of small holes allowing us to peep into the wreck. The forecastle area of the wreck was reduced to a framework.

It was a luck dive for Keeley B ( a student of one of the Sussex universties) because she had lost her large halogen dive lamp on the wreck. We found this lamp and later returned it to her. Now that was luck Keeley!

Our team of three followed the port gunwhale to the bow then descended to the bottom before returning to the deck and tracking aftwards along the starboard side. It was a superb dive with the low depth helping to give us a very long bottom time. There was little or no current and the visibilty was very good for the time of year.

The Brisbane is a big wreck and after such a good dive I think we must think about diving her more often!

The ride back to Newhaven was more novel than usual but landed us back on the quayside in time the usual post-dive debrief over and egg and bacon butty at the Coral Cafe!

Max depth 24m , bottom time 54 minutes.