27 June 2008

PADI ? .... Non! Petition for Signing!

Many of you will remember Pete & Lyn Foreman, hitherto PADI Instructors of this Parish and now in the South of France. Below is an extract from a message from them regarding a problem I was totally unaware of beforehand!

We have now managed to secure a year round mooring in the south of France just a few hours drive from the mountains, to give us time to organise our winter business. This will free us up more time to sort out the summers, and we can also get a few jobs done to the boat which we need to do if we are to eventually head off east (Greece, Turkey, Croatia are all possibilities), where there are more diving opportunities.
We would like to do some diving here in the south of France, but as you may know, the French will not recognise the PADI qualification, and so it may be difficult for us to teach in France.
PADI are fighting the case to get recognised in France, and have recently e-mailed us with a petition. They want OWSI's to get their students to sign and send to France to say that they want to be able to be taught in France under the PADI system and their open water qualification to be recognised without having to take a further test set by the French.

We would be really grateful if you could get anyone possible to sign it and send it, as it seems really crazy that PADI is recognised almost everywhere, but not in France which is on the doorstep.

Pete and Lyn

Pete & Lyn have sent me copies of the petition for divers & prospective divers to sign. If you would like to have the petition documents sent to you just let me know or add a comment to this post.

Good to hear from you guys, good luck with your cointinuing adventure!


26 June 2008

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ Wednesday 25th June

The latest meeting, held at the Berwick Inn was well attended and MDers enjoyed a private showing of the "Directors Cut" version of Tad's superb video of the T R Thompson wreck taken on 16th June. Extracts of this video are posted on You Tube and linked to posts below. Having since watched the DVD on a full size screen at home it is definately the best record of the wreck that we are aware of.

Details of the visit by Mr & Mrs Jack's visit to Sussex to meet the TRT Project divers were given (see posts below) . In addition to the BBQ for the first evening and the dinner on the second evening , the Jacks will be invited to visit the wreck site aboard Channel Diver which has been chartered for the purpose. MDers will conduct a dive on the wreck. The string of events are a tribute to the hard work conducted by Tad in bringing local maritime history to life in a enjoyable & social way.

The meeting heard final details of the Looe trip , with the midday Friday rendezvous in Swanage for those who want to tuck-in a Pier dive on the way to Cornwall. Several divers will be doing this. (Incidentally a further one day Swanage dive trip will take place on Saturday 26 th July - Matt has more information on that, it will invlove a single wreck dive & pier dive).

The Northern France trip for 2009 is still a runner , cheques asap to Tracey!

All present at the meeting agreed that as the last BBQ on 8th June was such a success there should be more ! What a surprise - not! As a result a Seaford Bay BBQ & Dive will take place on Sunday 3rd August (based at Stuart & Debbie's house - thanks!) and another West Beach BBQ will be held on Sunday 7th September. More details to follow!

The momentum behind Meridian Divers is phenonmenal with so much going on and success after success. This is no doubt due to everyone supporting events and making them not only good diving opportunities but great socials.

Longer term plans including preparation for the 'out-of-UK-season' is now underway. Full details of those will be circulated via the meetings minutes.

The Jack family "Welcome BBQ" ~ Monday 21st July

Sheila and Ernie will be laying on a BBQ at their house on the evening of Monday 21st July to welcome the Jack family (relatives of one of the crew who lost his life in th e sinking of the T R Thompson) to Sussex.

The Jacks will be staying at the Benson Mansion during their trip so it would be great if MDers could come along.

Please let Sheila and Ernie know direct or post a comment.

1. Tad & Nikki
2. Tracey
3. Chris & Sue
4. Trez

24 June 2008

City Of Waterford ~ 21st June ...Continued/....

I was among 3 Meridian and 1 Ocean View divers who were fortunate to join Brighton Diver for a trip Out to the City of Waterford last Saturday. We met at the marina feeling a bit apprehensive about the vis as the wind had been blowing and stirring things up for the last few days (and still was but not so badly that we couldn't sail).

The boat left at 12 noon for the hour or so steam out to the wreck site. Having bumped and bounced our way through kiting up on the way out we were more than ready to get into the water... As we entered the water the clouds parted and we were bathed in sunlight. The four of us descended the shot together and by 20m I could clearly see the wreck below.

The City of Waterford lays at about 32m. This is going to be a great dive I thought. The shot was fairly central on the wreck. We hit the deck and headed down toward the port side ( She is listing heavily to port) then on forward to the bow which is still very intact after which we headed back down the starboard side to the stern before retuning to the mid ship and making our ascent.

The wreck is still quite intact with lots of holes and hatches to peer into. During the whole dive there were fish everywhere, I have never seen so many fish... You almost had to put your hand out to brush them aside to see where you were going. What a great dive the best I've had in the UK so far. I will definately be returning to the City of Waterford.

On our way back we decided to do a drift under the pier. Well that was a different story, pitch black and you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. More of a bump than a drift! Roll on Looe, pray for good weather...

22 June 2008

City of Waterford Wreck Dive ~ 21st June 2008

Well what a great dive 10 mts vis loads of fish life and what a nice wreck.

[By Popular Demand : This Space for Sean's Write-Up!]

20 June 2008

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ Wednesday 25th June

The next MD meeting will be held at the Berwick Inn, Berwick on Wednesday 25th June at 7.30pm. This is your chance to meet Master Videographer and marine heritage film-maker 'Tad' who will be signing copies of the Agenda. The Agenda (circulated by email, let me know if you don't get a copy!) also covers:-

Plans for visit to the T R Thompson by Mr Jack, the relative of one of the merchant seamen who lost his life on the sinking of the vessel.

Plans for forthcoming social & dive events. (Bring your diaries and we'll try to pick dates that you can all make!)


Part 2 Meridian Divers Dive T.R.Thompson 16th June

Part 2 of the Video Highlights of Mondays T.R.T Dive. We backtracked from the stern and headed towards the Bow Not so much intact wreckage didny quite make it to Bow as time ran out what a cracker of a dive will remember this one for a long time.

18 June 2008

City of Waterford ~ 21st June from Brighton (12 away)

One space on City of Waterford wreck dive, Saturday 21st June with Brighton Diver. Anytakers phone me on 07738374206, Sean

Meridian Divers a Great Dive On the T.R.Thompson

Part 1 of the video highlights from Mondays TRT dive from channel diver. The video doesn't do the dive justice it was a lot clearer than the video shows

17 June 2008

T R Thompson Wreck Dive ~ Sunday 10th August

Ernie, Jim, Tad and Tracey are booked on Seazones on SUNDAY 10th August diving the Thompson. Lets have more of you getting your fins wet ! If Tad's latest report doesn't tempt you nothing will. Please post your comment and I will book you on the boat. (Go on, you know you want to)

[For those not on the Lundy Dive Trip which is on the same week-end]

16 June 2008

Best Yet on the T.R.Thompson

I had my week planned out for me but that all changed on Sunday when the phone rang. Steve from Channel Diving calling to say that he had just taken a group out to the T.R.T and the Viz was amazing, he had 5 places going for tomorrow(Monday) and thought it may be a good idea to get my backside down to Brighton nice and early and get some Video of the T.R.T in such good conditions. (Good marketing Steve)

After quick group text to other MD'ers it transpired that most couldn't get the time off at such short notice with the exception of Andy N and as I was owed some time off a quick buzz back to Steve saw 2 places booked.

A bright and early 6.30am start got me down to Brighton Marina with time to spare and was joined shortly after by Andy. Sarah also made an appearance as she had booked her annual Channel Diving jamboree this week.

Steve had obviously had success in filling the remaining places as the boat was now full ( doesn't anybody work) Soon it was ropes off and the journey out to the T.R.T began.

We arrived at the wreck exactly on slack with everybody kitted up and ready to go. It never ceases to amaze me how organised it all is when diving from Steve's boat, everything runs like clockwork nice, simple, straight forward and no fuss.

On entering the water I was a little confused about where I was diving the water was clear and very blue not the normal green English Channel we all love. Divers descending 15m below could be clearly seen and i knew this was going to be a classic TRT dive.
We were not disappointed,very soon the wreck appeared below us and we were still descending.
Shoals of of bib & pollack covered the TRT like a living carpet, divers could be seen all over the wreck it was almost like dives I had done on the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea, it was that good.

With the camera rolling Andy and I got to work capturing as much footage as possible.
With the visibility so good it was possible to see large areas of the wreck for the first time in context and I was shocked at how much the T.R.T had deteriorated even over the past year.
The stern is now collapsing at an alarming rate with a huge section on the port side now collapsed over the prop. The Gun has moved again and is now is a slightly different position to what it was last year. The TRT is over a 100 years old and has been lying on the seabed for over 90 years so it is to be expected that the old girl is losing her looks a bit like an aging hollywood star, but far more interesting. I still find it very sad that within a short period of time I expect the stern will collapse totally.

We continued our dive across the wreck and even though she is crumbling fast I still find her very beautiful and still a fantastic dive. With our personal connections with the wreck through the N.A.S project and the relative we are now in contact with and the conditions we were diving in today made this dive on her even more special to me.

As the motto on Steves diver lift says" time and tide wait for no man or woman " it was soon time to head back to the surface and I must say I was very reluctant to do so but we had already incurred a small deco penalty, so with the now traditional wave goodbye to our old freind we started our ascent back to a very different, less tranquil world.

Back on board Channel Diver the decks were a buzz, every diver raving about the dive, with one couple saying it was the best dive they had ever done in UK waters. I also managed to get a call in to Mr Jack the T.R.T crew relative whilst over the site and talk to him about the dive. We will be seeing him on the 22nd July and weather permitting, he will be out on the boat himself.

Our second dive was on the Palace pier and even though that is a very pretty dive I would have still preferred to have been back down on the T.R.T.

I will start to edit the video footage over the next couple of days and post it on the Blog. Skipper Steve after previewing the footage wants a copy to have on Channel Diver to show groups he takes out to the wreck on his wheel house DVD player which is a nice touch and will hopefully raise the profile of the wreck even more.


15 June 2008

T.R.Thompson Dive places 21st June Sea Zones

Sent by Mick Luff

I have 5 spaces for a dive (I can buddy up a single diver)
DATE OF DIVE-Saturday 21st June 2008.(Only £30). We dived this wreck yesterday and had 8/10m vis !!!!!!!

WRECK- TR Thompson
DEPTH- 34m to bottom of wreck (HW slack) followed by a drift dive on the way back in.
ROPES OFF- 11:45

If you want to come ring or text Mick on 07729 277651 or drop him an e-mail


13 June 2008

T.R.T Relative Dive and Dinner ~ Tues 22nd July

I have booked provisionally booked Channel Diver for the 22nd of July for a TRT dive. Mr Jack and his wife, relatives of Lesley Jack, who died when the TRT sank are joining us for the trip to the wreck and to pay their respects.

At the moment there are 8 spaces for Meridian Divers on the boat, I know that it is mid-week and some of you have trouble booking time-off but there were no weekend slots free with the boat. Also its cheaper for the Jack family to travel down midweek.

If you can't make the dive we are planning an evening meal with the Jacks and it would be great if as many MD'ers as possible could join us for the meal and meet the family. Venue TBC

There will be a charge for the dive of £45 I know it's a lot but this will also help to cover some of the families trip on the boat and will be a great opportunity to bring a family and the TRT together for the first time. It really makes the whole project worthwhile.

Due to the limited space the divers will be booked on a first come basis by adding a comment.
If there is a great demand for this dive I will speak to Steve at Channel Diving to see if any of his contacts can run another boat on the day alongside his.

If you cant make the dive but would like to come to the evening meal please can you add a comment or let me know so I have an idea of numbers.

Divers so far

1. Tad
2. Ernie
3. Chris P
4. Simon
5. Andy TBC
6. S
7. Tim
8. Trez
9 Stuart TBC

Reserve 1.


12 June 2008

Argonaut Wreck Dive ~ Saturday 19th July

A local diving opportunity announced on Yorkshire Divers, a max 32m depth with existing Meridian Diver representation (JimBob)! Places still left.

Location : Eastbourne
Date : Sat 19th July 2008 - 10:45 ropes-off
Boat : Sussex
Diving : The Argonaut


11 June 2008

Meridian Divers Beach BBQ Dive at Newhaven Harbour Arm

Video highlights of the Meridian Divers Beach BBQ (cant wait until the water clears a bit)

10 June 2008

Beach BBQ Divers

Mainly Arm Chair Divers no more!

Bath Chair Diver!

A couple of photos of divers at the start of the Beach BBQ Dive on Sunday 8th . Thanks to Guy B for sending them in!

PADI Equipment Specialty ~ 29th June

Hi all,
I have 1 space left for an Equipment Specialty course with Simon Foster at Ocean View on Sunday 29th June this course, by all accounts, Simon goes above and beyond the course requirements and is well worth completing. The cost is approx £100 and will go on all day. If you missed the last course attended by Meridian Divers and want to attend please leave a message or call me, Chris or Tracy have my number.

08 June 2008

Stonking Beach BBQ & Dive ~ 8th June

Meridian Divers Beach BBQ 'Camp'

The weather and sea conditions came together for the Meridian Divers Beach BBQ and dive on the Harbour Arm, West Beach, Newhaven . It was a stonking success with thirty three divers and guests attending. The BBQ camp was pitched at about 12.30 , just in time to secure what has now become our regular plot! Within minutes the 'camp' grew with gazebo, tables, chairs and, courtesy of Matt, a near industrial sized BBQ grill ! With the 'camp' built dive kit was prepared and and the massed ranks of divers entered the water next to the Arm just before 3pm. A few shore fishemen were conveniently a few metres away and none were fishing from the Arm itself. Some jet skiers and a small RIB kept well away giving us a problem free dive. Despite the numbers the dive wasn't crowded, in nearly an hour under water I saw other divers for about a minute!

Getting stuck-in!

Water temperature ranged from 12 to 15 Deg C and max depths were no more than 10 metres. The viz was about 2 to 3 metres but on the shallower return to shore the light was good. Myriads of small bib were seen along with some small lobsters, tom pot blennies, pollack, ballan wrasse and a small conger. A very pleasant bimble and with the aid of the wall of the Arm itself a not too ungraceful exit!

Eagle-eyed dogs ensured no dropped sausage was missed!

Admittedly it was long walk from the waters edge to the BBQ Camp , but something seemed to be willing us on! After de-kitting Matt was quickly to work on the griddle and working like a trojan a phenomenal amount of food was cooked and readily consumed. Truly outstanding , good weather, good dive, good company and good & plentiful food!

Tad took his video underwater and we'll have to wait to see the edited highlights , I'm hoping his shots of duelling tom-pot blennies will come out!

Matt ~ Head Chef
Thanks to all those who came along (including the camera shy Guy, Vicky, Jack, Andy N, Toni , Steve and Laura ) and made the day a great success!

West Beach BBQ ~ Today ~ 8th June

For those that might find it helpful, the Google Maps link below will direct you to Fort Road , Newhaven. To reach the BBQ site go South in Fort Road to it's very end (an entrance to a car park), pay (sorry!) to park , go into the car park , turn right (East) and go as far as you can in that direction , past the Harbour Arm and we'll set up around there!

If you click 'satellite' on the Google Maps you can see the area in more detail. If you get there around 1pm you'll be in good time, it's not an exact science!


If ths LONG URL is too long to be clickable , just copy & past it into your browser!

Meridian Divers on the Oceana

I managed to salvage a few clips from Wednesdays dive on the Oceana. Just enough to give you a flavour of the dive conditions. Fine if your a plankton eater. Yum!!

06 June 2008

Mainly Arm Chair Divers

Fingers crossed for good weather on this Sunday , it seems like a long while since the muddy puddle adventure at Chepstow & Vobster , a shore dive followed by a BBQ in the sun (or ar least some sun - please!) should help ease the diving bug! If I don't get a dive soon I'll end up being a mainly arm chair diver - one that doesn't get wet!

05 June 2008

Meridian Divers Skive Dive on The Oceana ~ (Don't Tell The Boss!!)

Meridian Divers Skiving Branch
I always find mid week diving far better than the weekends due to a number of reasons:-
  • dive sites far less crowded
  • less traffic, and
  • it's just great to be off from work when the sun is shining and everyone else is stuck in the office !
So it was that 3 Meridian Divers found themselves booked onto Blockade Buster Steve Johnson's Channel Diver based in Eastbourne for a few days to dive the wreck of the P&O liner Oceana which is a firm favourite of mine. A reasonably civilised start time saw Ernie, Simon and myself at the Sovereign Harbour along with a contingent of the Kent Traffic Police Skiving Society who only just made it due to being held up by an accident on the M20.
Clear blue skies and a flat sea made the trip out to the wreck site a real pleasure and made the kkive more enjoyable. As always kitting up on Steve's boat is a doddle with plenty of room and with kit racks just at the right height its almost a pleasure to struggle with your kit. As always Steve placed the shot with a precision that's almost spooky 'cos its exactly on the part of the wreck he says it will be. After a brief wait for slack tide to kick-in we began the descent to the wreck. A lot of plankton in the water meant that the viz was not as good as hoped but a respectable 3m and plenty of light meant that dive was still enjoyable enough but not as classic as previous 12m+ viz dives of the past.

For those of you who haven't dived the Oceana your missing a treat of a dive, in good conditions this wreck is one of the prettiest dives off our coast. As an old P&O passenger liner there is still plenty to see and find on this old girl with plates, cutlery and perfume bottles still being regularly being brought up, and the possibility of some remaining silver ingots the ship was carrying at the time of its sinking, makes the dive even more exciting for those with a sense of adventure and the correct training to venture inside.
For those who just like to look you will not be disappointed with plenty of marine life and the hull still reasonably intact there is plenty to keep you interested during the dive. This dive benefits from use of Nitrox. I had taken the video camera down to film the wreck, but with all the snot in the water and my own clumsiness I only managed to get about a couple of minutes worth of usable footage which isn't even worth worrying about. Never mind every time I take it I learn something new and theres always next time. As with all dives it was soon time to head back up to the surface and with the luxury of the diver lift getting back on board is a breeze.
The wind had picked up whilst we had been down on the wreck and the surface was pretty choppy but not enough to prevent a second dive a drift on the Sovereign Shoals. Good buddy contact soon became very apparent as DSMBs were popping up all over the place and divers were soon separated by the fast current and 1m viz as we found out trying to dive as a team of three. I had a bit of trouble equalizing and soon lost Simon, Ernie and I re-surfaced and got back on board and waited for Simon to pop up. We were not alone, with out fail every team that went in got separated. Ernie popped back in with Simon and one of the Kent guys I elected to sit it out due to the ear problem and watch the fun from deck. With DSMB's spread out across the channel it became a game of guess who was who and eventually every diver surfaced on their own !

With all back safely back on board it was time to head back and everyone had a little tale to tell.
Skive diving is a lot of fun, go on be a devil throw a sickie.


Skiving Skipper Steve
Channel Skiving

Truk Offer

This is the holiday I am planning in 2010 (looks like I might need to book soon!)- and looking at prices in excess of £3000 so this is a fantastic price if anyone can do it! Unfortunately, still too much for me!

Last-Minute Truk Following a block cancellation, Dive Quest has 13 spaces on its trip to Truk in Micronesia on board the luxurious Odyssey from 2-9 November 2008 priced at £1404 per person. Due to the popularity of this location in the Western Pacific, bookings have moved into 2010, so this is an amazing chance to get there this year. Odyssey is a 40m liveaboard that can accommodate 16 passengers in 9 air-conditioned en-suite staterooms. The price includes 7 nights' full board including all drinks with up to 5 dives per day and free nitrox to certified divers.

03 June 2008

Seazones Boat Diving ~ Available Sun 10th August

For those NOT on the Lundy Dive Trip:-

I have spoken to Mick who has confirmed Seazones is available on SUNDAY 10th August. Is anyone interested?
We can pick where to go. e.g. Thompson, Fortuna, Titanic or anything else of interest. Post your comments or get back to me so that we can secure the boat.