31 July 2008

Plymouth, anyone? ~ October 2008

Hi all,
I`ve found this dive centre in Plymouth and I would like to book a weekend with them, I have spoken to Steve the owner this morning and they have dates for the last weekend in September and the first 2 weekends in October [he`s calling me later to confirm] , the deposit is £20 per diver there will be 7 spaces [3 already taken] the full trip price is £130pp which includes 4 dives and 2 nights b+b in there own guest houses which look really nice .

The dives will be SCYLLA, J.E.LAYNE on Saturday, then 2 more on Sunday. Steve promises to make it a cracking weekend, have a look at their site and if you have an interest let me know.

[Update 17.20pm] Steve has just called to confirm dates and they are as follows 4th/5th October or 25th/26th October (Only) and for Tad non-divers are £25 per night BUT with a max of 6.


Interested divers:-
1). Matt d/paid
2). Sean d/paid
3). George d/paid
4). Steve
5). Tad
6). Chris
8). Tracy2
9). Anna d/paid


French Dive Trip ~ Places

Just seen this on YD Forum didn`t know if anyone might be interested, 6 days diving with Steve [channel diving,who else] in Normandy, 30-40m range, starts 26th October @ £350

Click here to view YD Posting!

30 July 2008

Hello to Sussex Scuba

Hello Sussex Scuba & welcome to the MD blog readership (or so Simon tells us).

Any dive centre that fills Simon's tanks deserves some special thanks - why? Because he's one man drain on any gas blender due to the sheer number of dives he manages to squeeze in around work!

So well done Sussex Scuba!

29 July 2008

Seaford BBQ ~ Sunday 3rd August ....more!

Our BBQ hosts for Sunday have said that they will provide....

1. Salad
2. Relishes : mustard, tomato sauce and other bits.
3. Fish - fresh Bass and Mullett and some mackerel if they appear between now and then!
4. Ice for the bucket in readiness for beers & wines!! (obviously we'll get some beer in as well!!).

BUT ..... no dogs please, as it might just be too chaotic! There will be one excitable puppy on site and that will probably be enough!

'Plan B' The weather is looking a little unsettled for the next 5 days although they forecast 19 to 20 degrees sunshine and cloud for the weekend. If it is too bad to dive we can have a play in the pool and if someone is bringing a marquee we could still have the bbq! We still have a social event even if the diving is blown out!

[I can bring the gazebo that we used at the West Beach BBQ - Chris]

New Inland Dive Site

According to the YD forum there is a new inland Dive site just off J13 M25. With Depths up to 14m and Viz around 4-5m could be a good reasonably local alternative for those desperate to get wet when the sea is too rough. Looks like its not far from Wraysbury. Facilities are limited though.

Check out http://www.the-dive-shop.co.uk/


28 July 2008

Work Skive ~ Videos

Tina found this one, should give a few laughs at work :-


27 July 2008

Brighton Diver II Dives ~ 29th July & 19th August

[From Simon's Comment]

I've booked a couple of evening dives with Sussex Scuba (where I get my fills from) :

1) Friday 29/7
2) Tuesday 19/8.

They're on Brighton Diver II at 17:30. The people in the shop are a friendly bunch, but I have never dived with them before. There are a few spaces left though if you check out their web-site:-


Team "Oh Pants" Skive Dive ~ Friday 22nd August

Myself and sean are on the skive with Channel Diver on Friday 22nd August to dive the Shirala & Indiana. Ropes off at 07.00am , £40 book on with Steve, 4 spaces left.
See you there!

26 July 2008

Swanage, Menage et Trois!

Leave house at 04.30 [caffine needed!!!!!!] pick up Sean + George for a day diving at Swanage :

After arriving at Swanage, parked on the pier, kitted up, found out it was now a 2 tank dive and got the kit on the boat, a cat called Smoothhound operated by Divers Down. Tt was a 40min steam out to our first dive Aeolian Sky a 10,000 ton Greek freighter. We went down the shot after waiting for the current to stop running and desended to the bottom at 31m, we made some checks and started to tour the wreck its very damaged for such a young wreck [@30yrs old] lots of life on here, vis was 4-6m,really good dive but as it was so big a twin set would be best.

This was a drift dive looking for scallops but as we had a 2.5hr car drive back and it was really hot we left the goody bags on board. This was a cracking dive LOADS of life big edibles, decent lobsters, spiders, scallops and lots of fish, vis6-7m , depth 15m this was my best dive of the day

Swanage pier is a must if you dive here not deep just a really good rumage around loads of fish , too many to list, very nice dive also tug a few fishing lines while you'rethere eh Sean!!!! This was a great day out thanks to George for sorting this one out, Sean for doing what he does best and the weather gods for turning a blind eye!

PS this will be a good weekender, wrecks n drifts ,oh yes!!!!!!!!! Got home 20.15, I'm knackered

Thanks from BBC South East Crew

I have just received this from John Young The BBC News reporter who was on the boat both times reporting on the T.R.T project.

I emailed him to say thank you for the above here is his response.

Tad, I've just got this on my return from a couple of days away.

Your email is precisely the sort of thing that makes this job so rewarding for crews and reporters. I am absolutely delighted that it worked out so well, and that Norman was moved and thrilled, rather than overwhelmed and distressed.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, and generosity towards Peter and myself.

I've this afternoon put in the post a DVD of our broadcasts, and the two tapes of your own that you lent us. I have sent a copy of the DVD (with broadcasts from April and July) to Norman.
I wish you the very best in your venture. Keep in touch if there are any other exciting developments!

Best wishes to Steve, Chris, Sara and all the other Meridian Divers

23 July 2008

Thoughts on the TR Thompson Relative Dive 22nd July 2008

I have dived the T.R.Thompson many times over the years and have always considered it a great dive a great shipwreck sitting on the bottom of the English Channel. I can still remember my first dive on her with the gun sitting up right and the stern still relatively intact. I have dived her in pitch black conditions not seeing only feeling the old Sunderland Steel and I have dived her in amazingly clear conditions. I have dived her with Dolphins with Novice divers and with great friends but Tuesdays dive will always be my most special dive on the TRTand I am sure the same goes for the other Meridian Divers who dived her rusting hull on that beautiful Sunny warm July day.

The difference from my first visits to the wreck and the ones since we first adopted her as part of the N.A.S adopt a wreck scheme is that the Thompson has become more than just a shipwreck. The SS T.R.Thompson is a grave site its a place where 33 men lost their lives supporting a country that had been at war for over 4 years . A country that was so different from the one we now live in but is free because of the sacrifices both men and women made.
33 of the TRT crew made the ultimate sacrifice.

So diving the Thompson took on a new meaning to Meridian divers and one of our main objectives was to find out about those people whose remains now lay within the wrecks hull,we wanted to tell their story.

After many dives and research by people past and present we finally had a break The BBC came out with us to film us diving the wreck with a view that if the footage was shown on TV someone may come forward . It worked and 4 months on Mr Norman Jack and his wife Mary came down from Sunderland to meet Meridian Divers.

So it was on Tuesday 22nd July that Norman Jack travelled with us aboard Channel Diver out to the wreck site and the last resting place of Lesley Francis Jack aged 16 a boy who was only 1 year older than my own son when he died when the TRT was sunk. Also joining us was the same BBC film crew who had joined us on the anniversary dive in April the film of which had enabled us to find Mr Jack, they had been keen to follow up the original story.

When we arrived over the wreck Mr Jack watched the wreck appear on the fish finder and was visibly moved as the spikes appeared on the screen to show that we were now over Lesley's grave and I have to admit my eyes watered a bit at his reaction.

We kitted up silently and prior to entering the water Mr Jack made a very moving speech and again I am sure the other divers and myself felt the emotion.

We had had a wreath prepared for the family and the main dive objective was to place this on the wreck on behalf of the Jack family and to film this in place.

On arriving at the wreck we were blessed with about 8m visibility & plenty of light. The plan was to place the wreath on the remaining deck railings which once surrounded the ships central superstructure. With the railings easily located Ernie had soon wired the wreath along with a memorial message to Lesley and the crew members of the Thompson and with Chris taking pictures and me capturing this on video for Mr Jack and the BBC I know each of us privately had our own thoughts and sent our own regards to the lost crewmen. It was even more poignant knowing that Mr Jack was above us and we had at last managed to reunite at least one of the families affected by the sinking 90 years ago.

Once the wreath was laid we set of to explore our old friend and again was saddened to see how much she is deteriorating as the sea is gradually reclaiming her remains. With 9 Meridian Divers covering the wreck we were also joined by the now familiar huge shoals of fish who now call the wreck home and seemed to greet us like old friends, not shy at all. I am not superstitious or religous but sometimes but I cant help thinking that the marine life on wrecks are the guardians to the souls of the sailors who died.

As with all dives it was soon time to leave what has become a very special place to Meridian Divers and start our ascent but not before looking across the wreck and imagining Lesley and his shipmates long ago sitting in the sun, walking the decks, working the machinery, laughing ,joking, leaning on the same railings where the wreath now hung or perhaps crying with each other missing their loved ones back at a home they would never see again.

Back on board we were met by Mr Jack and he was given a small token from the wreck, a rivet from the hull and a piece of the iron ore she was carrying on that fateful voyage 90 years ago.

To myself and I am sure the other divers this was a very moving special and unique diving experience one which will remain with me for always.


Dive Team
Mr Norman Jack (non Diver)

John Young BBC South East Today reporter
Pete cameraman BBC
Steve Johnson Skipper Channel Diving
Dave Brighton BSAC

Once I get the dive video back from the BBC I will edit and post on here.

BBC Wear Coverage of the TRT Wreath Laying

Click on the link below to watch the BBC Wear coverage of the wreath laying on the wreck of the T R Thompson on 22nd July 2008 by Meridian Divers:

Watch the BBC Wear Report on the Wreath Laying

Wreath layed by Ernie and underwater video by Tad.

Watch the previous BBC broadcast on the T R Thompson Project

Seaford Beach Dive & BBQ

A while ago MD planned a BBQ and Beach dive at Seaford. PROVISIONAL arrangements were discussed at the TRT Dinner last night and here is the outcome:-

BBQ Date : Sunday 3rd August

BBQ Time: It was agreed to meet at Seaford TWO HOURS before high tide. The afternoon High Tide at Seaford on 3rd August is 1.40pm (BST). This means a rendezvous at 11.4oam .

Location: Exact details will be circulated by email but we will meet on the Marine Parade
(nearer the West end!) where there should be adequate on-street parking.

Basic Plan: Meet, set-up BBQ on adjacent private property, get dive kit sorted, DIVE! Then enjoy the BBQ ! Not too complex!

Food & Drink: This pretty much a standard requirement for most BBQs and we won't change a good plan ! So bring enough for yourselves and for a few others to share! But we don't all want sausages! So please let us know what you plan to bring ....just so we get some variety! You can add a comment or drop an email.

BBQ Grill: Matt (bless him!) is bringing his commercial sized grill (so bring a drink for him or his kids to say thanks!)

Weather: Warm & sunny weather has been booked on-line through the Met Office. Maybe!

Over to you MDers ! Any changes to this plan will be made on this posting.

Collaboration in Action

Recent Meridian Diver socials and dive trips have shown the benefits of collaboration and mutual support , what has been achieved has been utterly impressive, way beyond anything I have previously experienced in the world of SCUBA diving.

I think the MD network has shown the way for others to follow and I think, not least with the economic downturn that the whole country is facing that businesses too are likely to look more and more at collaborative approaches. It doesn't make great economic sense to have assets sitting around under used so the best use of resources may be for businesses to break-down their traditional boundaries and work in a more networked collaborative fashion. SCUBA industries will probably increasingly discover this as necessity is the mother of invention (even if we're not sure who the father is!!)

Keeping boats, dive sites and providing other diving services is costly and if disposable income continues to drop we will undoubtedly see greater collaboration in the industry. This is good news for a network of divers (or customers if you prefer) all looking for quality opportunities and able to share information on 'what's good'! Of course something to watch-out for in any economic downtown is cost-cutting causing a downward pressure on standards!

Seazones 31st August 2008 - Update

Four people so far booked on Seazones on 31st August. Anyone else interested in taking the other available spaces please post a comment ASAP. Also if anyone has a particular wreck that they would like to dive post that as well and the majority will decide.

1. Ernie (Braunton)
2. Chris
3. Simon
4. Jim. (Clodmore)
5. Benidicte
6. Trez (City of Brisbane)


22 July 2008

What a GREAT Day! TRT DIve & Dinner 22nd July

L to R: Tad & Mr Norman Jack

L to R: Stuart, Simon, Ernie, Norman, Sean, Tracey (sitting), Trez, Chris, Tad

Watching You, Watching You, Watching You!

There will undoubtedly be a lot more posts to mark the occasion of todays dive & dinner. Probably the most memorable days diving I have done. Taking a leaf out of Sean's book I'll keep this post quite short and we'll elaborate over the next few days.

The Meridian Divers dive team assembled at Brighton Marina about 11.15am this morning and were accompanied by Mr & Mrs Jack. Dive kit was loaded aboard Channel Diver , skippered by Steve Johnson. As the kit was loaded were joined by BBC Reporter John Young and a BBC Cameraman. The same BBC crew that had gone to sea with us back in April when we conducted the 90th anniversary dive.

The day was beautiful, with blue skies and strong sunshine, there was a fresh breeze that kept us cool and gave the sea a few wavelets. On the 90min steamn to the site of the T R Thompson wreck the BBC filmed the boat and Mr Jack. Shortly after coming on station nine Meridian Divers entere the water , with Ernie carrying a memorial wreath that was handed to him in the water by Mr Jack. The wreath was taken down to the wreck and fastened to the remaining upright railing amidships on the wreck. The dive was videod by Tad . The viz was about 8m and there was excellent light due the string sun. After 40mins of nitrox diving we surfaced along side Channel Diver. Back on board by the lift we removed the salt from our mouths with tea & donoughts!

Ernie fastens the wreath to the T R Thompson's railings (amidships)

After a quick run back to Brighton we cleared th eboat and headed back for quick changes before the TRT dinner aty Alfriston. During the quick change the BBC South East news played the emotional story and included Tad's video of the wreath laying. First class coverage , again.

Pre-Dinner drinks in the Garden!

At 7.30pm we gathered in the garden of the Tudor House Restaurant for pre-dinner drinks with our honoured guests. The NAS's representative Ian Barefoot was present as was boat skipper Steve. The restuarant, which we had booked entirtely served us a three course dinner in style. Speeches were made and a video of the TRT played in the background. It was a totally successful day , truly first class and apprecaited by all , not least Mr & Mrs Jack who were presented with a signed & framed photograph of the ship.

Who ordered the Goats Cheese ?

Well that's scratched the surface. Watch this space for much more!

SS T.R.Thompson 22 July

Well what can i say about today words fail me

TRT BBQ for Norman & Mary Jack

L to R : Tad, Sue, Trez, Tracey, Nikki, Ernie, Shiela, Mary, Norman

Meridian Divers were delighted to meet Norman & Mary Jack , relatives of the youngest member of the T R Thompson crew to loose his life when the ship was sunk on 29th March 1918. Mr & Mrs Jack joined MDers for a BBQ courtesy of Sheila & Ernie on a splendid July evening.

It was a lively evening of chatter as we all exchanged so many stories and were entertained by Norman Jacks stories of his time as a Chief Electrician in the Merchant Navy. Norman has certainly seen much of the world and, his family, with salt water running through their veins, is sadly no stranger to tragedy at sea.

The evening was an excellent way to prepare for todays (22nd July) dive on the T R Thompson aboard Channel Diver departing Brighton at midday. We anticipate being joined by BBC South East who are following-up on their previous coverage of the Meridian Divers T R Thompson project. It was entirelyt due to the BBC's coverage that we have been able to contact Mr & Mrs Jack.

There will no doubt be a series of postings following todays dive and the TRT Dinner being held at Alfriston this evening which is also being attended by the Nautical Archaeology Society. So wtach this space ...oh ...and of course the BBC South East News this evening!

20 July 2008

Seazones available 31st August

I have been talking to Mick Luff (skipper of Seazones) and his boat is available to book on Sunday 31st August. Myself and Simon are up to dive that day. We need at least 2 more divers to secure the boat.
If interested please post a comment ASAP. If we get four divers we can choose which wreck we dive.

Also the boat is free on Bank Holiday Monday 25th August. I won't be able to dive though as we are going away. If interested please let me know and I will pass it on to Mick.

New Commemorative TRT TShirts Ready

The new special MD TRT Tshirts are now ready. I will bring them to the meal on Tuesday.
Cost £10.50 So please bring the dosh as I have to pay for them next week. According to Simon they look pretty good in Stone Blue.

My Photo comp entry

My entry for the photo Comp

Still taken from Video of TRT looking up at the stern

18 July 2008


Hi all
i`m looking for 3 divers to fill my boats on bank holiday monday
1st dive;
meet in mulberry divers shop 07.45 to fill out forms and sign in
09.00 ropes off to dive the mixon hole @28-30m see dive sussex for description
2nd dive;
14.00 ropes off to dive far mulberries @9-10m a quaility classic dive LOADS of marine life a great bimble

the boat [rib] will return to shore so we can get refills and try the local pub for there excellent freshly caught fish and return at the end of the day for a debrief
for partners there is chichester,portsmouth nearby
the cost of these dives is £36 for the 2

1. matt PAID
2. sean PAID
3. gary PAID
4. chris
5 .anna PAID
6 .matt (anna`s hubby) PAID
7 .caroline PAID
reserve 1. trez
reserve 2.

Spaces with Sea Zones this Sunday

Just in from Mick Luff

Hi All,

I have 4 spaces for This Sunday to Dive the City of Brisbane on the 13:27 HW slack (Max depth 28m to bottom 25m to top.

Give me a call or e-mail if you are interested.


Sea-Zones boat charter (Newhaven)
Tel 07729 277651

Meridian Divers Dive The SS Blanefield 16th July 2008

Video clips of the Meridian Divers skive dive on the SS Blanefield on Wednesday.

16 July 2008

SS Blanefield Skive Dive ~ 16th July with Channel Diver

If it hadn't been for Ernie reminding me on the phone the other day I would have missed today's Skive Dive on The wreck of the Blanefield off Beachy Head from Steve Johnson's Channel Diver.
With divers from 3 clubs aboard SAA69 Reigate , Brighton Marina BSAC , and Meridian Divers all of us got on swimmingly so to speak.

A relatively early start saw us leave Brighton at 8am for the trip out to the wreck site. With overcast skies and a murky inshore sea we kept our fingers crossed for better conditions out at the site. We were not disappointed. We arrived over the wreck at around 9.30 but had to wait until slack to kick in and during the wait the skies cleared and the visibility in the water looked very promising.

Kitted up it was time to dive channel Divers hooter whooped and we were in and on our way down to the Blanefield. This was my first visit to this wreck and with visibility at around 8m+ and loads of light this was going to be a corker of a dive. The shoals of bib and pollack were huge and on arriving at the wreck we were greeted by the biggest Flattie I had ever seen.

The SS Blanefield sunk in 1906 as result of a collision with another vessel reports say that 36 crew died on this wreck also there are reports that this wreck is upside down I can assure you it isn't. Being a steam ship of the same era as our own T.R.T there were a lot of similarities,although I would say that the Thompson is in better condition than the Blanefield. The Stern stands proud and about 10m high to the top of the steering quadrant and there is a strange platform that just out from this. It is still possible to swim through the massive prop /rudder arch.

The engine stands vertical and looks identical to the T.R.T's. Deck winches and other machinery give testament to the work horse this ship must have been.

With me filming and Ernie leading we worked our way around the wreck but time was cut short by a problem with one of the dive computers so to be on the safe side we started our ascent slightly earlier than we would have liked but we still managed 34 minutes. The Blanefield certainly needs further exploration in the future.

On arriving at the surface the sea had chopped up a bit and the trip to the second dive was a bit of a rollercoaster but not enough for us to dive a reef and ledges about a mile off Brighton Marina.
The drift was gentle affair across ledges and Mussel beds populated by quite a few plaice six of which ended up in one of the other dive teams goody bags. But with our own policy of live and let live the fish were safe from us.

Another successful stress free dive day out on Channel Diver over it was back to shore and battle with the traffic home already looking forward to next weeks very special dive on the TRT. Keeping just about everything I can keep crossed for the good weather.

The clips from the video will be posted shortly


T R Thompson Dinner (Details) ~ 22nd July

Hi All

Have just confirmed the meeting time for the T.R.Thompson dinner at the Tudor House Restuarant at Alfriston on Tuesday 22nd July. The restuarant would like people there at around 7.30 pm .I realise that this may a bit tight for some of you but please can you do your best.

The Tudor House is Alfriston High Street car parking is available within 5 mins walk of the restuarant. If you need directions please let me know.

A really big thank you to everyone who is coming along to support the evening. Mr and Mrs Jack are really looking forward to meeting everyone.


15 July 2008

Recompression Chamber Visit ~ Green Light

Looks likes a GREEN light for this plan , subject to a date to be agreed. I have heard from the Chamber and they are welcoming (as ever).

The Chamber visit , dry dive, & awareness session is expected be £40 but an additional £18 if you want the PADI Specialty Certification . That's very good value. Jane Stevens (PADI IDC Staff Instructor) will take the course, she ran the last course I observed there a while ago.

The expressions of interest list will be maintained on the earlier 'linked' post. We are now into 'Reserves' but that is always handy as we have yet to agree a date.

12 July 2008

And He's Off! ~ Olympian Steve

I would just like to say take care and good luck to steve for the next 6 weeks in China for the Olympics [I don`t know why I bother after the blonde comment!!] . You may ask what is Steve competing in? The most canned dives ? The longest drive for a shore dive? Well the answer is work, when your watching the coverage it may well be Steve filming.

So stay safe and we`ll see you when you get back, fancy going for a Chinese on your return? And keep in touch!

11 July 2008

Recompression Chamber Specialty

At the last MD meeting the option of a visit to a recompression chamber was discussed. Having organised many trips over the years I am happy to do so again if there is demand (a lot of MDers already have the PADI Specialty), of course any of our diving associates & buddies are more than welcome to come.

The visit is well worthwhile, particulary for those who want a far better appreciation of the effects of nitrogen narcosis, decompression illness and it's treatment. Add a comment / contact me if you are interested. Demand will determine whether or not we run another trip. No dates in mind yet but probably between November 2008 / March 2009.

Use the labels link below to research previous posts on Chamber visits! Or if you have access to SportDIVER July 2006 you'll see a full page report on one of the trips I organised.

Expressions of interest:-

1. Chris P
2. Steve L
3. Matt W
4. Sean G
5. Gary S
6. Tina W
7. Tony (bailing-out , work!)
8. Tad
Res 1. Terry
Res 2. Max
Res 3. Trez
Res 4.

T.R.Thompson Relative Dive ~ Tuesday 22nd July Diving into History


I have just received confirmation of Meeting and Dive times for the Thompson Dive on Tuesday 22nd July on Channel Diver

Meet at 11.30 Brighton Marina
Ropes off 12.00
Diving 1.30pm approx

Cost £45

Chris will provide a special log sheet for the day which we will get Mr Jack to sign

Confirmation of the dive going ahead will be made the evening before the dive after check ing with Steve from Channel Diver if I dont have your number please could you get it to me asap so I can set up a group on my phone.

Updated Diver list

1. Chris
5. Tim
8.Stuart TBC
10. Mr Jack (non diver)

Reserve 1. Andy TBC
Reserve 2.

There maybe an extra 2 spaces but will confirm as soon as I know.


Two Places Available on the Lundy Dive Trip

Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th August

Stuart & Debbie are now unable to make the Lundy Trip through a family commitment that has arisen. The boat charter agreement is made and Stuart & Debbie have already paid for their places on the boat (£200).

As they won't now be on the trip they have asked me to see if I can find two divers to take their place and recover their charter costs.

Obsession II our charter boat will operate from Ilfracombe and take us for four dives on the Lundy Marine Nature Reserve. Click on the labels below to link to other Lundy posts.

09 July 2008

T R Thompson Dinner 22nd July 2008 - Tudor House Restaurant, Alfriston

We now have the menu for the dinner. The cost will be £22.00 per person including service charge.

The menu choice is as follows:-

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup with warm bread
Filo wrapped Prawns with Sweet Chilli dressing
Roasted Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Peppered Ribeye Steak with Handcut Chips and Bearnaise Sauce
Seafood Rissoto with Parmesan Cheese, Saffron Dressing & Poached Egg
Slow Roasted Belly of Pork with Mashed Potato and Apple Sauce
Butternut Squash and Spinach Cassoulet with Bruschetta

Meringue with Rasperry Cream and Mango Coulis
Bannofi Trifle with Toasted Almonds
Apple & Rhubard Crumble & Custard.

Can you please phone or email me with your choice for each course ASAP.

Many thanks.


08 July 2008

Malta Diving ~ Recommendations?

Has anyone got any recommendations for a Diving Centre in Malta? More interested in finding out about a good centre than the actual dives at this stage of provisional planning!



05 July 2008

Lobster Supper at Swanage

The best made plans as they say! Four of us actually made it to Swanage Pier on the Friday 4th July and three entered the water for the Pier dive! What was supposed to be a 'stop-off' on the way to Looe became the signature dive of the aborted trip!

Travelling to Swanage was a bit of a pain, well to be fair much of the blame for that lies in Sussex roads (what's new!) normally getting West of Chichester (and out of Sussex) is a bonus but delays on the roads in Hampshire just added to the fun! The best part of the journey was the very short chain ferry ride at Sandbanks. Still , arriving at Swanage the sun was shining and the sea in the sheltered bay was quite calm. To get us in the mood for spotting marine life some shellfish were consumed at a kiosk on the promenade , then with plenty of parking spaces on the pier itself , we kitted-up for a short walk to the steps into the water. All very genteel. I can't say it was the best viz we'd had on the pier dive but it was good enough for a nearly 60 minute dive.

Max depth 4.5m which pretty much equates with much of my former inland dive site experience! So I suppose 32% Nitrox was an unnecessary luxury! And with 150 bar of the stuff left at the end of the dive I could have happily done two dives on the same cylinder. We saw shoals of 'fry' and some larger wrasse , a few spider crabs and a single flat fish. Not too much of a massive list. But it was pleasant enough.

So where did the lobster supper come into the equation? Good question! Well, while some others have fallen from the moral high ground of a 'no take' policy and gone for trophy photos with the largest creature they've killed, we are more confused! I say confused because whilst no lobsters were taken by us we were able to overcome the dilemna but just having four of the blighters served-up with thermidor sauce and washed down with a couple of bottles of pouilly fume at our hotel over looking the bay that evening! Diving can be soooo arduous at times but luckily three more courses followed by coffee & liqueurs eased the strain.

A night in a room with a sea view , waking to glorious sunshine across the bay , a cooked breakfast and a stroll down the private steps to a secluded beach set us up for Saturday. But on reaching Devon by early afternoon the weather fell apart so we cancelled the next stages of the hurriedly assembled plan B and headed back to East Sussex , where, of course , the sun was shining!

Final score, a day and a half of sunshine, one shore dive, four lobsters in a delightful dinner versus half a day of duff Devon weather. Oh , and more than a glass or two of petrol!

03 July 2008

Swanage or Bust (or both)

With the weather collapsing the Looe Dive Trip , one or two or even three of us are still going to try to get wet at Swanage with a gentle little Pier dive before the worst of the weather hits Dorset! Well that's the plan! We'll be there at 2pm tomorrow (Friday 4th) . Not wishing to make life too rushed we'll be staying over in the town that night. I sense a celebratory glass of something on the cards!

It may not be too grand - but it's something! Shame I've just filled my 15 Litre cylinders with Nitrox, don't suppose I'll be using much out of those fills!

R.I.P Horsea Island

Well as we are getting over the binned weekend in Looe some of you may be thinking to go for a inland site just to get wet, well you won`t be going to Horsea again EVER it seems.

Yes, its finally been closed after much campaigning as of 30/06/08 no civillian entry is permitted, although the the memories of my open water course nil vis,f reezing cold, mask flooding at this site seemed like hell on earth at the time I think we`ve lost a good training and kit testing site

Such is Life

Sometimes being into diving can be the most frustrating sport there is. Take this weekend. After months of planning and organising by Sheila everything was set for a great weekend in Cornwall . The only thing we couldn't plan for was, and I quote from the BBC, "a very unusual low pressure system for this time of the year" plonked right over the Cornish peninsula for the weekend with forecasted winds upto 50mph winds from the South.

Well that has scuppered the weekend's diving then. After clinging to straws all week and praying for good weather it appears that whoever controls the climate in this country just wasn't listening or decided to take the weekend off.

After much speculation Sheila received confirmation from Looe Divers this evening that the diving had been cancelled and after a bit of research and question asking on other dive forums there wasn't even the possibilty of any reasonable shore diving convenient enough to make the trip to Looe worthwhile.

This is the first time we have had to cancel a trip and its no ones fault that the weather is bad. There is nothing stopping us arranging another trip asap and I am sure most of us would still be up for it, but perhaps we need to plan in a contingency for the weather when choosing where we go next.

I am, and I'm sure you are, really disappointed about this weekend but it can't be helped and it's still only July so plenty of time yet for an alternative plan.

I would like to thank Sheila for all her efforts in putting together the weekend and I would like to blame Ernie for upsetting the weather gods.

And NO Nikki I am not going to Bluewater shopping now


Selsey Pier ~ Diver Recall Signal

Hi all,
You may or may not be aware of a situation that happened a couple of weeks ago that I think everyone should be made aware of if you are going to dive Selsey Lifeboat Station. On Sat 14th June there was a call for the Lifeboat to attend a situation, this was the 25ton offshore vessel not the inshore RIB, when a sharp-eyed crew member spotted bubbles directly in front of the launch ramp were divers were diving with no SMB so rather than launching the vessel to the emergency [a yacht had run aground no casualties, unknown to the RNLI crew!] they spent 10 minutes trying to alert divers by banging on the Pier until they moved out of the way then lifeboat was deployed to the emergency.

A recall signal has now been agreed with the Lifeboat Station and diving organisations regulary using the site which consists of:- 3 BANGS-GAP-3 BANGS when heard please surface immediately but as safely as possible,and please don`t forget SMBs must be used at all times on the site and obviously don`t dive in front of launch ramp! Safe diving!

T.R.Thompson Dinner 22nd July

Regarding the earlier post about the T.R.Thompson Dinner on the 22nd July and the original choice of restuarant not able to take bookings, Sheila and Ernie have identified a good alternative in downtown Alfriston see their comment below:

Ernie and I have been out on a recce around the pubs and Restaurants. We have looked at several and they are either too small or too expensive. We were in Alfriston looking at menus and prices when we bumped into a friend of ours who was just going into The Tudor House Restaurant where his daughter works. He introduced us to Roger the chef/owner who trained at Claridges under Gordon Ramsey. Roger said that they are not normally open on a Tuesday but would open for us. He is going to work out 2 menus for us, one at £15.00 and one at £20.00. The bonus is that he is happy for us to project the films on a screen.Their website is www.tudorhouse-restaurant.co.uk

Now I dont know about the rest of you but this sounds like a pretty good offer too me and although the restuarant has no maritime link the owner/chef is a diver himself so taking the bull by the horns lets go ahead and book it as the owner is willing to open especially for us and I am sure having trained under Ramsey we will be entertained by a few expletives coming from the Kitchen during the evening.

Unless I hear other wise I will take it that the original list of participants still stands and remember this evening is open to all regardless of whether you have been involved in the Thompson project or not. So please come along if you can.

Meeting times and menu will be posted shortly

Diver Diners
1. Mr & Mrs Jack (Guest of Honour)
2. Sheila
3, Ernie
4. Chris
5. Sue
6. Nikki
7. Tad
8. Ian B N.A.S
9. Tracey
10. Trez
11. Jim
12. S
13. Steve Johnson and Caroline (Channel Divers)
14. Simon & Linda
15. Stuart & Debbie
16.Matt & Tina
17. Nick Alex Amelia


02 July 2008

Looe Dive Trip ~ Plan B for the Weekend ?

If, and it looks like it will, the weather conspires against us this weekend in Looe can I make a suggestion that if all else fails we ask if dive centre could suggest any sheltered bays suitable for diving when their boats are out of operation?

I know its not the same as wrecks but there is still some good beach or cove diving and thats free ! Would and could still be a bit of a laugh.

I am up for it if there are no other options.


T.R.Thompson Dinner Venue ~ Plan B

I spoke to the Golden Galleon at Exceat today, they are unable to pre book spaces at the restuarant even though the meal is on a Tuesday evening, which I find quite unusual as I thought they would have welcomed the business midweek!

Any Ideas on alternatives would be useful as time is moving on.


Excelent suggestion (see comments) from Sheila re the Tudor House at Alfriston , see their web site:-


Commemorative TRT T-Shirts

I have a price for TRT project Tshirts.

They will have the MD logo embroidered as this is just as cheap as the printed. Underneath the MD Logo there will be written SS T.R.Thompson Project 1918 - 2008
Dive Team.
Tshirts will be Blue

The price will be £10.50 and I need at least 10-15 to make it viable please let me know if you would like one.


01 July 2008

Looe 5-6th July, Swanage 4th July 2008

Friday - Meet at 12:00 on the Pier (for those diving the Pier)

Friday - Meet in Hotel bar 20:00. Last person buys the drinks all evening !
Saturday - Meet at the Dive Centre at 10:00. Returning at 17:00
Sunday - Meet at the Dive Centre at 11:00. Returning 18:00.

What we dive and when will depend on the weather.

Please remember to bring the following:-

Log Book
Certification cards
Proof of UK Sea diving from a boat in the last 6 months
Own equipment - including:-
2 Tanks.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Don't forget to ring me on Thursday evening.