29 October 2008

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ Wednesday 29th October

Well what a sombre quiet little gathering it was - NOT! Fourteen exuberant divers high on some sort of mixed gas or so it might have seemed. The Berwick Inn managed to cope with us very well , our custom was welcome on a cold Wednesday evening! I think we helped spread some good cheer! And what splendid progress ~ absolutely inundated with cheques for MD events! Christmas Dinner & Red Sea numbers continue to grow, Simon's signed-up for his Divemaster Course, boat dives , pool hire options and affliliation programmes were put up for discussion with a view to keeping us all active through the 'off-season'. A mid-week trip to Stoney Cove in November will soon be posted and Ernie gave a brief insight on the dark & cool dive to the Blanefield earlier today. Jims planning a Wraysbury trip this week-end (after his Sovereign Centre pool dives with Eastbourne BSAC) . Sheila will (yet again - thanks) be writing up the notes and circulating them soon. Looks like we'll all be kept busy & entertained almost makes me wish I wasn't back out to the Maldives soon , well may be not almost!

A special welcome to Parsley our newest member and clearly a well qualified and vocal GSD!

Wraysbury Saturday 1st November

Hello all.
I'm meeting a couple of people at Wraysbury on Saturday to try out some kit and generally practice breathing underwater. If anyone fancies it we will be there from 09:30

28 October 2008

PADI/SITA Seminar Bristol

for all those that are DM or above you maybe intersted in this
Could be worth sending an MD contigent along. Maybe you planning on becoming a DM and would like to come along (Simon)

If you're planning your diary for 2009 make Monday 9th February a date to come to Bristol for this annual industry seminar.
It's an opportunity to mingle with industry colleagues, and hear presentations on topics affecting our market from other industry stakeholders.
There's also an industry dinner where you can let your hair down after a good day's networking.


post a comment if interested

26 October 2008

MD Christmas Dinner ~ Raffle

A raffle of prizes will take place at the Christmas Dinner , more details to follow after the next MD meeting on 29th October but for now our thanks go to OCEAN VIEW for their generous donation of prizes.

MD Pier-Diver of the Year!

A pier diving challenge was set-out early in the year, the winner will be announced at the MD Christmas Dinner.

Challengers are asked to add their names to this post or email me if they are rather shy! Simple rules again , the MDer who has dived the MOST Piers (different Piers, not numbers of Pier dives!) during the period 1st january 2008 to 10th December 2008 (inc) will be the winner! In the event of a tie , the most MDer with the most pier dives will win!

Any UK pier is eligible. Diving glory awaits!

MD Photo Competition ~ More!

I thought I had better create some system of judging now that the deadline is approaching fast and to work out some rules (may be not as comprehensive as an Approved Code of Practice :-))!!

A small prize will be awarded at the MD Christmas Dinner so it makes sense to have all those who attend the Dinners as the 'voters'!

I think the simplest way is 'first past the post' i.e. everyone at the Dinner will get one vote and the photo with the most votes wins!

ONLY photos that are directly shown in post on the Blog between 1st January 2008 and 10th December 2008 will be eligible (allows time to collate the images for voting). Photos on linked albums or others sites do not qualify. Photos must be taken by a MDer. Qualifying photos will be shown at the Dinner.

Should be a bit of fun!

Halloween Party ~ Friday 31st October

We have all been invited to join in on Ocean View`s Halloween party on the above date at the Ocean View Club at @19.00-19.30pm,entry is £2.50 or free if in fancy dress should be good fun and come and say 'Hello' !

Who`s Going Pro?

I have been reliably informed that another MD`er is starting down the going pro route, I would like to say good luck and look forward to working with you.

22 October 2008

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ Wed 29th October

The next Meridian Divers Meeting will be held at the Berwick Inn, Berwick at 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th October 2008. An agenda will be circulated by email. Please add a comment if you do not receive a copy within three days.

The MD Christmas Dinner & Recompression Chamber Visit will be amongst the items discussed.

21 October 2008

Scuba Industries Trade Association

The sharp eyed amongst you will have seen that our 'links' section (right side of screen) has carried a link to SITA, the Scuba Industries Trade Association.

SITA have laudable aims and these include :-

To promote, market and represent the Manufacture, Retail and Training sectors of the Scuba Diving Industry and to advise on Government and Local Authority Regulations and to work together to improve the safety standards and encompass the Conservation aspect in Scuba Diving.

I have been a associate member of SITA since 2005, they have been very helpful in providing safety information and information on European & International Standards. Their website provides plenty of good information for divers including a guide on risk assessment. Worth a look.

Red Sea Trip 2/4/08-9/4/09 - Update

I have managed to get an extension to 20th November 2008, for deposits for the Red Sea Trip. So if you are interested or want any further information please post a comment.
The following are already booked on the trip.

1. Chris
2. Terry
3. Mandy
4. Paul
5. Linda
6. Simon
7. Ernie
8. Sheila
9. Therese
10. Tracey
11. Sean
12. Gary

[Updated 9/2/09]

20 October 2008

Meridian Divers Blog ~ Always Pleasing!

Thanks to Susan Pleydell for her comments as attached to the RIDDOR posting (below) . The blog has attracted tremendous support and , perhaps a larger and wider following and readers than even we could ever have imagined. Our blog members are at the highest level they have ever been and the number of diving & dive social opportunities we are creating together is also at an all time high. Well done MDers!

19 October 2008

Photo comp

Can I play?, images taken in Spain about a month ago .Fuji f30 .

Recompression Chamber Visit (Latest) ~ 9th November

Here is the latest runners & riders list for the visist to London Hyperbaric Chamber on Sunday 9th November :-

1. Matt
2. Tina
3. Terry
4. Caroline
5. Sean
6. Steve
7. Nicky
8. Tony

Photo Competition Entry

17 October 2008

MD Blogging Success

A while ago I realised that this blog passed the FIVE HUNDRED post mark, quite an achievement ! It has made me appreciate just how web logs (blogs) have contributed to the promotion of diving. I'm grateful to Matt C who introduced Meridian Divers to the concept! Our (older) sister blog , the T R Thompson blog has provided the ideal vehicle for the project work and done a great deal to promote local diving interest . I am not aware of any other comparable diving project blog (please let me know if YOU do!).

I have no idea how many emails support the MD blog work but the figure must be getting close to the size of the US Bank Bail-Out figures! I do know that my address book is mainly populated by divers and with over 1200 addresses it would be difficult to send out enough emails to keep everyone up to speed. So thank goodness for blogging as an aid to wider communication. Is it possible for any local diver NOT to have surfed our blog by now? Today I looked back over my old Scuba Updates (emailed newsletters before the blogging revolution) , no wonder I need more memory on this computer, there are 195 of them each several pages long dating back to the start of the new millenium! Not quite Samuel Pepys diaries but an archive of diving history in their own right! See West Sussex you're not the only archivists!

I have my fingers firmly crossed for Meridian Divers in the NAS Adopt-A-Wreck Awards next month. And if we are succesful may be it will be a good time to email all 1200+ and celebrate just how far the Meridian Divers network has come! Keep up the good work!

16 October 2008

West Sussex Archive Society Talk

Really not a lot to write about here apart from the fact that Meridian Divers were offered the opportunity to talk about Diving Sussex Shipwrecks and in particular the T.R.Thompson Project.

I offered to put together a presentation and treck down to Chichester on what was one of the best weekends of diving weather we have had for a long time to give the talk along with 3 other speakers giving presentations with a Nautical or Maritime Archaeological Theme.

The other topics included Lost ships found a talk by Ian Friel , Diving into History from our old friend and N.A.S project mentor Ian Barefoot and West Sussex Settlements Lost To The Sea, a talk by John Mills West Sussex County Archaeologist For those of you that live in West Sussex there maybe some good opportunities to find the remains of some of the villages and buildings that have disappeared into the channel in the past. Could be a possible link up here if we could come up with a project plan.

I was last up but there had been some technical difficulties earlier which meant that the previous presenter overrun which cut my slot a lot shorter. I had prepared a 41 power point presentation which included some of the video footage and photographs we have captured over the past year. I also took along a selection of diving equipment (as most of the 30 strong audience were non divers )to illustrate what sort of kit we need to work on the project underwater.

Due to having to be cut short it looks like Meridian Divers will have another invite to tell the story of the TRT project again in the near future. Other offers for the group to talk about the project have been made so watch this space. Any volunteers?

15 October 2008

Meridian Divers Christmas Dinner ~17th December

Just a few reminders:-

a). Those of you who haven't given me your meal choices please do so soon !

b). I have sent an email (15th Oct) to all those on the Christmas Dinner list asking you for your cheques!

c). If you haven't had a Christmas Dinner email from me you are not on the Dinner list, if you want to join-in let me know.


14 October 2008

RIDDOR and Diving

More for your safety training:-

RIDDOR - The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995, did you know that certain injuries or occurences in work situations are reportable to the Health & Safety Executive ? This is in addition to any diving agency reporting requirements.

Decompression illness is a reportable disease under the Regulations and reportable dangerous occurences (near misses) include failure or endangering of diving equipment, the trapping of a diver, an explosion near a diver, or an uncontrolled ascent.

To learn more about RIDDOR and how to make a report click HERE

Far Mulberrys ~ Saturday 18th October

Hi all just to let you know Imogen and I are off to have a gentle bimble on the Far Mulbery's on Saturday morning (be at the Mulberry Divers shop at 8.45a.m) So if anyone fancies doing it then come and say hello on Saturday morning - you'll know Imogen and I by the laughter! Maybe see you then!

13 October 2008

Three Divers (Don't All) Suffer the Bends in Separate Incidents

Three divers were picked up on Saturday 11th October by the Lee-on-Solent based Coastguard helicopter in two separate incidents, when the divers began complaining of signs associated with decompression sickness.

Full story on the MCA website click HERE

Meridian Divers wish a speedy recovery to all those divers involved.

[Update - Good news, two of the three didn't get bent! False alarm -good intent!]

Fortuna Foursome

It was a dark misty morning when four of Meridian divers finest dragged their weary bones to Newhaven Marina. As the sun rose Seazones was loaded with our gear in anticipation of a good days diving. On reaching the site we found Brighton Diver had already shotted the wreck. Our team of Jim, Chris, Therese and Ernie descended the shot first, leaving members of Crawley BSAC to follow.
On reaching the wreck we found the shot line had taken us directly on to the big holds with bags of cement all neatly laid out where they had been placed 90 years before.
The viz was excellent, at least 4 metres. As we drifted over the cement bags we found a very large conger and lobsters in various nooks and crannies. We swept over and around the stern finding another four congers as we went. The shoals of fish were so prolific you could not see through them. We made our way forward to reach the bows and back to the holds with the cement bags.
All too quickly our time was up and we had to start making our ascent. Back on board Seazones we were, as usual, very well looked after by the skipper Mick and indulged in his famous scones.
Jim, Therese and Ernie decided to duck out of the second dive, so new MD Chris Adams buddied with a member of Crawley BSAC.
Sorry no pictures, someone didn't bring their camera !
All in all a very good dive.

11 October 2008

Fortuna & Seazones

Just a short note of thanks to the guys on Seazones today for making it a cracking dive, and you made the right choice in not doing the drift , I managed 12 mins before loosing Matt and surfacing . Hope you get as good a day tomorrow Jim.

09 October 2008

Seaford Seal ~ BDMLR Message

Hi all,

A seal has been spotted hauling out on the beach at Seaford, East Sussex. If anyone is in the area can they keep an eye out for it and check what condition it is in please. Obviously it may move about and be found at nearby beaches too. There is probably nothing wrong with it but it would be nice to check and confirm that it is ok.

Please keep Sharon Gisby Sussex & Surrey Co-ordinator and ourselves at BDMLR HQ informed of anything you see.

Trevor Weeks
National Co-ordinator
British Divers Marine Life Rescue Reg Charity 803438

08 October 2008

Red Sea Trip ~ 2nd-9th April 2009 Update

Just a reminder that deposits are needed by 21st October 2008 to secure a place on the boat.

After that date Tony Backhurst will take back the spaces and fill them.

Spaces so far booked are:-
1. Chris
2. Mandy
3. Paul
4. Tracey
5. Sean
6. Linda
7. Simon
8. Steve
9. Ernie
10. Sheila
11. Anna
12. Imogen
13. Matt
14. Terry
15. Gary
16. Therese

07 October 2008

MD Photo Competition 2008

Another reminder !! Get your entries posted on the blog , the awards will be made at the MD Christmas Dinner on 17th December. If they aren't on the blog they won't be judged! Don't hang around as voting may take place at the November MD Meeting (to be confirmed!!). If you already have an entry on the blog and it doesn't have the 'Photo Competition 2008' label attached (as per this posting) let me know!

West Sussex Archive Society Talk ~ Saturday 11th October

Meridian Divers have been asked to give a talk on The T.R.Thompson project at its annual conference this Saturday.
The conference has a Maritime theme and the day will consist of talks about

Lost ships found a talk by Ian Friel, writer and naval historian, with examples of Sussex wrecks and projects , illustrated by slides.

Diving into History a talk by Ian Barefoot, he will explore the joint initiative with The ‘Heritage Lottery Fund’ and the Nautical Archaeology Society, bringing Maritime heritage to life.
1-2pm Lunch. There are plenty of places to eat near to the office, and in the town.
The afternoon session begins at 2pm with

West Sussex Settlements Lost To The Sea, a talk by John Mills, looking at settlements and ports of West Sussex that have been inundated by the sea.

Adopt a wreck project a talk by Tad Taberer who dives with a group of divers who are passionate about shipwrecks. Tad will talk about why they dive shipwrecks and their joint project with the Nautical Archaelogical Society on the wreck of the SS T.R. Thompson. Includes video clips and photos of diving on the wreck of the Thompson.

The conference will be all day and will cost you £10 and include light refreshments

If you are interested in going as it should be an interesting day let me know asap as they need to know numbers.

The venue is

3 Orchard Street
West Sussex
PO19 1DD

06 October 2008

Photos from the Red Sea (Dahab)

I would like to take this opportunity to show off some of the photos i took last week whilst on holiday in Dahab. It was a great week of sun and sea.
I only did two dives which were the The Bells/Blue hole and The Canyon. The Canyon is a split in the sea bed which goes from about 18m down to 50m. We entered through a large hole at about 25m and dived down to about 30m before ascending through the canyon passed the hole which we entered through and up through an enclosed section to a smaller opening at about 18m. Fun dive and plenty to see.

The Bells/Blue Hole was the second dive and gets its name from the sound of divers' cylinders banging on the walls as they descend a semi-closed chimney straight down to 27/28m (the entry point for this dive) before popping out onto a wall that continues straight down to the deep dark depths. The dive then continues along the wall ascending slowly in stages, until at 7m we swam over the reef and into the Blue Hole and across the bottomless abyss (a 56m hole in the reef) to the shallow reef on the other side where we exited. Another very nice dive and for the first section, myself and my buddy were escorted by a friendly Cornet fish which must have been over a metre long. Apparently it was using our bubbles to hide from its prey along the wall.
So on with the pics, anyhow...

Rockin and Rollin in Plymouth with Ocean View & Meridian Divers

First off a big thanks and well done to Matt for putting the trip together we all know what a nightmare it is to co-ordinate something like this and it all went swimmingly well apart from the the weather yet again.

With an uneventful trip down to Plymouth I was the last to arrive having been caught up in the usual traffic hot spots heading towards the west country. On arriving at Mountbatten Guest House my boot refused to lock and alarm refused to switch off thanks to Steve L for given me a hand strip down the door and sorting out the issue I know you missed some drinking time thanks mate.

Once booked into the guest house which I must say is most luxurious B&B I have ever stayed in and a real credit to the owners Steve and Sue who also own and run the hard boat we were going to use MV Endeavour.

After meeting up at the pub around the corner we invaded the local Indian takeaway/restaurant which was interesting to say the least. A sign said it had been refurbished but I assume that this refurbishment was carried out in the 1960's. Also it had reserved signs on some of the tables but I assume that was for some of our 4 or eight legged friends. The food was ok though and no one seemed to have any nasty after effects.

The following day loomed dull and gloomy but there was a chance that we may get out so with the 2 minute drive to the boat mooring we loaded the kit onto the boat and as per the boat name endeavoured to see if we could get out to the wreck sites but it soon became apparent that it wasnt going to be so we made do with a dive on the Breakwater fort a marine Martello tower like structure. The dive itself was a pleasant bimble at around 12m deep loads of life and loads of wreckage including a cannon and a small wreck of some sort of tender. We also spotted a John Dory which after many years of diving ahs always alluded me. 59 minutes later saw as surfacing and hoisted back onto the boat by the diver lift.

Lunch on board was a choice of bread and soup or pot noodles plus teas and coffees. After a tour around Plymouth Harbour the wind still hadn't abated so the next dive saw us diving a 40m drop of known as the Barn Bowl although the vis wasn't as good as the previous dive it was still a pleasant enough bimble.

The evening saw the OV MD group meet a a local restaurant based within a MOD Garrison 10 minutes walk from the B&B with the evening entertainment being supplied by Anna & Imogen it was a lively and very funny end to a good day. The food was pretty good too apart from Matt asking the waitress what the pork was like and being told she wouldn't eat it herself mmmm great sales technique lady.

Sunday dawned and the wind had increased and the rain was still pouring and rightly so Steve the skipper canned the Dive. So plan B was put into motion we were to approach the National Aquarium by water, storm the entrance on masse, confuse the ticket staff and get in for the Kiddies price we were then going to Hi jack the ROV exhibition Steve and Sean were to take on the local 10 year old wizz kid and beat her at the ROV Assault course the plan worked the 10 year old was beaten by our 2 heroes although chivalrous to the end Steve gave up his prize of an ROV Pilot Badge to the distraught youngster. We planned to dress George up as a mermaid and get him to do 50 lengths of the main exhibition tanks whilst dodging the man eating gobies . We were then going to pretend we were all Stevie Wonder impersonators by wearing dark glasses and invading the inhouse 4D cinema. The plan worked but a mermaid suit couldn't be found that would fit George so we skipped that bit.

With the successful invasion of Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium over we retired to a nearby Sports bar for some grub and probably the worst cheese burger I have ever eaten and then wasted.

Although the weather once again got the better of us the weekend was a great laugh with some great people. Once again thanks Matt for the organising and thanks to everyone for an enjoyable if noisy and at time raucous weekend. Role on the next one.

For great value and quality I would definitely recommend the Mountbatten Guest House and /their Charter Boat service.Thanks to Steve and Sue Woodman http://scyllareefdivecharter.co.uk/

The Rock and Rollers were


Plymouth trip with Steve & Sue Woodman

This trip started out on Friday in what could be said a bit of a rush after myself,Anna & Sean were still training in B`ton marina at 11.30am and we had arranged to meet at Ocean view at @12-12.30 to leave for Plymouth,but with a bit of help from everyone and a really understanding boss(cheers Graeme!!)we were on the road.
We arrived at the Mountbatten guest house at @18.00pm and were greeted by Steve,Sue and Eric(there Shitzu dog) our host`s for the weekend and were shown to our rooms to sort ourselves out,well to say we were gobsmacked would be an understatement i haven`t been in show homes that well tastefully decorated or kept let alone a low priced package deal for divers accommodation,most of you would expect a bunk house for the price,Tad had stayed in hotels all week and this place kicked all of them into touch.Once we were all settled in,rooms sorted out,wet drysuits(1 inside and out!)hung up we crossed the road to become acquainted with the Royal Oak pub for a swift half then onto Lackey`s curry house for dinner all of which was very entertaining and a great way for some people to get to know everyone who were new to Meridian divers/Ocean view partnership.
Saturday morning started after a very comfortable nights sleep then down to breakfast for 08.00am now for those who know me this may be a surprise but the full English Steve & Sue served i struggled with and to be honest was one of the best i`ve had and i`m a truck driver whose had a few!that said if you didn`t want a fry up there was cereals,toast etc on offer.
We made our way down to the boat m.v Explorer which was fully kitted out with lift,toilets,lots of space and deck shelter ,which was just round the corner alongside the Mountbatten centre pontoon and loaded the dive kit and we also saw were Indeep dive centre is situated right next to the pontoon,result!
Steve informed us that the weather was a bit on and off at the moment so we would have a look to see if we could out to the Syclla which is why we came but if not had some guaranteed harbour diving if need be down to 30-40m,don`t forget this is a big harbour with some cracking dives in it,unfortunately the weather was to big to make it round the headland so we dived the Breakwater Fort ,i really enjoyed this dive it was @ 12m a good rumage plenty of life and a wreck and cannon thrown in with good vis 5-7m and no current,back onboard we had a bit of lunch and a tour of the harbour while waiting for the weather to calm down but to no avail so we dived Barn pool a drift dive spitting distance from a beach which went down to 30m+.
We got back to the pontoon and walked our cylinders to Indeep diving centre for filling for Sunday morning fingers crossed that we could dive the Scylla & J.E.Layne at this point i have to take my hat off to Indeep and especially Matt who worked there one of our divers Anna her neckseal had got a hole and he offered to put a seal on overnight for a very good price and dry off all the wet suits and cossies with no drama`s,now thats service.
The night out saw us booked into a local pub the Clevaly by Steve only 5 mins walk alongside the river(take a camera) and in the garrison,a really well priced meal with really good portions even if the waitress didn`t really like anything on the menu herself,try the pork belly really filled a hole,then back to the Royal Oak for a night cap before crashing out.
Sunday`s breakfast was every bit as good as before but we took our time because the weather had taken a turn for the worse overnight and was blowing a force 9 so with the diving canned for the day we decided to go to the National Marine Aquarium which was a short ferry ride away and have a look around before setting off for the drive back to Sussex and it was well worth it the large tanks are stunning, R.O.V racing was good fun and the 4d cinema was worth the £2 entry fee, we got a group discount when we said we were divers from £11 to £7.50 and the Scylla project was worth looking at,all in all it was a great weekend and i can thoroughly recommend Steve and Sue at the Mountbatten dive charter/guest house it was worth every penny we booked again for next year already!
Thanks to everyone who made the trip i really enjoyed the weekend and the company shame about the weather so fingers crossed for better weather in June `09.

05 October 2008

Fortuna - 11th October 2008

Final details for dive on the Fortuna with Seazones on 11th October are as follows-
Meet 06:45 (Newhaven)
Ropes off 07:30
Max depth. approx. 34 metres.
Confirmed divers are:-
Chris A
Fingers crossed for good weather.

02 October 2008

We're Off to Plymouth

Right oh, just spoke to Steve and his take on the weekend is this we will dive both days but sunday looks better than saturday so we will dive the Scylla & J.E.Layne on Sunday and Saturday we will see what the weather is like but there are a number of inshore marks to dive if ofshore proves difficult,with a discount in price.

At the mo it`s supposed to be force 7-8 but when i spoke to Steve he was at the harbour looking at a flat calm sea . So on the info I`ve been given were off any prob`s call me

01 October 2008

NAS Conference 2008 ~ Meridian Divers Delegation

As per the post re the conference (below , see NAS link) . It now looks as though a Meridian Divers delegation is intent on taking part.

Those indicating an intention to attend are as follows:-
1. Chris-P
2. Sue
3. Sheila
4. Tad
5. Nikki

The intended visit will be on Saturday 8th November . There is an option to stay overnight . This presents a problem for those originally intending to visit the Recompression Chamber on Sun 9th November and this has now (almost) been resolved by the Chamber places now (almost) being taken by others!

The WWW url on the NAS link (below) provides more detail regarding the conference. If you are interested in attending the NAS Conference add a comment or let me know.

Red Sea Trip ~ 2nd April - 9th April ~ Update

As you all know by now (I hope) due to the demise of Excel we are now flying with Monarch on the 2nd April 2009 (and not the 4th). Their luggage allowance is 20 kg plus an extra 5 kg diving allowance. Additional allowance can be purchased 90 days prior to departure.

As we are now travelling 2 days earlier, and thus missing Good Friday, I tried to get a reduction in the cost but to no avail. I have managed to get an extension to 21st October for payment of deposits. So those of you that are umming and ahring you have more time to make your mind up and get your deposit paid.

If you have not already registered your interest and would like to join us or would like more information please put a comment on the blog.