30 November 2008
29 November 2008
1 dive in Belgium, Nemo 33
25 dives in UK sea
2 dives in The Med, Corfu
5 dives in The Red Sea, Taba
9 dives in Wraysbury
2 dives in NDAC, Chepstow
2 dives in Vobster
2 dives in Stoney.
Many thanks to all my buddies and fellow divers, my best dive year by far!!!
Linda managed 1 dive in The Med and 2 in The Red Sea
Matthew, son, managed 5 dives in The Red Sea
Megan, daughter, managed 1 dive in Thailand and 2 dives in The Red Sea
Over the years the site has placed many in water attractions at various points and depths to keep the visiting divers interested and being an ex quarry there is still evidence of the machinery and buildings that supported the working of the quarry before it was abandoned and allowed to fill with water.
So on Thursday 4 divers from Meridian divers and Ocean View trekked the 150 miles to have a midweek adventure within the coves clear green waters.
After a very early start I met up with Simon at Three Bridges and travelled up in his car we had arranged to meet Gary and Terry from Ocean View on site so with much reluctance we stopped on the M40 to fuel up our finely honed physiques with a cooked breakfast which would help keep us warm during the coming dives.
A clear run saw us at Stoney around 10 am with Garry and Terry already there and in the water. With the car park nearly empty parking close to an entry /exit point wasn't a problem.
With a stiff cold wind blowing I felt the enthusiasm starting to drain but we forced ourselves to kit up and get down to the waters edge. The OV boys were on their way back up after completing their first dives and with a brief exchange of whats it like how cold is it etc etc We jumped in and surface swam to the buoy marking the Stanegarth.
The vis was at least 10m and with the water temp a tepid 10.c conditions were very comfortable. We whizzed down the shot and explored the Stanegarth both inside and out then followed a compass bearing back towards the bottom of the drop off and the wrecks of the VW van and the Westland Helicopter. We then ascended the quarry wall to the Nautilus mock up and swam underneath the pub. We then worked our way back across to the Viscount cockpit before watching a huge shoal of roach meander across the quarry floor.
51 minutes later we surfaced and met up the G&T for a quick chat and coffee and warm up in the refurbished changing rooms.
The 2nd Dive saw all 4 of us diving together which took us to the submerged block house and back. Having done the most the inwater attractions on the first dive Simon and I had seen all we needed to see after 30 mins and decided to call it a day leaving G&T to carry on.
Now it may seem a bit daft to travel on round trip of 300 miles just to dive an inland site but diving is diving and although diving in the sea can never be replaced Stoney is a pretty good alternative when you need a midwinter scuba fix.
With G&T deciding on whether to share a shower or spend another 20p on separate ones, we said our goodbyes and headed back down South.
Stoney Cove has been accussed of being dangerous, as with all underwater enviroments there is always an element of risk. Proper risk management ,training , correct equipment and taking in enviromental considerations when planning a dive, help reduce those risks.
In the case of Stoney Cove, the biggest risk probably comes from the very cold water in the site during the winter months and the fact that the site is used by thousands of divers each year means that there will always be incidents.
The company that runs the facilty definately puts the safety of its customers as the highest priority, its down to you to respect the rules and dive within your own limits and the limits of your training.
Thanks to Simon for driving and Gary and Terry
Video Highlights to follows shortly
27 November 2008
will be looking for payment in January for this trip £85 pp but feel free to pay early if you can spare it
7. steve l
10. gary s
The trip is the same one i sorted this year for the absurd deal of £135 for the whole deal with Steve details here http://scyllareefdivecharter.co.uk/DIVE-CHARTER-PLYMOUTH-MOUNTBATTEN
12 divers in total but as promised the divers that were with me in October have first refusal so can i have those names first then i throw it open to all
Graeme at OV is upholding the arrangement MD had with Den and will give a 10 % discount on kit servicing.
As I am over there most Wednesdays, I am more than happy to take any kit over & bring it back. All I ask is that you bring your kit to me!
Ideally, we could do a job lot in January - if you bring any kit & instructions to the MD meeting at end of January, this will ensure it is all done and back with testing time before some of us head off to the warmer waters in April.
The Venue .....Bowlplex Brighton
The Time .......TBA
Ok guys, it's time to dig out those ol' bowling shirts, girls to file their nails down and all to slip on those oh so glamourous shoes!
The time has come for MD & OV to go head to head!
For the tidy sum of £14.99 pp, you will get 2 games of bowling, a 'delicious' meal or buffet (Bowlplex description!) and a certificate for the winner (and loser!)
There is no limit on numbers and all family and friends are welcome. Ideally we would aim to have 5 or 6 to a lane & make up a couple of teams - it may even be that we have a Meridian Team, OV Team and a team for us schizophrenics that like to split ourselves between the two.
Please add a comment if you are interested - will be collecting money beginning of January
25 November 2008
We have thought about re-arranging but I have just spoken to Tad and he and Simon are still going. As Tad is bit out on a limb where he lives, car sharing would not be easy but you could still meet up. Please either contact Tad direct or add comment to blog.
Sorry guys, will try & set something else up soon - still Tad's Soup Dragon Dive to look forward to.
Look forward to your report guys
24 November 2008
A big thank you to Norman & Mary for their generous donation
23 November 2008
Tracey and I are already booked.
20 November 2008
Original report written by sean as follows: " it was a great dive , went down, got wet, came back, lovely" New report edited by Anna!
A few of us got together last night and after a number of hours deliberation, it has been decided that we will aim to meet at Stoney around 10-10.30 (dependant on traffic!)
For those who wish to drive up in convey, Matt & co are meeting me & co at the 6.45am (must be mad) at the BP garage at bottom of A23 (where it meets (A27)
It does seem that MD/OV divers will be storming in and taking over Stoney that day but what the hell - come and join us- the more the merrier!
See you there
12 November 2008
I'm hoping that there will be more substance in future episodes. It's becoming quite tiresome in diving programmes to have the participants keep telling us how dangerous it all is and how worried they become when the comms fail. Comms failure? We don't even have comms to start with!
Come on MDers , get those HSE Scuba Diver quals and get out there on those expeditions!
The BBC South East programme ran the story of our success in the NAS Adopt-a-Wreck Awards and used some of the 'footage' from the 'Mr Jack ' dive!
[Expired link removed as no longer current! - Blast!]
11 November 2008
Weather looks good at the moment and I will check with Mick Saturday afternoon and text you all to confirm on or off.
10 November 2008
09 November 2008
You might be forgiven for thinking that it's not worth dwelling too long upon the anchors we chance to encounter but you might be wrong! The NAS is soon to launch the :-
BIG ANCHOR PROJECT
and everyone is invited to photograph & record anchors to populate a lottery funded database. Of course being something of an anorak I will send a few photos in to their website which you can check out by clicking HERE!
May be Meridian Divers should have it's own competion for Christmas that can tie-in with this project? Perhaps a prize for identifying the biggest anchor on any of the boats we've dived from?
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I HAVE ANY OF YOUR CHOICES SHOWN INCORRECTLY!
If you are attending and you don't receive the 'check list' let me know by email or add a comment!
The package is priced at £29.95 inc VAT per person, and includes:
* Three course meal
* Coffee and mince pies
* Festive novelties and decoration
* Juice FM DJ and disco
* Discount hour on selected drinks from 6pm-7pm
if interested contact Graeme, Matt or the Ocean View shop direct.
Of course, in the world of diving being a 'professional' has a much wider range of meaning. There are allsorts of professional divers who are not engaged with recreational diving instruction, such as research divers, media divers, commercial divers and police divers to name but a few. On top of that there are all kinds of different technologies beyond SCUBA involved in diving , surface supply being an eaxmple. So going 'Pro' offers huge potential beyong recreational instruction.
A starting place for professional diving is the HSE Scuba Diver qualification. This qualification allows employment in non-recreational instruction circumstances, for example taking part in a underwater media project. A different Codes of Practice and requirements applies to such work albeit it may be conducted on SCUBA. A cameraman or safety diver involved in a professional media project requires qualifications not available as part of PADI training for example.
Andark Diving offers the HSE SCUBA Diver course and an appropriate qualification would potentially open the door to wider diving experience and for employment or contracted work. If you are interested in this kind of development take a look at the following link:-
If you ever looked at underwater documentaries on television and thought 'I'd love to do that!' then may be you should be thinking about really going 'Pro'!
Full report on the visit in due course.
08 November 2008
4. Steve (City of Waterford)
The Conference, supported by PADI, BSAC, SAA, English Heritage, Historic Scotland and others, had a packed Agenda with some of the leading UK and overseas archaeologists. With such an eminent and erudite line-up of speakers one might reasonably wonder why Meridian Divers were invited.
Well the answer is simple, the NAS wished to honour Meridian Diver's for their Adopt A Wreck Project (see linked blog , link top right of this page). On behalf of the NAS, Mr Ray Sutcliffe FSA read out a glowing citation on the work of Meridian Divers and the extent to which the project had traced living relatives of the Steamship T R Thompson, sunk in 1918. The citation included a special reference to the succesful use of the broadcast media which had promoted maritime heritage.
Tad , on behalf of Meridian Divers was called to the dias and presented with a Certificate and a engraved glass wine decanter. The Certificate , for 'Runners-Up' in the 2008 Adopt a Wreck Awards was all the more meaningful to Meridian Divers as it surpassed the Certificates of Merit awarded to several other impressive projects. After the presentation several members of the NAS came forward to add their personal endorsement of the Project. It was a very proud day in the history of Meridian Divers and provides some independent and authoritative support for our work. It was particularly pleasing to know that PADI Internal was a member of the Judging Panel for this year's award. The PADI web site has previously carried reports of the projects progress.
. The engraved decanter
. The base of the engraved decanter Meridian Divers would like to thank all those who have contributed to the T R Thompson Project.
05 November 2008
This seems to make a lot of sense as divers wanting to dive a purposely sunk naval vessel off the coast of Seaford are likely to make use of the Port of Newhaven. There has been some concern voiced at public meetings as to quite how far the benefits any economic regeneration from the project would extend. A central issue seems to have been 'how many divers who would stay overnight in the area ?' as day-tripping divers would have less positive economic impact as they would not pay for accommodation and probably purchase less refreshments / meals etc.
Of course an increase in divers using the Port of Newhaven would benefit related businesses in or around the Port, so it does make good sense to recognise Newhaven in the project name.
With the certainty of a recession on the horizon, the owners of the Port of Newhaven and the various developers will likely have got cold feet in respect of the much discussed major developments of the Port. Certainly there were plenty of people, up to a few months ago, confidently predicting that the Port developments would go ahead with visible improvements . I don't think many would bet much on that prospect at the moment.
The future of the Port , for many many years, has been characteised by a 'stop-go-stop-go-stop' round of ideas. Some ideas have materialised , like all the new housing, whereas , other ideas have been stopped mid-way, arguably leaving a deficit. For example, how we all miss the Coral Cabin for our post-dive bacon butties!
Wherever we are on the stop-go cycle the Port & users have to work with what they are left with , constantly adapting to the prevailing circumstances however uncertain. Quite Darwinian in a sort of evolutionary way! I think we will continue new species emerging for some while yet. Evolution is fascinating but it does produce some implausible entities - the duck-billed platypus for example!
[For a critical assessment of the Port click : Here]
04 November 2008
after the last meeting i`ve spoken to Divers down at Swanage and prebooked 2 days diving on there hard boat "SMOOTHHOUND".
The weekend`s diving is for 12 divers and the itinerary is as follow`s Sat 16th may ropes off 08.45am to dive the KYARRA then a 2nd dive in the area then Sun 17th ropes off 09.30am to dive the AEOLIAN SKY + 2nd dive the cost is £85 pp which is payable up front .
Accomadation and travel i will leave to you guy`s to sort out as i think there are a few different ideas about where to stay and i for one is going where it`s cheapest so i have found a campsite a mile from the seafront to stay at and i know a few of you have your own b+b recommendations.
Links to sites below
7. steve l
10. gary s
4. Steve L (City of Waterford)
03 November 2008
At the site the shot was as usual expertly placed by Steve. Simon and I then slipped beneath the waves. At 12 metres the light was failing fast and on reaching the bottom at 34 metres it was dark.
The water clarity was quite good so with torches we could see well. We made our way around the stern and back over the decks to the boilers and engines. The wreck was covered with a thick blanket of fish and large lobsters were seen.
All too soon it was time to make our ascent. On reboarding Channel Diver it soon became very obvious that it was warmer in the water than out! A few snow flurries gave us the hint, but Steve came to the rescue with a very welcome cup of soup.
The second dive was under Brighton Pier. Not much to report apart from a very startled eel.
Prices will be finalised when we know how many we are going to order. The approx. price of the polo shirts is £16.00 and fleeces £25.00. Obviously the more we order the cheaper they will be.
Mens sizes are XS (34-36") S (36-38") M (38"-40") L (40"-42") XL (42-44") 2XL (44"-46") 3X (46"-48")
Ladies sizes are XS (30") S (32") M (34") L (36") XL (38") 2XL (40")
If you wish to order please post a comment with item and size.
You will be responsible for booking your own accommodation (we have details of B & B's) and will need to pay your £80.00 as soon as the boat is full.
We would be diving with Celtic Diving and their web site is http://www.celticdiving.co.uk/ You will find plenty of information and videos to tempt you.
If you are interested please post a comment.
After the appalling weather on Saturday I was expecting the trip out to the Waterford on Channel Diver on Sunday to be cancelled but a text from Uncle Ernie Saturday evening confirmed the trip was going ahead but I still didn't hold out much hope for a decent dive.
Sunday morning in Chatham dawned damp and foggy, but as I headed down to Brighton , early morning sunshine promised a much better day, although I still wasn't hopeful about conditions underwater.
Meeting up with fellow Meridian Divers Uncle Ernie Tracey and Jim plus Mac Jim's mate from up north we boarded a full Channel Diver and headed out to the Waterford Site.
The other divers aboard included divers I had met earlier on the year on dives on the Thompson and I received some good feedback on the TRT Blog and videos .
Looking at the water colour heading out I still wasn't hopeful but what the heck the weather was warm and sunny, the company was great and was at sea again.
On arriving at the site Steve dropped the shot and guess what there was promise of some visibility so with a mixed bag of twinsets rebreathers and singles with ponies it was time to kit up and enter the water I ummed and aarghed about taking the camera in and decided it was worth a try although I felt I was being a bit hopeful..
With the shot disappearing into the gloom below we started our descent with Ernie,Tracey and myself buddied together I was expecting lights out at about 10m but soon it became very apparent that this was going to be a cracker. We hit the wreck at about 31m there was plenty of ambient light and vis was between 4-5m and the wreck was stuffed full of life.
Its been 8 years since I last dived the Waterford so orientation took a little time, but we were soon heading towards the stern gently gliding over deck machinery,holds, engines and the Crab family. Being a newer wreck than most of the other wrecks off East Sussex (sunk in a collision in 1948) the Waterford is still pretty much intact with some of the superstructure still evident at the stern and some of the wooden planking still on the decks. One thing that was noticeable was the temperature on the bottom still 14.c very cosy. With Uncle Ernie and Tracey proving the lighting I attempted to capture on video the Marine Vista that lay out before us, having to fight our way through the shoals of bib meandering across the the wreck.
With all of us on Nitrox we had we a enough time to pretty much cover most of the wreck although we didn't make the bows but before long it was time to pop up the blob and return to the surface and a cup of the hot stuff.
I opted out of the second dive on the ledges due to only having a limited amount of gas on the first dive but Ernie and Jim went in and had a 30 minute bimble until they ran out of reef . Again a respectable couple of metres vis.
As I said at the beginning I had expected the worse but what I got was one of the better dives of the year. It just goes to show that you can never assume anything when it comes to diving in the UK or as Uncle Ernie says" just stick with me and you will be alright "
I cant wait to dive the Waterford again I had forgotten what a great dive it was.
Video highlights will be posted in a couple of days. Really glad I took the camera down now.
02 November 2008
If you would like to donate a prize please put a comment on the blog and either bring it to the next meeting or at the dinner.
Many thanks in anticipation of your generosity.
01 November 2008
Their details are available on: The Tudor House Restaurant
It should be a first class evening .
I will soon email out the full meal choice list to ensure that I have your choices recorded correctly. The evening will be a good opportunity to meet-up with all the 2009 Red Sea Liveabord Divers (but there will be plenty more opportunities!).
Please read the instructions carefully - especially if you want the PADI Specialty Certification!