29 May 2009

Meridian Divers Meeting ~ 7.30pm Wednesday 3rd June

Just a reminder that the next MD meeting will be held at the Berwick Inn , Berwick at 7.30pm on Wednesday 3rd June .

25 May 2009

Off a Land Farne Away ~ 23rd & 24th May 2009

After dark dives, abandonned dives, more dark & no viz dives, a chap's mind can wander in search of a little more fun! And where the mind wanders the fins are sure to follow. So it was that Simon & I found ourselves booked upon the Sussex Scuba trip to Farne Islands off the Northumbrian coast , north of Newcastle ( Why , aye mon , we were in the land of the Roaming Robbo's).
To be fair it's a fair old run to Seahouses where we were billeted in the Old School House (recommended by the way!) . Of course, in hindsight, going the length of the land on a Bank Holiday was a bit of a daft idea, it took about 9 hours to get there. But driving back on the Sunday afternoon missed the crowd and took about three hours less!

After the British Diver's traditional prayers over a a full english breakfast we were at the Harbour by 8.30am to board "Glad Tidings VII" , a massive hard boat with substantial diver lift, skippered by Billy Shiel MBE. It was a low tide so a lot gear (there were 22 divers on board!) was lugged down the steep stone steps (luckily the tide was higher in return!) It was the biggest UK dive boat I have been on and so there was space for all ( well, just!). From the Harbour it was a short run to the Farne Islands. The day started sunny and warm with flat seas, but by the surface interval it had become dull and overcast.

Our first dive was on Knivestone, in suitably seal infested water! We cut across the shallow 'gut' of the island/rocks where seals darted about then dropped to deeper water to check-out the wreck of the well-broken Abyssinia. Viz was in the order of 5 to 6 meters , fair for the area, excellent by Sussex standards! The only drawback was it was COLD! At 9 degrees at the surface and 8 degrees at depth, it was only a matter of time before the hands said "Enough!". In our case that was 47 minutes! Subsequent dives were shorter as our resilience to cold water ebbed!

The Second dive was on Blue Cap, sadly no seals seen underwater on this dive , but in the shallows there was plenty of kelp and furher down there were excellent displays of soft corals. being so close to the mainland we were back at Seahouses shortly after 2pm, where a visit to a local hostlery helped pass the time until we found ourselves gathered around a large table for dinner!

Sunday morning was a cracker, the sun was blazing but there was a cool sea breeze. We decided that perhaps the most defining characteristic of the Farnes were the seals , so it was to be a shallow seal dive! So we went back to Knivestone and spent out whole dive no deeper than 5 metres. And , yes, we were buzzed repeatedly by seals, one stopping to fin-nibble! Mind you the critters were so quick they were hard to capture in the camera! I think we also appreciated that extra degree of warmth in the shallows! The sunshine lasted all day making the surface interval much more enjoyable. During the surface interval we cruised by other island looking at the colonies of the many seabirds including cute little Puffins!

For the last dive we visited Crumstone a small out crop of rock . Diving to about 18 metres the visibility was better than the shallows and there was an abundance of soft corals & urchins, though little fish life (save a few reasonable sized wrasse). On this dive we found a group of Dog Whelks each about 130mm long. When the cold got the better of us we ascended and in no time were back at Seahouses loading the car in the sun for the run home.

A good long-distance week-end with all the right things in place, a few degrees more warmth would have made it absolutely perfect. Definately worth a visit.

20 May 2009

Meridian Mutts

Update - the next walk is now Saturday 30th May and not Sunday 31st May Original post has been amended.

Horsted Keynes is the chosen walk for this day. Looking forward to seeing my friends again.


18 May 2009

Fortuna Wreck Dive ~ 10th May 2009

It must have been a better day than it was a dive, 'cos the next morning the feeling of mild sun burn reminded me that a few hours spent at sea on a reasonably sunny day is a good way to catch the rays! I think we all, that is Simon , Tad, Ernie, Trez, Sean & 2x Chris, probably spent slight more time in the sun and slightly less time under water than we predicted and hoped for!

It was a fair enough day for a ride out to the Fortuna aboard SEA ZONES, a light swell and at the start a little overcast. On arrival the fishermen on another boat above the wreck did their best not to look annoyed at all this blasted scuba-divers and even 'stood aside' to let us shot the wreck and get in. It didn't look too encouraging from the surface with plenty of particles in the water and a very short view of the shot line. It was about 30m to the highest parts of the wreck but by about half-way down it was torches on and keep an eye on your buddy!

On reaching the wreck it was pretty damn black, with about a metre's visibility. With some monofilament line lying around the place it had the feel of 'how long will it take to get caught-up' ! But we moved carefully and looked around to check for snagging risks. All the same , it was hardly one of our better dives and Simon and I only managed about 2o minutes before thinking 'that's enough'! One of those dives (for us) in which you think that sending-up the buoy is a highlight! Still on reaching the surface and the day had improved and with Mick's famous buttered scones & tean on the aft-deck beckoning it was only going to get better!

We decided to 'can' the planned second dive in favour of a gentle run back to Newhaven and a visit to the not-so-greasy-spoon that now 'substitutes' for the old and lamented 'Coral Cabin' . What's it coming to ? A distinct lack of damp undersuits and biker leathers in the café these days! I said it was good way to catch the rays , and so it was, as we met-up with old buddy Ray and talked about some of our mutual acquaintances in the weird world of diving!

Meridian Mutts

Hello my people. Would any of my friends canine or human like to accompany me on another walk in the country on Saturday 30th May (weather permitting)

If I can make two suggestions:

Alfriston and Berwick, starting and finishing in Alfriston, distance approx 4 miles and takes about two and a half hours. This can be extended by stopping at the Cricketers Arms en route or the Church of St Michaels and All Angels.


Horsted Keynes (Bluebell Railway). 5 miles, approx two and a half hours. Field and woodland track (No Pub, but could bring picnic)

If you are interested in joining me please post a comment with your choice of walk.


16 May 2009

Swanage Canned !

Just a quick note to say the weekend has now been completely canned due to very high wind`s even though there was a faint chance of getting in tomorrow.
Just like to say thanks to those who booked on and for bearing with the to and fro phone calls over the last couple of days.
As nearly all the boats have been called this weekend were going to Vobster tomorrow for a dip if anyone would like to join us.

11 May 2009

Swanage weekend 16-17th May

Hi to all
This is a post for you that are coming to Swanage this weekend and can't make Ocean view wednesday evening for a quick meeting .

Firstly the camping is at Woodhyde campsite , you're allowed onsite after 11am and must leave your pitch by midday Sunday , although if you want to prolong your visit I'm sure they'll be accomodating, as mentioned before to all we've taken 1 electric hookup for charging torches,phones,light`s kettle and most importantly fridge for cold beer,if you want one call and ask (electric not beer)

http://www.woodyhyde.co.uk/ for address and other details of site ie prices.
The boat "Smooth hound" http://www.diversdownswanage.co.uk/
The dives, Saturday-08.45am ropes off firstly the Kyarra all info here:-http://www.divesitedirectory.co.uk/dive_site_uk_england_south_coast_wrecks_kyarra.html
second dive 13.00pm a drift dive will call to find out what depth etc (just checked its up to us max depth 24m)
Saturday afternoon/evening : dive the Pier, have a look around, back to tent for a BBQ and a few beers up to you guy's n gal's.

Sundays dives: 09.00am ropes off to dive Aeolian Sky details here http://www.divesitedirectory.co.uk/dive_site_uk_england_south_coast_wrecks_aeolian_skye.html 2nd dive scallop drift/Black Hawk bow.
SS Black Hawk (Bow Section)
After so much High Explosive has been used on this site it is a bit of a scrap heap. Individual features can be identified but there is no overall feeling for the size and shape of the vessel, unlike the stern. One of the features that is in evidence is a boiler that has been shattered open revelling all its innards. There is meant to be an anchor on a length of chain on this site but we have yet to find it. The nice thing about this site is that it is in 18m not 48m. So diving it on a rich Nitrox mix give`s you just about unlimited dive time, which makes a nice contrast to the dive on the stern. (Lifted from BSAC site)

07 May 2009

Debrief Done! Red Sea Reviewed

The April 2009 Red Sea liveaboard trip was 'debriefed' over (far too large) a selection of savoury & sweet snacks and other refreshments at Arlington Village Hall on Wednesday 6th May. Most of our dive trip group were able to make the debrief and so too did some others , checking -out what they missed!
The group reviewed videos taken by Ernie and edited by Tad , then watched the 'official' trip video produced by Susie (one of our Instructor /Guides on the MV Whirlwind). Terry kindly produced copies of the video for those who wanted their own to take home.
After the videos, still images taken by Sheila , Ernie, Simon, Linda, Terry, Gary and Chris were viewed and copies of each persons 'portfolio' was shared with those wanting copies. Now everyone has literally hundreds and hundreds of shots with which to torment their friends & family!

It was a pleasant evening and good to catch-up with members of the "22 Club" and of course those in the "Sub 22 Club" !!! Fingers crossed for more successful dive holidays & debriefs in the future!

05 May 2009

Meridian Mutts

Poppy B would like to thank Poppy M and Sizzle (AKA Twizzle) and my human friends, Chris, Sue, Jim, Tad, Niki, Tracey, Ernie & Sheila for a most exhilarating walk yesterday. Also, thanks to Chris for rescuing me from that angry sheep.

Looking forward to our next walk when I hope that Tibor and others will join us.

Poppy B

01 May 2009

Meridian Mutts

Poppy would like to know if you are up for a walk on Bank Holiday Monday. She said she would like to do Firle Beacon, down to Charleston Manor (stopping for tea and cakes) then back to the Ram Inn at Firle. She has a cunning plan so that you do not have to climb to the top of the Beacon.

She said she thought about a starting time of 13:30.

If you do not have a dog Poppy will be your guide for a fee of cocktail sausages or a fine cheddar cheese (not the cheap stuff)

Please post a comment if you are interested and I will ring you to finalise the details.


Seazones - 10th May 2009

One space has become available on Seazones on Sunday 10th May 2009.

Please post a comment if you are interested in taking the space.