Page 1




ISSN 2396-7552

Volume 1 ~ Issue 1

Visit the magazine ONLINE at





£499 £625


THIS ISSUE First Edition ~ Welcome


54 2nd Surface Interval

Diving Officer


56 Diver Denial

Training Officer


58 Calorie Counting

Club Chat 10 Learn How To Scuba Dive 12 Disabled Diving 22 Nitrox For Beginners 24 Egypt Liveaboard ~ Get Wrecked 26 Hodge Close 33 Surface Interval 40 Growing Pains 42 Reduce Your Breathing Rate 51


63 SS Baygitano 67 Sport Diving ~VS~ Tech Diving 70 Better Buoyancy Control 73 Closed Circuit Rebreather 77 Industrial Diving 80 CSAC Reviews 82 CSAC Scene 92 Training Schedule 94 Divers’ Directory

26 33

42 67 77

Introduction I was delighted to be asked to introduce the first edition of Club Diver by James, its creator. After reading the first draft the committee and I were more than happy to rubber stamp its future as one of the Club’s media outlets. We have all the modern media tools, Facebook and the web supporting the club. So when approached by James I wondered if this format still had a place in this modern paperless age.

PUBLISHER James Neal HONORARY PRESIDENT Jacques Cousteau CHAIRMAN Garrath Radcliffe SECRETARY Neal Breeden TREASURER Mark Wood DIVING OFFICER Simon Draper TRAINING OFFICERS David Pollicott James Neal EQUIPMENT OFFICER Martin Emmerson PR & MARKETING OFFICER James Neal PUBLISHER 07951 92 63 37 SECRETARY 01594 82 51 85 EMAIL WEB SITE FACEBOOK ISSN: 2396-7552 COVER IMAGE PRINTED BY IMAGERY UK LTD Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Neither Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club nor Media Publishing Group LLP officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the publisher.


MPG is a registered Trademark of Media Publishing Group LLP. All Rights Reserved.

Media Publishing Group LLP Studio Ten Upper Dowdeswell Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL54 4LT Please Recycle

It was reassuring, and a surprise upon reading it, that even to someone who took part in most of the events and content of the publication, that in the hands of such a person as “Jamers”, a professional in this field and as keen a diver as any I have met, he managed to hold my interest and with the written word alone, which made a refreshing change from the now too familiar modern forms of storytelling. I had forgotten the sense of excitement and amusement shared in the company of friends, as time and the day to day stresses had diluted them. As I read I became aware of an involuntary grin as the stories were revitalising those memories and feelings. Club Diver brought the year’s happenings in to focus, especially the CSAC Scene pages, as they show the people that are the club. The people who did not start out as friends but are so now. The memories that can never be taken away from me (the Chrisoula K with a pod of dolphins). Events that were only made possible by the years of experience shared, and gladly passed on, by our club’s instructors. Club Diver is quite simply more than just a read, as the title infers it is a record of the club’s events, but more personal to me, as “my” experiences with the club and an awakened appreciation of the people I share those experiences with. So thank you James for a thought provoking piece of work and thanks also to “the club” for the memories! I hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the diving. If you’re a scuba diver then read on and if you’re not, rather than read about our adventures come and see us and share in our passion. Who knows... the next edition could feature you!

Garrath Radcliffe Chairman

FIRST EDITION Welcome Cheltenham Sub Aqua Club (CSAC) was established in the mid 1980s. Originally named Tivoli Underwater Group the club developed in to a full diving club shortly thereafter and became the club that it is today. Presently CSAC is the region’s only independent, multi-agency, diving club. We are a member of the Sub-Aqua Association (SAA) which is affiliated to CMAS (the worldwide federation for scuba diving) we are also affiliated to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and we can also offer PADI and IANTD training. Subsequently, all of the training and qualifications that we can provide are recognised internationally.



We are also able to continue training for divers moving in to the area that have already commenced training with a particular agency. This is a great advantage for anyone who has already established themselves as a qualified diver; as we operate at all spectrums of the diver grade from complete novice to Tec. We meet every Wednesday evening from 8:00pm until 10:15pm at: Brockworth Swimming Pool Brockworth Academy Mill Lane Brockworth GL3 4QF

We can then usually be found afterwards socialising at our favourite watering hole with our favourite landlady, Kirsty, at The Cheese Rollers pub, Shurdington.

We welcome all abilities and disabilities. So please do not be put off if you have any special requirements. You will be made most welcome by our club.

Most of the club’s diving trips make use of our own boat called Blue Hotel - a Humber Destroyer 5.8 mtr RHIB with 115hp engine. We have plans to upgrade this craft in the near future.

CSAC prides itself on its policy of inclusion and welcomes new members from all walks of life regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or disability.

We take all levels of qualifications and experience from complete novices to instructor grades. Divers are encouraged to broaden their diving knowledge and incentives are available for club members to progress into instructor qualifications. If you’re already qualified, no matter with which training agency, and want to dive on a regular basis with a friendly bunch then come and see us. Have a look at our club calendar to see what we get up to. If you want to learn how to dive, or even take your existing qualifications further, we can provide the necessary training up to dive supervisor within the club as part of club membership and further than that, including instructor grades, with the SAA, BSAC, IANTD & PADI on a regional or national level.

All views and opinions are welcome and encouraged. No one will be discriminated against for their opinion or for engaging with the club, making suggestions or passing comments. Good humour is encouraged, and respect for others is required. Club diving with a recognised agency such as the SAA / BSAC provides the same high standard of training and care as with any pay-as-you-go agency such as PADI, IANTD plus can also be a relatively cheap way to dive all year round and advance your diving skills. For more information please contact the club secretary, Neal Breeden. Email: Tel: 01594 825185 / 07917 441460 CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


DIVING OFFICER Safety First Superficially speaking, Diving Officers can be a pain. You just want to get on and dive, but they hold you back. You descend a bit past your qualification’s limit and you get rebuked. Are they out of touch with the realities of recreational diving? Maybe. So should they be gently encouraged to be a bit more compromising? Maybe, but maybe not. As the club’s Diving Officer, I’m naturally not going to give a straight answer to those questions, and I’m sure for some club divers it will be a ‘no brainer’. But how much do you really know about what being a Diving Officer involves?

However, since safe diving practices are ultimately everyone’s concern, over several subsequent editions I’ll be highlighting different aspects of responsible diving from a Diving Officer’s perspective, hoping that wider understanding of the “constraints” put on club members by their Diving Officer will lead to a naturally safe and considered approach to diving. So, having primed you with this preview of things to come, I’ll leave you pondering over the old adage: “your next dive is always more important”.

Established divers will understand what this generally means in terms of club diving: promoting and ensuring safe diving. There’s more to that of course, not least

Simon Draper



the implicit personal liabilities that may seem at odds with the voluntary nature of this role.


TRAINING OFFICER Skill Development As Training Officer for CSAC I welcome you to the premier edition of Club Diver. We are historically and culturally a SAA club but have decided to embrace the wider community of BSAC and PADI. From the SAA background we bring with us an attitude of independence and impartiality together with consideration of what makes a diver equipped to dive in UK conditions and by extension almost anywhere in the world. That world theme of course applies to PADI with international recognition and acceptance. The BSAC element brings in the support and resources of the UK national agency. However, my view is that we train people to dive, not simply

to pass exams. Those early moments of near panic must be replaced by confidence and skill. As we progress through the training the elements of self sufficiency are emphasised ...readying the diver to take a role in leadership and instruction. This is not to diminish the buddy system but instead defines that each should take an equal part in the success of the dive. Of course that is largely what it is about, apart from the appreciation of loyal friendships and shared experiences! I wish CSAC and Club Diver the greatest success.


David Pollicott



CLUB CHAT Club News Where do we start? 2015 has been an extremely packed year for CSAC and we’re still only twothirds of the way through the year. Unlike some clubs we dive all year round, our RHIB isn’t packed away during the winter simply because you can get some of the best dives in during the colder months... if you’re prepared to brave the weather. So far this year we’ve seen a huge amount of diving, a couple of our ‘most prolific divers’ have chalked up over 500 dives between them, add the rest of the club to that number and you’re looking at well in excess of 1,000 dives completed by the club so far in 2015. We’re hoping to break the 1,500 mark by the end of the year! We’ve also expanded our multi-agency status by welcoming BSAC to our club. This move seems to have struck a chord with many members and is proving extremely popular, so much so that

BSAC have very much adopted us and have gone to fantastic lengths to make us feel welcome and supported. They have even furnished us with a stand at the NEC Dive Show and it is through that platform that we have launched ‘Club Diver’ magazine! Some members have been chasing a couple of World Records, and we are delighted to say been awarded them! Whilst others have been chasing personal records and goals, and likewise, achieving those. We have implemented a full ‘Training Calendar’ for the months ahead and this can be viewed towards the back of the magazine. The club always has a vibrant and active social scene running throughout the year and we’re very much looking forward to this year’s Christmas bash and, of course, Scuba Santas... Ho Ho Ho...!!

James Neal ~ Deepest Cold Water Dive on Compressed Air Following Recovery from a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


New Members In recent months we have welcomed new club members from three dive agencies, SSI, BSAC & PADI. From PADI, Stephanie Leaman (OWSI) has joined the fold as a BSAC member , Massimo Galli (AOW), Charlie Rogers (AOW) and Matt Pearce (AOW) have joined as SAA members. Andy Rice (SSI,DM) has also joined the SAA agency. Each diver brings an added benefit to the club. Steph with her humour and in depth knowledge of the PADI agency. Massimo is a very chilled diver and a natural in the water, Charlie is enjoying the club dives and dry suit training, whilst Matt is asking members for advice whilst he purchases new equipment (don’t forget to save some money for the

dive show Matt). Andy Rice undertook his first UK dive with the club on an impromptu trip to Brixham. A trip in which we were fortunate enough to encounter a seal. He also did his first site brief at NDAC, which he did superbly and he helps out with the cooking, being a chef, on dive trips... top man! The club has also seen a rise in try-dives during 2015, with most Wednesday evening pool nights at Brockworth Pool having either try dives or continued education taking place. Try-dives are not only for new divers, but also divers who have not dived for a number of years. Recently we welcomed a BSAC couple who had not dived for 15 years... it’s never too late to get back in the water!



LEARN HOW TO SCUBA DIVE By James Neal Have you ever wondered what it would be like to scuba dive? Have you ever dreamt of being able to fly like a bird or imagined being an astronaut? How can these be related you may well ask... well, NASA train their astronauts by first teaching them how to scuba dive. And scuba diving is just like being an astronaut. You can also soar like a bird but in a watery, weightless realm. So if you’ve ever wanted to “boldly go where no one has gone before” scuba diving could be just the thing for you. Getting Started The very first thing you need to do in order to learn how to scuba dive is to fill out a load of forms. It sounds tedious, but it isn’t. Assuming that you’re ‘Joe Average’ then it really is as simple as filling in your name, address, date of birth and completing a short Yes / No medical declaration, Safe Diving Statement of Understanding and a Liability Release. If your Medical Statement does throw up any potential issues then a quick visit to a local specialist diving GP will ascertain if it’s CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


OK for you to dive. There are a few conditions that can prevent someone from diving, but only a specialist doctor can clarify this. For the most part, there aren’t many conditions that would prevent you from diving. In fact there is evidence to suggest that diving can be extremely therapeutic for a number of conditions. For example someone recovering from a stroke may find that scuba diving can seriously assist with any mobility issues. I dive with someone who has suffered a stroke and diving has ‘given him his life back’.

really begins. The journey is transformational. Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club pride themselves on being an inclusive club and you will be made extremely welcome regardless of any disability. Not all clubs behave this way.

“It’s more than fun, it’s awesome, quite addictive and could take you around the world.”

Likewise, I have asthma and I rather unfortunately suffered a Subarachnoid (brain) Haemorrhage at the end of 2013. Whilst the SAH kept me out of the water for almost a year, the desire to return to diving very much drove my recovery. So don’t discount scuba diving as an activity for any medical or disability reasons until you’ve seen a specialist. Once you’ve completed all the necessary forms and self-certified or been declared ‘Fit to Dive’ the fun

Swimming Pool It all starts in the swimming pool. You can have a ‘Try Dive’ to start with or commit to a full course and get certified to dive with other qualified divers. If a ‘Try Dive’ takes your fancy, or you’re not yet 100% certain, then you can simply ‘have a go’ under the direct supervision of an instructor in a swimming pool. If, however, you are certain that you want to learn then you can sign-up for a full course. There are a couple of options open to you for CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


learning to dive with Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club as we’re the region’s only independent, multi-agency, diving club.

for expanding your social circle, and Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club has a very active social and diving calendar all year round.

You can train under any of the following agencies, BSAC, SAA or PADI. BSAC stands for the ‘British Sub-Aqua Club’, the SAA is the ‘Sub-Aqua Association and PADI stands for the ‘Professional Association of Diving Instructors’.

Furthermore, as PADI is considered to be a commercial organisation in the UK, it is subsequently governed by the HSE. (Health & Safety Executive). As a result, all PADI instructors are required to have an HSE medical every year and all kit is required to be

With Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club you chose which organisation you wish to join, either BSAC or SAA (this provides you with insurance) and you then train under that organisation but you can also take advantage of the PADI system also and gain a few specialist qualifications and training.

serviced annually. This adds a significant level of safety to the entire process. This only applies to the UK market though, the HSE has no authority overseas.

With Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club you will enjoy the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ because we have and offer: 1. Professionally trained diving instructors. 2. Internationally recognised qualifications. 3. Certification is usually quicker. ‘Club Diving’, as it is commonly known, is also great CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


Many individuals will actually chose to train under multiple agencies. They will undertake their BSAC / SAA training and engage in some PADI courses. PADI is internationally recognised at a glance as it is the largest diving organisation in the world. The pool training typically takes about 10 - 15 hours for an initial ‘Open Water’ course and entails ‘skill mastery’ of some basic and essential skills. At this stage it’s all about getting you to feel comfortable and confident in the water. Initially it

feels a bit strange to breathe underwater but once you’re happy that you can you start to progress to other skills such as ‘mask clearing’, ‘hovering’ and ‘buoyancy control’. Academics As with anything new, meaningful, and worth learning there are some academic requirements involved with learning how to dive. There are various manuals to read at various stages of your training. Your course will also include a number of classroom sessions during which you will watch some television documentary style material and be shown a series of Powerpoint presentations.

Ever wanted to learn how to

Scuba Dive...?

These will all build upon what you have already read and help to build your understanding. You will almost certainly have a few ‘Knowledge Reviews’ and quick quizzes. There will also be a multiplechoice exam at the end of each course. Open Water Once you have completed your pool training and academics it’s time to put it all in to practice and go for your first ‘open water’ dive. Because the weather in the UK isn’t the greatest and the water isn’t tropical then your open water dives will almost certainly be done in a ‘dry-suit’. But you can opt to do a referral course, which entails doing all of the academic and pool work here in the UK and then doing the open water dives abroad in some lovely warm, blue, waters. Talk to us about your particular requirements and we will do all we can to accommodate your particular needs

why not experience a ‘Try Dive’ in the swimming pool and see if it’s for you?


Your initial open water dives, usually 4 - 8 of them, will entail demonstrating that you have mastered your basic skills. You will also be asked to plan and execute a dive for yourself and your buddy. This is to get you in to the habit of planning your dives and diving your plans!


You will be supervised at all times by an instructor and you will pass the course once you have demonstrated the necessary skill mastery and knowledge to safely dive on your own with another qualified diver. (Your ‘buddy’).

Cheltenham Sub Aqua Club

Continued Education Once you’ve passed your initial training and become a qualified diver you can, and should, continue your training by gaining additional experience and taking the next course in the sequence. You can also opt to take some ‘Skill Development’ courses or some ‘Speciality’ courses. These help you to develop as a diver and

OVER 18S ONLY Brockworth Swimming Pool Brockworth GL3 4QQ T: 01594 825185 M: 07917 441460



become more confident, building on your core skills and improving them.

Once you have become a confident and competent ‘Recreational Diver’ you may

Example Specialities include:

decide that you’d like to push yourself even further and become a ‘Technical Diver’.

Wreck Diver Dry-Suit Diver Enriched Air Diver Peak Performance Buoyancy Underwater Navigation Night Diver Drift Diver Search & Recovery Diver Deep Diver Sidemount Diver Project Aware There are many others available and some ‘Distinctive Specialities’ are also available, such as ‘Tectonic Plate Diver’ in Silfra, Iceland. You can also opt to become a ‘Pro’ and work towards becoming a ‘Divemaster’ or even go on to become an instructor yourself. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club prides itself on having a number of technical divers and we offer technical diver training also with IANTD (International Association of Nitrox & Technical Diving) we also have links with TDI (Technical Diving International) and PSAI (Professional Scuba Association International). Travel Once you’ve become a qualified diver the next thing you’ll almost certainly want to do is to go diving abroad and see some of the exquisite marine life and shipwrecks that are out there just waiting to be discovered. The Red Sea is one of the best diving

tions in the world and can be combined with a truly sensational trip to Marsa Alam, Egypt’s most southern region, occupying a virgin stretch of Red Sea coastline near the Tropic of Cancer. Its shimmering beaches and pinch-me-I’m-dreaming reefs are virtually untouched. The diving there is simply sensational. You can also easily hire a guide to take you across to Luxor for a few days and visit the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple and take a slow boat trip along a stretch of the river Nile. Flights and accommodation start from around £400 per person, per week. Diving usually costs around £15 - £20 per dive and includes cylinders, air and weights. Other kit is available to hire separately or you can take your own. Summary If you’re now inspired to dramatically change your life for the better... that’s what learning to scuba dive will do for you, and if you fancy joining the region’s most active and inclusive diving club... we’d love to hear from you, then here’s a quick summary of what to do next. 1. Contact Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club. (or your local club if outside the Cotswolds) 2. Complete the paperwork. 3. Come along for a ‘Try-Dive’. 4. Enlist on a course. 5. Complete all the pool training. 6. Complete all the academics. 7. Pass the multiple choice exam. 8. Complete the open water dives. 9. Find yourself a ‘Dive Buddy’. 10. Continue your training. Whilst the above may look like a long list, it really isn’t. But don’t forget, you can do all of this at your own pace and in your spare time. Once you have become a certified scuba diver your horizons open up to an entirely new world. You can now explore the other 70% of our planet... the sensational world that is underwater! The things you will see, the experiences that you will have and the friends that you will make will all be life changing and long lasting. Once you learn to scuba dive your life will almost certainly change, you will discover that it’s more than fun, it’s awesome, quite addictive and could take you around the world. So why not ‘take the plunge’ and come along for a ‘Try-Dive’. We meet every Wednesday evening at Brockworth Swimming Pool from 8pm onwards. We’re in the pool for 9.15pm and we usually pop to

 Experience scuba diving under the direct care and supervision of a PADI Pro.

Book a Bubblemake r party for family and friends

 Take their first breaths underwater in water shallower than 2 metres/6 feet.

fun! f o s t o L

 Learn about and use scuba diving equipment

Knightsbridge Business Centre, Cheltenham, Gloucester. GL51 9TA Tel: 01242 680003 Email: Child must be 8 years of age or older. No prior experience with scuba diving is necessary, but kids should be comfortable in the water. Parental approval is required.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to

dive with flashlights, take digital pictures underwater or float effortlessly like an astronaut?

Then join the

Come and join to meet friends and share in the adventure of the underwater world Knightsbridge Business Centre, Cheltenham, Gloucester. GL51 9TA Tel: 01242 680003 Email: Child must be 8 years of age or older. No prior experience with scuba diving is necessary, but kids should be comfortable in the water. Parental approval is required. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


our favourite local, The Cheese Rollers, for a drink and a chat afterwards. The Cheese Rollers Shurdington Road Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL51 4XJ

BSAC The British Sub-Aqua Club CMAS Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques

We’re a very friendly bunch of people from all age groups and backgrounds and we’re all very keen divers. If, however, you live too far away from Cheltenham to join us then have a look in your local area for a suitable club, pop along and size them up, see if they’re nice people and right for you. Ask how many instructors they have and how active they are.

IANTD International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers

Most importantly ask how often they go diving. Do they dive every week? Do they dive all year round? Do they even dive in the UK? Some clubs are mainly ‘holiday divers’ or ‘blue water divers’, that’s fine if that’s what you want to do, not so good if you want to dive in the UK.

PADI Professional Association of Diving Instructors

There’s nothing worse than joining a club and finding out afterwards that they don’t have many instructors or that they’re all too busy with other students. So you end up paying your money and a year down the line you’re still not trained... it happens..!! CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


Here are a few useful links:

NAUI National Association of Underwater Instructors

PSAI Professional Scuba Association International SAA Sub-Aqua Association TDI/SDI Technical Divers International

Swimming & Diving at

Cromhall Quarry Only 1.5 miles from J14 of the M5 Our site includes:

 An ex Royal Navy gun shield  two shipping containers used as training tables with the tops in approximately 7 and 10 metres of water  an aircraft cockpit  a 105mph racing catamaran  several cabin cruisers  a mine  a torpedo  two red phone boxes  the bouyancy gym


Nitrox/Trimix Continuous Blending Cromhall Diving Centre is the UK representative for the LM-NT Continuous Process blending systems that supply pre-mixed low pressure O2/He to the compressor for direct filling of diving cylinders with Nitrox (max 40%) and Trimix.

OPENING TIMES: Thursday evenings (summer only) 5.30pm - 8pm Saturday & Sunday 8.30am - 5pm

Cromhall, South Gloucestershire. GL12 8AA

Tel: 07901 832 862




The best dive spot! l FULLY EQUIPPED DIVE SHOP. l IDEST cylinder testing and regulator servicing. l Compressed ‘country air’ to 232 bar. l A full range of mixed gases (nitrox, trimix, heliar,etc.) for suitably qualified divers. l Proper toilet/shower facilities and heated changing area. l Stunning, state-of-the-art clubhouse, with toilets, shower, bar, restaurant, sun terrace, conference room etc. l Jetty with two piers for deep water entry to simulate hard boat recovery. l Two clear, buoyed and graduated training areas with two non-slip platforms positioned in 2 and 6 metres of water. l Underwater caves to simulate lining-out techniques for wreck / cave diving. l 15 metre training platform. l Numerous underwater attractions. OPENING HOURS: CLOSED MONDAY TUES- FRI 10am - 5pm SAT & SUN 9am - 5pm LAST DIVE AT 4pm

Jackdaw Quarry, Capernwray Road, Over Kellet, Carnforth, Lancashire, LA6 1AD

Tel: 01524 735132



DISABLED DIVING Diving ‘Without’ Limits By Dr. Richard Cullen OSt.J Intuitively I dislike the word ‘disabled’ however neither do I subscribe the politically correct expression ‘differently abled’ nor in an article of any length can one keep referring to life changing mental and physical challenges, it becomes tedious, so for the purpose of this article I will use the word ‘disabled’ as it so commonly understood, or misunderstood. When it comes to scuba diving we do need to distil the word and understand that many disabilities do not affect how an individual learns to dive; the disability is not sufficient to require ‘adaptive’ teaching. Let me use myself as an example, both my hips have been resurfaced, however although I went through major surgery I am able to dive, carry my kit to the dive site etc., and as an instructor load the van when we are running courses.

There are some limits on those who have such disabilities and scuba diving: a) The nature of the condition/illness/injury – it is very unlikely that an epileptic would be allowed to scuba dive. Similarly some internal surgery say where plastic tubing has been inserted to replace bowels etc., may give rise to injury as a result of pressure increases/ decreases.

However you must look at each person as an individual, some people who have undergone hip surgery are not fully mobile and therefore may require adaptations to be made to their teaching.

b) Medication – is a big issue, medications that suppress the sensory systems say in the treatment of acute PTSD may have effects that either are contra indicative to diving or might cause a physician to place strict depth limits on a diver. For instance it is possible for an individual who is bi-polar to dive but not if they are taking Lithium which is absolutely contra indicative to diving.

In Deptherapy we work with those who have suffered life changing mental and or physical challenges, many will have lost limbs, be wheelchair users or suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury or acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The other side of our work through Deptherapy Education is to train dive instructors and dive masters (or equivalents) to teach those with

In Deptherapy we insist before taking the ‘troops’ on our programme that they undertake a ‘fit to dive’ medical with a HSE Authorised Medical Examiner of Divers (AMED). He/she will invariably ask to see a full medical record before assessing the diver. We took this step after realising that many GPs were signing off programme members as ‘fit to dive’ when either the



conditions/injuries mental or physical, that are life changing.

nature of the injury/surgery and or medications were contra indicative to diving. Our advice therefore is before taking anyone onto a diving course who has ticked a YES on the medical questionnaire refer them to an AMED rather than their own GP. This is for their wellbeing and the safety of themselves and the others when underwater. Some conditions may limit an individual to only diving in a pool or extremely shallow water. Our aim through adaptive teaching is to allow individuals who have severe disabilities to be certified through mainstream diving agencies, such as PADI, RAID, BSAC etc. This means they have to achieve the standards required for the skills in each phase of their training and complete

say on the PADI Open Water course the 200 metre non-stop swim and the 10 minute float. Previously many thought that such mainstream certification was beyond the capabilities of those with life changing conditions, clearly that reasoning was wrong. Certifying through a mainstream scuba diving training agency also allows the individual to dive with a buddy anywhere in the world. For those we work with being certified through a mainstream agency with no mention of disabled on their card means so much. There is also a practical side to this, there are, because there is not the demand, few dive centres across the world that are equipped or have staff trained to cope

with divers who are severely disabled. Many of these non-enlightened centres would reject certification cards from ‘disabled diving agencies’ as they either didn’t know of the agency or were unwilling to risk allowing the individual to dive. For those who cannot qualify as mainstream divers because of the nature of their condition they are limited to certification through disabled diving training agencies. BUT what is required is collaboration and assessment between the individual, the physician (AMED) and the Instructor and the final say always rests with the instructor as to whether he/she is prepared to teach the individual.

Next time more on a variety of illnesses and conditions and scuba diving plus some information about the work of The Scuba Trust with those with the most limiting conditions. Richard Cullen is a Founder and Chairman of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education and English Charity. He is an Instructor Trainer for Deptherpay Education and writes/talks extensively on adaptive teaching for those with disabilities. Facebook: Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1



EANx Explained As an instructor, I’ve found myself correcting countless students who are under the impression that nitrox enables a person to dive deeper than normal air — just one of the common misconceptions about nitrox diving. Although specific training is required before diving nitrox for the first time, these basic facts will help to make more sense of what it is and what it can do for you. What Is It? Quite literally, nitrox refers to a mix of nitrogen and oxygen, regardless of the percentage of each in the mix. The nitrox we use while diving is more properly called enrichedair nitrox, and refers to any blend of nitrogen and oxygen in which the oxygen concentration is greater than that of normal CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


air. This means an oxygen level of 22 percent or higher, although the most common enriched-air nitrox blend is 32 percent. The recreational diving limit is 40 percent oxygen. What Does It Do? As every entry-level diver knows, increased pressure at depth causes the nitrogen in the air we breathe to be dissolved into the bloodstream. The time that we can spend underwater is limited by this nitrogen absorption — as we dive deeper and for longer, we absorb more nitrogen at a greater rate. Our no-decompression limit correlates to the amount of nitrogen our bodies can absorb before we must perform compulsory decompression stops or suffer the consequences of decompression sickness.

Enriched-air nitrox slows down the rate at which nitrogen dissolves into our bloodstream, because there is less nitrogen available to be absorbed from the mix that we’re breathing. The higher the percentage of your enriched-air blend, the more nitrogen is replaced with extra oxygen.

but the increased percentages of oxygen in enriched air mean that toxicity can become a problem at much shallower depths. Toxicity causes convulsions that put a diver at risk of losing his regulator and subsequently drowning. However, enriched-air courses teach divers how to work out their maximum operating depth using the percentage and partial pressure of the oxygen in their mix. As long as the maximum operating depth is adhered to, oxygen toxicity should not be a problem.


Benefits There are several reasons divers use enriched-air nitrox. One of its biggest benefits is an increased nodecompression limit, which means longer bottom time. The lower percentage of nitrogen in the nitrox you’re breathing means your bloodstream is also absorbing nitrogen more slowly. For example, on normal air a diver has a no-decompression limit of 50 minutes at 18 metres; using a 36 percent enriched-air mix at the same depth will extend this limit to 130 minutes. In terms of increasing bottom time, enriched air is most useful for depths between 15 and 30 metres; any shallower and no-decompression limits are already so long that divers usually have no need to extend them.

EANx N2 O2

Surface intervals are usually shorter on nitrox as well. Since there is less nitrogen to off-gas, a diver on enriched air will be able to re-enter the water sooner than a diver using normal air after completing the same profile. This also means that divers using enriched air typically have longer maximum bottom times on repetitive dives, and less off-gassing means that enriched air divers are often less tired at the end of the day than divers using normal air. Enriched air can be a valuable safety buffer for divers who choose to use it while following normal air tables, computers, profiles and procedures. Doing so creates a considerable conservative margin that further reduces the risk of decompression sickness, and may be advisable for anyone who may be susceptible to it, such as those who are tired, overweight, older, have suffered decompression sickness before, or are diving with injuries. Myths, Considerations and Dangers Although the benefits of diving with enriched air are significant, doing so also involves certain risks. One of the most common misconceptions about enriched air nitrox is that users can dive deeper than with normal air; in fact the opposite is true. Under pressure, oxygen becomes toxic. The percentage of oxygen in normal air (21 percent) only becomes toxic at depths greater than the recreational limit,

Although standard scuba equipment is safe to use with air blends containing up to 40 percent oxygen, the process by which an enriched-air cylinder is filled often involves much higher concentrations. Partial-pressure blending exposes the cylinder to pure oxygen that is later diluted with normal air, and cylinders that are not treated for exposure to such high levels of oxygen can explode. Therefore, any part of the cylinder that comes in to contact with pure oxygen needs to be “oxygen clean,” and cylinders used for enriched air and normal air are not interchangeable. Enriched-air cylinders require decals or stickers to differentiate them from normal ones; they should be serviced annually. There are a few other equipment considerations to bear in mind when considering enriched-air diving. Before each dive, you are personally responsible for checking the percentage of oxygen in your cylinder. If it is even slightly off, your maximum-operating depth calculations will be too. To check, you will need an analyzer, and although you can usually borrow one from your dive center, it’s a good idea to have your own if you intend to dive nitrox regularly. If you dive with a computer, you need to make sure that yours has enriched-air settings and correlates to the details of your mix before beginning each dive. Remember that enriched air does not improve air consumption, and neither does it give immunity to decompression sickness. Continue to check your gauges, depth and time limits as often as you would when diving on normal air. With these precautions and the necessary training, enriched-air diving is a fantastic way to get the most out of your diving experience. You’ll spend more time in the water, and less time waiting to get back in. You can read more articles like this one online at: CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


EGYPT LIVEABOARD Get Wrecked! By James Neal Egypt, the very name of the place conjures up exotic images of pharaohs, pyramids and temples. Of heat, sunshine and clear blue skies. All of which are true... as are the clear blue seas and the wrecks that lie beneath, and that’s what we went out for!

not have our hands held or be guided around. In other words she summed us up in minutes and concluded that she could let us get on with it. And get on with it we did...!

Following a very smooth flight out from Manchester airport to Hurghada we were met by Emperor Divers and quickly transferred to MY Superior and greeted by the wonderful Sonia Goggel. Sonia is legendary in the Red Sea, she is simply the best guide there is, bar none!

The SS Dunraven was built in Newcastle upon Tyne at the C.Mitchell & C. Iron Ship Builders and launched in 1873. She was powered by both sail and steam and worked the Great Britain to Bombay trade routes via the Suez.

She is also a practical person and understands what makes UK divers tick. She appreciates the conditions that we train and dive in and with that the fact that we just want to enjoy our diving in the Red Sea and



SS Dunraven

On the 25th April 1876 she struck a reef south of Beacon Rock and was stuck fast. The crew worked for 14 hours to dislodge her and when they eventually did the motion caused her to capsize and immediately sink in 28 metres of water.

The current wips across the wreck and as a result the only practical way to get down to her quickly and safely is to enter the water with a ‘negative entry’. If you’ve never done it... it’s a buzz! I edge to the stern of Superior, I’m diving sidemount, a cylinder under each arm, reg in my mouth and my wing is completely deflated... I step off the back of the boat and drop straight down, gathering speed, I equalise my ears and orientate myself in the water. I can see the complete wreck below and kick towards her.

and increases with each fin stroke. It starts to feel as though the water itself is charged with electricity, we round the corner of the tight confines and come out in to a wider section towards the bow that is filled with razorfish. Thousands of them! As we swim up through them they move away. We stop and they close back in tightly around us. It’s a sensational experience as these little fish, all inverted and positioned head down, cluster in around you and vibrate. The water itself is literally humming, you can feel it, hear it and even see it.

The current is running hard against me and pushing me towards the bow of the wreck as I drop down to the seabed. I kick harder and get in to the lee of the wreck and start to work my way back towards the stern, turning to check that my buddies are with me.

We move further up through the superstructure and exit at the bow. Glancing back I gesture to my buddies that we try and fight our way back around the exterior and then make our way up through her again. They’re both game, so we kick hard to get up and over the top of

The three of us progress along the hull and reach the prop. She’s upside down. Normally this would make for a fairly dull dive, but not so in the case of the SS. Dunraven.

the wreck and back around to the lee side. The current has picked up even more since we first penetrated the wreck and the swim down the length of her hull is a hard one... but worth it as we make the stern and back in to the labyrinth interior.

We swim around the stern and penetrate the hull on her starboard side. Immediately the current vanishes and all is calm within the bowels of this spectacular wreck. My eyes adjust to the reduced light and I switch on my torch. Checking my buddies are OK, we start to make our way up through the heart of this mighty ship. Navigating our way around the twisted remains, squeezing past the boilers and making our way up through the superstructure. Light penetrates through various gashes in her hull and creates a dazzling display within the cramped confines. Wriggling through a tight gap between her hull and the interior fittings we work our way further towards the bow, which has been ripped open, and yields a striking blue glow that marks our exit point. As we near it the water begins to hum and you start to feel a faint vibration. Inching closer the intensity of it increases

Once again experiencing the sudden calmness that gradually dissipates as you near the razorfish. We work our way back up through the wreck for the second time. Equally as enthralling as the first and exit once again at the bow. Keeping ourselves sheltered in the twisted wreckage of the bow we prepare our DSMBs and let them rocket to the surface to mark our position, allowing the zodiacs to follow us as we lauch ourselves away from the wreck and into the current that swiftly carries us away. We speed away from the wreck and watch as she quickly disappears from view. We reel ourselves slowly up towards the surface and are met by the zodiacs that quickly have us dekitted and out of the water. We head back to Superior in anticipation of the next dive. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


SS Thistlegorm

Contained within her we find deck after deck of army vehicles, trucks, motorcyles, engines and even aircraft wings! Boxes of rifles and ammunition are all over the place. It’s a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of army equipment and supplies.

She was fitted with a 4.7-inch (120 mm) anti-aircraft gun and a heavy-calibre machine gun was later attached to the stern. (Pictured above.) She carried out three successful voyages after her launch.

You simply can not explore this wreck in a single dive. In order to fully explore both the inside and the outside of this majestic wreck you need to dive her at least 4 times, and should include a night dive. My favourite dive was exploring the exterior.

Whilst at ‘safe anchorage’ on her 4th voyage she was targetted by a German aircraft and hit by two bombs directly in hold number 4 at 01.30 on 6 October 1941 whereupon she immediately sank to the bottom in 30 metres of water with the loss of 9 lives. (Four sailors and five members of the Royal Navy gun crew.) She was lost to history for a time until Jacques Cousteau discovered her by using information from local fishermen. He raised several items from the wreck, including a motorcycle, the captain’s safe, and the ship’s bell. She then lay undisturbed once again until the early 1990s when recreational diving started to develop from the Sharm el-Sheikh region.

We descended along the exterior of the wreck down to the starboard propellor at just short of 30 metres, taking a few photographs, we moved off along the exterior of the wreck in search of the two massive locomotives that were blown off her deck in the initial explosion. The first is home to a couple of enormous moray eels who make their way out of the locomotive’s boiler in search of an easy meal. We round the massive bow and look up towards the surface, tracing the anchor chain as it runs up to her deck. An awe inspiring sight. It almost appears that she’s still at anchor and looks somehow serene and at peace.

What sets the Thistlegorm apart from other wrecks is the sensational cargo that remains within her holds. And it is this that lures so many divers down to her.

We continue down her port side and locate the second locomtive and re-enter the debris field. Continuing across and back to the stern gun we relocate our shot line and start to make our ascent.

We stride from Superior and follow the shot line down to the stern of SS Thistlegorm and that iconic gun. Briefly exploring the gun we then make our way forward towards what can only be described as the utter carnage that is the remains of hold number 4 that is lierally strewn across the seabed. The deck plating is folded over itself and we head for a narrow entry point and make our way in to the depths of the wreck.

At night this wreck literally comes alive, everything appears to be hunting everything else. Lionfish skulk in the shadows and pounce when the beam of your torch dazzles a potential prey. You can’t help but get the sensation that something, every thing, is watching you, stalking you... it’s an eerie feeling, one that gets the heart pumping.



Within we are transported back to 1941.

The SS Thistlegorm, a Liberty Ship, was built by Joseph Thompson & Sons shipyard in Sunderland for the Albyn Line and launched in April 1940. She was powered by a triple-expansion steam engine and was one of a number of “Thistle” named ships owned and operated by the Albyn Line.




© Photoshot

FREE Buddy Diving • FREE Group Places Liveaboards – Great Range, Great Value!

Liveaboards • Hurghada • El Gouna • Safaga Soma Bay • El Quseir • Marsa Alam • Hamata Sharm El Sheikh • Dahab • Nuweiba & more

The Diving Holiday Specialists since 1988

01353 659999



Sha’ab Abu Nuhas Reef

Sha’ab Abu Nuhas is home to four sensational wrecks. The SS Carnatic, the MV Giannis D, the MV Chrisoula K and the MV Kimon M. We dived all but the MV Kimon M, but for this article I will tell you about the MV Giannis D and save the others for a future edition of Club Diver.

MV Giannis D

The MV Giannis D was originally built as the Shoyo Maru by the Kuryshima Dock Company of Imabari, Japan. She sailed under the name of Shoyo Maru until being sold in 1975 and was renamed the Markus. She was then sold again in 1980 to the Dumarc Shipping & Trading Corporation, Piraeus, Greece, and renamed the “Giannis D”. On 19 April 1983 she ran in to Sha’sb Abu Nuhas reef at full speed. She remained stranded atop the reef for several weeks until a storm broke her in two and she then sank to the base of the reef.

Rolling off the side of the zodiac my buddy and I exchange a glance and indicate to commence our descent. As the water engulfs us we orientate to the wreck and make our way down towards the seabed. Keeping a good 4 metres off the bottom we start to make our way towards the stern section of the wreck, without warning a pair of dolphins scream past and underneath us from behind, they turn and charge past us again, and again. Clearly in a playful mood we spend the next 15 minutes memerised by these fabulous creatures and can only marvel at their speed, grace and agility in the water. Continuing with our primary objective we eventually get to the stern section of the wreck. We head towards the passageway that runs parallel to the seabed and find the door that takes us into a corrider and a staircase that leads down towards the engine room. We venture in and make our way down... the ambient light gradually recedes and our torch beams start to cut through the darkness as we venture deeper and further into the wreck. Entering the cavernous engine room itself we make our way down to the main 3,000

BHP, single-shaft, engine. Above there is a single window that allows a shaft of blue light to cut in to the darkness, the view going clear to the surface some 30 metres above and straight up past the main funnel. It’s a spectacular sight. Making our way back out to the main passageway, we follow this adjacent to the seabed and then heah across, which is actually up, to the main bridge. The wreck lies at a 45 degree angle and this becomes particularly noticable when you venture into the bridge. The windows run diagonally, whilst the surface is horizontal, it takes a while for your brain to orientate itself and figure out what is going on. We continue across the bridge and exit on the starboard side, following a passageway back in to the vessel we discover another passage that runs straight down and back to the port side. This passage is angled in two directions. It has the 45 degree list and is twisted at a

30 degree. I swim straight down through the middle of it and come out near the entrance to the engine room. The orientation of this wreck makes exploring her something of a unique experience. The competing angles can result in a little vertigo and it’s not unlike exploring a fairground fun house... it’s great fun! Back outside of the wreck we start to make our way forward again. Once past the main stern section you find yourself making your way across the seabed to the forward section. Some hull plating is lying on the sand, deck fittings, bollards, winches, and the boat davits, but little else remains to be seen until you venture further forward and come across the remains of the crumpled bow. The bow lies on its port side and makes for an interesting part of the dive as it has sustained some serious damage from when she ran aground. And the subsequent break-up in the storm. You are, however, soon drawn back towards the stern and the towering framework that you can make your way up and use to complete your safety stop as it reaches up to just short of 4 metres from the surface. From there we deploy our DSMBs and get picked up by the zodiacs. CHECLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


HODGE CLOSE Skull Quarry Mine Dive By James Neal I first discovered Hodge Close, otherwise known as ‘Skull Quarry’, within the pages of a little known guidebook. I was actually researching another dive site, the ‘Blue Pool’ in Wales, when I stumbled across this awesome place. Hodge Close ticked lots of boxes for me, first and foremost I was lured by the ‘sense of adventure’ that the place exudes. I was attracted by the flooded tunnel that you have to first traverse just to get to the entrance of the mine itself, the fact that we’d need to take a small inflatable boat just to float all of our kit, and one of our

divers, down through this long dark tunnel simply added to the excitement and drama of the place! Then add to this the fact that you need block and tackle to lower your kit down to the water’s edge at the other end and you start to get a picture of just some of the logistics involved. I very quickly, however, came to appreciate that just finding the mine itself would be the first challenge! Hodge Close can best be described as something of a ‘mini expedition dive’. It’s certainly not an easy



dive site to get to. You need to plan well and think of everything you’re likely to need, well in advance. You should also undertake a serious risk assessment as there is absolutely no access for the emergency services. Not even by air! So you’re at least an hour away from any help and need to consider how you might evacuate a casualty! Nestled in the heart of the Lake District, near Lake Coniston, we found a place called Crake Valley Holiday Park. This was ideally situated to act as our base for the weekend. We booked two lodges to accommodate all the divers. As a self-catering base this proved to be highly cost effective.

We set off on the Friday morning, in convoy, and had a slow and rather tedious journey, a major accident on the motorway had us diverted on to back roads and crawling along at a snail’s pace. So we opted to stop at a rural pub for a long lunch and let the traffic calm down. Suitably fed and watered we headed off again and eventually arrived at Lake Conitston late afternoon / early evening. We quickly settled in to our lodge and put our feet up for an hour or two before heading out to investigate the local area and get our bearings. It should be noted that the area is a mobile phone dead zone... none of us could get a signal. Worth bearing in mind for that risk assessment! An early night had us all well rested and ready to go in the morning, but not until we’d had a hearty breakfast CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


consisting of the diver’s favourite... Bacon and Eggs! Getting to the general area of Hodge Close isn’t too difficult. Especially if you use this postcode: LA21 8DJ. This will take you to a property near the mine. The property owner will then apparently show you where to park and ask you to pay a small fee. On the day we arrived the owner had, by all accounts, sold up and left! We parked and headed out on foot to explore. More by chance than design, we stumbled in the right direction and found the stream that runs into the mine tunnel

about a mile down a slate track. The track is steep and very potted. At its base, next to the stream, it levels off and has space for plenty of vehicles. You access the slate track, from the cottages, by opening a five-bar gate that has a sign on it that reads: ‘No Vehicle Access’! This sign is there for good reason...the track really isn’t suitable for your everyday hatchback! Fortunately we decided to ignore it and drove down anyway. Getting down wasn’t too bad, getting back would cause some damage, but that’s another story. We quickly got our kit unloaded and donned our dry suits in order to explore the tunnel. Hard hats are definitely required as you do have to stoop to get through the tunnel. The floor is strewn with boulders


OUTER LAYER - Flexible, durable and Water Repellant MIDDLE LAYER - Windproof and breathable membrane INNER LAYER - Warm, moisture wicking anti-bacterial fleece




and large stones that conspire to trip you up with every step. Combine this with the dark, slippery environment and we come straight back to that risk assessment..!! The inflatable boat comes in to its own. We literally ferry our kit down through the tunnel, and one of our colleagues. At the other end we have to rig up a block and tackle to lower everything down the rock face. There is a makeshift ladder made from scaffolding, but the winching mechanism we installed made life a lot easier, especially with a disabled diver.

Once you make it to the quarry itself you are met with the first ominous warning sign, which reads, amongst other things: ‘The tunnel system has killed, it is foolhardy to enter it’. They’re not talking about the tunnel that we’ve just negotiated. They’re talking about the very reason we’ve come to Hodge Close. The flooded mine shafts and tunnels themselves. That risk assessment comes back to mind. Are you getting the picture yet? We get the kit sorted out and set-up. We also need a break as the work involved simply getting yourself and all of the necessary kit to the water’s edge is fairly extreme. Most of us, frankly, are knackered!

It’s at this point that I start to look around for the ‘skull’. I can’t see it. I look in every direction and I really can not see anything that even vaguely resembles a skull. Disappointed I reach for my camera phone to take a few pictures. The very first shot I take sends a shiver down my spine! What the eye does not easily see the camera very clearly picks up. The rock face directly in front of me, combined with its own reflection in the water below creates this eerie image that gives this place its name. Skull Quarry. The hair on the back of my neck is on end and the adrenaline is pumping now!

At first glance the water looks a brackish brown colour and we fear that the visibility is going to be atrocious. I enter the water with an elevated pulse and my nerves jangling. The excitement of this little adventure is now real, and I’m loving it. It’s gloomy, dark and foreboding. Yet the visibility itself isn’t too bad. We start to make our descent towards the bottom and come across numerous wrecks of old cars and vans that have been dumped off the cliff edge over the years. There are dozens of them littering the bottom. That risk assessment comes to mind again. Now we’re searching. Searching for the entrance of the mine itself. We’re at 23 metres, whilst not particularly CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


deep, you certainly don’t want to be messing about too long looking for the entrance. Eventually we find it and I deploy a dsmb to mark its position.

quite noisy. Air gets trapped in the ceiling and tries to make its way out through the cracks and fissures. All around you can hear gurgling and popping.

I line off from a secure primary tie-off outside the entrance and set a secondary a short distance in. Checking my two buddies are set and that all torches and back-ups are operational we start down the first shaft towards the main chamber.

Eventually we come out in to one of the main chambers. Here there is another sign, this one even more to the point than its predecessors, as it features a skull and crossbones and reads: ‘This passage is not an exit. GO BACK!!!’

The darkness is absolute within seconds of entering. It’s hard to describe the complete and utter blackness of it, pitch black doesn’t do it justice, there simply is no light whatsoever, it’s like being in a void. I turn on my torch and its light pierces the void with

Our objectives for dive one complete, we heed the advice and turn the dive. Already having clocked up almost 15 minutes of deco it’s time to head out of the mine and start decompressing. By the time we retrace our path and exit the mine we’re looking at 35 minutes to off-gas sufficiently to safely exit the water.

its razor sharp beam. The water is gin clear. My heart rate has slowed down, my concentration has focused, this shit has just got really serious!

Upon breaking the surface each and every one of us is buzzing. What a dive. What a buzz. What an adventure.

I fine-tune my buoyancy with breath control and modify my frog kick to keep my fin movements to an absolute minimum. We start making our way down through the tunnel, reeling out line and fixing it in position as we venture further and further.

We haul ourselves out of the water, each grinning broadly, imagining what it would be like to venture further, deeper, longer. That risk assesment comes back to mind...!!

Eventually we come to the 2nd sign at Hodge Close. This one simply reads ‘OUT’ in bold capital letters. We continue onwards, reeling out more line. You’d expect to hear nothing other than the sound of your own bubbles and breathing, but it’s actually really CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


We do complete a 2nd dive and take the obligatory photos next to the signs. And then it’s done. But the challenge isn’t quite over as now we have to pack everything up, haul it all the way back up and back through the tunnel. Load the vehicles and get back to the main roads. What an adventure!














Only one word from the list below is missing from the grid above. Find all the words and discover which one is missing. Diving Tissue Nautical Fins Decompress Kit Damp

Wetsuit Pot Aqualung Reg Sea Compress OxTox



Scuba Cousteau Air Tank Sunk




2. Ships show a green _____ to starboard 4. A Scottish lighthouse: The _____ Rock 8. Royal Navy (abbr.) 9. A sailing ship zig-_____ when tacking 10. Decorative fish of the carp family 12. Small single-masted vessel with running bowsprit or knife. 15. Propelling with oars 16. To discharge ballast: _____ ballast 17. Used for the Captain’s log? 18. Chinese-rigged ship with European hull 20. Ships may _____ a flag or pennant 22. To leave on a voyage: _____ sail 24. Royal Yacht Squadron (abbr.) 26. Large twin-hulled canoe used in the Leeward islands 28. Song, ‘Tom Bowling”: “And now _____ gone aloft.” 30. WW2 German submarine (1,4) 31. Mail-Boat 34. Credit (abbr.) 35. River of Wensleydale 36. This is traditionally made from birch 40. Poetry: “And a grey _____ on the sea’s face.” 41. Lost? All at _____ 42. Ancient vessel with three banks of oars 44. Raise the anchor from water’s surface to the cathead 45. Poetry: “I must go down _____ the sea again” 47. Manually operated marine propulsion unit 48. Song: “Rolling down to _____” (in South America) 49. Ship engines arrived with the _____ of steam 50. Distress signal 51. A type of three-masted vessel (a sound like a dog?)

1. Fishing vessel 2. Man-of-war’s largest boat 3. Where Drake was playing bowls: Plymouth _____ 4. Canoes are sometimes made of this 5. Many years _____ ships were made of wood 6. A light rowing boat 7. Light ship’s boat for rowing or sailing 11. Song: “_____ the Good Ship Lollipop 12. Scurvy dog or cowardly person 13. Working boats, but not for cooking hobos! (5,8) 14. Pleasure boats on inland waterways (5,8) 19. This may contain gunpowder or rum 21. A light sailing vessel for racing 22. Small Far-Eastern vessel, usually with stern oar 23. You (French, familiar) 25. Sling _____ hook! (Go away!) 27. A biblical vessel 28. A type of French lug-rigged boat 29. Sailors must _____ their pay 32. Vessel for plying coastal trade 33. WW2 fast torpedo vessel (1,4) 34. A berth on a ship 37. Light conditions at dawn and dusk 38. Fly the flag _____ half-mast 39. Compass direction 42. Small powerful steam vessel for towing 43. Egyptian deity who tralled in the sunboat 44. Male swan 46. Number of hulls in a third of a trimaran



GROWING PAINS Bubble Models Motivate Deep Decompression Safety Stops By Joe Dovala The Bends In the vernacular of sport SCUBA diving, no two words conjure up more alarm, confusion, and debate. Since humans have taken their breathing gas with them, be it by surface supply or selfcontained, decompression sickness (DCS) has plagued Homo aquaticus. The name “bends” comes from the early observations of workers in the early 1800’s who spent considerable time working in pressurized mines or under riverbeds constructing foundations for bridges. These caissons, as the river work areas were called, were pressurized to keep the water out so the men could work. Since pressure effects on humans were largely unknown at this time, the workers would come straight to the surface after their 10 – 12 hour shift was over. Many of them would fall ill and some would be in such pain that they would double over barely being able to move about. This posture resembled a popular woman’s fashion at the time called the “Grecian Bend.” Essentially these women CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


adopted a seriously bent forward stance when they walked (so much for the vanity of fashion). Although the official term was Caissons disease the moniker “bends” was attached to the men who became afflicted with the strange sickness. Many deaths were attributed to the bends well before it was studied or understood. In 1878, Paul Bert published his theory that it was nitrogen bubbles causing Caisson disease. He cited the work of Robert Boyle who worked in the late 1600’s on reptiles with various pressure related experiments. Since these early observations, a tremendous amount of work has gone into trying to understand the effects of inert gasses within the body of a diver. A gas is considered inert if it is not used in respiratory metabolism. Oxygen is not inert because it is metabolized, therefore it doesn’t get a chance to build up within the tissues. The respiratory waste gas carbon dioxide is very efficiently removed to the lungs and so is not a major contributor either but the nitrogen

component (approximately 79% in air), which is not consumed during metabolism or removed efficiently by the body, is a big concern.

tissue nitrogen pressure was no more than 1.58 times the ambient pressure, nitrogen would stay in solution in any particular tissue.

Tissue Compartments – Fast and Slow

This proved to be only partially correct and much too simplified, as later experiments concluded that micro bubbles form much easier in supersaturated tissue than in Haldane’s experimental model of pure liquids. But it was a good starting point and was considerably better then anything else at the time. After much trial and error he devised a schedule that would allow some prediction of safe bottom times and depths. By avoiding, or at least, minimizing super saturation of inert gas within these various tissues, and limiting the ascent rate, a diver should be able to circumvent larger bubble formation that can cause physiological harm. Therefore, the neoH a ld a ne/ Bu h l m a n tables basically set predefined limits of gas absorption through M-Values (tissue compartment’s maximum allowable pressure called tissue tension – created by Workman/US Navy 1965) which if these ratios are exceeded, shallow decompression stops starting at ten feet are applied to vent the excess gas loading. With this theory it is presumed to bring the diver to as close to the surface as possible while keeping saturated tissue tension within the limits of the M-Values. Staying close to the surface allows for the maximum gradient between inspired inert gas and what exists in the saturated tissues. This concept, and minor variations of it, are the decompression algorithms in most dive computers today.

While diving equipment and techniques have made very significant advances, some of the basic guiding principals of decompression table development have not really changed since the first postulations of John Scott Haldane, et al in 1907 and further refinements which culminated with A.A. Buhlman’s book in 1983. Most current recreational decompression tables and computers are based on neo-Haldane/ Buhlman models of theoretical “tissue compartments.” These compartments are hypothetical cross sections of tissues that could be assigned numbers based on their ability to absorb and release inert gas based on half-times (the time at which a tissue is at 50% of its gas saturation). There are “fast” tissues such as blood and “slow” tissues, such as bone. For example, a fast tissue might be at 50% saturation within 5 minutes where as a slow tissue might take hours to reach the same level. Obviously your body is not constructed of walled partitions, however, by conceptually arranging the body this way Haldane could come up with a mathematical model that could be manipulated and tested. In order to make some sense of gas loading, Haldane through experimentation arrived at a tissue nitrogen pressure ratio of 1.58:1. That is, as long as the



Deeper Stops In the 1970’s Brian Hills of Australia developed a decompression method with deeper initial stops than the USN tables, believing the USN timetables allowed too much bubble growth. Further advantages of deep stops were discovered accidentally by Richard Pyle, an ichthyologist in Hawaii, while waiting for fish specimens he had collected to equalize their swim bladders during his ascent from very deep dives. Pyle realized that he felt much better after the long strenuous

collection dives when he incorporated deep stops. By the late 1980’s, a number of researchers were defining the “bubble gradient model” (BGM) and incorporating short deeper stops before continuing with the ascent. Currently the two most popular desktop decompression software programs are the open source code (no cost) Varying Permeability Model (VPM) and the commercially available Reduced Gradient Bubble Model (RGBM – see sidebar). Bubble physics, or the mechanical principles of bubble formation, is the driving force behind both the VPM and RGBM models. Essentially the theory behind the BGM is to assign decompression schedules that attempt to keep as much inert gas in solution as possible, or at least keep the bubbles that form on ascent as small as possible. Thus eliminating more dissolved inert CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


gas through the circulatory system rather then allowing expansion of microscopic seed nuclei in the tissues. In other words, the idea is to prevent gas phase growth rather than trying to deal with the bubble after it has formed. This is the fundamental difference between the BGM and neo-Haldane/Buhlman theories. Bubble models take into consideration both dissolved as well as the free gas postulated to exist within the body and try to minimize volume increases during ascent.

Micro Bubble Formation So how does a micro bubble form and how big does it have to get before causing problems? It appears that bubbles grow from “seeds,” which are microscopic gas pockets and cavities within the diver’s tissue that form the nuclei for growth into larger bubbles. While no one is sure how these seed nuclei are created, there is speculation that they form from mechanisms such as fluid movement and cavities within the tissues themselves. They are with us on every dive and most likely exist even while we are lounging around the pool prior to our first day of diving! During the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the Doppler ultrasonic bubble detector was tested on a large number of subjects, and it was found that a considerable amount of gas phase nitrogen (bubbles)

had formed in many divers despite following very conservative ascent schedules. The more aggressive US Navy (USN) tables showed even higher bubble development. What surprised researchers the most was that despite substantial bubble formation many of the test divers felt no symptoms of DCS. However, Doppler meters can only detect moving bubbles within the outgoing venous blood flow and not stationary bubbles within the deeper tissues themselves. Once in the venous out flow, unless in excessive amounts, bubbles make there way to the lungs and are diffused out through the alveoli. While

As Boyles law states, if the internal pressure of the bubble is equal to the outside (tissue pressure or tension) then the bubble will not grow. If a pressure gradient exists with the bubble’s internal pressure, either higher or lower than the surrounding tissue, then there will be an outward or inward flow of gas across the surface of the bubble. However, due to the skin tension mentioned earlier, the pressure inside a small bubble is actually higher than in a large bubble. This is a major reason why you would want to keep the size of the bubbles as small as possible to aid in off gassing. By calculating a defined radius of a

there is some correlation between quantity of bubbles and predisposition to DCS, it is more involved than a certain fixed volume of gas phase beyond which symptoms develop.

bubble, beyond which it will grow, you can establish a theoretical baseline of how much ambient pressure will be needed to keep it from growing. In other words, by limiting bubble growth through deeper stops during ascent, dissolved gas will have a tougher time becoming free gas to produce larger bubbles. Further definition of this aspect of bubble physics would need a significant amount of mathematics to illustrate this concept. I, for one, usually find something else to do in a big hurry when row after row of numbers and Greek symbols make their appearance. So instead I’ll try a couple of simple metaphors (risking over-simplification), and leave web sites below this article for those with a more numerical appetite.

Skin Tension The primary considerations when looking at whether or not a bubble will grow are largely due to skin tension, elasticity of its surrounding environment (in this case, how flexible the tissue is), and of course Boyles law. Skin tension refers to how permeable the surface of the bubble is as not all bubble skins are the same. Research has shown that biological surfactants, such as fatty acids, can alter the permeability of a bubble’s skin thus making it more resistant to collapsing. Conversely, the rigidity of the surrounding tissue can put limitations on a bubbles expansion.

I can remember being very young and devising a plan to scare my mother by blowing up one of my birthday balloons, then popping it after sneaking up CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


on her. The joke was on me though for I just ended up with a very sore jaw, because of how much effort it took to start the inflation on a fresh balloon. There are a number of factors for why a balloon gets easier to inflate as it gets bigger but it is the skin tension that concerns us. The skin tension of the surface of the balloon, like a bubble (ignoring other issues like surfactants for this example), varies inversely with the radius of the balloon. In other words, as the radius increases the skin tension decreases and the pressure inside is less than an identical smaller balloon. Eventually if the capacity of the balloon is exceeded it will pop. Therefore, to get outward diffusion working for us, we need to keep the pressure inside of micro bubbles as high as possible and keeping them small is a key strategy to accomplish this.

Observations On Bubble Growth We can also observe the classic bottle of beer and make some observations regarding bubble growth. Before it is opened, the carbon dioxide (CO2) exists in equilibrium as dissolved gas within the beer. This gas is under tension as far more of it is dissolved than would be possible under normal ambient conditions (like that of your favorite watering hole). As long as the ambient pressure is such that micro bubbles can be kept from expanding in radius beyond a critical CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


dimension, then there is no bubble growth. However, when the bottle is opened, bubbles quickly form at nucleation sites, such as scratches and imperfections on the glass surface. The bubbles coalesce and form a head of foam at the top of the liquid. Even a cursory look will show that many of the bubbles grow several times in diameter on their way to the top of the glass. Boyle’s law by itself cannot explain this, as there is not enough change in hydrostatic pressure from the bottom to the top of the bottle. It is the diffusion of dissolved CO2 from the liquid that penetrates into the forming bubble, allowing it to expand, which further reduces the pressure inside thereby allowing even more CO2 to enter, until it either joins the foam or equilibrium has been reached with the dissolved CO2.

Keep in mind that bubbles inside a diver do not only contain one type of gas. Besides the trace gasses found in air, there will be a varying amount of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen depending on the mix the diver is using. So reducing the inert gas pressure within a bubble also depends on the gas gradient. In other words, the less molecules of an inert gas coming into the surrounding tissue, the less there will be to add to what is already inside the bubble.

For example, reducing the nitrogen pressure within a diver’s tissues not only is controlled by slow diffusion as in decompressing slowly, but also through “opening the oxygen window” and creating as large as discrepancy as possible between what is coming into the body and what is already in the tissues by inspiring high oxygen/lower nitrogen mixes during ascent. The less nitrogen going in the less that will be absorbed by the tissues. This decompression technique is the basis behind many technical diving courses and why enriched air nitrox gives you more bottom time compared to air.

Minimising Risk Another important point is to remember that decompression schedules are designed to minimize the risk of DCS. None can remove the risk entirely. All tables, computers, and chat line debates are strictly theory. Besides the physics involved in gas theory, there is a bewildering complexity of how inert gas behaves within a living system. There are thousands of biochemical reactions cascading through every organ and tissue with in your body at any given time. Many of these can directly or indirectly influence gas diffusion, micronuclei development, or even how a particular bubble will affect the tissue around it. There are many additional predisposing factors that can also contribute to becoming susceptible to DCS that can change from one day to the next from one individual to the next. These factors include hydration levels, amount of rest, workload, water temperature; the list goes on and on. Attempting to incorporate all these components is daunting to say the least and may never occur. However, despite the enormity of the challenge, as new research continues and there is active debate with real world testing, we will be able to continually improve our decompression schedules both in terms of safety and efficiency.

For further reading: Program_Site_Map.htm www.


Insurance NOT all Travel Insurance is developed with the Diver and Diving in mind! Read the exclusions... you’ll be surprised! ...we were!

Our policy has been arranged for you and your sport!


Insurance • Liability Cover • Accidental damage • Theft cover • Low excess • Member to member liability (i.e. liability to divers in the water)

Affordable Premiums for all boat owners

Insurance also available for; Diving Equipment, Compressor and Personal Accident. For an instant quote phone ‘your insurance buddy’ on 01483 237827 or visit Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1 Westfield_Dual Ad_72x208.indd 1

05/10/2015 12:38





Page 52

The most powerful diving strobe in the world, just got BETTER! Specifications

� Depth Rating: 1000 feet (330 m) � Bulb: Xenon strobe � Flash rate: 124 per/min and 60 per/min � Burn Time: 20+hrs � Two flash speeds: user selectable under water � Batteries: x2 C-cell � Weight: 1.1 lbs. (0.5 kg) � Dimensions: 10 1/4" (260 mm) L x 2 3/16" (56 mm) Dia





VEO 1 - £135 VEO 2 - £169 VEO 3 - £214 Nitrox

Up to 50%

Up to 50%

Up to 100%

Gas Switching



2 Gases


Audible, On Screen

Audible, On screen, LED

Audible, On screen, LED





PC/Mac Interface








Standard Features: • • • • • • •

Dual Algorithm Water / Push button activation Automatic altitude adjustment Optional deep stops Safety stop Variable ascent rate Lifetime warranty

Make the most of your dive by choosing between two optimised algorithms. One for repetitive multi-level diving and another for maximising bottom time on deeper dives


Oceanic dive computers bought, registered and annually serviced in the UK are covered by a Lifetime Warranty. Battery kits are supplied free of charge so you’ll only pay for the labour

01404 891819 | |




By Mark Powell Breathing rate varies widely from one diver to another. Some divers seem to go through their air very quickly while others seem to have gills as they use very little. For many dives your gas consumption is what limits the length of dive you can do and so improving your breathing rate can have a significant impact on the length of dive you can do. This article gives a number of easy to follow tips on how you can improve your gas consumption.

Buoyancy control

Buoyancy control is one of the key skills in diving and has a major impact on your breathing rate. If you are struggling with your buoyancy you will be breathing harder and are likely to be putting more air in and out of your bcd/wing and dry suit. This can especially be the case during an ascent. Divers with poor buoyancy control tend to say that they prefer to be heavy rather than light. Of course experienced divers know that it’s better to be neutrally buoyant at all times rather than being heavy or light. If you are negatively buoyant then during an ascent you will have to swim up the whole way. This involves much more effort than a neutral ascent, which will result in more work and heavier breathing.

Correct Weighting

The first step in getting your buoyancy under control is to be correctly weighted. If, like most divers, you are over weighted then you will need to put more air in to your bcd/wing in order to compensate. Adding this air can have a significant impact on your overall gas consumption. By reducing your weighting you can reduce the amount of air you need to offset this weight. Improved buoyancy control will also have a significant effect on how relaxed you are.

Get Fit

Fitness has a big impact on your breathing rate. As you improve your fitness levels then you will find that your breathing rate will drop, you will be less likely to get out of breath during periods of exertion and your breathing rate will return back to your normal rate faster.

Swim Horizontal

Many divers swim in a semi upright position with the body at an angle of around 45 degrees. This results in a larger surface area having to be pushed through the water. This increases the drag and you will have to work harder to push your body through CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


the water. Working harder will require more effort, which will cause you to breathe harder and use more gas. By swimming in a horizontal position you greatly reduce the surface area that has to be pushed through the water. This reduces the effort and so reduces the amount of gas you will breathe


If you are relaxed in the water then your breathing rate will naturally drop. If you are stressed, nervous or working hard then your breathing rate will inevitably rise and you will go through your gas faster. Integrated air computers can make this worse leading to the diver becoming fixated on the breathing rate readout. As this increases they become increasingly stressed and so their breathing rate increases further. In order stay relaxed take the time to run through everything before the dive, ensure that you have sorted all the niggling little problems with kit that may be introducing stress. Dive with a buddy that you have confidence in, practice your skills regularly and dive within your abilities. Together with a gradual build up in your experience this will ensure you are relaxed on the dive. After all it’s supposed to be fun.

Slow Down

If you spend the whole dive swimming around at maximum speed then your breathing rate and hence air consumption is bound to be higher. You are also likely to miss many of the best parts of the dive. So slow down, enjoy the dive, keep your breathing rate under control and watch your air consumption start to drop. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


Stay Shallow

As we get deeper we breathe in more gas with every breath. At 10m we are breathing twice the volume with every breath that we would breathe on the surface. By staying just a few metres shallower we can reduce our gas usage. So, rather than dropping all the

way to the bottom of the wreck, by staying higher, up on the decks, we can extend the time our gas will last.

Dive Lots

By far the best way to reduce your air consumption is to spend as much time as possible in the water. As your confidence and skills increase you will become increasingly relaxed in the water which will ensure your air consumption gradually drops. Mark Powell is one of the UK’s leading technical diving instructors. Mark has been diving since 1987 and instructing since 1994. He is one of only a few full time technical diving instructors in the UK and teaches all levels up to and including Advanced Trimix. Mark runs training courses around the UK as well as regularly running training trips to Cyprus, Malta and the Red Sea. For more in formation you can contact Mark at: Email: Web: Tel: 07770 864327





“It’s just a hunch, but you’re not a certified diver, are you?”

“You might want to make yourself comfortable. I may be down there for awhile.”



DIVER DENIAL... Not Just a River in Egypt! By Dr. Oliver Firth Emerging from the azure sea, dripping wet with excitement at that close encounter with an Oceanic white tip, your 18th and final dive of the liveaboard leaves you on a high as big as the 3m swells rocking the boat. Clambering aboard, you slip and slam your shoulder on the ladder. You think nothing of it. 3 days later, it’s still aching, you’ve got a persistent annoying headache, you’re absolutely knackered and can’t face work. It must be jetlag and the post-holiday blues, surely… We’ve all been there – when do those niggling symptoms that just won’t go away become worth mentioning to a dive doc? There’s often a substantial gap in the time from the dive to getting treatment, and denial plays a major role in this – so much so, that denial has been termed the first symptom of DCS. Late recognition and treatment leave divers more vulnerable to serious long-term consequences; the earlier recompression and hyperbaric oxygen can be administered to a diver with DCS, the better their outcome is. So what factors are involved in denial, and what can be done to tackle them? The term denial implies an active suppression of a problem, which is too uncomfortable to accept and is therefore rejected, despite what may be overwhelming evidence. There are two broad reasons this occurs in diving: fear CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


and lack of knowledge. 1. Fear can take many forms. Divers may be: • Afraid of admitting that they have symptoms as somehow this would mark them out as a “failure” or a bad diver; • Afraid of inconveniencing their buddies, instructors or boat crew, e.g. through having to abandon further dives or divert to a chamber; • Afraid of the treatment – what’s going to happen in the chamber? • Afraid of the consequences – will I ever be able to dive again? 2. Lack of knowledge may be equally responsible for DCS denial. Common misconceptions include: • “Normal profiles and no alarms on the computer mean that a bend is impossible.” A sizeable proportion of bends occur in divers who have adhered to tables or dived within their computers’ limits, and who have no other obvious provocative factors in their dive profiles. • “If ignored or left alone the symptoms will just go away by themselves.” It is possible that

the very mildest case will resolve, but many will persist or deteriorate, as the consequences of bubble damage become apparent. • “The symptoms are so mild that they’re not worth treating.” What may appear to be inconsequential at the time could become a much more serious problem if left. Consider the pianist or graphic designer with finger tingling, whose careers are jeopardised as the symptoms become permanent through lack of treatment. • “The symptoms must be due to something else.” Heavy lifting, cold temperatures, an old injury or another pre-existing diagnosis are typical culprits. Many other conditions can mimic DCS, but anything that comes on soon after diving shouldn’t be blamed on another problem without very good evidence. On this last point it’s worth mentioning that many doctors don’t have any knowledge of diving medicine, and will probably know less about DCS than most divers. And until we develop a good test for DCS (which is about as likely as Monty Python locating the Holy Grail), it’s incumbent on the diver to flag up the possibility and push for diagnosis and treatment. So, this “active” denial may contribute to many cases of DCS, but equally there is often a simple non-recognition of the issue, a lack of awareness that something is amiss. A major factor in this is the sheer variety of presenting symptoms of DCS. Any body system can be affected, so while it’s relatively easy to spot the joint pains and skin rashes, subtler (but no more minor) changes are harder to pin down. The consensus is that there are probably a lot of unrecognised bends out there for this very reason, which one might term passive denial. The difficulty of observing illness in oneself when the brain is affected (as it often is in DCS) means it is important for divers to look out for each other. I can recall many cases where a buddy or relative has called with concerns about a diver, who may be behaving oddly but who themselves deny anything is wrong. It’s interesting that similar reasons for delay can be seen in other areas, eg. calling an ambulance if suffering with chest pains. Much research has been done in this particular scenario to understand why this delay occurs, and it’s a sobering fact that despite demonstrating increased knowledge and reduced fear through educational interventions, there has been little

improvement. So what can be done to address this situation? • Education: Despite the lack of evidence of effect, it makes sense that the more one knows about an illness, the better equipped one is to deal with it. We and other organisations host regular courses and workshops to raise awareness of the problem, talk about ways to dive more safely, blow away DCS myths and demystify the whole chamber experience. • Plan of action: One commonly identified barrier is the absence of a plan of action if symptoms occur, so it’s useful to think through and document responses to a suspected diving incident – when to administer oxygen, where the nearest chamber is, who is going with the patient and how are they going to get there. That way, lengthy discussions and subsequent delay to treatment can be avoided. • High index of suspicion: Most importantly, it’s vital that the possibility of DCS is considered should anything abnormal occur after a dive. Indeed it’s not too strong to say that any symptom that wasn’t present before the dive should be assumed to be DCS until proven otherwise. Although you might feel that you’re wasting a doctor’s valuable time, I’d much rather speak to and see someone who’s concerned than have them sit at home, worrying about possible DCS on their own. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1



And Scuba Diving Anyone counting calories knows that you must factor in both how many you consume through food and drink as well as how many you burn through daily activities and exercise. Although swimming burns quite a few calories, what about scuba diving?

Calorie counting and scuba diving

Being fit and healthy should be a top priority when it comes to scuba diving. Physical health not only enhances your experience and performance, but it also affects safety. Being out of shape or overweight makes us vulnerable to a number of risks in diving, including decompression illness. Many divers watch what they eat as a matter of course, but how do we count calories burned when diving? Does diving even burn significant calories? CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


Lose weight by scuba diving

If the idea of losing weight by scuba diving sounds too good to be true, rejoice, because it is not. Many experienced divers lose weight during the dive season without changing their lifestyle in any other way. When I go on a dive trip, making several daily dives, I typically return as many as 5 pounds lighter after only a week. And that weight loss comes in spite of consuming ample amounts of food — onboard cuisine is usually plentiful and delicious. So yes, it is possible, at least anecdotally, to lose weight simply by scuba diving.

Burn, baby, burn

It often comes as a surprise to new divers just how energy-consuming diving is, because,

as they say, it’s not like they’re out of breath. Quite the contrary, dive instructors emphasize the importance of never being out of breath while diving. If you’re breathing hard, you’re over-exerted, and that’s not good. Diving is the lazy man’s sport. So why would it burn calories? The secret lies in the body’s process of thermoregulation. The body seeks to maintain a core temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit; the majority of the calories we burn daily are actually for this purpose. When we are exposed to temperatures significantly lower than this, we put greater demands on the body’s thermoregulation, and the body burns more calories. And because water is 800 times denser than air, it can absorb enormous amounts of heat — even a small variation in water temperature, one that wouldn’t make much difference on dry land, can vastly increase our caloric needs.

Eat to dive, dive to eat

So just how many calories does scuba diving burn? Well, it varies quite significantly based on how strenuous the dive is and the temperature of the water, as well as a number of other factors. PADI has done quite a bit of research on this, and estimates that an average shore-dive in temperate water burns as much as 600 calories per hour — the same as jogging. A leisurely boat dive in warm, tropical waters burns about 300 calories an hour, equivalent to hiking or a brisk walk. A dive day in the tropics, with three dives a day, burns about 900 extra calories, or about 40 percent extra for an average male.

Adding calorie burn to your dive log

If you’re counting calories you may want to factor them into your dives. You can use PADI’s numbers as a rule of thumb for this, and a number of calorie-tracking tools, such as FitDay, also feature scuba diving as one the activities you can enter into your daily expenditure. None of the tools that I’ve seen factor in water temperature, only dive time, so they’re rough estimates. If you’re not actively counting calories, just know that on dive days, it’s okay to have an afternoon brownie. Or two. You can read more articles like this one online at:

2 meals for £10 Mon-Sat lunch times

Sunday roasts

2 for £12 or 2 for £16 Function room / skittles alley available to hire. We serve a good selection of real ales, wine’s, spirits etc. Pop in for a pint or a bite to eat. We look forward to seeing you! Shurdington Road | Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL51 4XJ Tel: 01242 862072 Proud Sponsors of Cheltenham Sub-Aqua Club CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


Underwater Explorers 24 Hours Online Worldwide Fast delivery Technical Recreational Sidemount Main brands

Unit 1, Maritime Business Centre Mereside, Portland Dorset DT5 1FD Tel: 01305 824 555 CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1



Lyme Regis By James Neal The SS Baygitano, originally named the Cayo Gitano, was commissioned by the Cuban Steamship Company and was launched on Thursday 28th September 1905. The Cuban Steamship Company went into liquidation in 1916 and the Cayo Gitano was sold to the Bay Steam Ship Company of London, she was then renamed the SS Baygitano. She was torpedoed by UC77, commanded by Oberleutnant Johannes Ries, at 11:45 on the 18th March 1918. Two Souls were lost, the First Mate and the 4th Engineer. At 3073 tons this 3 cylinder, triple expansion, twin boilered wreck lies in 20 metres of water and covers over 100 metres of seabed. She can be dived on any tide and makes for an ideal 2nd dive or even for a day’s diving if the tides are against you on other, deeper, wrecks. We dived her over two days. Initially as a 2nd dive on day one after diving the SS Pomeranian. We were treated to approximately 8 - 10 metres of visibility and the dive was simply sensational. Spectacular in fact!

So much so that on day two, with slack water midafternoon we changed our plans to dive either the St Dunstan or the SS Moidart, in favour of two dives on the ‘Baggy’. Getting a shot on to the wreck wasn’t too difficult as the boilers are standing proud of the seabed and a couple of sarcastic comments were more than enough to get our cox of the day sufficiently ‘on his game’ to try and prove a point... works every time..!! We got ourselves kitted up and rolled off the side of the RHIB in to the flat calm sea. A couple of fin kicks and we were at the shot. I glanced at my buddy and gave a quick OK, the response came immediately back along with the thumbs down to signal our descent. I hit the deflator on my wing and turned to pull against the shot line. We dropped to 6 metres and did a quick bubble-check. All good we continued down to the wreck at 20 metres. The viz remained sensational. Whilst not as stunning as the day before, it was still an impressive 8 metres. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


We orientated ourselves with the boilers and started out along the wreck making our way gradually towards the bow. To say that she is teaming with life would be an understatement, she’s absolutely smothered. In every direction that I turned I was surrounded by shoals of bib. Literally hundreds of them. We also saw several cod, ling and even a few sea bass. However, one of the greatest things about this wreck has to be the shear number of conger eels on her. Literally dozens of them. Some of which are simply huge... man-sized! We continued our exploration and eventually came to the remains of the bow, remnants of which are sitting proud and can be penetrated and swam through. As I ventured in my torch light reflected off the dozens of fish taking shelter within and looking to make their exit as I entered... sensational. I worked my way in and through to the exit a short distance ahead. Turning back in the direction we had come and retracing our steps I found another section of the wreck that could be penetrated. Several of the ship’s plates had created a low-level swim through. As I was on sidemount I could get under the plates and make my CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


way along the seabed within the wreck. The amount of life taking shelter within was simply amazing. It was at this point that I encountered the largest lobster that I have ever seen. This thing must have been ancient. It was enormous and had turned a dark mottled purple. I kept a sensible distance! I exited the wreck and double checked that my buddy was OK. We then continued along the remaining length of the wreck to the stern and back to the boilers. It was now time to make our ascent as we had deco commitments by this point and had already done plenty of deco the day before. We started to make our way up the shot line and did a quick 2 minute stop at 12 metres and then made our way up to 5 metres for a further 8 minutes. These 8 minutes were passed taking photographs and being mesmerised by another massive resident of the ‘Baggy’. This time a huge barrel jellyfish. It turned out that this creature would spent the entire day with us. Whilst the SS Baygitano is not a particularly deep or challenging wreck, she is a great wreck. The abundance of life on her make her a joy to dive. If you’re blessed with great viz, then she’s sensational.

HIGH RES DISPLAY 2.4” bright and clear full colour display

1,000-HOUR DIVE LOG Our longest dive memory yet, transfers to your desktop via

The Petrel is the next generation in rugged and reliable technical diving computers from Shearwater Research. Available in either external or standalone versions, it clearly presents all the information you need to see at a glance. Whether you are diving a rebreather, twins or side mount, you can rely on the Shearwater Petrel during your next expedition.

AA BATTERY The Petrel works with any type of standard AA battery.

SIMPLE TO USE Intuitive, state aware menu system

The Shearwater NERD (Near Eye Remote Display) is the first technical dive computer with a display mounted on the diver’s rebreather mouthpiece, capable of 3 cell monitoring.


SPORT DIVING ~VS~ TECH DIVING What’s the Difference? By Sean Harrison Senior Vice President SDI/TDI/ERDI Divers often wonder and ask the question, “What is tech diving and what is the difference?” This is a very good question and one that is sometimes not so easy to explain. Before I attempt to explain the difference, and this is just my view point – I am sure there are many others, I think it is important to give a brief history. Technical diving came from sport diving and both fall under the category of recreational diving. As divers explored the unexplored underwater world, it was human nature to see what lay beyond what they could see or were able to reach with the equipment and experience they had at hand. Those early scuba explorers decided it was time to push the limits, this required more equipment, a better understanding of human physiology and stricter adherence to dive planning. With these new procedures, technical diving was born. The name was coined in the 90’s when the first technical diving magazine was released.

From wreck and cave divers

Tech diving came primarily from wreck and cave divers. Wreck divers had explored the shallower wrecks or had a need to spend more time on the

larger shallow wrecks. Cave divers quickly found a need for better procedures or contingency planning because they were always in a “hard overhead”, as did wreck divers. Both needed better procedures to address the “soft overhead” concerns. Soft overheads are decompression obligations. Both soft and hard overheads mean a diver cannot make a direct ascent to the surface, this single thing is perhaps the biggest difference between sport and technical. For wreck divers, there is always the search for new wrecks which continue to be found everyday which means those divers have to follow the contour of the ocean floor. Today it is not uncommon for wreck divers to dive wrecks in the 152-182 metre/500-600 foot range. Cave divers are also on a quest only their quest is a little different, they want to find the end of cave systems or connect them to other nearby systems. This pursuit can take divers kilometers/miles underground and in some cases, bring them into the ocean from a fresh water system. These new boundaries required the development of new equipment, reels, lift bags, and “Jersey” up reels to name a few. There was also the need for a new buoyancy compensator (BC) that had CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


the ability to attach additional cylinders and lights as well as have a greater lift capacity to accommodate the additional equipment.


As noted earlier, decompression is one of the biggest differences between sport and technical diving but there are some others. Technical divers tend to be planners, they will research a dive, map out the depths (the deepest they plan to go and the maximum they

can possibly reach) and work this plan over with their buddy or team for months leading up to the dive, just to make sure all bases are covered. They also adhere to a strict gas management plan, meaning all the divers in the team have the proper amount of gas for the dive and, based on their individual air consumption, can all stay at the target depth for roughly the same amount of time. Another defining point is the practice of safety procedures. Just after entry on every dive, technical divers will do what is commonly called an S-Drill. The S-Drill consists of each team member taking turns conducting the proper gas sharing procedure with another teammate. The divers also perform a bubble check on each other to make sure nothing is leaking, an out of air drill, an equipment check to make sure each diver has all the equipment they need for the dive and once everything is cleared, the dive can begin. One other area of technical diving that makes it different is that it normally is task specific. Unlike sport divers, who for the most part (photographers, CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


videographers, and spear fisherman aside), jump in the water with a plan to surface in an hour or so, during which time they drift along looking for marine life or whatever happens to pass by. A wreck diver is focused on the wreck and maybe trying to identify it, get to a particular portion of the wreck or even map it out for a future dive. A cave diver is looking for a new passage or to “wall it out” which means find the end, they too may be mapping out a cave system for future dives.

I can do that

After reading the above, you may be thinking… I do all those things, they were taught in my basic course, and you would be correct, but there is a difference. Technical divers perform complete buddy and safety checks before every dive, they also set limits for a dive and stick to those limits, there is no casual approach to their diver procedures. Another common practice in technical diving is: any diver can call the dive at any time for any reason. Sport divers commonly let their buddies surface alone and this is generally not tolerated in technical diving. Some of the differences between technical and sport, if applied by sport divers, would actually make sport divers better divers. Performing technical dives does not always mean going deep, it can mean just staying longer and being better prepared for the “what if”. For more information on technical diving go to and search through the TDI course offerings. To get your first introduction, sign-up for the TDI Intro to Tech Course.


Swingometer By Mark Powell One of the biggest steps a diver can take in improving their buoyancy is to move from the situation of reacting to changes in their buoyancy to a position of anticipating these changes and taking corrective action before any major change takes place. Divers who react to changes after they have happened can be recognised by their yoyo movements. They start to drift up and as they do so the gas in their suit and wing starts to expand this means they start to drift up further, by the time they have reacted the air has expanded even more and they have drifted up yet further. As they are now moving up quite quickly they need to dump air quickly to avoid drifting up any further. They CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


start dumping air but end up overcompensating and dumping too much. As a result they now start sinking. To counteract this they start putting more air in and the cycle starts over again. A diver with this type of buoyancy control spends the majority of the dive fighting to maintain buoyancy control and is continually one step behind their buoyancy. This means they are working harder and of course their breathing rate goes up. If the diver in question is over weighted then the situation is even more exaggerated. As they are over weighted they have more air in their wing to compensate. As they drift up the excess volume of air expands more than if they had less air in the wing. As it expands

it makes them more positively buoyant and so they start to drift up even faster – which causes the air to expand even more. In order to regain buoyancy they need to dump air quickly, but of course this increases the risk that they will dump too much air and become negatively buoyant and start to sink…….. To picture this situation we can imagine the ‘swingometer’ as popularised by so many election night broadcasts. Peter Snow used to stand in front of the swingometer and show the swing from one political party to the other. If we imagine the swingometer as indicating our level of buoyancy then in the middle we have neutral buoyancy. This is the point that we are always aiming for. As we move further to the right we become more and more positively buoyant. As we move to the left we become more and more negatively buoyant. Ideally we want to stay in the middle at all times. If we are in the middle then we are perfectly neutrally buoyant and can hang in mid water without drifting up or down. If we have this picture in or mind we can start to anticipate what will happen to our buoyancy as we move through the water column, If we ascend slightly, to swim over a reef or a piece of wreckage, then the air in our lungs, suit and wing will expand and we will move to the right of the swingometer and become more positively buoyant. If we don’t take any action then by becoming more positively buoyant we will drift up further and so the air will expand further and we will become even more positively buoyant. This shouldn’t be a surprise to us and so we should be able to anticipate this change. As we can anticipate this change then we can anticipate what action we need to control the change. In this case as we swim up over the piece of wreckage we know that we will become positively buoyant and so we can dump some air to avoid becoming too buoyant. As a result by the time we get to the top of the wreckage we will have already have dumped some air and will have already have ensured we are back at neutral buoyancy.

In this case the swingometer moved briefly to the left but before it could go too far we anticipated it and ensured it moved back to the centre neutral point, As we swim deeper we can anticipate that the gas in our lungs, suit and wing will contract, this will make us less buoyant and we will start to sink. If we don’t do anything then this will result in the gas becoming more compressed which will result in us becoming more negative. In terms of the swingometer we will move further and further to the left. Again we can anticipate this. As we move deeper we know that we will become more negative and move to the left on our swingometer. In order to counteract this we can start to put more air into our suit or wing to offset this effect. Once we are aware of the swingometer we can start to anticipate what effect each movement will have on our buoyancy. Will we move to the right and become more buoyant or will me move to the left and become less buoyant. Once we can anticipate what will happen to our buoyancy we can anticipate what action we will need to maintain neutral buoyancy. The result of this anticipation is that we always stay at or near the neutral point. As we move up we are only slightly positive and so to regain neutral buoyancy it is only a small change to move from slightly positive to neutral. Similarly as we move down it is only a small change to move from slightly negative back to neutral. In this way, by anticipating what changes to our buoyancy we are going to experience we can anticipate what changes we need to make in order to maintain control over our buoyancy. This removes the yo-yo tendency as well as removing the stress and effort required to maintain our buoyancy. As a result our buoyancy improves our comfort in the water improves and our breathing rate is decreased. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


WE ARE a leading supplier of high-quality medical, maritime and educational training courses. OUR SPECIALIST TEAM has expertise at many levels of working at sea from Military vessels to large commercial vessels, cruise ships and super yacht crews. OUR COURSES are delivered practically to

ensure a fun relaxed environment for students to master their new skills and build confidence.

STCW 95 / SEA SURVIVAL TRAINING The STCW 95 course forms part of the statutory requirements for individuals working at sea whether it is on board a large commercial vessel, maritime security, super yachts, fishing vessels or even working on wind farms and survey work. The course can be taken as a complete package at a discounted rate over five days or as individual modules. There are four modules that are considered a basic entry level to working at sea: STCW 95 Personal Survival Techniques (Sea Survival) STCW 95 Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting STCW 95 Elementary First Aid STCW 95 Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities For more information on any of these courses please visit:

Get in touch 01172 443 589


Is It Right For You? By Harry Averill SDI/TDI/ERDI Some people would like you to believe that closedcircuit rebreathers (CCRs) are the future of diving. All diving. For everyone. And while that may be true some day, today is not that day. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there are divers for whom CCRs are a “nice to have” option, as well as divers for whom CCRs are all but essential. Could you be among them? The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors, including: Do the benefits of CCR diving outweigh the drawbacks, given your specific situation? Are you a good candidate for CCR diving? Is CCR diving something you are likely to enjoy? Let’s take a look at each of these questions in greater detail.


You may already be aware of many of the potential benefits CCRs offer, the complete list is impressive and includes: Reduced size and weight. Even after you factor in the all-important open-circuit bailout bottles, a CCR-based system will generally weigh less and occupy less space than the open-circuit regulators and tanks you would need to provide comparable bottom time and range. Gas efficiency. Each time you take a breath from open-circuit scuba, your body uses less than four percent of the gas you inhale. The rest is exhausted back into the water, never to be used again. This inherent inefficiency becomes even CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


more pronounced the deeper you go. In contrast, rebreathers allow you to use nearly 100 percent of the gas you take with you, meaning that you need to carry substantially less gas. In fact, given the same amount of bottom time and the same work load, you will need no more gas at 60 m/200 ft when using a CCR than you will on a shallow reef dive. Savings on helium. Helium, a gas essential for clear thinking on deeper dives, has become prohibitively expensive. Yet, if you dive opencircuit, most of that helium is wasted. With CCRs you need substantially less helium and very little is wasted. Reduced deco. Because CCRs expose users to the lowest concentration of inert gas possible, regardless of depth, they keep required deco to an absolute minimum — and, on many dives, eliminate the need for deco altogether. Warm, moist air. Passing through a restricted orifice, such as that found in an open-circuit regulator first stage, can substantially reduce a gas mixture’s temperature. This is why first stages are prone to freezing in cold water. It also does little to help keep divers warm. CCR divers, in contrast, rebreathe the same, warm gas mixture which, as an added benefit, has higher moisture content than normal open-circuit gas. This leads to warmer, happier divers. Silence. CCRs are often characterized as being bubble-free. They aren’t; however, the amount of bubbles they produce is minimal compared to open circuit and are mostly a result of gas expansion on ascent. This can be a significant advantage when observing aquatic life that is normally spooked by bubbles. Few things in life offer a plethora of benefits without CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


extracting a price in return. CCRs are no exception. Among the drawbacks of CCR diving: Expense. This, more than any other factor, prevents most divers from joining the rebreather club. The least expensive CCRs are still in the £4,000 range; a more typical investment in equipment and training for most CCRs is at least twice that. And, even though CCR divers may save on gases such as helium, there are offsetting expenses for consumables such as CO2 absorbent and specialized batteries, as well as for items such as oxygen sensors, which need periodic replacement. Complexity. Compared to the typical CCR, opencircuit scuba is almost idiot-simple. CCRs, in contrast, have more in common with the breathing packs used by NASA astronauts than they do with open circuit. This incredible level of complexity requires more time for training as well as for pre-dive preparation and postdive maintenance. Quick and easy are not words generally associated with CCR diving. Loss of breath control. Most opencircuit divers are not fully aware of how much they rely on breathing to control buoyancy until they try CCRs for the first time. On CCRs, breathing has no effect on overall buoyancy, as you are simply moving gas back and forth between your lungs and the unit’s counterlungs. You can’t lose buoyancy by exhaling or gain it by inhaling. On CCRs, buoyancy adjustments can only be made by adding or removing gas from your BC’s air cell. This just adds to the overall work load on CCRs. Travel challenges. CCRs are not the easiest thing to travel with. You are looking at at least one additional checked bag — one the airlines may consider to be overweight. Then you have to consider your destination. Will there be absorbent

available or will you need to bring it with you? Can the dive operation fill your O2 and diluent tanks (remember that you will need to empty them to fly)? What will you need to bring in the way of spare parts? Would it simply be easier and more cost effective to dive open circuit? Risk. “This unit can kill you without warning.” One CCR manufacturer actually puts this on every CCR they make. It is not an exaggeration. With increased complexity comes increased risk. Rebreathers offer several ways to die which just aren’t factors when on open circuit. As such, they are way less forgiving of carelessness and operator error than open-circuit scuba is. If you lack the self discipline required to be a CCR diver you can, and eventually will, die — most likely from oxygen toxicity. And the worst thing about “toxing” is that you will most likely be aware of what is happening to you, but powerless to do anything about it! Whether or not the benefits of CCR diving offset the drawbacks will depend entirely on your particular circumstances. As you can tell, the current state of CCRs offer little benefit to sport divers — even though we are beginning to see units aimed squarely at that market. CCR benefits tend to favor deeper diving and longer dives, particularly as divers approach or exceed depths of 50 m/165 ft or more. The risks inherent in CCR diving cannot be overstated. Which leads us to the next question:

ARE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR CCR DIVING? There are numerous parallels between CCR diving and aviation — so many that, in fact, CCR divers frequently use aviation terminology when talking about rebreather diving. It is not unusual to hear CCR divers discuss “preflighting” their CCR or “flying” their unit.

Just as not everyone who can drive a car can safely pilot an airplane, not everyone who can dive open circuit is a good candidate for CCR diving. To see whether you are, you need to be able to answer several questions, including: Do you have a legitimate need for a CCR? Rebreathers make very expensive toys and they are not as entertaining as some imagine. Unless you do (or plan to do) a significant amount of diving well in excess of 50 m/165 ft, or need to remain under water for hours on end, or work with aquatic life that is easily spooked by bubbles, it’s unlikely that you truly need a CCR.

Is CCR diving within your budget? Remember that you not only need to be able to afford the cost of the initial purchase and training, but also the ongoing costs of absorbent, oxygen sensors, specialised batteries and the added travel expenses. How extensive is your diving knowledge and experience? Opinions vary as to how many logged dives you need before venturing into rebreather diving. The number, however, is likely well into three figures. Equally important, is an in-depth understanding of the impact of exposure to high concentrations of oxygen at depth. This is what the TDI Advanced Nitrox course was specifically designed to provide. Do you possess the necessary discipline and commitment? This is the single most important prerequisite. CCR diving requires you to be exceptionally disciplined and committed. The consequences for lacking these attributes are simply too great. You have to be willing, for example, to spend up to 20 minutes or more “preflighting” your CCR before every dive, as well as for the necessary post-dive maintenance and care. Not everyone is this committed. If you are not, stick with open circuit. And, finally, there is this very important question:


It would be foolish to invest the time, money and effort required to become a CCR diver only to discover you just plain didn’t like it. Fortunately, there is a way you can discover whether CCR diving may be for you without ever having to make that investment. It’s called the TDI Rebreather Discovery experience. The Rebreather Discovery takes nothing more than a morning or afternoon. Its goal is not to teach you everything there is to know about rebreathers, but rather to get you in the water as quickly as possible so that you can experience CCR diving first hand. It starts with your TDI instructor going over the basic parts and operation of a rebreather. In shallow water, your instructor will have you practice operating the mouthpiece and breathing from the loop. Then it is time to swim with the unit so that you can get a first-hand feel for what CCR diving is all about. Your TDI CCR instructor will be with you every step of the way. For more info: CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1




INDUSTRIAL DIVING Rediscovering Britain’s mining past By Ian France The UK has a mining history stretching back hundreds and thousands of years, back in prehistoric times man mined metals through to the industrial revolution which saw mining take on industrial proportions. Much of this evidence is still very visible today, from scars in the landscape to disused buildings and workings. The UK mining industry is far smaller today, but once entire communities existed around mining; and mining was more than a job, it was a way of life, with mining being fundamental to the development of the UK as we know it. The British geological society has been recording information on the number of mine and quarries in the UK since 1835, and the number of those records currently stands at 140,000. Although there is no record of the extent of underground workings but it is estimated that many thousands of miles of underground passageways and workings exist.

Whilst the vast majority of the mines are closed to the public, sealed, or just too dangerous, many stunning mine sites do exist, if you know where to look... Now I am a technical cave diver; I dive and train, in caves around the world including here in the UK. So why do I dive mines? Whilst the UK has many dramatic cave diving sites the skills required are more akin to dry caving, with standard technical diver dress being inappropriate. Mine diving is different to cave diving, yet it is only different in the nature of the environment, caves have a distinctly different character to them. Caves are alive, crafted by nature, beautiful random shapes that have existed for many thousands of years. Mines are manmade, crafted by mans desire to make a profit. Once bustling with the sounds of industry, their rich minerals used to CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


power the destiny of the human race; but once they ceased to deliver a profit, they were stripped and abandoned, now lonely, eerily quiet, decaying places, in contrast to the noise associated with mining, yet still steeped with human history. Yet much of the techniques and technical diving equipment required are common, and cave - mine skills are very transferable. To the diver, mines offer an environment which combines the skills and hazards from both cave and wreck diving, allowing the diver to maintain overhead skills whilst in the UK. Mines are never blown out, so ideal when the UK seas are less forgiving, the water clarity can be that of tap water, access to some sites can be relatively straight forward, all this allows for ideal training environments. But mines can be formidable, dangerous, places, when disturbed visibility can be zero, they are aging industrial building sites so prone to contain sudden drops, collapse, maze like passageways, false floors, cold, and often full of dangerous gases, known as damps, and being in total darkness. Access also needs to be considered, most are on private land, the landowner and any restrictions needs to be respected. Is diving in the mines exploration? Long dead miners have already trodden those paths but diving in these places for the first time, since CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1


the profit vanished and some abandoned levels flooded, there is still huge potential to come across new, un-dived locations, see beautiful mineral formations, overcome significant technical challenges, all this certainly leads to a sense of rediscovery, if not true exploration, but that is in the eye of the beholder. It’s difficult not to be impressed, and even awed, by these manmade places, the effort, mining techniques, manpower, risk and often sacrifice of the men women and children, that has gone into the construction of the chambers, the miles and miles of tunnels, usually for very little reward. Many mining artefacts remain in the mines, safe from vandals and trophy hunters, and often lying where last used by the miner. There are a number of groups of divers regularly researching and diving the UK’s industrial past, one of these is the UK Mine Cave Diving & Exploration (UKMC). The UKMC originally formed as a small group of like minded divers, dedicated individuals who wanted to dive in UK mines to put their cave diving skills and qualifications into practice. Some of these individuals went on to meet existing, and seasoned, UK cave and mine divers, and after a period of orientation to UK conditions, started

to organise regular mine diving trips. It became apparent that there were many isolated pockets of mine diving activity across the UK, and there was a need to bring this community of divers together, we could then share knowledge, and experience in an effort to make this diving community safer. As membership grew it became clear to the founding members that there was a need to formalise the group to move it forward, providing a framework and the need for insurance as well as improving and developing landowner relationships. Whilst this kind of diving isn’t for everyone, with training, research and experience vital, mine diving can appeal to those with an interest in industrial archaeology or history, and provides a good alternative when the UK weather isn’t playing ball.

Photography Credits D’Arcy Foley, Paul Marvin.


1. Directory of Mines & Quarries 2010

Profile: Ian France (Stand 1144 at the NEC Dive show 2015) IANTD Instructor Trainer, Trimix, CCR & Advanced Cave Instructor A passionate full time technical diving educator, specialising in Mine, Cave and Trimix, with a wealth of experience in all kit configurations, OC and CCR. A regular instructor at Tekcamp, fundamental in the UKMC (www.ukmine-cave. com), and when not teaching - a very active diver exploring caves, mines and the ocean. What really motivates Ian is the desire to pass on his experience and knowledge to students so that they too can discover the intrigue and delights of the underwater world and he believes that the wrecks, caves and unexplored areas of the world are accessible to all

divers with the correct training, equipment and knowledge. You can contact Ian by either visiting his web site or emailing him. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1



James Cameron is now very well known for his love of scuba diving and the depths of the ocean. Sanctum is not his first foray in to the watery realms of filmmaking. He is probably best known for Titanic in that regard.

Upon its cinematic release a great many critics slated the film. They hated it. Personally I tend to find that this is usually a good indication that it’s actually quite a good movie as the critics always seem to be looking for some sort of metaphysical clap-trap that the rest of us have no interest in!

Cameron also literally took the plunge to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, becoming 1 of only 3 men ever to do so. He also filmed Deepsea Challenge 3D for the National Geographic in the process.

I want to be entertained by the movies I choose to watch. And if you combine my knowledge of movies with my love of diving, then I certainly want to be entertained! Fair to say this film had its work cut out to please me!

So it comes as no surprise really that he produced this movie to further indulge his love of the ocean.

And please me it did. In fact it delivered on all counts.



I found the pace of the movie

engaging and its content thrilling. I was able to engage with the characters and found that I was rooting for some and despised others. OK, so it does have a few of the ever-present Hollywoodisms.... bubbles look good on film.... so the rebreathers have had a few bubble effects added. A little irritating but I can overlook this and simply enjoy it for what it is. For the most part the equipment the team was fitted out with was authentic, as was the kit that they were diving on. The underwater photography is sensational and I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the movie. The tension builds throughout and centres on a father and son relationship as they struggle to escape from an underwater cave system after their entrance becomes blocked and flooded. Definitely worth watching if you like tension, lots of peril and a great storyline. Available from Amazon for as little as ÂŁ2.18.

RAISING THE DEAD - NOVEL Raising The Dead (originally released as ‘Diving into Darkness’) is ‘a true story of death and survival’, written by Phillip Finch, the novel is about Dave Shaw and Don Shirley and is both factually ‘in-depth’ as well as being narratively exciting. It is a gripping and wonderfully crafted account of Don Shirley’s and Dave Shaw’s fatal dive that combines the pace of a thriller with the finely tuned sensitivity that one might expect to be levied towards the sensitivities of those involved whilst still being able to build the suspense to a near fevered intensity.

decompression sickness and a faulty rebreather! What happened that day is the stuff of nightmarish drama, but it’s also a compelling human story of friendship, heroism, ambition, and coming to terms with loss and tragedy. It’s a tale of honour and courage as a diver prepares for one of the most daring and ambitious dives ever attempted. His objective: to recover the mortal remains of Deon Dreyer, a diver who had disappeared a decade earlier.

Raising the Dead is a true story about the perilous sport of extreme cave diving - its allure, its cult following, and the remarkable individuals who pursue it. A tragic, and at times harrowing, tale of extreme diving and the individuals who pursue it. A highly recommended novel that we are sure you will not be able to put down once you’re past the first chapter. Available from Amazon, priced at £12.99.

On New Year’s day, 2005, Dave Shaw travelled half-way around the world on a journey that took him to a steep crater in the Kalahari desert of South Africa, a site known as Bushman’s Hole. His destination was 270 metres below the surface! On January 8th he descended into the darkness, about 5 metres below the surface was a fissure in the bottom of the basin, barely wide enough to admit him. He slipped through the opening and disappeared from sight, leaving behind the world of light and life. Then, a second diver descended through the same crack in the stone. This was Don Shirley, Shaw’s friend, and one of the few people in the world qualified to follow where Shaw was about to go. In the community of extreme diving, Don Shirley was a master among masters. Twenty-five minutes later, one of the men was dead. The other was in mortal peril, and would spend the next ten hours struggling to survive, literally existing from breath to breath. Fighting































These courses are running all year round


NITROX DIVER November 2015 February 2016 November 2016




BI-ANNUAL COURSES CHART WORK & NAVIGATION September 2015 February 2016 RESCUE October 2015 April 2016

BSAC MARINE LIFE APPRECIATION January 2016 / 2017 PADI FISH IDENTIFICATION January 2016 / 2017 VIDEOGRAPHY December 2015 / 2016 / 2017 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY November 2015 / 2016 / 2017 O2 ADMIN Refresher January 2015 / 2016 / 2017 All of the above courses are also available on request.



UNDERWATER NAVIGATION October 2015 April 2016 July 2016


SEARCH & RECOVERY November 2015 May 2016 August 2016

SELF-RELIANT DIVER October 2015 April 2016 June 2016 August 2016 November 2016

BUOYANCY WORKSHOP September 2015 March 2016 September 2016 NIGHT DIVER November 2015 April 2016 November 2016 PHOTOGRAPHY November 2015 February 2016 October 2016 VIDEOGRAPHY December 2015 March 2016 November 2016 WRECK DIVING November 2015 April 2016 June2016 November 2016 WRECK DETECTIVE April 2016 DEEP DIVING September 2015 May 2016 August 2016 November 2016 All of the above courses are also available on request.

SIDEMOUNT DIVING August 2015 May 2016 August 2016 TEC SIDEMOUNT DIVING September2015 May 2016 September2015 TEC 40 August 2015 May 2016 TEC 45 May 2016 TEC 50 July 2016

All Tec courses are also available on request. CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1




CAPERNWRAY DIVING Jackdaw Quarry Capernwray Road Over Kellet Carnforth Lancashire LA6 1AD 01524 735132

STONEY COVE Sapcote Road Stoney Stanton Leicester LE94DW

BRIGHTON DIVER The West Quay Brighton and Hove East Sussex BN2 5UF

01455 273 089

07901 822375

VOBSTER QUAY Upper Vobster Radstock Somerset BA3 5SD

CELTIC DIVING Fishguard Harbour Pembrokeshire West Wales BN2 5UF

01373 814666

07816 640684


CROMHALL DIVING Cromhall Quarry Cromhall South Gloucestershire GL12 8AA 07901 832 862 DOSTHILL DIVING Church Road Tamworth B77 1LL 07928 562916

07970 674799

ATLANTIC DIVING 53 Ulalia Road Newquay Cornwall TR7 2PZ 07860 927833 info@

CORNWALL DIVERS Marine Crescent Bar Road Falmouth Cornwall TR11 4BN 01326 311265

NDAC Tidenham Chepstow Gloucestershire NP16 7LH

BLUE TURTLE The Cobb Lyme Regis Harbour Lyme Regis Dorset DT7 3JJ

DIVE PEMBROKESHIRE Peggys Cove 11 Meadow Park Burton Milford Haven Pembrokeshire UK SA73 1NZ

01291 630 046

07970 856822

07748 971331



CHANNEL DIVING The Waterfront Brighton Marina Brighton East Sussex BN2 5UP

DIVERS DOWN The Pier High Street Swanage Dorset BH19 2AR

NEW DAWN DIVE CENTRE 148 Send Road Send Woking Surrey GU23 7EZ

07977 142661

01483 211103

DIVING STYLES & SHA-KING The Quay Poole Dorset BH15 1HJ

OBSESSION BOAT CHARTERS The Moorings 3 Mount View Ilfracombe North Devon EX34 9PD

01202 708847 07768 220336

01271 866325 07971 462024


OUR JOY Runaways 48 Loveys Road Yapton Nr Arundel West Sussex BN18 0HG

01803 834641 07970 759172 07970 857504 FALMOUTH DIVE BOAT CHARTER The Workshop 42 Agar Crescent Redruth Illogan Highway Cornwall TR15 3NG 07676974616 LUNDY CHARTERS 26 Myrtle Street Appledore EX39 1PH 01237 424228 07974 805086

01243 553977 07850 312068 SCILLY DIVING Highertown St Martins Isles of Scilly TR25 0QL 01720 422848 01720-423420 07884-055122 moonshadowdiving@yahoo. SCIMITAR DIVING 14b Hamm Beach Road Portland Marina Portland Dorset DT5 1DX 07765 326728

SKIN DEEP DIVING 18 Tollerdown Road Weymouth Dorset DT4 0SQ 01305 787372 07971 977595 TANGO OF WEYMOUTH Weymouth Quay Weymouth Dorset DT4 8NA 07780 702349 TEIGN DIVING CENTRE & SEAQUEST Quay Road Teignmouth Devon TQ14 8ER 01626 773965 WEST BAY DIVING The Ruby J Esplanade West Bay Bridport Dorset DT6 4HE 07768 100903 WOODPECKER CHARTERS Campanella Wood Lane West Alvington Kingsbridge Devon TQ7 3PH 01548 854674 07920 039399 CLUB DIVER ~ VOLUME 1 ~ ISSUE 1



LANDSCOVE HOLIDAY PARK Gillard Road Berry Head Brixham Devon TQ5 9EP 01803 221255

BABBACOMBE BABBACOMBE BAY HOTEL 33-35 Babbacombe Downs Road Torquay Devon TQ1 3LN 01803 323509 www.babbacombebayhotel. reception@ BABBACOMBE GUEST HOUSE 53 Babbacombe Road Torquay Devon TQ1 3SN 01803 32807 www.babbacombeguesthouse. com info@babbacombeguesthouse. com THE CARY ARMS Oddicombe Beach Hill Babbacombe South Devon TQ1 3LX 01803 327110


01326 312489


PENNY STEPS B&B 65 Berryhead Road Brixham Devon TQ5 9AA

OCEAN BACKPACKERS 29 St James Place Ilfracombe Devon EX34 9BJ

01803 856301 www.bed-breakfast-brixham. info@bed-breakfast-brixham.

01271 867835

CHALLABOROUGH CHALLABOROUGH BAY HOLIDAY PARK (Parkdean) Challaborough Devon TQ7 4HU 01548 810771 www.parkdeanholidayhomes.

FALMOUTH FALMOUTH LODGE BACKPACKERS 9 Gyllyngvase Terrace Falmouth Cornwall TR11 4DL


01326 319996 www.falmouthbackpackers.

HARBOUR VIEW BRIXHAM 65 King Street Brixham, Devon TQ5 9TH

HILLHEAD FARM B&B Hillhead Road Falmouth Cornwall TR11 5PA

01803 853052 www.harbourviewbrixham

01326 374942


THE LERRYN HOTEL De Pass Road Falmouth Cornwall TR11 4BJ

THE OSBORNE HOTEL Wilder Road Ilfracombe Devon EX34 9AQ 01271 863641

LAKE DISTRICT CRAKE VALLEY HOLIDAY PARK Water Yeat Blawith Via Ulverston Cumbria LA12 8DL 01229 885203

LYME REGIS CLOVELLY GUEST HOUSE View Road Lyme Regis Dorset DT7 3AA 07803 574548 info@lymeregisclovellyguest

THE COBB ARMS Marine Parade Lyme Regis Dorset DT7 3JF 01297 443242 MARINERS HOTEL Silver St Lyme Regis Dorset DT7 3HS 01297 442753 THE ROYAL LION HOTEL Broad Street Lyme Regis Dorset DT7 3QF 01297 445622

PEMBROKE SKERRYBACK FARM COTTAGES Sandy Haven St Ishmael’s Pembrokeshire SA62 3DN 01656 771821 www.skerrybackfarmcottages. com UPPER NEESTON LODGES Milford Haven Pembrokeshire SA73 3RY 01646 690750

MOUNTBATTEN WATER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES CENTRE 70 Lawrence Rd Mountbatten Plymouth PL9 9SJ 01752 404567

PORTLAND HOTEL AQUA Castletown Portland Dorset DT5 1BD 01305 860269 PORTLAND LODGE Easton Lane Portland Dorset DT5 1BW 01305 820265 01305 860359 YHA PORTLAND Hardy House Castle Road Castletown Portland Dorset DT5 1AU 0845 371 9339


HOTEL MOUNT BATTEN Lawrence Road Mount Batten Plymouth PL9 9SJ

MORTONS HOUSE HOTEL 45 East Street Corfe Castle Wareham Dorset BH20 5EE

01752 484660

01292 480988


SWANAGE AUBERGE 45 High Street Swanage Dorset BH19 2LT 01292 424368 07711 117668 bookings@swanageauberge. YHA SWANAGE Cluny Cluny Crescent Swanage Dorset BH19 2BS 01629 592700

WEST BAY BRIDPORT ARMS West Bay Bridport Dorset DT6 4EN 01308 422994 WEST BAY HOLIDAY PARK (Parkdean) West Bay Bridport Dorest DT6 4HB 01308 422424 www.parkdeanholidayhomes. WEST BAY HOTEL Station Road West Bay Dorset DT6 4EW 01308 422157 NOT INCLUDED / DETAILS INCORRECT? Please contact CSAC to be included / advise of any changes you would like made. Tel: 07951 926337





Devon PL9 9SJ

NDAC A48 Tidenham Chepstow Gloucestershire NP16 7LH

01752 405400


01291 630046










BRIXHAM BRIXHAM DIVE SHACK Brixham Dive Shack Unit 12 St Marys Yard Horsepool Street Brixham Devon TQ5 9LD 01803 850444 07527 463968 brixhamdiveshack.htm



CHALLABOROUGH TAI-DIVE Challaborough Beach Near Bigbury-on-Sea Devon TQ7 4HU 07891 393502



CHELTENHAM DIVE 90 Knightsbridge Business Centre Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL51 9TA 01242 680003









CROMHALL QUARRY Cromhall South Gloucestershire GL12 8AA 07901 832 862




CORNWALL DIVERS Marine Crescent Bar Road Falmouth Cornwall TR11 4BN 01336 311265




ILFRACOMBE ILFRACOMBE & NORTH DEVON SUB AQUA CLUB Ropery Road Ilfracombe Devon EX34 9EF 07738 704576



UNDERWATER EXPLORERS Unit 1 Maritime Business Centre Mereside Portland Dorset DT5 1FD 01305 824555















DIVERS DOWN The Pier, High Street Swanage Dorset BH19 2AR 01929 423565 07977 142661




WEST BAY BRIDPORT HARBOUR Esplanade West Bay Dorset DT6 4HE 01308 423222

A NOT INCLUDED / DETAILS INCORRECT? Please contact CSAC to be included / advise of any changes you would like made. Tel: 07951 926337


Club Diver  

Welcome to the launch edition of Club Diver magazine. The scuba diving magazine written by divers, for divers.