ULSAC Bulletin – October 2013

Greetings Everyone,

The summer has drawn to a close and we are at the start of another academic year. Before it all becomes a distant memory I thought it might be nice to reflect on what’s been happening in the club over the summer and highlight some of the key events and achievements. I hope you enjoy reading the bulletin and that it brings back some good memories of a difficult but still pretty productive summer. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my personal thanks to all involved in planning and organising the events which is often a thankless task – THANK YOU!


Michelle (Diving Officer)


The summer started off with an early bank holiday trip to Plymouth organised by Ken and Mark using Rascal. The weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts when the MPV ran out of fuel on the way down to Plymouth; a faulty fuel gauge was to blame. The choice of caravans for the weekend was appreciated by all who arrived in the early hours! Despite this set back the weather was favourable and much fun was had by all. Dives included the breakwater fort, Scylla, James Egan Layne, Glen and the harbour. More vehicle issues (this time with the electrics) resulted in the group getting back to London in time to catch the first tube from Chiswick on Monday morning!

Richard and Anthony organised a diving and training trip to Portland for 6 members. They took advantage of shore diving from Chesil Beach and then headed to Vobster to complete those all important open water lessons.

Vedika, Hannah and Ross took a group of 12 up to the Farne Islands for some seal action diving with Sovereign Diving. They were lucky enough to be blessed with lovely sunshine for the weekend, however due to bad weather a few weeks before the trip the visibility wasn’t very good (this is not normally the case). Despite this there were plenty of seals around and even snorkelling with them was enough to keep a group of divers happy.


A small group of 5 members headed down to Swanage on a weekend organised by Jer to dive some of the excellent local wrecks in the area using the local charter boats. Sadly, they were blown out on Saturday but got to dive the Kyarra and a nice quick drift on Peveril Ledges on Sunday.

Nat and Liz helped by Ali G and Jer organised a training day at Wraysbury for OD and SD training.

(Not) Newhaven
Day trip to Newhaven was sorted by Ken and Jer only to be told the Friday evening before that the skipper had called it. Much perplexion as the forecast didn’t really look that bad. Oh well… Instead the team headed up to Gildy to do some open water training and made the most of the day.

July Cromhall
Ali G organised a day trip to this inland site to complete some training dives. It was a very sunny day and the visibility was excellent.

August Brighton
Ali B and Mark organised a hardboat weekend for 12 members to Brighton diving from Brighton Diver. Saturday was blown out (again) so the bulk of the group headed down mid-afternoon on Saturday to enjoy Brighton’s attractions while Ali B took a couple of eager divers to Wraysbury for a plop. Diving on Sunday was on the City of Brisbane wreck and then a bimble under (a very dark apparently) Brighton Pier looking for treasure.

Boat Handling/Diver Coxswain Weekend
Ali G organised a multi-branch boathandling course which was held in Newhaven. There were students and instructors from 4 BSAC branches involved (ULSAC, Imperial, Crawley and Ruislip & Northwood). Both of ULSACs RHIBs, Rascal and Scoundrel, were in action as well as Imperial’s inflatable Icy Diver.

Liz B and Michelle ran a trip to Swanage for 16 divers. Another joint venture with Ruislip & Northwood BSAC saw Rascal and RNSACs RHIBs used for the weekend. It was a fairly sunny but windy weekend. Conditions were just about diveable on Saturday morning but with the wind getting worse a decision was taken to dive the Fleur as it was close in. The second dive saw everyone that wanted to dive under the pier which is always a fun and interesting dive! Sunday saw the ODs off for a drift dive on Old Harry rocks. The rest of the group hit the afternoon slack on the Kyarra in very large seas but had a great dive and we stayed in Mongolian yurts!

Another collaboration saw Ali B and Jer team up with Redditch BSAC for the bank holiday trip to Plymouth with ULSACers using Redditch SACs RHIB. The weather was kind and fun diving was had on the Scylla, James and other fab sites around Plymouth. Ali B even spotted the mythical beast that is the John Dory!


Summer Expedition to Farnes and St Abbs
2 weeks of fabulous diving in the very North of England and the very South of Scotland organised by Ken and Jer using Rascal. The first week was spent trying to stop seals eating various bits of kit in the Farne Islands. Conditions were great with decent visibility and lots of sunshine. Highlights included loads of seals, an exhilarating 3 knot drift through Piper Gut and the wreck of the Somali. The 2nd week saw the team head north of the border to the picturesque village of St Abbs. Despite some less than favourable swell some excellent dives were had on the Glanmire wreck, Black Carrs and Skelly hole. Octopii and wolf fish were spotted! Check out Jer’s summer trip video here

Gildy Drills Day
Another drills day organised by Ali G. Lots of training happened and lots of people got lots of stuff done.

October and beyond…

Freshers and drysuits!
• The start of the new academic year is upon us and following a successful freshers fair (thanks to all involved) we’ve already had one try-dive session and pub social. The 2nd try-dive is on Friday 4th followed by another pub social which will be at the Rising Sun pub on Tottenham Court Road from 8.30pm (or earlier if you’re not going in the pool!). Come down and welcome our new freshers and show them what a fun and sociable club we are!
• Drysuits – exciting news is that the Committee have voted in favour of purchasing club drysuits and these have been ordered from Northern Diver in time for the start of our new diver courses. This is a real step forward for the club and will mean we have much more flexibility to train and dive all year round whilst ensuring the comfort (and safety) of our members.


BSAC Diving Conference – Saturday 26th October
• 1-day conference running alongside DIVE 2013 at the Birmingham NEC
• The BSAC Diving Conference 2013 is the ideal way to keep up-to-date on BSAC developments and news as well as to network, exchange ideas and feed back to your National Diving Committee (NDC).
• Free Entry to the Dive Show too!
• Key note speakers include:- World-renowned diving doctor Professor Simon Mitchell AND polar diver and wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, whose icy exploits in the Arctic and Antarctic have contributed to some of TV’s best natural documentaries, including BBC’s Blue Planet and Ocean Giants.
• Tickets cost £15 Buy here

DIVE 2013

• More kit than you can shake a stick at! This is one of 2 national dive shows held each year. If you’re thinking about buying that new piece of kit this is a great place to try before you buy. You can get some great deals during the weekend.
• There’ll also be talks, try dives, presentations and lots of photos of nice tropical places you can go diving!
• If you have a BSAC Dive Conference ticket you can get access to the dive show for free all weekend.
• Tickets are £9.50 if booked in advanced and available here
• If you have qualified as an Ocean Diver since 28th October 2012 you qualify for a free ticket to either Saturday or Sunday. To take advantage of this just show your BSAC Qualification Card and Record Book at the DIVE 2013 ticket kiosk.

Diver Surveys

• DDRC (Diving Diseases Research Centre) wants to get a better insight regarding the general cardiac health of divers. In a recent unrelated study 10% of divers reported they were on some kind of cardiac medication, and diving incident data now shows a disproportionate number of diving fatalities in the older over 50s age groups. Please complete their online survey here to help with this research.
• Divers and dive instructors are being called on to help lifesaving charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with important research into participation and attitudes to risk and safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey.

ULSAC member achievements since May

New Ocean Divers – Kate K, Karen H, Paloma, Amy P

New Sport Divers – Clare M, Eunsook, Kimon, Rachel W, Michela, Bhavya, Andrei, Jess, Ruben

New Dive Leaders – Ken, Vedika and Hannah

Passed Practical Instructor Exam - Ken and Ali B

New Open Water Instructor - Liam

New Trainee Boat Handlers - Liz B, Andy L, Nushin and Nat

New Diver Coxswains – Ali G and Jer

New Boat Handling Instructor – Richard

Well done everyone!