At last, 9 October arrived and it was time to depart on our long awaited liveaboard trip in the Maldives. Dawn Barnard had put together an enticing expedition and 18 SSAC members, friends and spouses were off for a week on the liveaboard Orion cruising the Malé and Ari atolls, followed (for the majority of the party) by 3 days winding down on Bandos Island.

DAY 1: We arrived in the Maldives at midday on Monday 10 Oct 2011 after a reasonably comfortable 10 hour flight. It was then a short boat ride from the airport at Male to the MV Orion and a friendly welcome from the crew. We then had the rest of the afternoon to settle in to our luxurious and very comfortable cabins.

DAY 2: Leaving Male early the next morning we arrived at Vihamanaa for a check dive at 0730. This was followed by our first exciting dive at Lankan Manta Point, where we see real Mantas, but not many; only 4. Still it was a good start to the holiday and the promise of things to come. Banana reef was a bit of a letdown and not very inspiring with no Mantas, little marine life and poor coral.

DAY 3: Overnight to South Ari atoll. The early morning dive was on a pinnacle known locally as a Thila. The place was teaming; with divers. There were many exotic species mainly from Italy, classified as thong exotica, and Japan, no buoyancy control ho and fin kick coral hi. Large shoals of Blue Striped Snapper and other fish joined the throng. Another Thila followed. After lunch the boat suddenly turned about and raced towards a Whale Shark that has been sighted nearby. Mad panic as everyone prepared to enter the water at once to snorkel with the Whale Shark. Sadly, two other boats had the same idea and the Whale Shark finds itself surrounded by 60 guests all splashing around like very large bait fish. Un-phased by the commotion the Whale Shark stayed with us for 45 minutes giving many swimmers the opportunity to return to the Dhoni (dive boat) and don scuba equipment before diving with the Whale Shark again. We think this was a 6.5m female known as Ayesha because there is a small nick in her upper caudal (tail) fin.  This was a thrilling experience for all the tourists. It is not every day that you meet something three times your height and as placid as a teddy bear. Now back to the diving.

Download the rest of the trip report by Tom Templeton.

4-5 June 2011

Unknown LCT 30

War Knight

 

On 4 and 5 June 2011, divers from SSAC completed a weekend's diving on Wight Spirit, diving the wrecks of the SS Molina, SS Joannis Millas, LCT (30m) and SS War Knight - all to the west of the Isle of Wight.

The SS Molina sank in 1918 after being torpedoed by UB-35. Molina is an impressive wreck with a bow standing over 7m from the sea bed at 36m. Her large engine and boilers are clearly visible. Visibility was 8-10m.

SS Molina: single screwed steamer sunk by a torpedo from the German Submarine U-35 in 1918. Lies upright on a shingle bottom with a badly broken stern. Located five miles due South of the Isle of Wight. (Video by Chris Ringrose)

The second dive was the Joannis Millas which sank in 1896 having run aground.

Landing Craft Tank (30m) - given the club's recent success in investigating WW2 LCTs - was a good opportunity to investigate another LCT wreck, this time to the west of St Catherine's Point and lying at a maximum depth of 30m.

We then dived the War Knight which sank in 1918 after a collision, hitting a mine and gunfire! This is a large wreck (7,951 tons) in shallow water and one of the first merchant vessels to have a turbine engine.

4 February 2013

Congratulations to our latest Ocean Divers who have just successfully completed their training at the end of January 2013. Chris Staples, Paul World and Robbie Powell braved the chilly waters of Vobster Quay to complete their final qualifying dives and are now looking forward to a summer of diving with the club.

Download full report.

BSAC Duke of Edinburgh Award 2012This year, eleven of SSAC's Kedge Hook team received certificates from the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Prize is awarded by the British Sub-Aqua Jubilee Trust for the best underwater scientific project carried out by one of its members. The prize is administered by the BSA Jubilee Trust and the Duke himself selects the winner from a short-list of applicants. Find out more about the award on BSAC's website.

In May this year Southsea SAC returned to Shippen House, a 10 bed holiday home with excellent facilities overlooking the beach at Hope Cove in South Devon. The club books this idyllic place for a week each year to dive wrecks and scenic sites between Plymouth and Salcome. It is also a wonderful place to wind down, relax and enjoy a holiday by the sea.

Hope Cove is about four hours by road from Portsmouth.

By 1400 on Friday afternoon we have the Club RHIB moored for the week at Inner Hope giving us easy access to South Devon wrecksites, such as the Maine and the Persier. The rest of the party arrive during the afternoon and evening.
 
Saturday 21 May is a cloudy, calm day. We dive the SS Maine, which is about 2 nautical miles from Hope Cove and a convenient work up dive for the boat and the divers. This merchantman was sunk by torpedo in 1917 while on passage from London to Philadelphia. She is an intact wreck sitting upright in 32m. The visibility is good with no sign of the plankton bloom that was in evidence during our previous visit in 2010. Martin sets up his portable compressor in the back garden. This provides air for diving all week and avoids the inconvenience of daily trips to Plymouth to charge cylinders.
  
Sunday 22 May is windy and although sunny the conditions are too rough for boat diving. Some elect to travel by car to Plymouth for shore diving at Eastern Kings. Others enjoy a rest day flying kites, juggling and playing with a frisbee.
 

 

During the weekend of 10-12 May 2011, 14 members of SSAC dived on the unique Norman's Bay cannon wreck from the club RIB.

The wreck site comprises 42 large cannon, an anchor and other artefacts and is believed to be from the early 1700s. The identity of the ship remains a mystery but is possibly the wreck of HMS Resolution. The Norman's Bay wreck site was discovered in 2005 and is protected under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. However, permission to dive under a visitor license can be arranged through the Nautical Archaeology Society - Norman's Bay Wreck.

Over the last year, several SSAC divers have been assisting the NAS with wreck site surveys and the creation of a diver trail which is now fully installed. At a maximum depth of 12m, this trip was the perfect opportunity for other divers of all levels to try out the diver trail and get 'blown away' by the size of the magnificent cannons - some three metres long.

Taking our own club RIB was easy, mooring overnight at Sovereign Marina, Eastbourne and running shuttles from the beach at Norman's Bay throughout the day and camping overnight at a site just across the road from the beach.

Unfortunately, the visibility wasn't conducive to good photos, so here are a few from a visit last year.

mt_gallery:Norman's Bay

2013 Calendar PhotosCongratulations to those SSAC divers whose images were voted by club members to appear in the 2013 SSAC calendar. There were three categories: marine life, club trips and wrecks. Part of the profits from the calendars sold will be donated to the RNLI.

 

14 July 2012

Martin Davies Head to HeadSSAC's Diving Office Martin Davies is becoming well known for his success at the British Underwater Photography Championships and this year he again scooped the prize for the most humorous award with this image of a diver going head to head with an inquisitive cuckoo wrasse.

Martin wins a Buddy BCD of his choice courtesy of prize sponsors AP Valves.

Escorted wreck tour with Mike Ward and Bagpuss - MY Hurricane (Feb 11).

Members of SSAC joined MY Hurricane at Sharm El Sheikh in the days immediately following the recent Egyptian revolution to indulge in a week of fabulous wreck diving. We made the most of this quiet time and were the only boat at all of the dive sites. Mirror calm seas, great wrecks and a pleasant 23C water temperature made a welcome change from the cold chill of the UK winter and diver training in quarries.

Itinerary

Day 1-- Emperor Fraser, Kimon M, Giannis D, Abu Nuhas Reef

Day 2 - Chrisoula K, Carnatic, The Barge (2 dives)

Day 3 - Rosalie Moller (2 dives)

Day 4 - Rosalie Moller (2 dives), The Barge (night dive)

Day 5 – Ulysses, Kingston, Thistlegorm, (2 dives)

Day 6 - Thistlegorm, Shark & Yeolanda

Download David Purvis's comprehensive trip report with an account of the trip, many photos, as well as historical, structural and other information on the wrecks.