Ian Booth

Hi, I’m Ian Booth and live a few minutes away from Robin Hood in Liversedge and unfortunately nearer 60 than 50 but think I have managed to retain my youthful looks better than some of the self-proclaimed “younger???” members.

Dived since?

I remember watching Jacques Cousteau as a child on tv diving in exotic places and thought I quite fancy that. It wasn’t until 2013 whilst on holiday in Cyprus that there was a try dive session in the hotel pool. My wife persuaded me to have a go, followed shortly afterwards by my children and wife. We had a couple of “proper” dives later, then on my return to the UK I started my diving education.

Member since?

The dive shop introduced me to the club late in 2016 but I didn’t join until 2017. Whilst the club does not do any formal training the members are very helpful and share tips and knowledge with me to help improve my diving.

Favourite UK dive site?

I haven’t done much UK diving but it is either up at Capernwray or off the North East coast around the Farnes.

Funniest narcosis moment?

Never really gone deep enough to experience the joys of narcosis. My air doesn’t last long enough for it to affect me.

Qualifications?

Advanced Open Water at the moment but have enrolled on Nitrox course and looking to complete my Deep Dive speciality this year so I can experience Nitrogen and Oxygen Narcosis in a certified manner.

What’s the best thing you’ve seen whilst diving?

The odd shark, Conga Eels and some beautiful corals.

How often do you dive?

Try to get a good few dives in somewhere hot in the summer holidays then a few trips away with the dive club to keep the skills up to speed and see the gloom of the North Sea or a sunken boat in Capernwray.

Who is your go-to dive buddy?

The slowest person to put their hand up to say they already have a dive buddy. Finding a dive buddy in the club isn’t a problem.

What would you like to share with people who are considering scuba diving?

Have a go, if you don’t like at least you’ve tried it. If you do like it learn how to lie convincingly to your partner on how much time and money you will be spending on your hobby.

 

Andrew Lamb

Hi, I’m Andrew, I live in the Wakefield area and clinging on to my 40s.

How long have you been diving?

A late starter to scuba, my first dive was in Blue Lagoon June 2010.

What made you want to become a scuba diver?

It was a chance conversation with a work colleague driving back from a meeting in Reading. “We’re off for a try dive tomorrow, want to come?”

Time with the Club?

I joined the club in 2010 not long after my Open Water training and soon found lots of buddies to go diving with.

Favourite UK dive site?

My Favourite UK dive site has got to be the Farnes, diving with the seals and a pint in The Ship, what more could you ask for?

Funniest narcosis moment?

Whilst not funny at the time, the loss of a weight pouch at 30 meters was followed by the biggest lead hunt you ever did see. With pockets full of rocks and fishing tackle I made it safely back on to Allan Lopez’s boat Spellbinder II.

Qualifications?

Coming through the PADI route I’m happy with Advanced Open Water, Deep and Nitrox, everything you need for that all important Egypt liveaboard.

What’s the best thing you’ve seen whilst diving?

My best spot was a large shoal of Hammerheads that circled their way up from the depths of Daedalus and gave us a spectacular display.

How often do you dive?

Not often enough!

Who is your go-to dive buddy?

My divelog software puts Paul Marsden as my most frequent buddy but he’s closely followed by Phil Armitage and Steve Free.

What would you like to share with people who are considering scuba diving?

Just do it! It’s such a privileged experience to dive with the wonderful wildlife you can see beneath the waves.

Liz Saville

Hi, I’m Liz, I live in Huddersfield and I’m only 43.

Member since?

2002

Dived since?

2002

Number of Dives?

1390

Qualifications?

PADI trimix 65, TDI cavern diver and BSAC rebreather mod 1

What started you diving?

I was climbing in Spain and it snowed, so I went to the coast and did a try dive….never looked back.

Best dive?

Tricky one this…it’s either Truk lagoon or my dive with a whale shark and giant mantas in Socorro, Mexico. I cried.

Ambition?

To dive Bikini Atoll

Funniest narcosis moment?

There are too many…..but the original ‘isn’t it funny how so many shipwrecks are close to the rocks’ is hard to beat.

How often do I dive?

As often as possible, although I’m getting more choosy in the winter.

Best piece of dive kit?

Thermalution heated vest.

Best buddy?

My hubby Tim.

Farnes Weekend, 8th & 9th September, £130

The weekend Farnes trip includes two days diving from William Shiel’s hard boat, lift, ‘toilet’ and tea-coffee provided. We stay in Springhill Farm’s wonderful lookout bunk house. These modern rooms have ensuite bathrooms and offer warm, comfy accommodation. We often bbq with a backdrop of the stunning sea view if the weather allows. The diving is mostly in the recreational range of 15-20m and we will pick scenic dives with good likelihood of seal interaction. Lobbies, ling and the usual suspects guaranteed. More to follow when the trip opens.

http://www.springhill-farm.co.uk/the-lookout/

Trip Sec: Liz Saville – 07710 432929

Cost: £130.00

Trip Opens: 7th June

Weekend Trip Report from Sebastian Seal

October is a busy season for us. Lots of people come to the Farne Islands to use our underwater rehabilitation services. Humans have very sad dreary lives on land as I understand it and so it is our duty and pleasure to welcome them into our underwater environment to play with them and generally make them feel like their existence has some meaning. We have a special deal with William Shiel in particular to do this work, although he was maybe taking the piss a bit this weekend when he brought 34 divers out on one incredibly crowded boat, but we’ll have a word with him about this at a later date. He may need to supply more fish if he’s going to work us that hard.

The other boat load however were a jolly crew of 18 or 20 – I lost count and they didn’t seem to have a clue themselves – from Robin Hood Dive Club. This lot seemed like a professional outfit although one of them called Jared seemed to prefer having more water in his suit than outside of it. They also had some potential new members with them called Julie, Alexandra and Andy who seemed a friendly bunch, smiling a lot and blowing bubbles all over the place. There was one barking mad chap who apparently never wears a hood – I think Jonathan is his name – he must feel the cold less than we do so maybe he’s half seal. There was also a bloke called Ben who I think may have moved in with one of our sexier seals in the colony here – he seems to be around a lot anyhow – the less said about that the better.

So we did our thing – we dutifully chewed everyone’s fins, particularly the bright coloured ones, as that seems to be what humans like….besides its funny to creep up behind them in stealth mode and then bugger off really quickly before they can take a photo. They’re not that agile in the water so we can run rings round them generally. We put on a good show this weekend though I say it myself – we called in all the reserves and we were everywhere, dancing, twirling and looking cute and doe-eyed. We let people tickle us and we even had a threesome with the blubbery one called Ruth – that was fun as she just kept screaming “I don’t like it!”.

So job done we watched them all get back on board after two great dives – have to say that lift thing they have is definitely something we should look into – it’s hard getting back onto our rocks, particularly when we have a lot of winter blubber – might have a word with William about getting one installed on some of the main islands. Always sad to see them all go – particularly as their season is coming to a close because they can’t hack the cold. Come back next year guys – get Johnny to organise another trip. We’ll miss you until then xx

Let Me Out!

If I was a student of psychology I would get a job at an escape room immediately. How much fun do those voyeurs have that watch the gamers and type cast everyone so quickly into doers, non-doers, and people who like being locked up and playing with padlocks.

Even though my team was locked in a room with Johnny for an hour it was actually quite good fun to watch intelligent folk solving a myriad of tricky mind-twisters whilst Barry just struggled stacking a few stools to form a pattern.

Obviously having so many bondage experts in our team paid off as we broke free just within the allotted time to find a surprisingly empty hallway meaning we were triumphant. Team Keith emerged flustered and frustrated a few minutes later making transparently pathetic excuses that their room was harder, to cover up for the fact they had failed spectacularly to escape. Team Tim arrived shortly after looking equally forlorn followed by the organisers muttering something about interventions in arguments, whatever that meant.

Released back into the wild of Saturday night Leeds we then somewhat psychologically predictably downed lots of pints, sucked stringy noodles in Trinity Kitchen and some of us danced the night away before risking life n limb in death-defying taxis.

If I was a psychology student I could have gone on this splendid Tick Tock Escape room night out and got a first for my resulting thesis. Thanks Keith for locking us all up and not letting us out.

Dunbar – The windy city

Dunbar, a magical place in Scotland with castles, big rocks covered in bird poo, Tennent’s lager, a cement factory and a nuclear power station but nowhere to get your cylinders filled!

Friday afternoon and off we go to the land of said ‘bird poo rock’ with more cylinders than you can shake a stick at. Perhaps a few too many for Tim judging by the blowout, oops!

Tyre repairs aside our buddy pairs start arriving at the Pine Marten Pub & Hotel for some well-deserved food & beer. We’ve delicacies such a gourmet burgers, best gammon, rotisserie chicken and of course Bob’s enormous Tupperware box of sandwiches. All that topped off with peanuts and Peroni made for a great night out.

 

Saturday arrives with the sun shining but a breeze that limits our options somewhat. We plum for the Isle of May and manage a couple of reasonable dives. I think we were meant

 

to find wreckage and boilers on dive one but Steve & I must have read the map wrong. Never mind, by the time we’re on dive two Steve found an angler fish (which was the highlight for me) and Liz found an octopus. Another highlight was to be found topside, we saw the UK’s new Aircraft Carrier out on her maiden sea trials.

 

Our skipper Steve Haddow of Shadow Marine took great care of us on his Swiftcat catamaran ‘Mako’ which was a smashing boat. He’d been keeping a close eye on the weather report and come the end of the day we called it for the Sunday, the breeze we’d had was more likely to be a gale by morning.

Back ashore and we unload (in more ways than one), Andy manages to upset the locals by peeing in the car park. “I’ve taken his reg. and phoned the Police” an irate lady informs me. So we dash to the pub to avoid a run-in with the law but chaos ensues and we end up in two different pubs with two groups of divers grumbling about how this came about and whose fault it is (least said the better).

After a quick scrub and polish, we’re out on the town and surprise surprise enjoying food & drink again. This time we’re in Dunbar’s finest Italian restaurant “Umberto’s“. I think we may have been a bit tiddly by the end judging by the tip we gave our waitress Sarah (we didn’t have to pay for her entire gap trip – Tim!).

Sunday as predicted was very breezy so scattered by the winds we separated out with some going straight home, others off to some salmon smokery and the rest for a brisk walk and another visit to Umberto’s.

A smashing weekend away, thanks to all that came.

 

Wreck wombling weekend

When Gary, aka Great Uncle Bulgaria – the oldest and wisest of the Wimbledon Wombles and their leader, asked if anybody wanted to help clean the Glanmire wreck of rubbish, we wombles jumped at the chance. Little did we know that temperatures would plunge to below freezing and Angus, the first named storm of the year would be threatening us out in the North Sea. James,aka Tobermory – an engineer,  a skilled inventor, and avid diver tooled himself up with a variety of cutting implements and was chomping at the bit to get started on the clean up. He excitedly told us of his vast array of lift bags and clips as we planned our operation in Oblos on Friday night.
Sadly Jake, aka Orinoco – who loves sleep and food, was snowed in and didn’t make the first dive on Saturday so there was plenty of room on deck and we braced the -3 degrees and set out as the sun came up over the cliffs.

Chris, aka Tomsk – an athletic Womble, discovered that ‘slack’ doesn’t always mean slack and reappeared at the surface puffing and panting, with tales of endurance and exhaustion. He must have been delerious because he kept mentioning something about a train.

It turns out that wombling at 32m in the dark with a raging current is quite tiring and shortly every body was back onboard , empty handed and empty tanked.

Dive two was more successful and shortly after descending James sent up a lift bag. Attached was a mere tonne of tangled rope which took four of us to haul on board. This manoeuvre was expertly executed by Douggie, the toughest and most agile 73 year old I know. We were momentarily concerned that James was in fact wrapped up inside but it turned out to be just a couple of gasping fish which we duly rescued.

By 8.30 pm we were all fed and watered and ready for bed, thanks to the early start, and everybody had turned in by 9pm! (Good little wombles).

Uncle Bulgaria was really looking after us and on Sunday morning we were greeted by a radiator festooned with warm, dry, gloves. This was a bonus seeing as it was so cold the mask bucket had frozen solid and we had to salt the deck! Liz , Andy and Chris opted for a dive on Anemone Gullies, and enjoyed 55 mins of exploration, flat fish and lobbies whilst down on the wreck some serious wombling was going on! Tim and James launched several creels to the surface, whilst Bob and Tom sensibly kept their distance. Luckily all wombling bags and divers made it safely back on board and enjoyed hot coffee and an odd biscuit or two to warm through.

Following the fourth and final dive we arrived back in Eyemouth harbour to unload our wombling haul, which was actually quite impressive (see photo) and we celebrated with a ‘healthy portion’ of fish and chips.

Learning points of the weekend:

1. Tides are unpredictable.

2. It’s bloomin’ cold in November in Scotland.

3. Pruning saws are not that effective on rope under water.

4. An 18l cylinder is not such a daft idea.

5. An empty twinset is very bouyant.

Thanks Gary and Zoe for the usual hospitality, and to all the junior wombles for making it a great wreck wombling weekend.

Farnes – The Final Frontier

A final trip report : Farnes 22nd October 2016

Last trip of the season and there we were on the steps at Seahouses contemplating the waves INSIDE the harbour. Two divers said feck it and went back home which meant the rest of us had a lovely big empty-ish boat to roll around in. Having tossed and turned around a few islands with Timmy excitedly saying “we can get in there no problem” and the rest of us saying “we can’t get out of there – big problem” we ended up somewhere with a bit of kelp and some randy seals. Never has Mr Seal been so frisky, pressing poor Barry to the seabed by climbing on top of him (it was a relatively small seal) and ferociously biting at hoses, mask and suit. Back on the boat we heard that three divers on another boat had their suits punctured. Whilst most managed a respectable 40 minutes in the murk, Graham made a couple of new friends and spent a very impressive 63 minutes doing god knows what with naughty Mr Seal. His SMB looked like Robinson Crusoe’s trousers by the time they’d finished, but Graham didn’t care – he was in love.
After we’d broken the boat with an alarming bang at lunchtime, we then attempted a second dive despite murmurings of “pub” because we are after all a dive club, not a drinking club. With the boat belching steam and not sounding healthy we then rolled back to the Ship Inn to get shit-faced……and that my friends was the Club season closed.
Thanks as always to the trip secretaries – Tim, Ruth, Liz, Barry and everyone else who did everything that needed to be done – oh and thanks to the King of Delegation – myself – even though I’ve not even written this. This years crown for worst trip sec ever goes to……….

Roll on next year.

Newbie Thoughts on Anglesey

3rd dive trip and still the newbie in the club, excited and raring to go, not had much information on the plan or where to stay, everyone else seems to just ‘know’, turns out its not magic, it’s just our illustrious trip sec having the wrong number for me…………………twice!

So after the near heart attack inducing set off time to make an 8am ropes off on Saturday, a quick ring round from Tim secured 3 rooms in the Auckland Arms for the Friday night, unsure why; but Tim felt the need to ring and ask if I wanted a ‘Sub room’ (read closet) in one of the main rooms to save the princely sum of £5, unsurprisingly I declined.

Friday night rolls around and I am very kindly (and comfortably) whisked down the M6 with Mr and Mrs Dive Club in the A-Team Van, making good time thanks to a perfectly executed plan to avoid a major accident on the M56. A few swift jars in the Auckland to wash down the emergency McDonalds and we’re soon all calling it a night.

Saturday morning, cloudy, slight chill but on the whole can’t complain at the weather, trip down to Beaumaris the boats ready and waiting, with Graham and Jared already arrived after what I believe was 2:30am start to drive down that morning, not hanging around everyone’s loaded and ready to go. Odd dive boat, but weirdly endearing, nice and cosy but that can mostly be put down to the 3 huge boxes from the faff brigade and all their paraphernalia.

1st dive is the 32m+ SS Delfina, great dive, my first on it, never really had a clue what I was looking at, but was impressive all the same. Fantastic visibility, even though it feels dark but almost tropical compared to the St Abbs east coast temperature 2 weeks prior.

2nd dive, another first for me, a drift, Steve and I saw lots of life but apparently missed ‘a huge stacked pile of dog fish’ seen by others, was good fun being taken for a ride, no pun intended. Keith and Amanda comfortably won the distance race.

Having finished earlier than expected, a quick beer onsite and dropping cylinders off, most headed to the rooms, I ended up billy no mates drinking (I think that’s the first sign of alcoholism) watching England vs Malta. Table booked for 7pm at Bocca, all arrived in good spirits and had a great meal [from my perspective at least]. Copious amounts of Red wine was consumed by most, which meant I was left in peace with my bottle of white! Must be an age thing!

Day 2, The Cartagena wreck, around 30m, good vis and a pleasure to dive, made it round a couple of times, loads of life, and some huge Pollock. Dive 2, not sure where it was or what you’d even call it, we were told to go South-East, Steve & I didn’t see much except a lone dog fish and some flat fish, still enjoyable, others saw more I believe.

Now backing up an hour or so, sun blaring, spirits high after a great 1st dive, hobnobbed up, heading back inland…………yet another (2 from 3 for me) pod of dolphins! Circled around for a good 20-30minutes, no abundance of acrobatic theatre, certainly in comparison to St Abbs a fortnight before, but 1 particular fella had his weetabix that morning with the highest breach I’ve ever seen, almost seemingly pausing for a photo at his peak. You’d think with some many photographers on board it would be have been caught, but alas, not this time.

Round Up: Fantastic weekend, both top side and under.

Chris

It’s a Dogs Life

Trip Report by Lady, Club Dog

St Abbs 24th & 25th September 2016
with Barry Shaw, Ruth Hair, Chris Handley, Graham Watters, Sheelagh Kay, Stuart Fox, Tim Saville, Liz Saville, Andy J Batley, Bev Batley.

I love it when Auntie Wooof turns up in her big van on a Friday – its means we’re going on an adventure which spices up my very dull life going to work at Mars Petfood factory every day with Daddy. Even though we drive a long way, the journeys not too bad because we stop somewhere where they pass food through the window which is fab. After that we stopped at a pub in Coldingham which said I was welcome in the lounge bar, so welcome that the lovely lovely lady who worked there gave me a whole plate of roast beef. This meant I had to stamp on Auntie Wooof’s face in the middle of the night so she’d let me out because my tummy’s not used to piles of roast beef so late at night you know.

Anyhow – next morning I checked out all my favourite places on the harbour whilst everyone got in their funny suits. I’d been up at the harbour the weekend before launching the lifeboat and being a V.I.D. but not drinking prosecco as I’m a dog and it tickles my nose, so I have lots of favourite places to go and sniff and everyone knows me. Sniffing done, I went back to bed for a snooze whilst Auntie Wooof and Daddy and their friends went off on the boat and did two dives near the lighthouse and at West Hurker. If they’d walked on the cliff top instead they’d have seen lots of bunnies, but they seemed happy that they’d seen loads of lobbies and stuff – great viz as well, whatever that means. They were raving about seeing a massive pod of dolphins which they apparently followed up the coast – a bit like me chasing bunnies I suppose. The dolphins were playing and jumping out of the water – bunnies don’t do this. I prefer bunnies. Dolphins don’t have fur or legs apparently – they sound very strange and really not at all like bunnies.

Lunchtime was good as Euan showed us all around the lifeboat station and I got to give the boat a good sniff close up – it’s very big and orange and smells salty. Everyone seemed quite emotional about it and Euan seemed very proud of everything that has happened to get the boat there. I felt very V.I.D. again as lots of people had taken photos of me on launch day with my special Lifeboat t-Shirt on.

That evening was the best night out ever. The very kind lady at the pub had set us up in a special room so I could sit at the head of the table with my own water bowl and another plate of roast beef. I also had lamb shank, chips and a few veg. It was lovely. Bit disappointed I got no beer. Everyone else seemed to have lots of beer. We had a jolly evening with our new friends Arf and Joren from Holland – no idea if that’s how you spell their names but I’m a dog so I can get away with it.

Next day was another lovely day and everyone headed out early to dive Black Carrs which looked a bit lumpy and wavy to me, but was apparently OK underneath – what do I know – I can’t even swim well. Then it was lunchtime and I tried to train Eddie, the on-site Labrador, how to climb on the table and eat people’s sandwiches whilst looking cute, but he just carried his bowl around in his mouth and looked smugly superior. I like him, but he needs to be naughtier – he’ll get more treats that way. Next dive was Bander Reef along the coast near Fast Castle. Auntie Wooof raved about being in a beautiful place and not wanting to come up, she’s so over emotional sometimes.

And that was it – back on the road again with Daddy snoring and Auntie Wooof doing ALL the driving as usual. I had a fantastic weekend. St Abbs is a very special place and the people there are all lovely – I hope we go back soon. I am very lucky to be Club Dog.