You can also read interesting articles published by members here. Check out the latest article on how the spare propeller on the SS Maine was raised back in 1983 (article reproduced from DIVER magazine, courtesy of Terry Blackmore).
22 September 2021
The side-scan sonar on TD1 does seem to be working now, but we need to fix the transducer bracket as soon as the tides allow us to get the boat up on the slipway.
We need to start the Ocean Diver theory lessons soon. One idea is to do a lesson at the rugby club before each Wednesday evening social meeting starts. Feedback on your availability welcome. Unfortunately, the deep pool at Sea & Sea in Paignton is no longer available for us to use, so Adrian is currently trying to find an alternative pool.
15 September 2021
We had an excellent dive behind Flat Rock last Saturday with decent visibility and lots to see, including several congers and more lobsters than I've ever seen on a single dive. We also saw some small jewel anemones, with a baby cuttlefish (?) swimming above them. Unfortunately, no one had a decent camera on them to document this. Incidentally, there's now a short video on our Facebook page from the Mohegan dive that some of us did in July.
The echo sounder on TD1 is mostly working, but we think the transducer needs some attention (the side-scan didn't seem to work). A new bracket has been purchased and needs to be fitted when possible.
Another reminder about all the diving cylinders stored in the Compressor Room. If you have cylinders there that are not in regular use, please collect them and take them home. Any cylinders that are unidentified and out of test will be disposed of (it's possible that some of these belong to people who are no longer members).
The Splash-in competition had a write-up in the new issue of SCUBA magazine (which also carries an interesting article from Terry Griffiths on photo kit). And I have been asked to send in a couple of the winning photos to the Torbay Weekly newspaper.
8 September 2021
The Committee met this evening to discuss finding a replacement for TD1 and how to finance this. If we are serious about upgrading our dive boat, we need to raise our monthly revenues to pay for it. At the moment, we are barely covering our expenses and yet we are quite a bit cheaper than alternative options for local diving. A few years ago, the membership fees were significantly reduced to attract more members, but this hasn't actually worked. It is now felt that the key to attracting more members is to provide better diving facilities, including a more comfortable hardboat (i.e. it has a lift) and which has a greater range (i.e. speed) to reach a wider variety of dive sites.
Consequently, the Committee has decided to increase the branch membership fee to £18 per month (or £210 per year), effective from 1 November. We have also decided to increase the dive fees to £10 for the first dive (second dives will continue to be £5 for now). Dive tokens remain at £5 each. This comes into effect immediately. As we see a bit more revenue come in, the options for acquiring a new boat should become clearer, and we can put a realistic plan in place to deliver this.
There are currently too many diving cylinders being stored in the Compressor Room. If you have cylinders there that are not in regular use, please collect them and take them home. And any cylinders that are out of test should be emptied and removed ASAP.
The Splash-in competition had a write-up in Underwater Photographer this month and I have been asked to send in a couple of the winning photos to Devon Life magazine.
1 September 2021
Committee members had an informal discussion at last night's social meeting about finding a replacement for TD1. This was prompted by the availability of a recently refurbished, 28' hardboat that has a lift and can do 15 - 20 knots. Although the price is attractive, there are several big drawbacks, so it looks like this boat is not for us. However, if we are serious about upgrading our dive boat, we need to think about how we would finance such a purchase. Even if we rely on offers of interest-free loans from some members, we still need to raise our revenue in order to pay back any such loans. A full Committee meeting will be held next Wednesday to review the options.
Brad Allard has joined as another Ocean Diver trainee.
You can now read about the Splash-in competition on our website. Copies of the report have also been sent to a number of diving magazines and local media.
25 August 2021
Ocean Diver pool training started for 4 new trainees last Sunday. We welcome to the club Sera Karamshuk.
A report (with pictures) on the Splash-in competition will be available on our website soon (I'm just waiting for some of the winners to comment on their photos). An early copy has already been sent to SCUBA magazine after they requested it yesterday.
18 August 2021
The rugby club bar was open tonight, so things seem to be returning to normal.
Splash-in 2021 took place on Saturday and was very successful. We had a booth set up on Beacon Quay for the whole day, which attracted quite a bit of interest (especially the two mannikins showing the evolution of diving equipment over 50 years). 16 competitors submitted a total of 65 photographs, which considering the poor vis conditions, was a good result. As usual, some of the entries were extremely good - you can see the winning photos on our website (http://www.torbay-bsac.co.uk/gallery/splash-in-gallery). Congratulations to Terry Griffiths who won first prize in the close-up category. The evening dinner and presentation at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club was attended by over 30 people and Peter Rowlands (editor of Underwater Photography magazine) did a splendid job as judge. Thanks to all those who helped out with the booth and the evening event.
We welcomed another new member tonight: Mark Waldron has experience as a military qualified diver and intends to join our Diver Leader course.
Ocean Diver pool training sessions for 3 (possibly 4) trainees will start this Sunday 22 August.
We have been asked to comment on (and potentially endorse) a proposal to build a seaweed farm in Torbay (close to the scallop farm area). Have a look at the attached brochure and feed comments back to us. Apparently, the farm could be a potential new dive site, especially if it will act as a fish nursery.
11 August 2021
The rugby club bar was closed tonight, but I've been told that it will be open again next week.
Torbay Splash-in 2021 will be taking place this Saturday. So far, 14 competitors have entered and we may get a few more last minute entries. The evening dinner and presentation at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club has about 30 people booked to attend, so it should be a good evening. And, unlike the last two years, the weather in Torbay looks reasonable for diving.
Ocean Diver pool training sessions will be starting on Sunday 22 August.
The proposal to build 5 tourist accommodation huts (and a kiosk) in Beacon Cove was approved at the planning hearing on 9 August, despite many objections being lodged. There has been some local media coverage, highlighting the unpopularity of the project with local residents.
4 August 2021
The rugby club bar was open tonight, so hopefully, service will now resume as normal.
We welcome Joshua Hobson to the club as an Ocean Diver trainee. We have already signed up two more Ocean Diver trainees and have expressions of interest from at least three more. Adrian will be starting the course as soon as we get the pool booked for some training sessions.
Last weekend's trip to Porthkerris was a great success with 7 members camping on the edge of the beach. A beach dive on the Friday was followed up by two dives from the Celtic Kitten charter on the Manacles classic wreck dives, the Mohegan and the Volnay. Many thanks to Richard for organising this, to Dave (and Sally) for providing Friday night dinner, and everyone else who provided fry-ups, drinks, and good company.
TD1 has a new starter motor (thanks to Granville for fitting that). As part of the boat start-up procedure, Coxs should first check the water level in the bilge and if it is too high, pump out the bilge water first before starting the engine (it may be that the flywheel has been spraying bilge water over the starter motor, leading to its premature demise). The old starter motor is being repaired as a spare (and we should get a diagnosis for why it failed). The replacement bracket for the echo sounder transponder has also arrived.
The Splash-in evening event at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club on 14 August is only a week and a half away. Contact Jenny to book tickets. We need to confirm numbers with the caterer no later than next Tuesday.
The Compressor Room was in a very sorry state - please try to keep it tidy and clean after a dive. Many thanks to Margaret who went in and did a major clean-up.
The proposal to build 5 tourist accommodation huts (and a kiosk) in Beacon Cove has resurfaced with a planning hearing on 9 August. To avert the threat to the adjacent seagrass meadows, the proposals have been tweaked so that waste water will now go into the mains sewer rather than treated on site and then into the sea. However, local residents are questioning the appropriateness of overnight accommodation in the cove. To find out more, visit the Council planning website at https://www.torbay.gov.uk (Application P/2019/1023).
28 July 2021
The rugby club bar is still closed due to the staff isolating because of Covid. In the meantime, we'll continue to meet there, but be prepared to bring your own refreshment.
We ran a Try Dive last Sunday with two participants. Thanks to Adrian and Cathy who took them in. We have already signed up two Ocean Diver trainees and will be starting a course as soon as we have one or two more. We welcome Martin Richardson and Jack Dixon to the club.
TD1 has a new starter motor that will be fitted in the next few days. A replacement bracket for the echo sounder transponder has been ordered.
The Splash-in evening event at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club on 14 August is now confirmed. The proposed menu is similar to last year, lasagne (with veggie option) plus a dessert. Tickets are now on sale at the social meeting or contact Jenny.
21 July 2021
The social meeting took place as usual this week in the grounds of the rugby club. Unfortunately, the bar is still closed due to the staff isolating because of Covid. The clubhouse manager has promised to let me know as soon as they are able to reopen, but in the meantime, we'll continue as we are (perhaps be prepared to bring your own refreshment).
This Sunday (25th) we are planning to run another Try-Dive. Contact Adrian for more information.
Splash-in is on 14 August, just 3 weeks away. If you would like to book tickets for the evening dinner and prize presentation, please let Jenny know. Tickets are now on sale.
For the Splash-in day kiosk on the quay, I'm planning to display some old and new diving equipment, featuring some old dive gear from the 70's that has been donated, saved and scavenged. What I'm missing at the moment is an old oval mask (or maybe one of those fancy 3-paned jobs), plus an old straight snorkel. Some old neoprene bootees would also help. So if you have some antique diving junk lying around and would be willing to donate these items, I can put them to good use.
14 July 2021
Last Sunday we ran a Try-Dive for 5 people, several of whom expressed an interest in joining an Ocean Diver training course. Thanks to Adrian for organising this and to Kevin and Matt for helping out. Several people who had signed up cancelled (something to do with a tennis match), so we will be running another Try-Dive on Sunday 25 July.
We gained another new member tonight. Welcome to Dave Scrutton, who is a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and plans to join our ongoing Sports Diver training.
TD1 has been getting some attention. Jerry is looking into fitting a replacement starter motor and probably new batteries. Many thanks to Ann Andrews who made a very generous donation towards the costs. We also need to replace the sonar transponder bracket and possibly acquire a new transponder.
Don't forget that Splash-in is scheduled for 14 August, just one month away. We have had some competitors book in already and publicity so far has been good, with sponsorship from OonasDivers and O'Three.
7 July 2021
Two Try-Dive sessions are being held this Sunday (11 July) at 3pm and 4pm. Contact Adrian to see if spaces are still available or if you are able to help.
Reminder: to get on a Dive List for the following week, you either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend, email here as soon as possible to get on the Dive List.
30 June 2021
Dive Leader training in the Sea & Sea pool was conducted today. Adrian may be available for further training drills on the following dates: 5, 7, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20 & 25 July. Contact him directly (or email here) to arrange for training dives.
Two Try-Dive sessions are now scheduled for Sunday 11 July at 3pm and 4pm. If you know of people who would like to join, contact Adrian to see if spaces are still available.
Another new member joined tonight. Welcome to Ann Andrews who is an experienced PADI Advanced Open Water Diver.
Earlier today I collected some lead weights that have been donated to the club from an ex-diver in Broadsands, as well as a couple of weight belts (from Pete Densham). If you need some lead, email us here and we can sort you out.
Reminder: to get on a Dive List for the following week, you either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend, email here as soon as possible to get on the Dive List.
23 June 2021
Dive Leader training in the Sea & Sea pool is still planned for 30 June. Contact Adrian for details.
A Try-Dive is tentatively scheduled for Saturday 10 July. If you know of people who would like to join, please email here.
Good news on Splash-in: Jenny has secured support again this year from O'Three who will sponsor the Compact Camera category. As well as paying the prize money, they have sent a voucher for a 50% discount on a new drysuit for the lucky winner in this category.
16 June 2021
If any of you know of anyone interested in learning to dive, please get in touch with Adrian who can arrange a Try-Dive or including them in Ocean Diver pool training. Dive Leader training in the Sea & Sea pool is currently planned for 30 June. Contact Adrian for details.
SCUBA Magazine this month carried a reminder about Torbay Splash-in in August.
9 June 2021
Our main sponsor from last year is not able to support us this year but might be persuaded to do so next year. Oonas are sponsoring the event.
We are trying to rustle up interest from would-be trainees. if any of you know of anyone interested to learn to dive please ask them to get in touch with Adrian who can arrange pool dives if there is sufficient interest from prospective trainees.
2 June 2021
We are now having our social meetings at the rugby club again. Tonight, we welcomed two new members - Chris Jordan and Zoe Sterland are both BSAC Dive Leaders and Open Water Instructors. .
We have potential dates for doing some of the Dive Leader drills in the Sea & Sea pool. These are Tues 22 June (morning and/or afternoon), Fri 25 June (afternoon only), Wed 30 June (morning and/or afternoon), and Thurs 1 July (afternoon only). Please let Adrian know which dates you can do.
The Bubbles pool is also now available to us, so I would like to organise some Try-Dives over the next couple of months, with the aim of recruiting some Ocean Diver trainees. Let me know if you have some potential candidates.
Richard's trip to Porthkerris in Cornwall is going ahead on the last weekend in July. The aim is to drive down Friday, do a shore dive, camp overnight and do a boat dive on the Saturday. If you are interested in joining us, contact Richard ASAP for more details because the boat is booking up quickly.
26 May 2021
We were finally able to resume our social meetings in person tonight, with a good turnout at the rugby club. We welcomed one new member - Jannike Smye is a BSAC Sports Diver (almost a Dive Leader) and has just become an Assistant Instructor.
Although the number of people able to meet outdoors has increased to 30, we would still like to limit the number on the boat to six for now to maintain social distancing as much as possible. We will review this regularly and modify as soon as we can.
Richard is organising a trip to Porthkerris in Cornwall on the last weekend in July. The aim is to drive down Friday, do a shore dive, camp overnight and possibly do a boat dive on the Saturday. If you are interested in joining, contact Richard ASAP for more details. The diving there is excellent, especially if we can get out on the Manacles to do the Mohegan or Vase Rock.
19 May 2021
We were still on Zoom this week, but I've been told by the rugby club that we can start meeting there again next week. I'll confirm early next week by email.
Good news on Splash-in 2021 - Jenny has secured sponsorship from Oonas Divers to cover the prizes for the Beginner category. Let's hope we can get some additional sponsors involved. And just this morning, someone has registered online as a competitor.
If you've been to Beacon Cove recently, you will have noticed that our poster on the underwater life has been removed. This is just temporary so that the Council can paint the wall there (a much needed improvement).
12 May 2021
Hopefully, this will have been our last social meeting on Zoom. After 17 May, meetings of groups of 6 people are allowed to meet indoors again and I'm told that the rugby club will be open, using the same precautions of tables of 6 that were in place last summer. I'll confirm with their clubhouse manager before next week's meeting invitation.
TD1 - the port hand bilge pump has now been repaired by Terry and the hand rail by Granville. No update on the compressor yet.
I have had a reply from the Harbour Master about accessing Beacon Cove for night dives. Basically, you have to be in before 9pm when the gate locks (summer time). There is a button to exit the gate when locked. I have added this information to our website.
5 May 2021
TD1 came up on the slipway last Friday and the anti-fouling paint was applied. With the new prop and clean hull, the speed has increased by about a knot, and the manoeuvrability is said to have improved somewhat.
The AGM took place last Thursday. There were no motions and the current Committee was re-elected. Minutes and the officers' reports will be available in due course.
There have been enquiries about accessing Beacon Cove for night dives (now that the gate is locked at night). This was discussed when the gate was being proposed, but a decision on how access could be granted was never taken. I have contacted the Harbour Master to ascertain what the procedure should be, but I'm still waiting for a reply.
Reminder: to get on a Dive List for the following week, you either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend (we are still on Zoom unfortunately), email here as soon as possible to get on the Dive List. After 17 May, hopefully we will be able to hold our social meetings at the rugby club again.
28 April 2021
This Friday, TD1 will come up on the slipway again and a work party has been arranged to apply the anti-fouling paint.
The AGM will take place tomorrow (Thursday 29 April). Please try to join to ensure that we get a quorum. A Zoom invitation has been sent out to all full members. If you've not received this, or would like to join, please email here ASAP.
Splash-in 2021 is now scheduled for 14 August, with the evening event being held at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club. We are pleased to announce that Peter Rowlands has again agreed to judge the competition. Our website is now live for competitors to sign up and we have announced the date on both Facebook and Instagram.
21 April 2021
The next TD1 work party has been rescheduled to Friday 30 April when the anti-fouling and top coat paint will be applied.
The AGM will still take place on Thursday 29 April. Please try to join. A Zoom invitation will be sent out early next week.
Splash-in 2021 is in the early planning stage and we believe we have secured our usual judge. The date has not yet been finalised, since it depends on the availability of the RTYC for the evening event. I have a meeting with them tomorrow and hopefully we can get this finalised.
14 April 2021
TD1 came up on the slip today for the hull to be pressure washed and scraped, and to fit the new prop and anodes. A second TD1 work party is scheduled for 28 April when the anti-fouling and top coat paint will be applied. Reminder: the AGM will now take place on Thursday 29 April. I believe I now have all the Dive Logs from last year, but if you do still have one, please get it to me ASAP so that the 2020 data is correct for the AGM.
A new A-flag has been acquired to replace the old tatty one (to match the splendour of the newly painted boat!).
We are now starting to plan for Splash-in 2021. Depending on availability of a venue for the evening event, we are looking at Saturday 17 July as a suitable date (HW around midday and fairly neapish tides). As soon as we can confirm the date, the information will go back up on the website.
Reminder: to get on a Dive List for the following week, you either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend (we are still on Zoom unfortunately), email here as soon as possible to get on the Dive List.
7 April 2021
Good news! The old compressor has been sold and was collected from the Compressor Room on Tuesday by the buyer (a paintball company from Lincoln). Many thanks to Jenny and Nick who negotiated the deal and to Terry who sorted out the collection. We are looking at an adjustment to the settings on the new compressor so that it can reach working pressures more quickly.
Although diving from TD1 has recommenced, high winds and poor vis caused dives over the Easter weekend to be cancelled. The time was used instead to continue the refurbishment of TD1. The rear deck space and floor have now been repainted, along with some cosmetic upgrades in the cabin. TD1 will come up on the slip next Wednesday for pressure washing, upper hull primer painting, and fitting the new prop and anodes. A second TD1 work party is scheduled for 28 April when the anti-fouling and top coat paint will be applied. The AGM will now take place on Thursday 29 April.
The oxygen cylinder has now been tested and a new valve fitted. Thanks to Richard and Paul who arranged the transport to Tony.
After the concerns raised by the proposed development at Beacon Cove, awareness of the Torbay seagrass beds has increased considerably. I have been copied into ongoing correspondence with the operator of the big new high-speed RIB that will be taking tourists out into the bay soon. Thankfully, one of the Directors (and the Cox) has responded very positively to reassure people that he is very well qualified, and they plan to be a responsible operator in the bay environment. They have modified their route slightly to stay away from the mapped seagrass beds, and intend to educate their customers about the marine environment in the bay. I shall be contacting him to acquaint him with our diving activities and show him TD1 so that he knows to look out for SMBs around us.
Reminder: to get on a Dive List for the following week, you either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend (we are still on Zoom unfortunately), email here as soon as possible to get on the Dive List.
31 March 2021
Diving from TD1 has recommenced, now that restrictions have been lifted for outdoor exercise, although we are still limited to 6 people on board with appropriate social distancing. I have started taking Dive Lists again for the following diving week. You either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend (we are still on Zoom unfortunately), email here as soon as possible to get on the Dive List.
Work on refurbishing TD1 continues, with painting of the white rear deck areas to be done after the weekend. The hand bilge pumps are also being repaired. TD1 will come up on the slip on 14 April for pressure washing, upper hull painting, and fitting the new prop and anodes. A second TD1 work party is scheduled for 28 April when the anti-fouling will be applied. Scott is donating a fire blanket to go in the cabin in case we should have an unfortunate mishap with the gas cookers (unlikely though that is!).
The oxygen cylinder needs to go for testing and Richard has kindly volunteered to take that down to Tony on Monday. He may be able to take a limited number of other cylinders for testing if needed. If you need something tested or serviced, contact him directly to see if this is possible. While the oxygen cylinder is off the boat, other arrangements will be made to ensure that emergency oxygen is available.
I have been contacted by Kev Ford, the BSAC SW Regional Coach, to see what help the branch might need. I shall respond shortly, since we would like to get access to more instructors. We need to arrange some rescue drills to complete the Sports Diver and Dive Leader courses in progress, and we could all do with some refresher sessions on rescue skills, O2 administration, etc. Also, if anyone would like to support the BSAC regional team, they are looking for volunteers, so let me know.
Efforts to sell the old compressor continue and we have received an offer that we hope to close on very soon. Thanks to Jenny and Nick for their efforts with this.
24 March 2021
Diving from TD1 is planned to recommence after 29 March when restrictions start to lift. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for early next week is not looking too hopeful, with strong southerly winds. We shall start taking Dive Lists again for the following week, starting on Wednesday. You either need to attend the weekly meeting on Wednesday evening, or if you cannot attend (we are still on Zoom unfortunately), email here as soon as possible on Wednesday evening to get on the Dive List. Due to current Coronavirus restrictions, we are still limited to a maximum of six on board.
Work on refurbishing TD1 continues with painting of the doors and cabin floor completed. Volunteers are still needed to help with cleaning up and painting the deck areas. The hand bilge pumps are also being repaired. TD1 will come up on the slip on 14 April for pressure washing, upper hull painting, and fitting the new prop and anodes. A second TD1 work party is scheduled for 28 April when the anti-fouling will be applied.
17 March 2021
Work on TD1 continues with some painting being done in the cabin and on the doors. Volunteers are still needed to help with cleaning up and painting the deck areas. A 3D-printed holder for the iPad has now been made to fit on the dash. The new prop is expected to arrive on 9 April, so it should be ready to fit when the boat comes up on the slip on 14 April.
A second TD1 work party is scheduled for 28 April when the anti-fouling will be applied. This means that the AGM will be postponed to 29 April.
We still expect diving from TD1 to recommence on 29 March when restrictions start to lift. With 2 people allowed to meet for exercise now, some people are starting to go shore diving again. Please be careful as diving starts up again, take things easy and reduce risks to the absolute minimum. It's been a while since anyone dived, so we need to make sure that we are fit physically and mentally, and that kit is serviced and prepared. Apart from the the risk to one's self, it's an especially bad time to need the emergency services, due to the continued risk of Coronavirus transmission. You may have seen the sad news this week of a diver lost off Brixham Breakwater, whose body was found after an extensive search by the Coastguard and RNLI.
BSAC is encouraging everyone to assess the risks and take a careful, phased approach to restarting diving. I'd encourage you to look at the material on their website: https://www.bsac.com/advice-and-support/preparation-for-a-return-to-diving/preparation-for-a-return-to-diving-instructor-resources/. If enough people are interested, I'm happy to arrange a run through and a discussion of the presentation on Zoom. Let me know.
10 March 2021
Work on sprucing up TD1 has started and Margaret has already cleaned up the cabin. Work will resume next week when the weather improves. Due to the restrictions, only 2 people can meet, so let Terry know if you can help. The replacement anodes have arrived and the new prop is on order.
I attended the Torquay, Brixham & Paignton Harbour Liaison Forum Zoom meeting on Tuesday. One of the items raised was the proposal to partly pedestrianise Victoria Parade, which caused some concern since it could make vehicle access to Beacon Quay quite difficult at certain times of day. This proposal is hidden away in a recent Council consultation document on cycling and walking within the bay, and objections/comments are supposed to be lodged by this Sunday 14 March. The Forum intends to raise objections, since Torquay is a working harbour and these proposals do not seem to have taken that into consideration. Have a look yourselves and submit a comment if you think it might help.
3 March 2021
We continue to meet each Wednesday evening on Zoom. Join us if you can. This week's discussion was mostly about TD1 maintenance.
In preparation for getting back to diving, we are working on sprucing up TD1 and performing necessary maintenance (including anti-fouling). On 14 April (close to a Spring tide), TD1 will come up on the slip and a working party (max 6 people due to Covid-19 restrictions) will clean the hull, do some painting, and replace the anodes. Then around the 28 April (next Spring tide), the boat will come up on the slip again for the prop to be replaced and the anti-fouling paint to be applied. In the meantime, 2 people are allowed to meet outdoors after 8 March, so volunteers are required to help Terry clean and paint the cabin and deck areas. Let Terry know if you can help.
We have heard that the developers have withdrawn the current application to build overnight chalets in Beacon Cove due to concerns raised by conservation experts and many local divers about the potential impact on the adjacent seagrass beds. This may come back at some stage, so we shall continue to monitor developments and support ongoing improvements to the cove.
The Torquay, Brixham & Paignton Harbour Liaison Forum will meet (on Zoom) next Tuesday 9 March at 10:30am. Let me know if you would like to join the meeting to represent the club, or if you have any concerns to raise.
24 February 2021
We continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday and this is likely to continue for some time yet as the restrictions are slowly lifted.
There is some hope for getting back to diving soon, however. All being well, we will be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to six from 29 March. Like last summer, that should allow us to have 6 divers on TD1. BSAC has not yet endorsed this, only saying that this will allow shore diving to recommence, but we will seek clarification on this. Maintenance work (including anti-fouling) on TD1 is currently scheduled to take place in April - this timing is dictated by the delivery date for the new prop that has now been ordered.
There was some interest expressed in the BSAC Compressor Operation course. This can be run in-branch and there doesn't seem to be any cost involved. Nick will download the instructional material and we'll be in touch to arrange a date to start.
The proposed controversial development of 5 overnight chalets at Beacon Cove has attracted a lot of attention from local divers concerned about the potential impact on the adjacent seagrass beds that are a protected habitat within the Torbay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). Nick and Jenny attended a Zoom meeting on Monday to hear from the developers' architects. The posting on our Facebook page to draw attention to the development plans was seen by over 7000 people, with 11 shares (an impressive illustration of social media impact).
And if you haven't looked at our webpages recently, quite a lot of material has been added, including some archive photos and more information to aid local dive planning. For example, on the 'Useful Local Information' page, there are links to some local webcams that can be useful in assessing the weather and sea state in the bay. One of the best webcams (only recently reinstated) is situated at the Daddyhole Plain NCI tower, since this rotates to various positions around the bay.
17 February 2021
Still no Dive Lists of course, but we continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday. And this week the usual social meeting was preceded by a Committee meeting.
The main item for discussion at the Committee meeting was the state of the Club's finances. Although we are doing no diving (and hence not getting dive fees), the overheads such as harbour fees and compressor room rent, etc still have to be paid. As a result, we are barely breaking even and are not building any reserve to pay for repairs (such as the new prop for TD1). However, thanks to several members who have donated money to the 'Prop Fund', we are able to cover this latest expense.
Nevertheless, it is inevitable that we shall have to raise membership fees at some point (but not until diving has recommenced and we are able to actually use our facilities). In 2015, our annual membership fee was £250 and it was reduced at that time to try to attract more members. It is now the Committee's opinion that we need to raise fees again to ensure the sound running of the Club. The proposal is that the fee will increase to £200 annually (or £18 per month by Direct Debit). However, we will keep dives fees the same at £5 per dive. Any feedback from members is welcome.
We also discussed the requirement by BSAC that anyone operating the compressor has completed a Compressor Operation course. Although several members have done this along with the Nitrox Blender course, several new members have not done the formal training yet. The half-day course consists of 4 theory sessions and a practical session. Although we cannot do the practical session just yet due to lockdown, we should be able to do the theory lessons on Zoom, and Nick will look into running this soon. Let me know if you are interested.
The social meeting enjoyed a quick local marine life identification quiz, but also spent some time discussing the proposed development of 5 overnight chalets at Beacon Cove. This does not seem to be a particularly suitable development, especially given the adjacent seagrass beds that are a protected habitat within the Torbay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). The plan calls for discharge into the sea from a 'Bio Bubble Waste Water Treatment Plant', and it is not clear what safeguards will be in place to guarantee that no harmful discharges can ever take place into this sensitive habitat. If you would like to learn more about the plans and potentially get involved, you can access the plans and the objections lodged so far by logging onto the Torbay Council planning website:-
10 February 2021
Obviously no Dive Lists this week, but we continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday.
The main item for discussion this week was the need for a new prop on TD1, since the current one is bent and rather thin, and needs to be replaced the next time the boat comes out of the water for maintenance. The optimum size for the prop has been investigated and, since a bigger one would give only a minor increase in performance (at much higher cost), a prop similar to the current one (but with some optimisation) has been recommended to the Committee. This will be ordered ASAP so that the vital maintenance work can be scheduled before diving recommences.
The new prop is another dent in the club's finances, which are already paying for the new compressor (and with no dive fees coming in at present). So if you would like to volunteer some cash for a 'Prop Fund' (several people have already contributed), please feel free to pay some dosh into the club's bank account (or talk to Margaret).
On Tuesday evening I logged into a BSAC nationwide Webinar for Diving Officers to catch up on any news from HQ. There was some discussion about the need for diving medicals for anyone who had contacted Covid-19 - although this is the current requirement, this may need to be modified due to the numbers potentially involved and the difficulty in getting hold of medical referees at this time. The need for a medical may be tied back to the severity of the infection, but as a minimum, the advice is that no diving should be undertaken for at least 3 months. BSAC will be issuing further advice on this in the near future. There was also a lot of discussion around training, with a lot of the theory training now online, with more modules being added all the time.
3 February 2021
Again, no Dive Lists this week, but we continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday (12 this evening).
There was some discussion about when we should take TD1 out of the water for some maintenance, including anti-fouling and fitting a new prop. Late March seems to be the earliest we may be able to do it, due to Covid-19 restrictions, and a suitable date will be booked when feasible.
The club's AGM is now scheduled to be held on 28 April. Hopefully, restrictions will have been lifted by then so we can meet in person, but if not, we'll be on Zoom (like last year)! Jenny will send out the relevant information in time for that to happen.
Torbay Splash-in 2021 is still planned to take place. After checking on the Neap tides and HW times on Saturdays, a possible date would be 3 July. The 31 July would also be a good date, but it coincides with a Bank Holiday weekend (as does 28 August). The 4 Sept may also be suitable if we have to postpone for any reason, but we risk poor weather again if we delay too late into the year. Any thoughts, let me know...
I've been contacted by the editor of BSoUP's magazine 'In Focus' who is planning to include a write-up of Splash-in 2020 in their next print version. Christopher Ward, who donated a watch as the Popular Vote prize last year, also included a mention of the competition in their company magazine. Let's hope that this year's competition will be as successful as last year.
27 January 2021
Again, no Dive Lists this week, but we continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday.
The old compressor has been getting some views on Facebook Marketplace. It's also been posted on our Facebook page and, since another branch may be our best bet for a sale, we'll put it on the regional and national Facebook pages too (if allowed).
We do plan to continue the Splash-in competition this year and hopefully the Covid-19 restrictions will lift in time for this to be another successful event. When this will be is still unknown, but it may be prudent to plan for an event later in the year (as we did in 2020). After checking on the Neap tides and HW times on Saturdays, a possible date might be 28 August. Any thoughts? Let me know...
20 January 2021
Obviously, there were no Dive Lists taken this week, but we do continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday (12 people this week).
The old compressor has been advertised on Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. There has been some interest expressed, but I shall also be contacting BSAC to see if there is some way of informing other branches of what we have for sale (the current online version of SCUBA magazine is certainly not fulfilling this need).
We do plan to continue the Splash-in competition this year and hopefully the Covid-19 restrictions will lift in time for this to be another successful event. Planning is crucial to make this event a success and we are looking for a Project Manager to take over the running of the competition. Let us know if you are interested in taking on this role.
While we are not diving, BSAC has been increasing the amount of online content to keep you interested in diving. I've listed the main items of interest below. You can copy the URL address into your browser. You will have to login to the BSAC website, but if you are having problems logging in, please let me know and I'll try to sort things out with them directly.
BSAC Webinars and Videos
Catch up on past special interest webinars
Specialise your skills with eLearning
Advance your scuba training with eLearning
Programme of webinars
Diving skills to hone at home - videos
UK wreck guides - videos
(This has a video presentation on the Maine, but it's not very comprehensive and I've added a comment to direct people to the information on our website). Perhaps we could contribute some videos to this list from our own knowledge of wrecks (e.g. the Bretagne?).
13 January 2021
Obviously, there were no Dive Lists taken this week, but we do continue to meet on Zoom each Wednesday (9 people this week).
Due to the national lockdown we are unable to organise any branch diving at present. There was some discussion about whether shore diving in a buddy pair is allowed. Although you are permitted to meet with one other person to exercise locally once per day, you are not allowed to leave home for recreational purposes. So the question would be whether bystanders (and potentially the police) regard diving as exercise or recreation. I suspect most people will think the latter (especially if you're carrying a camera!).
BSAC has confirmed this interpretation of the rules, and is currently advising that you stay at home and do not dive. Given the increasing infection rates (even in Torbay recently) and the alarmingly high number of daily deaths, I believe this advice is sensible. The prudent thing would be to err on the side of caution instead of pushing the boundaries of the rules. The latest BSAC advice was shown.
6 January 2021
Obviously, with the national lockdown in place, there were no Dive Lists taken this week.
The traditional New Years Day Harbour Dive did go ahead this year, with 13 divers turning up to brave the cool but relatively clear water of the harbour. Only 3 were branch members with the rest being mostly local underwater photographers. If you check Instagram, there were some lovely photos taken on the day. In accordance with our permit to dive, the dive was properly marshalled and social distancing appropriately maintained.
Since then of course, we have gone into national lockdown again and so we are unable to organise any branch diving. Although you can meet with one other person to exercise locally once per day, you are not allowed to leave home for recreational purposes. Whether shore diving in buddy pairs is permitted depends on how diving is regarded by the authorities. I am hoping to get some guidance on this from BSAC. Remember that during the first lockdown, no diving was taking place (and the Covid situation at the moment seems to be even worse than it was back then).
In the meantime, we continue to meet up socially on Zoom. Join us next week if you can...
30 December 2020
No social meeting on Zoom this week. We'll resume again next week (I think we'll be limited to Zoom meetings for some time to come).
The traditional New Years Day Harbour Dive has been approved by the Harbour Master and will therefore go ahead (provided we don't get locked down tomorrow). Diving can take place between 10:00 and 14:00 (high tide is 07:32, so earlier would be better). This is a branch dive and divers must be logged in and out of the water (this is a condition of our approval to dive). Since an update on the Tiers is imminent, I'll issue an update if we are forced to cancel or change anything. It is important for our reputation that we are seen to observe the current Covid-19 precautions during the event.
Here's hoping you had as merry a Christmas as possible in the circumstances...and that next year will be better!
23 December 2020
The traditional New Years Day Harbour Dive will go ahead this year, providing we are not locked down in the meantime. I have submitted the Council event form, the Risk Analysis, Proof of Insurance and signed an indemnity waiver. Consequently, the Harbour Master has given his approval and will issue a Notice to Mariners prior to the event (mainly to advise the cruise ship tenders that there will be divers in the harbour). It is important for our reputation that we are seen to observe Covid-19 precautions during the event. I will update you next week with timings, etc.
The compressor is working ok at the moment. Let Terry know if you need to be shown how to use it. The door code has been changed since it was installed.
There may be a dive mid-next week if the weather lets up enough. Let us know by email here if interested.
16 December 2020
There was one dive from TD1 last week (Saturday), but the visibility was fairly poor.
I did attend the Harbour Liaison Meeting this morning (held on Zoom). Most of the discussion was around the budget for next year which will see some small increases. Unsurprisingly, the harbour has seen a significant drop in revenues this year due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
The traditional New Years Day Harbour Dive should go ahead this year (2021). I have submitted the request form to the Council and I just need to submit the Risk Analysis and Proof of Insurance to the Harbour Master to get approval. All of this is in hand and I have added Covid-19 precautions to the Risk Analysis, so hopefully we should get this signed off soon.
9 December 2020
There were two dives from TD1 last week (Thursday and Saturday), but the Sunday dive didn't proceed due to the zero vis kicked up by the storm waves on Saturday afternoon.
The old compressor is now up for sale on Gumtree (and may be on Facebook Marketplace soon as well).
There will be a Harbour Liaison Meeting on Wednesday morning next week (held on Zoom). Let me know if you are interested in attending.
2 December 2020
Since lockdown ended today, we are able to start diving from TD1 again (limited to 6 on board). However, since Devon is in Tier 2, we are unable to resume meeting socially at the rugby club and so we are still meeting up on Zoom.
Not much other news this week. We are still working on a prop replacement for the boat. Reminder: contact Terry if you need to be shown how to use the compressor. The door lock code has been changed to restrict access by the uninitiated. Contact Terry for the new code.
25 November 2020
Still on Zoom this week. Next week, after lockdown ends on 2 December, we may be able to resume meeting at the rugby club in tables of 6, but this depends on whether Torbay will be placed in Tier 1 or Tier 2. It is expected that this will be announced by the Government tomorrow.
Apart from some buddy pairs going shore diving, no club diving has been done due to lockdown. We expect that after the lockdown ends next week, we will be able to resume diving from TD1 (limited to 6 on-board).
Contact Terry if you need to be shown how to use the compressor. The door lock code has been changed to restrict access by the uninitiated. Contact Terry for the new code. The replacement cooler for the old compressor has been fitted and it has been started up. After a bit more troubleshooting, we should be able to shoot a video of it working so that it can be advertised for sale.
There has been some progress in selecting a new prop, but there is still some work to do. The water temperature gauge has been fixed (wiring fault). An oil change still needs to be done and the bilge pump flexible hose needs to be replaced.
Good news - EDF has refunded the club some money from our electricity bill and reduced the monthly rate (due to lower usage over the lockdown months).
18 November 2020
Still on Zoom obviously, but we continue to meet each week.
No diving has been done since last week - the Spring tides and stormy weather seem to have ruined the local vis. The lockdown means that we are unable to go boat diving of course, but if you want to go shore diving locally, that seems to be permitted as long as you only meet up with one buddy from outside your household. In the circumstances, we will not be organising branch shore dives which could be construed as group meetings, but you are free to organise your own shore dives with a buddy. If you need a buddy, we can help to communicate this through this email list or via WhatsApp.
There are now five whips on the new compressor (all of which deliver 232 bar). Contact Terry if you need to be shown how to use the compressor. The door lock code has been changed to restrict access by the uninitiated. Contact Terry for the new code. The replacement cooler for the old compressor is scheduled to be fitted tomorrow so that we can prepare it for sale.
The new sign at the entrance to Beacon Cove has been installed by the council, and since we helped to sponsor it, our logo is featured. We have also sponsored a permanent poster that has gone up on the path down to the cove. I prepared this with help from Paul Naylor (author of 'Great British Marine Animals'), who also kindly supplied all but one of the photographs (Terry Griffiths' cuttlefish photo from Splash-in 2017 was the exception).
11 November 2020
Due to the lockdown we are back to meeting on Zoom. Discussion tonight was mostly around the compressor and TD1 servicing.
The lockdown means that we are unable to go out boat diving on TD1 until December. If you want to go shore diving locally, that seems to be permitted under the rules (counts as exercise), but you can only meet up with one buddy from outside your household. BSAC HQ has confirmed that this is their view too. In the circumstances, we will not be organising branch shore dives which could be construed as group meetings, but you are free to organise your own shore dives with a buddy. If you need a buddy, we can help to communicate this through this email list or via WhatsApp. The weather forecasts for the near future however do not look promising, with gale force winds from the south and southwest.
The leaking hose fitting on the new compressor has been changed out. Contact Terry if you need to be shown how to use the compressor. The door lock code has been changed to restrict access by the uninitiated. Contact Terry for the new code. The cooler for the old compressor has now been purchased and will be fitted soon. We shall then be trying to sell it as a working compressor.
We have been contacted by Plymouth Aquarium who are running a seagrass project and looking for local diving clubs to assist. Let me know if you are interested in finding out more and I can forward their email to you. The project seems to be based in Plymouth, so I'm not sure if there is a Torbay element (but it may be worth checking out).
4 November 2020
Since the lockdown comes into effect at midnight on Wednesday, tonight's meeting was the last to be held at the rugby club until 9 Dec. We will try a Zoom meeting next week just to keep in touch.
The lockdown means that after today, we are unable to go out boat diving on TD1 until December. If you want to go shore diving locally, that seems to be permitted under the rules (counts as exercise), but you can only meet up with one buddy from outside your household. BSAC HQ has confirmed that this is their view too. In the circumstances, we will not be organising branch shore dives which could be construed as group meetings, but you are free to organise your own shore dives with a buddy. If you need a buddy, we can help to communicate this through this email list or via WhatsApp.
The compressor seems to be working fine (with a few minor gremlins to sort out). Contact Terry if you need to be shown how to use it. We shall be changing the door lock code soon to restrict access to the uninitiated. BSAC has confirmed that our current arrangements with regard to only supplying air to branch members are valid. If local BSAC members need air fills, they will have to join the branch to have access to the compressor.
The Scylla dive from Plymouth which was scheduled for 28 Nov has obviously been cancelled. If a new date is arranged, we can publicise it here in case more people are interested in joining the party.
Since pools have been closed during lockdown, Try Dives and pool training are obviously not possible. We shall try to kickstart this again in December if possible.
There has been some interest again in the spare propeller from the SS Maine (a photo of it appeared in a local Facebook page which got a lot of comments, mostly from people who remember it from the Victoria Shopping Centre in Paignton). You can read the DIVER magazine story of how it was recovered (by Terry Blackmore and others) on our website (go to the 'Articles' page). How we raised the Maine objective
2 November 2020
Since the lockdown will go into effect on Thursday, this Wednesday will be the last meeting to be held at the rugby club until 9 Dec. We may try a Zoom meeting again next week just to keep in touch.
The lockdown means that after Wednesday, we are unable to go out boat diving on TD1 until December. If you want to go shore diving, that seems to be permitted under the rules (counts as exercise), but you can only meet up with one buddy from outside your household.
28 October 2020
The new compressor is now working. You must contact us to arrange a demonstration of how to run it safely, since the procedure is a little different. The old compressor has been fixed (ready for sale), although it is still waiting for a replacement oil cooler.
TD1 has had an engine clean-up and the fuel filters replaced. Work is ongoing to find a replacement prop to restore some of its power. It could also do with a bottom scrape.
Currently, 4 members have booked to dive the Scylla (plus another dive) from Outcast out of Plymouth on Saturday 28 November. There are still places on the boat - call Aquanauts on 01752 228825 to book.
We are looking into the possibility of offering Nitrox fills at some point. Can you please let me know if you are Nitrox certified (and at what level), and whether you would be interested in joining a 'Nitrox Club' in the future (to pay for O2 cylinder hire).
I'd also like to hear from those members who hold BSAC Compressor Operation, Nitrox Blender, or Mixed Gas Blender qualifications. We are looking into options for providing air fills for BSAC Members who are not branch members.
21 October 2020
There was a Committee meeting tonight. Items discussed included how to manage the new compressor, boat servicing requirements, the status of training courses, Cox'n approvals, and fund raising options.
The new compressor has hit a snag with an electrical problem, but we are hoping that this can be fixed tomorrow. The old compressor should also be fixed soon, since all the parts are now in. We are hoping to sell on the old compressor as fully working equipment (we've been told that with proper maintenance it will continue to work for many years to come).
14 October 2020
Good news - the new compressor has been installed and is working! At the moment, it is only operating manually, but a new relay should be delivered tomorrow that will allow it to work automatically. Thanks to Granville, Terry and Mike who have worked hard to swap the compressors out and set up the new panels. Members will need to receive instruction on how to operate the new compressor safely before being allowed to fill their own cylinders, and we shall probably change the door code to manage this. Let us know if you want to become a compressor operator. The Nitrox panel is not yet connected, but we shall be investigating our options to do this.
A big thank you to all those who have generously donated money to the Compressor Fund, which now stands at £1350. If any one else is willing to help, it would be very much appreciated - please let Margaret know.
There will be a Committee meeting next Wednesday at 18:45 before the social evening to discuss how we manage the new compressor, cox approvals, and the status of ongoing training courses.
This week's Herald Express contained a report on Splash-in 2000, complete with 5 colour photos. And we were also featured in Divernet online magazine.
Due to Covid-19 precautions, TD1 can only take 6 divers (including Cox) at one time, but if we have 8 divers (including 2 Cox's and 2 Boat Handlers), we can run 2 waves, morning and afternoon. Remember, this pandemic is not over yet (and infection rates are starting to rise again), so precautions should be taken to enforce social distancing. This means that, apart from the 2 divers kitting or de-kitting on the rear bench, all should wear a face mask if you are within 2m of another person outside, or if you are inside the cabin. Hands should be sanitised when getting on the boat (hand gel is available), and surfaces should be wiped clean with a virucide (also on the boat). Simple cooking on board can only be done if strict food hygiene standards are followed, including use of masks and hand sanitising.
Please also remember to observe precautions in the Compressor Room. If you have downloaded the NHS Covid-19 App, a QR code is posted in the Compressor Room that you can scan to check-in.