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Red Dragon Divers News & Events Archive

Club Curry and Dive Planning Night 13/02/14 7.00pm

With the new season (hopefully!) just around the corner, the club are holding a curry night to discuss the dive plan at Taj Mahal in Haverfordwest. Anybody wishing to attend should contact Colin.

Christmas Dinner 2014

There was a great turnout of divers and partners at the Bristol Trader for the club's Christmas dinner. As tradition dictates, the club awards were dispensed. Pete and Vernis were very worthy recipients of Diver of the Year and Unsung Hero respectively. Rich was 'wettest' diver and Mike won the Moby Dick award for throwing away Pete's mask while getting too carried away on a training 'rescue' dive.

And the winner is ....!

And the winner is .... !

Where did you get that hat?

BSAC Instructor Foundation Course (Cardiff, 16-17 November, 2013)

The moth that flew out from my BCD as I took it out of the car at Hermon Hall near Cardiff last Saturday was a sure fire sign that not enough diving had been done recently. Luckily I had the opportunity to rectify that as I was there to attend the BSAC Instructors Foundation Course - a two day event designed to get Sports Divers and above on the instructing ladder.

Pete had very kindly sent me some information from when he had attended so I was primed for what was to come. However, I had not appreciated how much would be packed into the course, nor how enjoyable it would be. Nearly every course I have attended has been advertised as 'the most enjoyable/rewarding/inspiring*'(* delete as appropriate) but this time I think the hype was justified.

Over 2 days, nearly 20 BSAC divers from Wales and the West Country, including a large contingent from Swansea Uni, sat in lectures and group activities that explored the art of good instruction. The first morning was filled with sessions that considered the qualities that made a good diving instructor (not an unending supply of jelly babies apparently!), the importance of planning and preparation prior to presentations and the use of visual aids in theory classes.

We moved into the pool in the afternoon. For 2 hours, we ‘acted’ as novice divers and were given a refresher of all the pool lessons for Ocean Diver as our instructors gave demonstrations of how to deliver practical lessons. A final session back in the classroom saw small groups planning theory presentations for delivery the next day with time for a quick debrief before we headed our separate ways for the night. I had booked a room in the Maltsters in Llandaff – a great pub with a nice restaurant and a TV in the bathroom(!). Sadly I couldn’t make the most of of the bar due to the need to prepare my talk but I did give it a good try.

Bright and early on Sunday, we were back in the pool by 9 AM. In our small groups we all had the chance to play instructor, and each practical was followed by a de-brief from instructors and peers with only positive /constructive criticism allowed. This was a good thing as my ‘lesson’ on buoyancy control was less than impressive, being weighed down by beer and chips from the night before. Then it was back into the classroom to deliver a short theory lesson – I hate public speaking and was looking forward to this section with about as much enthusiasm as a visit to the dentist. A good start where I was able to remember my name and the subject about which I was talking was then spoilt by my lovingly crafted visual aids (A3 pages of scrawlings glued to the wall with Blutack) falling to the floor. However, it did not matter, as the instructor pointed out my handwriting was so bad they could not read them anyway. In spite of nerves and a very amateur presentation, the rest of my group were very supportive, their feedback was constructive and delivered sensitively, and I would actually say I enjoyed the experience.

After lunch we were given a lecture on preparing for instructing in open water, with a small exercise and group presentation to follow. A final talk on the next steps of instructor training and then we were finally sent out to go forth and instruct (under supervision!)

Throughout the weekend the instructors, Dave Bell from Rhondda Club in my case, were excellent - encouraging but not afraid to give criticism (always constructively) when required. I left the IFC having made new friends, learnt new skills and techniques and a fair few acronyms (PAVE, STEP, REAP - ask me for further details). I would recommend the course to anyone - hard work but definitely rewarding – even if you are in half a mind, I would urge you to go. Now I need to find some willing victims / trainees …


Whitsun Weekend 2013

A sunny weekend with slight breezes and early high tides found the club taking full advantage with diving from Dale on both saturday and sunday.

On saturday, Rich, Pete, Clive and Mike launched Romulus at 07:00 and headed across a glassy Haven to the Guanito-Barbara wrecks off Freshwater West - the only other traffic being the crab fishermen out checking their pots. Pete and Mike went in first - the viz was good (5 m+) but there was little obvious life with most fish sensibly considering it too early to be out and about, or maybe just slow to come out of winter hibernation. Under Pete's close guidance, Mike was able to carry out a Controlled Buoyant Lift and so complete the last task of his Sports Diver training. The occasion was marred only by Mike throwing away Pete's mask in all the excitement. (The last time he dived the GB, he managed to break Pete's reel - anyone wanting new kit is warned that early booking to be Mike's next buddy on the wreck is advisable.) Rich and Clive dropped in next, finding not much more than the previous pair. Although there was little out of the ordinary to see, it was very nice to be out on the water on a beautiful day and the RIB returned to Dale at 09:30 - to meet a rush of later arrivals heading out onto the water.

Romulus was on the water at 07:00 again on sunday, carrying Liz, Louis and Mike back across the Haven on another perfect morning. First stop was Thorn Island to dive the Loch Shiel, a sailing ship that ran aground in early 1894 while on voyage to Australia. Happily there was no loss of life, although there was a later casualty of the wreck who apparently drank himself to death on some of the ship's cargo of whisky that had been unofficially 'liberated' (More Info on the Loch Shiel). Liz and Mike dropped in close under the island's fort - the viz was not as good as the previous day (3m) and little of the wreck was seen but an enjoyable dive down to 11 m through underwater gullies the under the kelp revealed dogfish, spider crabs, and a very nice example of an elephant hide sponge. Following recovery of the divers, the boat took the short trip back to the Guanito-Barbara. After the obligatory surface interval, Liz and Louis enjoyed a 40 minute dive in which they managed to spend time on both wrecks, with better visibility than there had been in the Haven. An uneventful journey back to Dale, a thorough wash down of the boat and kit back at the boathouse and a very nice lunch at the Lobster Pot in Marloes concluded a successful weekend.

Let's hope for more of the same during the coming season!

First 'Dive' of the Year

Thirteen club members, and some very youthful 'try-divers', met at Fishguard Leisure Centre on Sunday 7th April to blow away the cobwebs and resurrect their skills after a long winter.

It was an enjoyable, and useful, dive with several suspect o-rings replaced, a chance for everyone to catch up with each other and meet new members (Welcome Martin!). The club's new banner was unfurled for the first time and Colin did a roaring trade in club stickers. Here's hoping the next dive, in open water, is not too far away ...

Club Christmas Dinner - 5th December 2012

There was a good turnout of diners/divers for the club's Christmas Meal, held at the Bristol Trader In Haverfordwest ...

including Colin and Pete who share this year's Diver(s) of the Year award ...

and Vernis, who walked away with the Moby Dick award!

For full details of this year's award winners (including the reason why Vernis was a winner), please see Club Awards.

A big vote of thanks must go to Colin for organising the evening.

September 2012

The second half of the season has not provided as much time underwater as we hoped but sunday 9th September saw 8 divers attend a training dive in St. Brides - with some of the best viz all year! If that has inspired any members to pull their equipment out of storage, Colin is gauging interest in a club trip to NDAC - the inland dive site at Chepstow in late October. Please contact him directly if you fancy coming along. Follow this link for more details on what the site offers: NDAC

There are some more important dates for the diary:

* 19th September (wed) - Curry Night (Haverfordwest) - contact Colin for more details

* 24th October (wed) - AGM - College Guest House @ 19.30

June 2012

'That was the best dive this year' announced the chairman as he dekitted in the club RIB last sunday (24/06/2012). Bearing in mind this was only one of a handful of dives that the weather has allowed so far this season, then it might not sound like much of a recommendation. However, the sighting of a thornback ray and an octopus in the same dive off Dinas Head, with photos to prove it, did indeed make for a notable day.

With the first half of the season a washout, let us hope that that this is a sign of better things to come!

February 2012

A number of members turned out on saturday 11th February, 2012 on the Old Bridge, Haverfordwest (nr Wilkinsons) for a recruitment day.

Recruitment day 2011

Despite the cold weather it was nice to meet some new faces while raising the profile of the club.

January 2012

Six willing 'victims' took part in the first 'Try Dive' of the year at Fishguard Leisure Centre on Saturday 14th January.

Pete Davies gave an engaging introduction to the club, and scuba diving generally. Then everyone had to chance to get familiar with the equipment in the classroom before moving from theory to action in the pool under the supervision of the club's instructors.

Well done to all who took part - the new divers took to it like naturals and we hope to see them back with the club soon!

November 2011

There was a good turnout of diners/divers for the club's Christmas Meal, held at Pembrokeshire College ...

including Colin, the club's new chairman, and Vernis, the new membership secretary!

A big vote of thanks must go to Liz for organising the evening

Red Dragon Divers held a recruitment day on saturday 19th November in Castle Square. Manned by Colin and Richard, with other members popping by to lend a hand, the professional display, big orange boat and free gifts generated lots of interest from propsective new members - with more than a few drawn to the sight of Richard in full drysuit.

Consequently, we hope to see some new faces when diving resumes next season.

Well done to Colin for for getting the banner and other promotional material from BSAC! Special mention must also be given to the elderly gent who came up to tell us the old chestnut: Why do divers sit on the edge of the boat and roll backwards into the water? Because if they rolled forwards into the boat they would hurt themselves! (Boom! Boom!) Good to see that one brought out of the 'old jokes' home now and again ...


Cevamp, Mike and Me, a new book by club member Jackie Williamson

Published by Acorns Publishing at £8.99
To reserve your copy, please email or give Jackie a call on 01348 831862

The book tells the true story of a home-built Eventide yacht and her adventures in Cardigan Bay,  the Irish Sea and beyond.

350 enthralling pages!

'A wonderful read' -  Jamie Owen, writer, sailor and BBC presenter

Also by Jackie Williamson:  Memory Seeds, an illustrated collction of light-hearted poetry:  £5.95;    Best Friends, the story of Dogs for the Disabled: £4.95.  Both from or telephone 01348 831862. Add £1 for p&p.