Browsing articles in "Scuba News"
Jul 22, 2013

Kernow Divers Scuba Diving Club Day 14-07-2013

In the middle of this sweltering hot July, Keith from Kernow Divers came up with the idea of running a scuba diving club day BBQ, as well as clearing a few skills for some members Rescue courses. Swanpool was chosen for ease of parking, great beach, cafe and the bay having an abundance of life.

Swanpool Beach

Jason brought the Trout along and quite a few club members turned up (too many to list), some with their partners and it was an interesting start to the day.

Dive Boat, The Trout

Kernow Divers Diving in Cornwall

Yet I should really start at the beginning, we had arranged to meet at 10am as I was going to be the unconscious diver for the Rescue course skills and it was planned to get it done early and out of the way so we could enjoy the day. As it had been a hot night, about 30C in my bedroom with the windows open and fan on I hadn’t slept very well and woke late, starting a morning at home of calamity on top of calamity. I finally got going at about 10.30 and was praying to Poseidon for clear traffic, which it was apart from one holiday maker with their caravan who insisted driving at 40mph on 60mph roads with no other traffic around but no where to overtake thanks to the bends and junctions in the road. Then all the traffic lights around Truro were against me, last time Poseidon gets any prayers of mine as the god of the sea and my faith is now going to the great spaghetti monster.

Rescue Course Skills

When I got there at about 11.20 there was already a couple in the water and Keith was running through some of the skills with the guys doing the Rescue course and with the number of people there I wasn’t actually needed in the end anyway so I donned my gear to join other divers and ended up following Keith and the others around on the surface taking some pics, was a great sight seeing a female duck and her brood enjoying a paddle around the bay but when they headed for the beach to get out there was too many people moving in to see and she turned them around and took them out on the rocks. I did manage to get reasonably close to get the one sneaky photo.

Happy Duck and her Ducklings

It was really nice floating around on the surface and snapping things, should have just put my mask and snorkel on and had some fun but me being me didn’t think that way, was worth it for the practice with the camera though, as you can see from my duck pic that I haven’t got the arms outstretched and level technique sorted, even in millpond conditions.

Rescueing an unconscoius diver practice

Keith demonstrating recovering an unconscious diver from the bottom, what isn’t seen in this photo are the DM’s and Instructors that were with him helping the Rescue divers go through all this in the water. Everyone that was on the course successfully completed all the skills, only a couple of people had to repeat a skill, with everyone working together and Keith’s clear instruction they understood their mistakes and at mid day Keith called time for lunch, great timing as always because I am sure the quiver across the surface of the bay was everyone’s stomachs. We also now have 8 Rescue divers in the club to go with the 8 DM’s and 8 Instructors.

Scuba Diving Club Day continued…

After lunch some of the club members went off on the Trout to a reef that was a little further to swim than anyone wanted to in the heat, leaving 4 of us to dive around the bay and we decided for a change that we would go straight out to the Eel Grass beds and we were lucky as Clare Marshall, one of our resident Marine Biologists was with us.

Clare, one of our resident Marine Biologists at Kernow Divers

With the bay only getting to about 7 or 8m at high tide, it is a very shallow dive site but there are plenty of things to see if you go left or right along the rocky reefs; yet not knowing about the Eel Grass would make you miss the whole little ecosystem that exists in the middle out across the sand. It was good diving with Paul as he knew where the bed was and it wasn’t long before we found it.

Unidentified Seaweed amongst the Eel Grass Bed

Small clumps of Eel Grass, as can be seen in the pic above top right were in front of us as far as the eye could see and with a good 10-12m vis at least, as we moved forward it was clear this spread over a vast area. We only got to a max depth of around 3.2m as the tide was on its way out and the water temperature was a beautiful 16C, part of the reason I was only wearing my 5/4 Excel wetsuit that I normally wear surfing.

Scuba Diver Paul Freeman Examining the Eel Grass off Swanpool Beach

We spotted a strange crab that Paul hadn’t seen before and as Clare and Mat had gone to the left and we had gone to the middle we couldn’t ask her what it was.

Unknown Crab amongst the Eel Grass

The pieces sticking up were part of its mouth and not something it had added like other crabs for camouflage, I was amazed at how many Bi-Valves were in the sand which I think were Ensis ensis (Razor clam) or something similair, literally everywhere and as we swam over they closed up and buried themselves slightly deeper. The reason I liked them so much was the way they reminded me of the Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi and I could just see little things getting caught under the jaws.

Bi Valve

Bi Valve

Paul and I were having a great time and to be honest I was examining the beds and often forgot to take a photo of what I had seen, it was a bit worrying to see so many Echiichthys vipera (Lesser Weever) fish though that would suddenly come shooting out of the sand and swim off a few metres and re-bury themselves, I managed to capture one shot of a rather large one but they were very quick.

Lesser Weaver Fish at Swanpool Beach

The look on Paul’s face was priceless when we spotted a couple of happy crabs.

Scuba Diving with Paul Freeman

Yet trying not to disturb them I moved in for a shot, the male seemed to think I was there to take his place and he danced around the bed trying to hide his prize female from me.

Mating Crabs amongst the Eel Grass Bed at Swanppol Beach

It was such a fun dive that I wasn’t paying much attention to the battery on my camera, Paul came over to me and tapped me on the shoulder pointing at something that looked a little strange to me (no not my reflection in a mirror) and as I moved in closer could see it was some slug like creature, I went to take a shot and my screen was black so i started to panic thinking I had a flood and killed my camera but it was bone dry. Paul wrote on his  board that it was a Sea Hare, I was gutted as I hadn’t seen one before. We carried on looking around for a few more minutes and I just couldn’t get back into it, I looked at my air and still had 120 bar left, this was 45 minutes into the dive so I signaled Paul a T and made the gesture of drinking, his first response was to tell me his air, I shook my head and made it clear we should have a break for a tea as we had plenty of air left for another dive, he still had 140 bar.

After a break and a great cuppa from the cafe it was decided to go look for a lobster or 2, we had a rough idea where one was and it wasn’t any deeper than 2m around the reef. What started out being a 20 min dive turned into another 42 min one and I still had 60 bar left when I came out. It was amazing around the kelp bed to the right of the beach, plenty of life and we did find the lobster but he didn’t want to come out of his cave. I hadn’t taken my camera as I hadn’t changed the battery, with no fresh water till i got home I wasn’t going to open it up.

It must have been around 18.30-19.00 when Paul and I were sorting our kit out in the car park and everyone else had left, it was a great scuba diving club day even though we didn’t break out the BBQ’s and if anyone in Cornwall wants to dive more regularly I can highly recommend Kernow Divers because for £10 membership, free shore dives and only a donation toward fuel for the club boat you couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people from all walks of life to dive with.

Ideations DiveAlert Product Recall

Ideations has announced a recall in the US of 3 of the Divealert and Divealert Plus range that were on sale from July 2009 to May 2013. The 3 models that have been recalled are the DA2, DP2 and DV2. The device is attached to the Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) or octopus by a chrome plated brass coupling and is used to as an emergency signal on the surface, or to attract other divers attention down below.

Only the Divealert devices with no stamped writing on the collar are in the recall and you should stop using them immediately and contact your authorised Divealert dealer and they will replace the female coupling that is defective with a new one.

As is the same with many of the recalls, such as Miflex hoses, this may only be in the US at the moment but it is still worth asking your dealer, and if they won’t repair it outside of the US then the best advice is to stop using it, if it is less than 12 months old it is worth asking for a full refund because the device is not fit for purpose as you are legally entitled to under UK and EU law.

The 3 devices are:

Divealert DA2 – Black with an orange button

Ideation Divealert DA2

Divealert DP2 – Black with a grey nob and red button and has Divealert PLUS stamped on it.

Ideation Divealert Plus DV2

Divealert DV2 – Black and red

Ideation Divealert DV2

If you have any queries for the country you are in outside of the US, first try your authorised dealer, then try Ideations here, then try your local Government Trading Standards and Health and Safety departments. If they have a defective part and been sold anywhere they should legally be replaced now the manufacturer is aware of the fault, and as it is potentially life threatening for us scuba divers to have any fault with our gear, any sensible shop, or government official will do the right thing.

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector

Universal Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector.

One of the things missing from my Olympus PT-EP06L housing and the Olympus extras was a leak detector so I started looking on the internet like you do, at first I was taken to the more popular sites such as Cameras Underwater, Bristol Cameras and the like and was shocked to see the price of an underwater camera housing leak detector to be up in the £70-£100 range. Knowing these things wouldn’t be that difficult to make I thought I would look to see if any kits were available from Maplins and found something that would do the job was less than £5 for the water alarm kit and would need a 9v battery that I didn’t have room for inside the housing, as well as some modification, yet I would also have to buy a soldering iron, solder and the like.

Then I stumbled across a site called based in Australia, where a young man called Jeff had made a universal detector with a flashing led and had taken the time to sort out how it would fit into almost any housing, I ordered one from him with an easy PayPal payment that worked out at less than £25 (US$36) including postage and waited for it to be delivered.

It arrived 2 days ago, had to sign for it and was shocked as I opened it and realised what it was as I wasn’t expecting it for another couple of weeks but it arrived in 14 days, RESULT!. I took the kit out and had a look at the bundle of goodies, Jeff had been in communication to let me know he had posted it 14 days earlier and gave me the link to the instructions on how to fit it in my housing and his response to an email I sent him was waiting for me the next morning here in the UK, talk about great customer service for something so small, could teach a few companies I won’t name a thing or two.

What’s in the Kit.

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector

Fitting the Universal Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector.

It really is simple enough using the included parts, from the 3 pieces of blue tack to the velcro on the back of the unit itself. Below are the 3 photos from the installation as I followed Jeff’s instructions, which I won’t give away but can be found on his site anyway.

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector_2

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector_3

Underwater Camera Housing Leak Detector_4

The obvious thing is to make sure the blue tack and the led do not press against the door as he explains in the instructions, the last thing you would want is for the leak detector to cause a leak and with very careful positioning and a bit of molding over the wire it fitted perfectly. I then put my cut to size women’s pad back in place over the detector as you can see in the last photo, and then cleaned the gutters out from the mess it creates when I pull it out but it is worth it. Showing what you will see if you get a flood is the animation below with it in an Ikelite housing, I did test it by licking my finger and placing it across the sensor and it lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids.


This is a product I am more than happy with, it was easy to fit, reasonably priced if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making one yourself when you have to buy all the kit to do it, and Jeff is one of the nicest blokes you could wish to deal with competing globally against the larger companies; making a product that is clearly more adaptable as he makes it to fit in Ikelite, standard Canon, Patima, Nexus and other housings, if he hasn’t tried one yet I am sure he would give it a go.

All round this is something that is worth every penny to help protect your camera in its underwater housing so drop Jeff a line and be warned instead of losing your camera to a housing flood.