Issue 23                                                                                      February 2010
(Web Version)


Congratulations to Lin for winning a Suunto D6 computer when she was nominated in BSAC’s Unsung Heroes.  It’s good to see members who do so much for the club being recognized.


All the best to Ashley—we will soon have you back in the water and drinking something more interesting afterwards!



Saving Tips

Car keys always seems to be an issue with divers—we are always hearing of keys being dropped overboard or lost.   Al has found a company that replaces the keys, barrels and locks at a fraction of the price charged by car retailers. 

Batteries are another expense we have to endure, but there is a local company called Strikealight which can supply or make up battery packs for dive torches much cheaper than buying from original manufacturers.

If you have any money saving tips, please let us know.

Have you got any ideas about what trips you would like to go on?  What about courses that you would like to take part in? 

Let any of the committee members
know about your ideas

Editor’s Corner

Thank you to everyone  for their contributions and comments  and if you have anything that you would like add  to the newsletter, let us know  by 20th March so it can be included in the next issue.

The 2010 Pilgrimage to Egypt.
(Also known as 4 old f**ts in the bar)

Well its 0700hrs and here we go, off to Dave’s, ready for Eddie to pick us all up, for the drive to Manchester Airport. Got lost, trying to find the Car Park, standing waiting for the courtesy Bus, freezing various parts off, what’s new?
Manchester Airport, and finally somewhere warm and dry. Got to the check in, attendant, looking very worried, honest Miss, the cases are not filled with explosives; it’s just Dave’s camera gear, and all his dive kit. What they’re over weight, really? Anyway, after some negotiation, Monarch finally agreed to allow us 5kg extra baggage weight, and with Eddie agreeing to wearing 3x tee-shirts, two pairs of underwear, 2x pairs of sockets, and an extra jacket, we’re passed as fit to fly.
Time for our Duty Free, and that big greasy Breakfast we’ve thinking about all the way to Manchester, only now at 1100hrs, they’ve stopped serving Breakfast! Nearly lost Dave, somebody, draw an R on his right hand, so he knows which way to go!
Finally, 11 hrs later, we’ve arrived at the hotel, booked into our rooms. Time for the beer, and some food. All the restaurants have stopped serving, except the chinese (staff thought they were getting away on time, sorry fellas) well not all’s lost; at least we’ve still got some beer!
Our punishment didn’t stop at the loss of the greasy Breakfast, and no food at Sharm. We were just dropping off to sleep, when the room fridge starts up, what a racket, and we’ve already had to switch the aircon off due to the noise…Back out of bed, and trying not to electrocute one self, I end up searching for the right dodgy plug in the dark
The last straw, 0400hrs, and some drunken Muppet is trying to get into our room now (wouldn’t mind but it was a BLOKE)! Give me strength, how will we ever get enough sleep for the first days diving.

Sunday morning, and at last we’re off to the diving centre, after Gary’s little c#*up, with the hotels…seems there are 2x Ghazalas, the Ghazala Gardens Hotel, and the Ghazala Beach Hotel…Sorry lads, any one can make a mistake! Dive kit sorted out, onto the boat, into our Gold thongs, and posing on the top deck, in all that sunshine. It was a superb starting dive, and a dive guide, who looks, well a lot better than Phil & more than words can describe.
(Paul, please stop trying to nick my wet suit, you’re not going to get the Brass Ass simply for that).
So after 2 good dives, we return, k#@#kered to our rooms, ready for a nap and a shower - well for some; for others, it’s a shower and off to the bar.
Back to the steak house, to see some old friends, and the best steaks anywhere, only problem now is, which sauce shall I choose? Was that lightning, and did I hear thunder? Yes I did, but we ordered sunshine and clear skies! So common sense prevailing (yes even for us, it does sometimes!), and after our meal, we adjourn back to the hotel bar, where about 2100hrs, all hell breaks loose!
I have to say, it was one of the worst storms I’ve ever seen, almost constant lightning and thunder, and the rain, we were waiting for the plagues of flies and locust to start, it was that bad.
The first thing the desk clerk noticed some think was wrong, was a drop of water on his head. Next it turned into a health shower, before finally, the ceiling gave way and he was last seen doing a very strange walk towards the changing rooms, soaked! It was the kind of walk a dry suit diver does when his dry suits leaks, his knickers get wet, and he knows he’s got that long drive home in wet baggy pants!
Well it was bad, the electrical power was soon lost, promptly followed by the water, not just to the hotel, but also to the whole town, which was also flooded out. Fortunately we were after something with a slightly higher alcoholic content. We spent 2 hours sitting at the hotel bar, in candle light, drinking beer, (sorry Dave, making eyes at me, through candle light, doesn’t do anything for me). I refuse to say who kept asking the 2 young ladies on the next table for a light for our candle despite B&H Paul being with us.

Monday, and the storm is still rumbling about, though it could be my belly, as there was little for Breakfast. The diving was cancelled due to rough seas, as they don’t like customers getting sea sick on waves 2 feet high! Some how, I don’t think they’d hack it on the North Sea. Oh well, plan-B, B, meaning Beach Bar, and Beach volley Ball. Cost me a bloody fortune in beer and sun tan lotion, well its thirsty work sitting in all that sunshine, watching the Beach Volley Ball. One day, I really must locate the man who came up with the string bikini and ladies beach volley ball. I’ll nominate him to world, as God’s gift to mankind. I’m sad, I know!
Evening time, and its back down the town, for some food. However, the Peking is still closed, several other places also. Amazingly, the multi-storey shopping Mall is now all cleaned up and open ( it was under 4 inches of water, only 12 hours earlier). I must admit, I’m very impressed at how the locals got the town and the hotels back up and working. I don’t think we’d have done so well. Though candle light over dinner was pushing it a bit - sorry lads, I really must insist on female company over candlelight dinners.
Oh, well, at least our rooms stayed dry, and no more Muppets trying to get in, in the early hours.

Tuesday, and the diving is still off, as there were possible issues with the jetty, cracks in the concrete. Oh well, suppose its back to the Beach bar, and you guessed it, the Beach Volley Ball, it’s a tough life, but some ones’ got to drink all that beer and referee the game on style, neatness of swimwear and stroke!
Hey, what’s going on, there are divers walking down the beach, now we’re upset, there are limits on the refereeing of volley ball!
Oh well. At least the Peking Restaurant is open again, the food is to die for, or put it another way, I want to marry their chef.

Wednesday, diving, yippee, though in saying that, not good! First reef we did was Ras Ghozlani, fine desert sand every where, very little fish life, and visibility very poor. Many hard corals suffocating as they’re covered and can’t clean themselves off. Some seemed ok, but the back wash off the divers fins is once again covering those that have been able to clean themselves, so we needed to stop the diving and allow the reef to recover. In truth, it’s heart breaking to see such a beautiful place in such a bad way. Some times nature can be so cruel.
Happily, the 2nd dive of the day, out at Shark & Yolanda, was all OK. Examination of the reef, and the occupants, revealed no damage. Thankfully, it appears to be just the shore reefs which have suffered from the rain washing the desert sand into the sea.

Thursday, and Friday saw us out at the reefs in the Straits of Tiran, Jackson, Gordon, Thomas, and Woodhouse, and I’m happy to report, they were all okay. Red Sea diving at it’s best, flat clam seas, 60 minute dives to 30 meters, with the reefs dropping away below for another 100meters. The visibility was well over 150 meters.
Friday evening, saw us once again at the Peking Restaurant, after 5 bottles of beer at the hotel bar, not my fault honest, the waitresses kept putting them in front of me (the bottles of beer that is).

Oh well, Saturday, last day. So, it’s back down the Beach Bar, once again attired in our Gold Thongs, to top up on our tans and to chat up the Russian girls in their string bikinis, just joking, they didn’t understand English so we relied on body language ! Though we did spend most of the day on the beach drinking beer - it’s a dirty job, but I suppose some one has to do it!
Boohoo, back to the room, to pack, then it’s off to the hotel bar, for one last beer, those waitresses are so naughty, they keep putting temptation and those green bottles in front of me!

Just one last gaff, to make, and I’m happy to say it was mine. We all got on-board the aircraft, and Eddie was left sitting on his own - luck devil got the door seats, while everyone else had to pay an extra £35! We felt sorry for him sitting there on his own, so I piped up, you need a ‘Blond bimbo’ to come and sit next to you, to keep you company! Oh cr*p, the stewardess heard me, oh b@@er, she was blond!

Can’t wait for 2011, just hope that stewardess is on a different flight!

Wreck of the Month - The SS. Luis
 Owned by C. Neilson & Sons, West Hartlepool (Sunderland) built 1916 Port of Reg: Hartlepool
Engines: Single Screw, Triple Expansion, 146hp fed by ten furnaces Built: 1916 by William Gray & Co. Ltd, West Hartelpool 
Yard No: 870
Tonnage: 4,284 gross, 7,800 deadweight SS Luis
Dimensions: 380 x 53.5 x 24.1 feet

The Luis set off on a voyage from St John and Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Dieppe, under the command of Captain P.W. Woodruff. She was carrying a general cargo, consisting of government stores, oats, flour, cased oil, timber and a large quantity of 18 pounder anti-personnel artillery shells en route for use in the French battlefields. On the 12th April the steamer was hit in the port side by two torpedoes from UC-71 near St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, 4 of the crew being killed in the explosion. She finally sank in Sandown Bay.
The masts and funnel remained visible above the water but in 1921 the navy decided to blow the wreck up, (or 'disperse' as they quaintly put it) as it was a hazard to shipping. This was completed in 1923 and the ship was forgotten until 1973 when it was rediscovered and salvage teams recovered tons of artillery shells. The Luis lies in 17 metres of water. Lat50 36' 45N Long 01 09' 92W in the area of Shanklin pier. A rib can be launched off Shanklin beach.
It is a popular dive site despite the wreck being well broken up but the huge boilers are intact, standing 4m proud of seabed wreckage, along with parts of the stern. To the north of the boilers, it is still possible to find shell cases, amid hundreds of anti-personnel lead balls. However it does have a reputation for poor viz due to the currents running in that area and needs to be dived on slack.

This is a diagram of a similar ship to that of the Luis. As can be seen in the diagram above, the main engines are usually situated amidships, with the boiler room immediately forward of the engine room. The engine is connected to the thrust bearing, which transmits power to the propellers along the propeller shaft(s). As the propeller turns, it tries to push the prop-shaft forwards. The thrust bearing effectively transmits this force from the propeller to the bottom of the ship. The thrust blocks are used to spread this force evenly along the thrust bearing.
As the propeller shaft runs through the rear hold, it has to be protected from the cargo, and as such runs through the prop-shaft tunnel which leads from the engine room to the point where the prop-shaft goes through the hull.

Creature of the Month - Xiphias gladius

The swordfish is named after its sharp beak resembling a sword (Latin gladius), which together with its streamlined physique allows it to cut through the water with great ease and agility. Contrary to belief the "sword" is not used to spear, but instead may be used to slash at its prey in order to injure the prey animal, to make for an easier catch. Mainly the swordfish relies on its great speed, capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h), and agility in the water to catch its prey. One possible defensive use for the sword-like bill is for protection from its few natural predators. The shortfin mako shark is one of the rare sea creatures big enough and fast enough to chase down and kill an adult swordfish, but they don't always win. Sometimes in the struggle with a shark a swordfish can kill it by ramming it in the gills or belly.
Like most fish, the females grow larger than the males, with males over 300 lb (135 kg) being rare. Females mature at 4–5 years of age in northwest Pacific while males mature first at about 3 to 4 years. In the North Pacific, batch spawning occurs in water warmer than 24°C from March to July and year round in the equatorial Pacific. Adult swordfish forage includes pelagic fish including small tuna, dorado, barracuda, flying fish, mackerel, forage fish as well as benthic species of hake and rockfish. Squid are important when available. Swordfish are thought to have few predators as adults although juveniles are vulnerable to predation by large pelagic fish.
While swordfish are cold blooded animals, they have special organs next to their eyes to heat their eyes and also their brain. Temperatures of 10 to 15 °C above the surrounding water temperature have been measured. The heating of the eyes greatly improves the vision, and consequently improves their ability to catch prey. Out of the 25 000+ species of bony fish, only about 22 are known to have the ability to heat selected body parts above the temperature of the surrounding water. These include the swordfish, marlin, and tuna.
Swordfish are not schooling fish. They swim alone or in very loose aggregations, separated by as much as 10 meters from a neighbouring swordfish. They are frequently found basking at the surface, airing their first dorsal fin. Their jumping, also called breaching, is thought by some researchers to be an effort to dislodge pests, such as remora or lampreys. It could also be a way of surface feeding by stunning small fish as they jump out of the water, making the fish more easily captured for food.
Swordfish feed daily, most often at night when they rise to surface and near-surface waters in search of smaller fish. They have been observed moving through schools of fish, thrashing their swords to kill or stun their prey and then quickly turning to consume their catch. In the western North Atlantic, squid is the most popular food item consumed. But fish, such as menhaden, mackerel, bluefish, silver hake, butterfish, and herring also contribute to the swordfish diet.
Swordfish are vigorous, powerful fighters. When hooked or harpooned, they have been known to dive so quickly that they have impaled their swords into the ocean bottom up to their eyes. Although there are no reports of unprovoked attacks on humans, swordfish can be very dangerous when harpooned. They have run their swords through the planking of small boats when hurt.
The adults have few natural enemies, with the exception of large sharks, sperm whales, and orcas. They are easily frightened by small boats, yet paradoxically, large craft are often able to draw very near without scaring them. This makes swordfish easy to harpoon.
The swordfish is often mistaken for other billfish (like marlin), but upon examination their physiology is quite different.

Thanks to the Editor:  Phillipa Cresswell,                                                  Back