Blackwater Sub Aqua Club was founded in 1981 and is based in the town of Fermoy in North Cork The club is affiliated to the Irish Underwater Council (Comhairle Fó-Thoinn or CFT) which was founded in 1963 and is the co-ordinating body for underwater diving clubs in Ireland. CFT is the representative body for Ireland in the World Underwater Federation (Confédération Mondiale des Activitiés Subaquatiques or CMAS). This is the world federation of national diving organisations and operates in some 80 countries on all continents.
The qualifications you receive as a member of CFT are recognised the world over
We have 40 members varying in qualification’s from Diver * to that of Instructor grade Moniteur ***
An Integral part of our club is the Blackwater Search and Recovery unit. Consisting of 26 search divers and support personnel. Further information can be obtained under Search and Rescue Section.
Blackwater Sub Aqua Club Recruiting New Members
This week I decided to interview a trainee diver from the 2014/2015 Try A Dive and asked what impact diving has made on their life?
Where did you find out about diving with the Blackwater SAC?
I saw a poster in Fermoy advertising “Try a Dive” and I wanted to see what it was like to breathe underwater basically. I wanted to join a club, meet new people; I wanted to be challenged and also to learn something completely different.
At what point did you decide, diving is what you wanted to do?
When I arrived at the clubhouse and spoke to the Try a Dive team, there was a large group of people eager to know about the club and what was involved in diving. I spoke to the diving and training officers about my comfort point with depth and the sea, but I was made very comfortable and felt at ease within minutes. I knew instantly, when the dive gear was put on in the swimming pool and began to scuba dive, I loved it straight away.
What was involved in the 13 week course?
The training programme consisted of 12 lectures with topics including diving equipment, effects of pressure, decompression, hand signals, ear & sinus, burst lung, hypothermia, dive tables with pool training after each lecture to finish. When the in-house training and pool work was completed, the trainee was ready for the open water starting with shallow dives recorded in their logbook.
Since the beginning, what qualifications have you obtained and what’s your goal for 2017?
Firstly, I qualified as a One Star Diver, Nitrox Diver, Club Diver and currently training as a Coxswain which is my goal for this year to qualify. I’d like to learn about underwater photography and study weather, tides and chart-work in more detail.I, along with the club, are looking forward to a packed season of diving both in Cork and travelling further along the west of Ireland to different locations for scenic and wreck diving and also to meet other divers from other clubs.
Lastly, have you any advice for somebody interested in the Try A Dive?
I can only speak for myself, it’s the best decision I ever made! From a person who was a bit nervous at the start, I’m the first diver off the boat and I’m the last diver to surface! Take the plunge and go for it!
Blackwater Divers investigate the Celtic
With a stiff northerly breeze forecast for Sunday, 8th January, nine Blackwater divers headed for some scenic and wreck diving off Roches’Point lighthouseto dive the Celtic. In 1901, the 20,000 tonne White Star liner the Celtic left the Harland and Wolfe shipyard in Belfast. For the next 27 years the Celtic would voyage the seas along with her sister ships the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Cedric; apart from a spell during the First World War when she served as an armed merchant cruiser. The Celtic would have an eventful war being mined in the Irish Sea in 1917 and later torpedoed in 1918 during which six sailors lost their lives, before returning to Belfast for repair. In 1925, she then collided with the Anaconda in the Irish Sea and survived but her lucky streak would not last forever. In December 1928 on a voyage from New York and Boston to Liverpool, she would go aground at Roches’ Point in Cork Harbour, it was to have been Captain Berry’s last voyage and the ship had been sold to an Italian ship breakers. As well as carrying passengers on her final journey, the Celtic also carried refrigerated cargo and machinery for the Ford plant in Cork City. The conditions were perfect with Force 2/3 breeze with visibility to 5 metres. Divers included for the trip were Graham Burke,Stephane Portrait, Timmy Carey, Finbarr Murphy, Alex Browne, Eric O Neill and Elden Keegan. Many thanks to Graham for organising the dive on Sunday.
Blackwater Diver’s finish 2016 season exploring the Star Immaculate
With sea temperatures static at a chilly 9 degrees together with a perfect wind speed at F2, nine Blackwater divers headed for Crosshaven, Thursday, 29th December to finish the 2016 season in Cork Harbour diving the Star Immaculate off Roches Point. The weather couldn’t be better with all divers descending to a depth of 15 metres with visibility to 3 metres. While awaiting the first set of divers to ascend, trainee coxswain Catriona Mathews noticed a pair of dorsal fins coming in the direction of the boat but was put to rest that they were only a pair of dolphins heading back out to sea. Back on dry land 11 club members began to discuss the 2016 season over a hot cup of tea and delicious Christmas cake from Susan Vaughan.Many thanks to diving officer for the day Timmy Carey.Divers are once again looking forward to club weekend trips to the Skelligs, Baltimore, Southwest and Southeast Dive Ralliestogether with foreign dives for the 2017 season ahead.
Timmy Carey with Great Southern Sign
With sea conditions deteriorating last weekend with Force 4 to 7 winds, Blackwater diver Timmy Carey decided to examine previous year’s river dives and organised a trip to one of the three sisters, the River Suir, Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Divers Timmy Carey, Gearoid O Looney, Alex Brown and Catrina Mathews headed off early Sunday morning to investigate the current underwater conditions under the Viaduct adjacent to Cahir Bridge. With safety checks completed, dive plan discussed, divers began a forty minute dive in three metres of water with 17 degrees temperature.
It was apparent from the beginning; the river bed had plenty of life from crayfish, brown trout, mussels and a keen-eyed kingfisher keeping an eye on Alex Brown as he surfaced. It was soon discovered while under the Viaduct (opened in 1852), Timmy Carey discovered a complete Great Southern and Western Railway sign in perfect condition. Examining the sign, a group of locals began to remember the unfortunate train disaster which occurred on 21st December, 1955.
The train concerned was a 32-wagon laden beet special from Waterford to Thurles via Limerick Junction. At the time of the accident, the Up platform (the station building side) was occupied by a mail train. The beet train was routed into the loop, but as the rear of the mail train was fouling the crossover at the Limerick end of the station, it was not possible to let the beet back out on to the main line. Instead, the points were set for the short siding which ended just before the bridge. The beet train ran through the buffers at the end of the siding at about 30-35mph causing the locomotive and 22 wagons to crash through the floor of the first span of the bridge into the River Suir below. Sadly, the driver and a fireman died in the accident.
L/R Gearoid O Looney, Timmy Carey, Alex Brown, Catrina Mathews
Also discovered during the dive, was a Doulton Lambeth ceramic ink bottle and unfortunately a damaged old cast iron CIE sign. Many thanks to Timmy Carey for organising an unexpected dive full of discovery, history and meeting the locals in Cahir.
L/R Catriona Matthews, Declan Curtain Mon1 CSAC,Pat Hurley Mon2 Army, Ken Barry, Susan Vaughan, George Goggin, Dick Vaughan D.O. Blackwater SAC
A blustery Oysterhaven was the location early Sunday morning for club secretary Kenneth Barry, to undergo his Coxswain examination after extensive period of training throughout the year. Despite Force 4 to Force 6 winds with two metre swell, Blackwater SAC member Kenneth proved high standards once again were maintained throughout a three hour extensive examination. Arriving early, BSAC dive officer Dick Vaughan, Susan Vaughan, Catrina Mathews, George Goggin and Kenneth Barry arrived early to prepare the rib and diving equipment before examination would begin.
“The candidate must take full responsibility for the launching, operation, control and recovery of the dive boat during a normal dive day, together with the dropping off, covering and recovering of divers in usual dive weather”. Patrick Hurley Mon 2 Examiner from the Diver Army Group together with Declan Curtin Mon 1 Instructor Cork SAC were well prepared to test the Blackwater SAC candidate from the start.
After launching the boat, carrying out all pre-launch checks and ensuring everyone was properly equipped to go to sea, the test was soon underway in choppy seas. Over the course of three hours, Kenneth would have to demonstrate competence in carrying out man-overboard procedures, towing and disabled craft, anchoring, high speed handling, mooring, general seamanship, reversing, turning in a tight space, compass navigation, figure of eight and U-turn manoeuvre’s both forward and reverse and most importantly picking up divers Dick, Susan and Catrina Mathews.
On completion of the practical assessment, Kenneth began his theory examination showing proficiency in chart work, tides, currents, weather forecasts, ropes and knots and finally completing his examination with knowledge of an emergency situation at sea.
All club members would like to congratulate Kenneth who is an invaluable part of the Blackwater Search and Recovery Unit and proving again, high standards of training are paramount within the club. Examiner Patrick Hurley noted also after the examination “Great to see such skill and knowledge displayed on a very testing day (the unfavourable sea conditions were a test in themselves). Kenneth is a credit to himself, his club and his Instructors”.
Annual Church Gate Collections
Members of Blackwater Search & Recovery Unit would like to thank the Fermoy community who supported our annual church gate collection last weekend. We are grateful for the tremendous support that is received from the public.