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In this section you will find articles on pleasure dives that have taken place with the Blackwater Sub Aqua Unit. 

Other Archives Items can be found in the downloads section accessible here.

Donation Boxes a Lifeline for Blackwater Search and Rescue

 

Attending the launch night, Mayor of Fermoy Olive Corcoran with club chairman Noel Hayes and Fundraising Officer Jimmy McGuire

The Blackwater Search and Rescue unit is a100% voluntary unit. Without the continued support of the community in the Avondhu area, we simply could not exist. From year to year we need to come up with new ways of finding funding to ensure we have equipment in order to provide the vital service of safety, search and recovery and rescue on the waterways both in the community and often off the coast of Cork. This year we were fortunate to receive support from a number of individuals and organisations which we did not foresee 12 months ago. The donations allowed us to upgrade one of our rescue boats and the purchase of the side scan unit. You should know that we set benchmark levels countrywide for search and recovery both in terms of equipment and personnel, and it is our intention to remain a strong and vital part of the rescue services in the Avondhu area.

The costs associate with buying and maintaining diving equipment can be horrendous. While we have a 3 man team, headed by equipment’s officer Olan O Farrell, to perform the routine weekly service and repair of equipment, due to strict safety guidelines, certain tasks cannot be performed in-house.  Cylinder testing and regulator service must be performed by accredited organisation on a periodic basis. Depending on the device and its age, this can be every 2 to 5 years or so. The next 12 months, like it or not this will involve an expenditure of in excess of €12,000 , a huge sum for the club to raise. The search divers also use and provide free of charge all of their own equipment, and in the event of damage of loss, will cover this expense from their own pocket.

This week the club Fundraising Officer, Jimmy McGuire set about requesting various businesses around Fermoy and surrounding areas, placing donation boxes on the counter.  We acknowledge people often have an emotional tie to existing collection boxes,  the responses from the business was 100% positive,  those business who have not yet been approached, please consider placing a box on your counter. If you require a donation box, contact Matt Culloty 087 8217069, who would be only happy to supply.

                                  Imelda Cullinan Long Bar with Jimmy McGuire at the launch night.

Other source of funding is our collection of old phones, should you have a phone you no longer need, in any state of repair just contact any club member. For further information on our club visit our web page www.blackwatersubaquaclub.ie

 

Galtee Mountains provide refuge for divers in high winds

With huge winds battering the locality on Saturday and all rivers still high with the deluge of recent heavy rain, last weekend training was scheduled for the Galtee mountains in Lough Muskry. With a good track to Muskry carrying the diving gear isn't as onerous as it is with some of the other Galtee lakes and with conditions staying dry the hour long climb was very enjoyable although if anyone else hillwalking saw a group carrying diving fins on top of rucksacks they may well have looked twice! 

In the lee of the corrie lake the slight depression down into the lake provided good shelter when changing into swimming trunks and wetsuits at the water’s edge. Everyone was pleasantly surprised with the water temperature being a bearable nine degrees Celsius and each of the group would log over 40 minutes in water time and traverse the entire edge of the lake enjoying the subaquatic topography. After exiting the water chilled this is the point of the dive where a diver is most likely to get hypothermic due to the wind chill on the mountainside. A quick welcome cup of coffee and everyone was soon changed and getting ready for the descend which would soon help dissipate the very early signs of hypothermia such as cold fingers and toes.
Next weekend sees six of the clubs members head to the warmer water conditions of the Red Sea after a number of months saving, the idyllic dive conditions will soon be here and it will be a good opportunity to stay dived up over the impinging winter months.

 

Right: Stéphane and Timmy share a Joke.

Bottom: Timmy Carey, Graham Burke, Willie Keane and Stéphane Portrait

Stormy winds disrupt training weekend plans


A very large contingent of 18 search divers were to partake in the training weekend in Bere Island this past weekend but alas the weather and the sea once again gave a grim reminder of their inexorable power when a storm in the Atlantic battered coastlines and forced the cancellation of the weekend. Predictive wind forecasts were showing wave heights in excess of 18 feet which would indeed be very dangerous and diving at sea would be a foolhardy exercise.
Undeterred dive training did take place on Sunday in County Tipperary in an old disused slate quarry which has since filled with freshwater to a depth of 40 meters. The quarry in Portroe is now ran commercially as a diving centre for use by divers and is ideal for training when the sea is too rough and the local rivers are swollen with flood water. With the quarry being so deep it provides the perfect venue for divers to stay dived up and accustomed to the detrimental effects of nitrogen narcosis when diving deep. While the effects of Nitrogen gas on the human mind at depth is still not fully understood by science; any diver who has dived beyond 30 meters is well aware of the effects with some divers overcome by a feeling of jubilation while others experience analytical narrowing and depressive effects while on the dive. While every diver experiences this some divers are much more prone than others and by staying dived up to depth throughout the year a diver ensures they are better able to deal with the effects.
Divers badly effected by the phenomenon can sometimes surface remembering very little of the dive which is why divers always dive in pairs; the amazing aspect of the phenomenon is that on ascending all effects disappear very quickly with no lasting effects; much akin to a hangover with a much quicker recovery period ! In addition to the depth Portroe quarry is also generally very cold and this makes the diving that bit more arduous and challenging; all groups were broken into dive teams depending on dive experience and during the day many diving skills such as mask clearing, regulator switches, buoyancy control, SMB deployment, use of diver propulsion vehicles, gas shutdowns and many other skills were effectively practised. It was great to see so many rainbow trout now living in the quarry as well as a good number of large freshwater eels , some of which were seen free swimming.
While it was disappointing that the weekend was cancelled there was no option given the sea forecast, but hopefully it can be rescheduled in the coming weeks if there is sufficient interest.
Everyone in the search unit would like to extend their sympathies to the Reidy, Keegan and Whelan families on their recent tragic losses.

For anyone who is interested in the diving club or search unit activities just have a look at the Facebook web site .www.facebook.com/blackwatersubaqua.ie

 

 Finbarr and Gavin Murphy diving in Portoe last weekend with Gavin logging dives for his diver two star exam

 

 

 Joost, Stephane and Matt Culloty in Portroe last weekend: all three were working on their buoyancy skills with stage bottles