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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.

Blackwater Divers Busy Doing What They Do Best

 

Blackwater divers have logged an impressive number of dives in the last week. Six of our club divers have raked up on average 17 dives each during the week, while living on a boat on the red sea, an report on their dives and what  life on board is like  will feature in the coming weeks. Not to be outdone, those of us who stayed at home made the most of perfect conditions last weekend.

Early Saturday morning, 5 divers travelled to Ferrypoint (near Youghal), their destination the wreck of the Folia. A 4 masted, twin funnel liner she was built in 1907. And measured 131.06m x16.02m x 7.67m and grossed 6705 tons. She was armed with a 12 pounder 12 ctw stern gun. While bound New York for Avonmouth, with a 4,400 cargo of trench digging machinery, shell cases and general cargo, she was torpedoed by U-53, which then surfaced and sank her with their deck gun. 7 of the crew of 85 lost their lives.

 

                                                 Matt Culloty prepares to dive the Folia   

 

                                      Finbarr Mulcahy looking forward to a dive on the Folia

Diving the Folia can be challenging, resting at a depth of 36 meters, it’s important to dive when currents are not running, often divers need more than just a single diving cylinder, in order to get enough bottom time to explore this vast wreck. 3 of the divers wished to spend 30 minutes on the wreck; this would entail bringing 2 cylinders or a rebreather on their back plus one more on each side. The effect of diving at this depth for this duration puts the diver into situation recreational divers should not encounter. Due to the quantity of gas consumed and the effects of pressure, it would take the divers 30 minutes to reach the surface in ordered to off gas. Failure to adhere to the proper assent schedule will result in serious illness or death.

The second dive of the day would be to Cable island, just outside Youghal harbour, for this we were joined by another 2 of our divers, and while the visibility was not as good as the morning dive, all were treated to a lovely scenic dive with bountiful array of fish and fauna.  

                                           Stéphane Portrait dives with rebreather on the Folia

The search and rescue unit continued with training of the side scan sonar unit, also on Saturday, this activity may have been noticed by those river watching. The dedicated team, led by David Carey are becoming proficient... For further information on our club activities www.blackwatersubaqua.ie

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