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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 Take Kerry by Storm

The West Coast of County Kerry faces headlong into the powerful Atlantic Ocean. Kerry has a varied and heavily indented coastline that lends itself admirably to a feast of temperate water diving. The rugged coastlines of Kerry are mirrored underwater; think sheer rock faces and stunning topography result in steep drop offs and colourful walls. Blackwater divers would base themselves in Ballyferriter, 10 K west of Dingle, were they would get shelter from the forecasted force 5 winds resulting in 6meter sea swells.  The harbor offers dives to 25 meters and should the winds abate, just outside on either side depths to 45 meters are easily achieved. 

The water temperature off the coast of Kerry is moderated by the warming Gulf Stream, while nutrient rich water is ideal for a profusion of marine life. A myriad of marine life abound,  Lobsters, crayfish and conger eels will passively observe from under their rocks, while curious cuckoo wrasse, pipefish and oversized Pollack swim about. Last weekend while hundreds looked on one dolphin in Dingle, we were treated to a pod of 20 plus swimming in our vicinity.
Here is what Jacques Cousteau said about the Kerry dive sites: "Some of the best diving in the world is at the northern side of the Dingle Peninsula where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Brandon mountains" ... in a landscape of exceptional beauty.

"Abundant marine life - shoals of mackerel and Pollack; feeding wrasse and playful seals; lobster, crawfish and crabs; sunfish and basking sharks; schools of dolphins and pilot whales; while the reefs themselves are lit up by different varieties of sponges and anemones." If it’s good enough for Jacques Cousteau, well it was good enough for Dive Officer for the weekend Matt Culloty.

Unfortunately the strong westerly wind didn’t abate and allow diving of the “3 sisters” , having dived this location just 3 weeks prior, Matt was eager to bring his team to see the spectacular ravens , which would show the amazing walls and bountiful fish which adorn . Fortunately just on the western side of the harbor a cave dive would allow divers explore much of the beauty of  a wall dive, with lobster and even a seal making the odd appearance. Other dives along the west side would host huge Pollack, in outstanding visibility.  The weekend was an outstanding success, with some excellent diving by our trainees.

The leading diver exam is being held this weekend, in Smerwick. Blackwater Sub Aqua, have just one candidate this year. Leading diver is the highest and much sought after, diving grade of our governing body (C.F.T).  A tremendous amount of preparation has already gone in by those taking place, best of luck to Finbarr Mulcahy.

 

Below Left, Peter Whelan                             Right Top: Maurice Carrroll    Right Bottom: Matt Culloty



Old Fenian clay pipe emerges from the river Blackwater

On a recent search and recovery training dive in the river Blackwater; Timmy Carey found an old clay pipe deeply encased in hardened mud and after slowly cleaning it underwater it revealed some writing which was
impossible to read underwater. After surfacing and with some careful cleaning with a toothbrush revealed the symbol of a harp on one side with the words "Harp or ERIN " and the image of a beret with two hands shaking hands on the other with the words "Cap or Liberty". Both of these symbols were old Fenian symbols of resistance to British rule with the harp being a symbol of Ireland since ancient times. The harp was first used in christian stone crosses and ancient manuscripts since the 8th and 9th centuries and it was not until July 1642 that a yellow harp on a green background became popular as a symbol of Irish resistance when used by Eoghan Rua O Neill when returning from Spain to lead the Ulster armies in the 1641 rebellion against English rule. An old Fenian clay pipe recovered from the river Blackwater in the past few weeks.
This symbol remained as a symbol or Irish freedom right up until the Easter 1916 rising, with the tricolour emerging in the period 1916-1919 and later becoming the national flag for the free state.
The cap of liberty symbol was also quite interesting as the idea of this was that the cap of liberty would replace the imperial crown and this symbol is used throughout classical art as a freedom motif and
was used during the French and American revolution; with the cap symbol coming from Roman times when freed slaves received a cap of freedom.
While it will be impossible to definitively date the pipe, pipes such as this very common in the late 19th century during the land wars, when up to 80% of adults used to smoke before cigarettes became common place in the early 20th century. As usual the Blackwater never seems to throw up surprises with links to local history and this small find gave a great insight into a time when Irish people could only ever dream of owning their own property and living in an independent country. It would also make you wonder
what people of the period who would have suffered so much hardship for an impossible dream would have made of the Irish leaders throughout society of the early 21st century who would trade national sovereignty
due to abject greed !!!.
Nena the clubs only Colombian diver ! exploring the riverbed of the Blackwater while preparing for her diver one star exam

Blackwater Triathlon: A big thanks to everyone who assisted with the dives last Wednesday night to ensure that the exit point of the river was clear to ensure safe egress for the swimmers from the river; thanks to Judith for organising the dive. Thanks to everyone who provided safety cover on the day also

Judith O Brien and Noel Hayes diving the Blackwater last
week to remove any sharp tree branches or other objects from the exit of the river for the triathlon
        Fenian clay pipe recovered from the river Blackwater    in the past few weeks


Blackwater Swim : well done to Owen O Keffee on yet another amazing swim; the athleticism , discipline and psychological strength to swim 60 kilometers of the river Blackwater is an inspirational feat. Well
done Owen from everyone associated with the club.

River Blackwater headstone finds its final resting place

Last week saw the finishing off of the stone wall across from our clubhouse on the Promenade and the final piece to be built was the headstone and the stone work surrounding it. The headstone was found under Fermoy bridge and was recovered with the permission of the
national museum as it was an archaeological object, most of these objects end up in Dublin in the national museum where only a fraction of the items can ever be put on display due to inadequate room in the museum to show all the artifacts. While the origins of this headstone
will never be definitively known it can be seen from the ripples on the stone from the water that it has been in the water a long time. While the original Fermoy monastery is long gone with very little trace left of it, the part of the river where this was found isn't too far away from the ancient burial ground of the monastery.
After some discussion with the museum it was agreed that the headstone could stay in Fermoy provided it was well secured. A huge thanks to Eamonn Neligan a qualified stone mason who built the wall and mounted the headstone on a voluntary basis. The old railway axles were also bedded in concrete last week and were given the final touches of paint by Mike Reidy; the last thing to be done with this is for David Carey to add the timber runners to turn it into an ornamental seat.

                         Eamonn Neligan mounting the headstone into the new wall in the promenade in Fermoy


The club was very honoured to receive an award at the recent Fermoy tidy town awards especially as the flood works had a very detrimental effect on our facilities during the construction phase with lots of mud and dirt in the area; this was the first year since that we got
the chance to give the area a big clean up and have our club facilities in pristine condition again. Congratulations to everyone for organising the event and to Mc Carthy insurances for sponsoring the event. A big thanks also to Christy Roche and Valerie Murphy of Avondhu Blackwater who have given us a huge help with the project by assisting with the signage for the project. Hopefully in the coming weeks we should be able to have a large scale family open day where we will have a lot of family events free of charge and give everyone in the locality a chance to see our facilities.

Well done to Owen O Keffee an inspirational sportsman on yet another inspiring swim and on breaking another record recently, everyone in the club would like to wish Owen well on his plans to swim the entire river Blackwater in the coming weeks; a phenomenal feat of endurance.

Dive One Star Exam
Well done to Willie Keane who last week attained the diving grade of diver of one star diver after being examined in Cork harbour on the wreck of the star immaculate fishing trawler. This is just rewards for all the hard work in the pool and open water over the past few months.                      Noel Hayes, Ken Barry and Eugene Whelan at the recent Gathering event in Fermoy town park.

 


Acknowledgement of Cork County Council assistance:

A big thanks to Cork County Council for a recent grant towards the units side scan sonar this was a huge help to the search unit. A big thanks to Noel McCarthy and Frank o Flynn also for their help at County Council level.

The club will be organising a training weekend away on the 17th and 18th of August in Smerwick in Kerry, if anyone is interested in going contact Matt Culloty for further details.

Olan O Farrell and Gearoid O Looney towing in a stricken vessel in distress in Helvick Head recently; Helvick lifeboat were also onhand to assist with the rescue of the vessel