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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 Diver finds Victorian Water Filter

Diving in the Blackwater in Fermoy last weekend, Timmy Carey found an excellent example of a Victorian water filter. Skilfully recovered, the jar was found to be intact with just some discolouration. The picture show the remarkable condition after many years submerged in the river bed. Timmy will expertly clean in the next few weeks, and will join the other fine array of Victorian ceramics found to date.

As long as 170 years ago, the legendary craftsmen of fine Royal Doulton ceramics were already making water filters effective enough to rid river water of cholera bacteria, rendering it fit to drink. Water borne diseases are, even today, a widespread danger to life and health, affecting people all over the globe.

Background

In 1815, John Doulton was taken into partnership by the widow Martha Jones who had inherited from her late husband a pottery shop in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, by the side of the ThamesRiver. Her foreman John Watts was also taken into partnership and the firm became Jones, Watts and Doulton. The original company produced the Doulton brand of English china and other fine ceramics. Employing students from the Lambeth School of Arts, the company inaugurated a long tradition of artist-designed fine ceramics that bore comparison with any in Europe.

"Offensive to the sight, disgusting to the imagination and destructive to the health." This was how London drinking water, which was drawn from the Thames, was described in a pamphlet published in 1827. The Thames was heavily contaminated with raw sewage; cholera and typhoid epidemics were rampant. Coincidentally, this was also the year in which the company started expanding their ceramic technology to industrial and other specialized applications such as insulators for electrical telegraph. In response to public awareness of the danger of the polluted water, they began making water filter cases packed with powdered carbon.

By the time Queen Victoria came to the throne, the Doulton brand-name was established as an innovative manufacturer of domestic and industrial products. In 1835, Queen Victoria, realizing the dangers of her drinking water, commissioned the company to produce water purifiers for the Royal household. They created a gravity fed stoneware units with the artistry of hand crafted pottery, fitted with a clay filter element for bacteria removal. The Queen, pleased with their achievements, conferred the honour of Royal Crest to Doulton's water purifiers. In 1853 John Watts retired and new partnership Doulton & Co was formed. In 1862, Doulton filters shown at the Kensington International Exhibition proudly wore the Royal arms of Queen Victoria.

 The filter found does not bear the Royal arms of Queen Victoria, so it may be safe to assume this example pre-dates 1862. Certainly in 1901, King Edward V11, conferred on the company the double honour of the royal warrant and the specific - as opposed to the assumed - right to use the title "Royal," for their contribution to the British Empire. Along the way honours were won at the great international exhibitions at Chicago and Paris and the range of Doulton products proliferated.

Also found on the same day was a selection of Dundee marmalade jars, previously featured last year in the Avondhu Newspaper.

Diving Schedule 2014

 

   

Dive weekend September 13th      Skelligs     

 

Contact Peter Whelan for details

   

 

Going up a mountain to jump in a lake

(Taken from corkman.ie to show possibilities)

Timmy Carey and Matt Cullotty from the Fermoy based Blackwater Sub Aqua Club prepare to become the first divers ever to explore Lough Curra deep in the heart of the Galtee Mountains.

Timmy Carey and Matt Cullotty from the Fermoy based Blackwater Sub Aqua Club prepare to become the first divers ever to explore Lough Curra deep in the heart of the Galtee Mountains.

MEMBERS the Blackwater Sub Aqua Club have become the first in Ireland to dive one of the country's highest mountain lakes.

The intrepid adventurers last weekend travelled deep into the Galtee Mountains, Ireland's highest inland mountain range, to dive Lough Curra. 

To the uninitiated it may sound unusual for a club that normally operates below sea level to climb hundreds of metres to dive. However, the Galtees have five large pre glacial hollows, which are now occupied by five mountain lakes: Lough's Curra, Diheen, Borheen, Muskey and Farbreaga.

These lough's have remained largely unexplored, due in no small measure to their inaccessibility, and it is not even clear how deep they are. Club spokesman Matt Culloty said that the members faced a huge set of challenges just to get to the shores of Lough Curra.

"To say this would not be a typical Sunday dive for us would be something of a huge understatement," laughed Matt.

"At 574 metres Curra is the highest of the Galtee lakes, which meant that we had to an uphill walk of almost nine kilometres to get there."

Matt pointed out that the weight of equipment typically required for a dive can be in excess of 40kgs per diver. However, the long trek to the Lough meant that this had to be stripped down to the bare essentials.

"We took two full sets of five gear between four divers, which meant that the team had to carry 23kgs of equipment each. When you are facing an uphill climb over rough terrain while being battered by wind and rain, that is quite a challenge," said Matt.

Undaunted, the team soldiered on, eventually reaching the Lough after an energy sapping twohour climb. On arrival it first appeared as though their efforts might be in vain as fog had enveloped the lake.

By the time the first two divers, Matt and Timmy Carey had kitted up it had cleared, allowing the pair to undertake a 20-minute dive the Lough, the first to ever do so.

Two other divers, Gearoid O'Looney and Eamon O'Herlihy also took the plunge, while another member of the team Stéphane Portrait chose to snorkel across the lake in order to find out how deep it was.

"The water was clear and there was even some evidence of fish life. Stephanie located a depth of 35 metres and it is envisaged that we will return to the lakes over the winter to obtain more information," said Matt.

"The journey back down was the most perilous bit of the day and in true biblical fashion I did manage to fall down three times," grinned Matt. "However, other than a few bruises and one deflated ego we did managed to return to base safely," he added.

For more information about the club visit www.blackwatersubaqua.com.

- BILL BROWNE