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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 Sub Aqua prepares for new Trainees

As the new year has being busy so far the club instructors under the guidance of Training Officer Elden Keegan and Dive officer Graham Burke its full steam ahead for the new class of trainee divers.  With over ten participants for this year’s course the next 13 weeks will be busy for all.  Without the support of all members giving you the time and effort the club would find it very hard to grow in strength.  Wishing all new participants the very best and hope fully before the spring is out these new members will have experienced the open water of the Irish Coast line. 
Upcoming lectures, Blackwater Sub Aqua are delighted to have Martin Kiely back to share his knowledge and experience in Underwater Photography.   This lecture is starting at 7.30pm on Friday 6th of February.  Following on from the recent NAS underwater Archaeology Course Tim Carey will be giving a lecture in Wreck Diving on Monday 2nd March at 7.30pm.  A cover charge of €5 will be applied to each event.
A Club Training weekend will take place this weekend in west Cork.  This weekend will give divers an opportunity to get in some shallow to deeper dives in preparation for the coming season.  The weekend will also allow trainee coxswains ample opportunity to log up hours and prepare for their exams.   With a lot of planning in place full gratitude must be given to dive Officer Graham Burke who is planning the weekend keeping in mind and catering for all.  

 

 

Finbarr Murphy and Eamon O Herlihy on a recent dive in Portroe Dive Centre

Development of Technology with Search and Recovery

Development of Technology with Search and Recovery

Over the past year the Blackwater Search and Recovery Unit have being successfully training and gaining quality experience with the Side Scanning equipment purchased through the hard work of the clubs fundraising work and local grants and contributions..  The side scan technology used by Blackwater Search and Recovery will assist in the future in their work on searches local rivers and the southern coastline when requested by the authorities such as An Gardai Siochana or the Irish Coast Guard.  Under Search and recovery Diving Officer Dave Carey The team initially concentrated on familiarising themselves with the equipment and software to establish procedures and settings for the best possible results.  This was assisted by the testing of an alternative trial setup file from the supplier. When reverting back to the original setup file using varied data transfer speeds, scan and speed setting it was agreed that scanning against the current was giving the optimal control of scans.  The group also practiced with the handheld GSP unit for the dropping of shots in order that dive teams on recovery were positioned in the correct location.  Recently Blackwater Search and Recovery completed a full scan of the upper stretch of the river for Fermoy Rowing Club in order to identify potential underwater hazards of submerged trees for the safety of their crews. Following any large flood more trees fall and some lodge on the river bed while others flow through the stretch,  many have seen such large trees get stuck on the weir from time to time,  the coaches and crews are now able to continue training in a safe manner.  This new technology of the search and rescue unit has being a great time saver for the coaches who regurlary surveying the surface,says Rowing Club Chairman Pa Granville. 
The Club continues to progress in training its members for all aspects of diving as a pleasure sport but also as a Search and Recovery Unit.  Ongoing training continues with the Winter Evening Lectures organised by Training Officer Graham Burke.  The next lecture is this Friday night with a lecture on Coast Guard Diver Rescue Protocols by Adrian O Hara Winchman with the Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter based in Waterford.  Other ongoing in-house training nights are planned for the next coming weeks.  The next in-house training night is on January 28th will be covering GPS and VHS all club members are welcome to attend. 

Last Saturday in cold conditions a group of Search Divers, Graham Burke, Judith O Brien, Finbarr Murphy Peter Mullen, Stéphane Portrait took to the water for a fitness training swim from Lismore Castle on the Blackwater River to Dromana Gate on the Finisk River covering over 10km.  The group under the watchful eyes of Olan O Farrell and Peter Whelan providing safety cover.  The swim also completed the annual fitness swim for Judith and Finbarr, a requirement of CFT Irish Underwater Council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Section of the images from the SideScan Sonar showing marked potential submerged trees for the Rowing Club so that they can be removed from training areas of the River.

 





















At Dromana Gate following the Fin Swim l-r Noel Hayes Stéphane Portrait Graham Burke Peter Mullen Olan O Farrell Peter Whelan

 

 Judith O Brien completing her annual fitness Swim 

 

Villierstown search training exercise for Blackwater divers

Villierstown search training exercise for Blackwater divers

Frigid almost glacial conditions due to a stiff Southerly breeze greeted the dive team who travelled to Villierstown for search and recovery and boat handling training on Sunday morning. The biting cold was soon accompanied by driving rain which didn't make the conditions anymore enjoyable; yet despite the arduous conditions it would prove to be an excellent training dive. With the river Blackwater being tidal up past Cappoquin, the visibility is often incredibly poor here and the river depths much deeper than what can be found in the Fermoy area. Dropping down the shotline the incredible cold with the water  eing less than seven degrees celsius and the nil visibility would soon focus all the divers on the search patterns to be carried out.  With high powered LED torches the illumination would allow the divers to see a maximum of 6 inches on the riverbed in depths of close to 20 meters - whereas the depth of the river in Fermoy rarely exceeds 4 meters. Surfacing after 30 minutes of bottom time the divers would be  greeted by an almost entirely different day with the wind after  dissipating and glorious sunshine causing a shimmer across the ripples
of the autumnal waters.The day would end after some boat handling training for Ken Barry; practising man overboard, coming alongside,  low speed intricate handling, mooring and GPS use.
Spring lectures  Last Friday evening saw a hugely successful start to the spring lecture series with in excess of 40 divers in the clubhouse to hear Martin Kiely from Aughinish Sub Aqua Club give a hugely insightful lecture into the world of underwater photography with a focus on macro (or close up) photography of marine life; with everyone mesmerised by the myriad of different colours on display. The next lecture will take place on Friday evening the 24th by Adrian O Hara from Fermoy on coastgaurd protocols at sea and how divers can ready their dive boats for a sea rescue; so this is sure to be of interest to everyone attending. Everyone welcome to attend the lectures.


                                                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Kiely the national diving officer of the Irish Underwater Council getting a presentation of appreciation from club chairman Noel Hayes after he delivered 
a lecture on underwater photography

                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                      




 

 

 

 

Timmy Carey being congratulated by John Murphy on being the first swimmer to finish the St Stephens day
finswim recently. copyright John O Connell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training in Villierstown last Sunday Timmy Carey, Olan O Farrell, Ken Barry,Noel Hayes and Matt Culloty with Graham Burke at the rear