Hello to you SCUBA-interested-person!
If you’re considering doing some SCUBA diving at the University of Sheffield, then read on! The University SCUBA Diving Club, SUSAC, offers training and diving to all students at the University. Whether you’ve never dived before, or have a qualification from another dive club, we can provide what you need.
In October we will be having a series of events to recruit new members. If you have never dived before and want to try it out commitment-free, or you are already a diver and want to continue diving at the University, then read on.
If you have any questions about diving or our Club, you should come along to see us at the
Sheffield University Students’ Union Sports Fair
at the Octagon Centre
Friday 27th September 2013
11am -4pm (timings TBC)
We always have a stand at the Sports Fair with all the other University sports clubs. There will be members of the Club there all day to discuss the Club, the diving and training we do, and how you can be a part of it.
For those who have never dived before, and want an opportunity to try it out before signing up for full diver training, we can attend our
Give it a Go Try SCUBA Dives
Meet outside the students union building
Sunday 29th September 2013
Times slots starting at 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm, and 5pm.
These are held at a local swimming pool and allow you to experience diving with one-on-one supervision from one of our nationally qualified instructors. Tickets are only £5 and include everything apart from bus fare to and from the pool. For full details of how the Give it a Go Try SCUBA Dives run, go to our Try Dives page.
Finally, if you are considering joining the Club, make sure to come along to our
Club Information and Sign Up Meeting
Venue to be announced
Monday 30th September 2013
At this meeting the Club Training Officer will give a 30 minute talk on how the Club works, the diving we do, the training we provide, and the costs to our members. Afterwards you can ask any questions you have about the Club, and then if you are still keen, you can sign up as a member and receive diver training from one the UK’s most active prolific student dive clubs. The meeting will be followed by a welcome social in the Interval bar.
If you have any questions about the Club in the meantime, contact us by emailing
Our group of 11 arrived staggered on the Friday night, with Angie, Tom, Alana, Ray, Soo and James planning to leave Sheffield earlier than the rest and have dinner at the house.
The house we stayed in is lovely and thoroughly recommended for future trips, especially trips over a week or bank holiday.
On Saturday we woke at a moderate hour, planning to do a shallow dive followed by a wreck. We dived at Puffin Island which is in the north end of the Menai Strait and home to a colony of friendly seals who came in to play. After we dived a wreck offshore called the Mermaid, which is a very broken up wreck around a boiler which is still standing. There was lots of life on the wreck; I saw a Butterfish and a Common Dragonet, which were new for me. Thankfully the wind was not any worse offshore as there would have been a few chunklets flying around.
After diving Tom took control of the Kitchen, preparing us a delicious roast chicken dinner. After which we all (except Dave who stayed in to watch the voice) enjoyed a romantic beach walk followed by some of Alana’s birthday cake. Emma and Soo spent the rest of the evening plying us all with port and dessert wine, not many of us put up a fight.
On Sunday we all enjoyed a lie in as our rope off time was not until 11am. We had French toast and bacon for breakfast which was delicious. The wind had picked up so we decided to dive in the sound. With the first dive being a scenic dive in the deepest bit of the sound, it was really good, I stopped counting Dogfish at 25.
During our lunchtime surface interval we all had the opportunity to piss around on Scott’s Jet ski (bitches love jet ski). I must admit I think Ray’s motorbike experience paid off as she and Alana were powering round. If only Alana was as good at holding on as she is at being bossy. Gareth and I were not naturals at Jet Ski. James was too injured to really go for it. Emma’s arms were too short to reach the controls.
Our second dive of the day was a drift dive through the sound. Scott said it would be fast and it was, up to 5kn in all directions, there were a few fast ascents and lots of laughs.
Sunday evening Alana and James made us sweet and sour pork balls, which was again delicious. Later that evening Mauricio showed us the video of the drift dive he had made. He had managed to catch the whole thing on his GoPro, an entertaining watch.
On Monday morning we tidied up the house and set off for an earlier rope off of 9.30 am, planning to do 2 wreck dives. The first was the Dakota, which was massive and fantastic, all broken up and strewn across the seabed. No deeper than 20m and more wreckage than you can see in a dive. I definitely plan to dive this wreck again in September if we can.
Followed by another 20m wreck, called the Mona. Pretty opposite really, intact and quite small, home to the biggest conger I have ever seen as well as a huge amount of anemones and fishy-fish.
Special thanks go to Emma for organising the trip excellently and to Big Raymond for driving the van adequately.
When: 27th March – 2nd April 2013
Accommodation: The Mount Batten Centre
Boats: The Maid Maggie and The Seeker
‘Whoopee, I love diving on the Plymouth Breakwater!’ thought just about everyone at one time or another during SUSAC’s Easter trip to Plymouth. Unfortunately, they were all being sarcastic and if I could sum up the quality of the diving we experienced in four words, they would probably be ‘visibility’, ‘s**t’, ‘swell’ and ‘and’, but not necessarily in that order. However, if I could sum up the trip as a whole in four words, they would probably be ‘fun’, ‘awesome’, ‘and’ and ‘badgers’ (I may have made that last one up) and that is thanks to SUSAC!
So the diving started (and, as it happened, continued) on the Plymouth Breakwater and the nearby fort, under the command of veteran Dive Manager and Club Training Officer, Ross Peel. These are easy, sheltered dive sites that are great for first time sea divers to get to grips with all the stuff that first time sea divers have to get to grips with, like sorting out how much lead weight to carry and deciding which piece of marine life they want to annoy next. The first day went rather well and people seemed to grasp quite quickly how kit storage, air fills and getting stuff on the boats worked.
The second day saw an additional site added to the plan, the wreck of the Glen Strathallan, and Jack Whiteley at the helm. Everyone rejoiced at the thought of a dive site that wasn’t on the breakwater, although some divers became overexcited and expressed their joy by vomiting violently into the air. The award for first chunder of the trip went to me when I sprayed a fine mist of bile and Coca Cola into the Plymouth Sound.
The third day was managed by me and, given the good conditions on the surface, the proposed dive sites were the wrecks of the SS James Eagan Layne and the HMS Scylla. Good weather on the surface is great but, as anyone who has plunged their head into a bucket of boiling clove oil can attest, it doesn’t necessarily translate to good conditions under the surface in a bucket of boiling clove oil (or the sea). Unfortunately we didn’t have anyone who’d plunged their head into a bucket of boiling clove oil to ask, we just had a load of divers, so two boat loads of us tried to get dives in pretty horrific ground swell. This meant that for as long as anyone cared to stay down, they were repeatedly pushed forward and dragged backward by surges of water, often into bits of wreckage or their buddy. Needless to say, we didn’t try to dive the JEL or Scylla again, but we did head back out to the Glen Strathallan. In an effort to keep up with a tradition established in past years, when the two boats passed each other, a number of us on board the Maid Maggie stood up on the benches and mooned The Seeker. This is a risky business as the bow wave from the passing boat often causes the other boat to rock and can catch a diver with their pants down (quite literally), but no one was caught off balance this time!
A rounded determination to continue diving saw Ray ‘Big Raymond’ Coyle supervise on day four. As you might imagine our diving day was relatively uneventful, apart from an alternate source ascent effected by Emma Gilhooly on a soon to be out-of-air Josh Smith (it turned out that Josh had been trying to fill the sea with air using a free-flowing second stage). Jenny Hardy also managed to forget her drysuit and then make her way back down to the boat wearing Josh Colby’s suit instead – apparently the letter ‘J’ was enough.
Given the conditions mid-trip, James Leyland had been left wondering if he might be managing a trip to the gin distillery rather than the last day’s diving, but SUSAC had true grit and we once again buckled up and dived the breakwater fort.
The final day’s diving saw Tom Donald enter the water without his suit zipped up properly… causing him to promptly leap out again, get his suit zipped up, and dive with six inches of water in each boot. The day also saw Raymond break the diver lift on the Maid Maggie. I was particularly annoyed at this last event as I was the one on the lift at the time and Ray broke it through sheer force of will from her position in the water. A particular highlight of Monday’s diving was some marvellous mammary modelling from some of SUSAC’s ladies (see, I can do alliteration), in response to the mooning from day three.
As the diving wasn’t much, I feel this report should consider some of the other goings on while we were staying at the Mount Batten Centre. On our first evening we all dined at the Mount Batten Hotel, whose menu was a rich and vivid spectrum of culinary delight, from foods that were fried to foods that were served with gravy and all of the soggy, carbohydrate, cheap-bulk-purchases in between.
On Friday night, Tom and Ross gave their traditional talk on marine life, allocating all underwater creatures names within their own informative and semantically correct designation system. For example, all eels are “snakey bitey fish” and anything you can put on a plate is a “tasty fish”. Later than evening I was surprised to find myself presented with a scotch bonnet chilli, but, being the outstanding fellow that I am, I did the honourable thing and ate it in three sizeable pieces. This was an act that my guts did not thank me for at 4am the next morning. Saturday evening saw the creation of a new professional sport, Gerd Ball, all you need is a ball, the 1990 Mister Germany winner, a pair of Crocs and a willing competitor. Gerd Ball will definitely be making a comeback in 2014.
On Sunday, after some careful tuition from Steve Capes, Jack, Ray and myself hosted a knot tying session for some of our novice and trained divers alike. This was a great success, but quickly became competitive – luckily we were able to subdue and tie down our students before it all got out of hand. We also had a quiz, organised by our lovely social secretaries, and a pleasant time horsing around with security cameras, condoms and bits of string.
Monday night was the pinnacle of the trip’s social activities, with (almost) everyone pairing up and dressing up to the theme of heroes and villains. Some came as more traditional existing characters and some came as newly developed characters with their own back stories, but everyone put in a good amount of effort and a good time was had by all. I particularly enjoyed Ross as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, complete with facial hair and red on him, Emily Holtham and Alice Halstead as the Marshmallow Man and a Ghostbuster and Josh Colby and Soo Parkinson as a diver and his worst enemy, the common cold! The ‘Most Hammered’ award (no, not for blacksmithing) goes to James Montgomery, who enjoyed his prize of a horrific hangover for most of the six hour journey home in the Sport Sheffield minibus. Other awards included ‘Best Limbo’, which went to Mauricio ‘Flex Mex’ Montano-Rendon, ‘Most Mischievous’, which went to Gerd ‘The Word’ Engler, ‘Largest Sack’, which went to Josh ‘I’m just Pleased To See You’ Smith, ‘Best Regurgitator’, which went to Ray ‘Like Starlings Do’ Coyle and ‘Early Retiree’ which went to Laura ‘There’s Ice In My Thong’ Bird.
So, in summary: diving poor, social good and general good times. Please don’t feel disheartened if I haven’t mentioned your name in this brief and light-hearted report – that is almost certainly a good thing as it means you didn’t do anything particularly stupid. Thank you again to Alana and Emma, all the instructors, the other dive managers and assistant dive managers, the food marshals, those who washed up and everyone else for making it a fun trip in the face of adverse conditions.
Following the Club Annual General Meeting last night, a new Committee has now been elected. Several members are continuing with their positions, whilst others have changed jobs and some new people have joined us. The new SUSAC Committee, who will be gradually taking on their roles over the coming weeks, are:
Chairperson: Jack Whiteley
Secretary: Emma Gilhooly
Treasurer: Alice Halstead
Diving Officer: Chris Aspinall
Assistant Diving Officer: Emma Keeley
Training Officer: Ross Peel
Equipment Officer: Dan Edgar
Social Secretary: Danny Copeland
General Members: James Montgomery, Alana Dempsey, Rory Welsh
A new Club Welfare Officer and Vice-Chair will be found within the Committee at our first meeting.
UPDATE: After the first committee meeting since the AGM, Alice Halstead assumes the role of Club Welfare Officer and Ross Peel continues as Vice Chairperson. These roles are in addition to their duties from their regular committee positions.