Trip Report: Croatia April 2017

Where: Trogir, Croatia

When: 12th -18th April 2017

Who: Too many people to mention individualy

Organiser: Emma K

Accommodation: Various apartments booked through Trogir Dive Centre

Skipper & Boat: Trogir Dive Centre

Cost: £623.55

Report by Sarah Andrews

Over Easter every year SUSAC has its big holiday designed for all divers from novice upwards. This year (2017) it was back to the Trogir Dive Center, near Split in Croatia, for the second year in a row, for an exciting holiday encompassing all of SUSAC’s favourite things to do: eat, drink, and dive.

We had five diving days whilst out there and did eleven dives, including a night dive. Although Croatia is on the Mediterranean, in April the sea temperature was still pretty chilly (around 15°C) so it was definitely necessary to dive in a drysuit. The dive centre had two dive boats, so we were able to dive at a wide range of sites and were not limited to shore diving. These sites were mostly reefs and walls, all of which had lots of life and fantastic vis. One of the best dives of the week was one called Bunker (there are some old gun emplacements there). It’s a beautiful wall with fantastic multicoloured coral all over it and big overhangs at several different depths (from 25m to 40m), though it was spectacular at shallower depths too.

Most of the diving was relatively event-free, with no diving related injuries and everyone still being able to stand each other by the end of the week. However, there was one near miss that would have cost the club around £1000 in kit. This all happened after Beth Harvey split her neck seal. As there was no local drysuit repair shop, and no-one on the trip had a spare neck seal, there was no option but to patch it (well, she could have dived in a wetsuit all week, but that would have been cold and miserable). To not jeopardise her drysuit further, Beth got into the water sans kit (no BC, etc.) and watched as Emma Keeley prepared to pass her kit. The tank was full, the weight pockets were in but the wing was fully inflated, Emma threw the wing into the water next to Beth. They all watched it sink briefly under the water, expectantly waiting for it to pop back up, but to no avail! As the seconds ticked by it gradually dawned on all the spectators that the kit had sunk, never to be seen again! Until Emma went down to 15m and did a CBL on it that is. For that exciting escapade Dr Keeley unsurprisingly won Muppet of the Week.

This unfortunately was not the only mishap of the week which involved Beth, oh no! For later in the week, on a dive with Laura Davison and Emily Holtham there was some slight confusion and navigational upset. “Navigational upset?” I hear you say, “But the dives were almost exclusively on walls!” Indeed it was, dear reader, and this dive was no exception. The skipper gave his dive brief; “Keep the wall to your right,” he said, but it fell on deaf ears. It can be simply explained like this; Beth thought he said left, Laura can’t tell the difference between the two and Emily thought the others knew what they were doing…

With the fantastic vis, those who were lucky enough to have cameras with them got some fantastic shots of all manners of local wildlife. Quentin got beautiful shots of nudibranch, a seahorse and even the very rare, but often sought after Pink Davison. Melvin also managed to get some spectacular footage both above and below the waves.

We were staying in rather nice self catering apartments, and as we were left to fend for ourselves in terms of food and drink, we needed to think up three tasty meals a day. Breakfast for most apartments were cooked, but none as impressively as in the apartment where Gerd acted as chef. From the accounts I have heard, he did his morning exercises (sit-ups and press-ups I think) then whipped up pancakes.

Most evenings we all went out to eat as a group. The local restaurants were good, cheap and meant we didn’t need to organise what to cook (this was made more challenging by it being over the Easter weekend). I am very sorry to the local restaurants and other customers for this, but we did need to eat.

On the final evening we had some Compulsory Fun Time in the form of a cross dressing extravaganza. We all got dressed up in our best (or worst) drag, ate a big meal, did some group challenges and had far too much to drink. The were characters ranging from President Trump to Lady Gaga in attendance, with one of Jedward (Savannah Williams) winning best dressed. There was also Gerd and John, but the less said about that the better…

During the final evening the week’s awards were handed out, the most important of which were:
● Most Improved Diver of the Week – Melvin Yee
● Muppet of the Week – Emma Keeley (already alluded to)

A special thanks needs to go to Emma Keely for organising the trip, without whom the trip couldn’t have taken place and SUSAC would not run. We also thank Beth and Jack for splitting most of the dive management and to all the Instructors and Dive Leaders who took the Novices and Ocean Divers under their experienced wings.

All in all it was a great week and I can’t wait for the next one.

http://www.trogirdivingcenter.com/

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Alumni Foundation Grant

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SUSAC has been given a generous donation from the Alumni Foundation! We’ve used this money to buy five new Halcyon wings, bringing us up to 20 full sets of kit for members to use. We’re also going to buy a smaller O2 that we can take on to chartered boats. Keep an eye out for our shiny new kit at pool and on upcoming trips!

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Heinke Trophy Results!

The results of the 2016 Heinke Trophy were announced last week – our congratulations go out to the winners, East Cheshire SAC.
SUSAC are very proud that our entry was awarded a Certificate of Commendation in this prestigious competition.
“The Adjudicators were very impressed in particular with:
  • Very well presented entry, fired with enthusiasm for diving, the branch and the BSAC
  • Very varied diving programme with significant hours underwater over a wide range of trips
  • Take up of SDCs”
Our thanks go out to all those who contributed to sections or provided photographs, then spent countless hours proof-reading, editing and faffing around with page layouts and helped to make SUSAC a great club worth writing about over the years.
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Trip Report: Croatia March 2016

Where:Croatia
When:23 -29 March 2016
How many:30, of all ages, experience and certifications
Organiser:Tom Donald
Dive shop & Accommodation: Trogir Diving Centre
Cost:£560(+£180 for last minute unplanned return flights)

Day1
After an early rise, and some minor confusion over which carpark was the right carpark, the flying contingent of the trip gathered at Manchester airport, mostly on time! The next few hours ran smoothly and we arrived in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, ready to board our coach to get down to Okrug Gornji where we would be staying. Due to some roadworks, our coach had to take a detour which meant it took us about 6 very long, cramped, hours to reach our destination. We had to travel over the mountains, which I’m sure would have been beautiful if it wasn’t night time, and I only realised we were as high up as we were when we left the coach for tea and were greeted by snow, and what looked like Nordic hunting lodge! Eventualy, we did make it to Trogir Diving Centre where we would be spending the week, meeting the road-trippers(who looked like they had an incredible trip so far) and Gerd who had made their own way.

Day2
Dive 1 – Trogir Diving Centre Bay
To get everyone back in the swing of being underwater, our first dive was in the shallow bay
just below the dive centre. This allowed for an easy kit up and plenty of time for inevitable
first dive kit faff. The bay was mostly comprised of a sandy plain, littered with metal oddments, small reefs and loads of seacucumbers, as well as actual litter. Having only
dived in the UK a couple of times, I found the amount of fish there actually pretty impressive,
despite the location. Diving with Alana, I managed to spot my very first seahorse, and like any good zoologist and long-time icthyophile, I got far too excited and lost control of my buoyancy and floated to the surface from 6m… A few others also saw the ponies, as well as
octopus and cutlefish, but I think this dive definitely just wetted our appetites for what
Croatia really had to offer!

Dive 2 – Santa Fuma
For our second dive we headed out on the two dive centre boats for the first time, ‘Woody’
and ‘Stealy’, imaginatively nicknamed after what their central tables were made of. This dive introduced us to what would soon become familiar as classic Dalmatian coast diving. The site consisted of a large sloping reef, littered with anemones, a large diversity of fish and lots of little nudibranch.

After a great first day diving, we all went back to our apartments for a shower and then many
of us popped to the local supermarket to stock up on food. We decided to descend as a group on a local pizza restaurant which was quite nice, but entirely unprepared to cater 30
hungry divers all at once! By the time the last person had been served, some people had already eaten and left! But the evening ended on a high with the SUSAC tradition of singing loudly and attracting death stares from others in the vicinity, including the first of many
renditions of “Climbing up the Sunshine Mountain”.

Day3
Dive 3 – Red Rock
Our first dive of the day was apparently going to be a drift dive, but where this drift was I realy do not know. I started this dive wanting to drop a kilo in weight to try and improve my buoyancy a litle.
But after discovering I was stuck at the surface and just couldn’t get under the water, I realised that I had in fact dropped 7kg and entirely forgoten my weights…earning myself a thoroughly deserved muppet of the week nomination and crème egg (I might do stupid things more often if I’m
going to get chocolate out of it…). This dive was on
another gently sloping reef, and we were treated to yet more beautiful Mediterranean fauna.

Dive 4 – Caparin East
In a strange twist, our second dive of day 2 felt much more like a drift dive than the supposed
drift dive we had just done, with some currents to swim against, but nothing much to shout about compared to the currents we’re used to in the UK. This dive treated us to yet more nudibranchs (they were literally all over the place!), fish and corals. Visibility on day 2’s dives were lower than on the rest of the trip and according to Ivo, the dive centre boss, the vis was realy appaling.
Having only dived in the murky green waters of Capernwray and the North sea, it still seemed pretty good to me!

Day4
Dive 5 – Punta Gaj
Unlike the prior two days, the weather looked decidedly British, with an overcast sky and signs of rain.
But our first dive of the day made up for the weather, with much improved visibility and a beautiful reef wall, plummeting down to the depths below. The dive was enjoyable at every depth, up at 15-20m for us Ocean divers and down to 40m for those more advanced in their training.
The wall was full of fish, including wrasse, gobies, scorpionfish
and large shoals of chromis shifting up and down the wall. But the overall scene of a large vertical wall disappearing into the blue above and below, covered in corals, sponges and large fan-like gorgonians, was perhaps the most impressive aspect of the dive.
The sun had poked its head out for lunch time, where today we were told we were stopping of at a “small fishing village”. I think more of us pictured a rustic village with small cobbled buildings, dusty pavements, maybe with a little market selling the days catch. So we were a little surprised when we turned up at a swanky marina with posh yachts and large fully functional public toilets-a nice treat since the only place to pee on the boat was off the back into the sea!

Dive 6 – Sarec
After eating our lunch in the colourful “fishing village”, we headed back out to sea and the sun decided to disappear again. But underwater, none of this mattered and we were treated to another beautiful reef wall, with lots more fish, corals and tonnes and tonnes of nudibranchs-
like seriously, they were everywhere! Above the reef wall there was a small seagrass bed, which myself, Beth and Tom explored trying to find some more seahorses. Unfortunately we weren’t successful, but reports of seahorses and other cool stuff like eels, large lobsters, octopuses and scorpion fish were coming in thick and fast from the other divers.

Dive 7 – Trogir Diving Centre Bay
For the evening, we had something special lined up, a night dive! Many of us, including
myself, had never done a night dive before, so it was a pretty exciting prospect to be getting into the sea after sunset. Diving in the dark, with only your torchbeam to focus on is a really
peaceful experience. Although we were only in the bay at the bottom of the dive centre, we all saw lots of cool stuff, with cuttlefish, octopus and lots of crustaceans coming out to play.

Day5
Dive 8 – The Bunker
The sun was back and on day 4 the sea looked absolutely stunning, being flat as a pancake for as far as the eye could see. Our first dive of the day was probably my favourite of the entire trip.
The dive was along a massive reef wall, much like we had seen before, but this
wall had three large “pits”, as Ivo described them, which were large overhangs in the rock. Two of the overhangs begun within the reach of us Ocean divers and the other was deeper. Like the other walls, this wall was abundant in large shoals of fish, colourful gorgonians and other corals and loads of little nudis. But the overhangs, absolutely stuffed with little colourful polyps and big bulbous sponges were a really spectacular site. Swimming upside down looking upwards into the nooks and crannies of these magnificent rock formations will definitely be one of the enduring memories of this trip for me.
We stopped off at the “small fishing vilage” again for some lunch and a nice-cream, with the colourful scenery looking beautiful in the full Mediterranean sun….which had a less pleasing effect on my face which turned almost as red as some of these boats…

Dive 9 – Galera
The nudi-spectacle that is Croatia continued on our next dive, with another sloping rocky reef. Again, this reef was full of life and, at this point, it seemed like just about everyone had seen an octopus while exploring the nooks and crannies of the reef. But I was still waiting…

Day 6 – Last day of diving!
Dive 10 – Zoparih
Clouds begun to collect again on our final days diving. Our first dive was much of the same, another sloping reef to explore. Well, I say this having led the dive and gone in entirely the wrong direction, so who knows what everyone else got to see! Though I still enjoyed myself since Emily S lent me her underwater camera gear to play with! We then headed to a little island where we stopped for some lunch.

Dive 11 – Vela Teluda
Our final dive! Another sloping rocky reef, interjected with bits of sand, with lots of fish, nudis and corals greeted us once again. I had seen lots of great criters on this trip but I really was desperate to see an octopus. The dive had virtually ended, with our 3@6 complete I was about to signal at Mike, my dive buddy, to head up to the surface. But when I turned to signal to him, he was intently staring into a cave. It took me a minute to work out what he was looking at, but when he made way for me to look, I discovered what had got him so interested.
Finaly, an octopus! The infamous ‘Buddy of doom’ didn’t turn out so bad after all!

After our final dive we all surfaced in very happy moods and celebrated by getting straight back into the water for a float around! Many songs were sung, some rather interesting outfits(courtesy of John and Gerd) were worn and lots and lots of the dive centres home-
made red wine was consumed on the boat ride back to the centre. After a fairly efficient kit clean-up and some packing, we headed back down to the dive centre from our apartments for our tea.
After another great meal by the dive centre team, it was time for SUSAC’s traditional award ceremony, the port awards….Or, in the absence of port, the weird orange stuff + crème egg awards.
Jacob was awarded with Diver of the Week for his impressive improvement during the week and muppet of the week was so hotly contested that there had to be two winners!
The first, Jack I, took home the muppet of the week t-shirt for leaving his kit stood up and unattended, allowing it to fall and bending the tank valve and reg, despite, as kit officer, telling everyone to not do that all week! The second muppet was Quentin, who had decided to give his new pee valve a try, but proved he is in need of much more practice by wetting himself instead.

Day 7 – Home Time
After a late night of, of course, more singing, we all gradually made our way back to our rooms to finish packing and get up bright and early for our super-long coach journey back up to Zagreb.
The road trippers got a lie in and looked like they had an amazing trip back to the UK, not that I’m jealous. As is probably quite well known, the journey back home didn’t quite go to plan, with us arriving at the airport only to find our flights had left. Long story short, Tom and Alana worked really hard to get all of us and our kit back home as quickly as possible on different flights, which will be paid partly by the club and partly by the trip goers. Later that evening, we were all back in the UK safe and sound, gathering in Manchester airport to say our goodbyes and head back to Sheffield.
Massive thanks to all those who dive managed on the trip, Trogir diving centre for being such briliant hosts, everyone who played a part in the trips organisation and of course a huge thanks to Tom D for putting our magical Croatia trip together!

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