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BSAC Divers recover historical slate wagon from Snowdonia lake

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BSAC

A team of BSAC divers have raised a 110-year-old Welsh slate wagon from the depths of a lake in Snowdonia, North Wales.

Members of Rhosneigr Sub-Aqua Club on Anglesey discovered the important piece of industrial history while diving Llyn Padarn, Llanberis.

image-27427-origThe wagon, with a wooden chassis and measuring around 4ft long by 3ft wide, is thought to have been used to transport slate from Dinorwic Quarry to the seaport at Y Felinheli.

Rhosneigr SAC member, Rob Geal from Newborough, said: “We usually dive in the sea off the North Wales coast, but sometimes come to inland waterways for a change.

“Two years ago, a group of eight of us were diving in Llyn Padarn when, just below the site of the old quarry hospital and the current rail tracks, we came across the wagon lying on the lake bed about 20 metres down.

“We examined it and as it looked very interesting we decided it would be a good idea to come back at some time in the future and try to raise it.”

Earlier this year saw members come together to establish how they would successfully raise the 80 kilogram wagon from the lake bed.

Rob said: “We bought a top of the range 100 kilo lifting bag, which is basically a balloon that can be taken underwater, attached to an object and then inflated to bring it gradually to the surface.

“With our own boat waiting on the surface, we went down and attached special straps capable of lifting up to four tons to each corner and then fixed them to the bag, which was then gradually inflated using air from our own personal cylinder and a separate one which comes with it.”

Due to the heavily silted nature of the lake bed, visibility was poor, taking the divers around four hours to completely raise the wagon to the surface.

Rob added: “Upon examination, we found that quite a bit of it was still intact, including the wooden chassis, one of the four metal wheels it originally had, a wrought iron shaft connecting the wheel to the axle and a piece of wrought iron for connecting it to other wagons.

“It was decided that as it must be part of the history of the old slate railway, we’d hand it over to the Llanberis Lake Railway. It’s great to think that we’ve recovered a piece of the region’s industrial history.

“It’s certainly one of the most interesting things we’ve ever found. All we usually see when we go down is the odd dumped car.”

An initial inspection by railway bosses found that as the wagon has a wooden chassis, it must be one of the earliest used on the line which would make it at least 116-years-old as all wagons, post-1900, were made completely from metal.

Emlyn Pritchard, manager of the Llanberis Lake Railway, is delighted that the club decided to hand over the wagon.

“It’s part of the heritage of this railway and the whole area and as such is an important industrial artefact,” he said.

“We’ve not yet done a full investigation but judging from its appearance, it’s one of the wagons used on the old slate railway, part of the route of which we now run on.

“We’ll be delighted to have it on exhibition at the railway.”

Source: www.bsac.com

Gear News

Fourth Element announce Tech Fins inspired by whale tail

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A classic vented dive fin, engineered by nature and redesigned to maximise performance.

Fourth Element’s new Tech Fins have taken inspiration from nature and evolution to optimise efficiency. The turbulence disruptors on the top of the blade work in the same way as the nodules of the leading edge of a humpback whale fin, which disrupt the water as they move through it. The resulting turbulence enables the whale to swim with more efficiency. Fourth Element has adopted this evolutionary concept to improve the performance of this classic fin.

Utilising natural rubber in a unique density gradient, the dive fin delivers an ultra- comfortable foot pocket combined with optimised stiffness for finning performance.

The vented design allows water to flow along the blade reducing drag and fatigue, whilst the stiffening rails and ribs ensure that the blade of the fin is driven through the water to maximise the return on effort.

The Tech Fins, with a slightly negative buoyancy characteristic, were developed with technical divers in mind but are suitable for all levels of diver looking for a high-performance rubber fin. The wider blade gives manoeuvrability without compromising the power, while the shorter length improves agility and makes stowing the fins for transport more convenient. Spring straps with comfortable heel pads keep the feet securely held in place. These straps can be removed and changed easily with everyday tools if required.

The Tech Fins are supplied with a hanging/carrying strap and a marine quality bolt snap which may be used to attach them to a bcd or harness for carrying, leaving both hands free for climbing ladders or carrying other gear.

The natural rubber material of this fin is extremely durable, and all components are recyclable at end of life.

The Tech Fins are available in M, L, XL and XXL. These fins will fit sizes 4 (US5) to 14 (US15) and come in Black, Grey or Aqua.

Features

  • Natural rubber heel strap
  • Stainless steel spring strap
  • Soft foot pocket
  • Hydro-flow vents
  • Turbulence disruptors
  • Strengthening ribs
  • Stiffening lateral rails

Find out more here.

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Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide

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This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture. 

Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins

The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.

If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.

Belize Discovered

Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.

Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin. 

You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 13 days

Price from: £2,945 per person

Belize Liveaboard

Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.

Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 10 days

Price from: £3,475 per person

Guatemala & Belize

Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.

After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 14 days

Price from: £3,495 per person


If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.

All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.

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Competitions

A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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