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Hereford Sub Aqua Club goes underwater quackers for their 40th

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BSAC

Hereford 1Hereford Sub-Aqua Club in the UK has just completed an underwater cycle ride and duck race as part of the Hereford River Festival.

The club was looking for something different to do for its 40th anniversary year and this is what they came up with. Here’s what Chairman Mike Bailey had to say about the celebrations…

“The race took place on Saturday 3rd May. Three riders took part – Mike Bailey,Linda Evans and Russ Pryce. Each had a support diver and they were John Taylor, Tony Cook and Steph Kerridge. The idea was to ride bikes along the river bed, which is not much of a spectator sport in itself, but with the addition of large inflatable ducks attached to each bike, it made more of a spectacle and enabled us to have a duck race using pedal power.

“The club used standard scuba gear, but carried extra weight to compensate for the water’s natural buoyancy and for the fact that they were pushing down on the bike pedals. As far as the club knows they are the only ones to have ridden down any river in the UK, probably in Europe and maybe the whole world! The bikes are standard bikes, which were donated by Mastercraft Cycles of Hereford, although we weighted them down a bit, to ensure they sink easily. The bikes were auctioned off for charity after the race and combined they raised £140.

“The visibility was very poor (at times we could see about 6”) and it was difficult to tell which way was up, down, left, right, forward or back. Because the visibility was bad, balance also becomes an issue and we were all unseated at times, sometimes more off the bike than on it, especially as we had to deal with moving water too! The river can be a hazardous place, as there are many obstacles to overcome, including non-moving items such as shopping trolleys, tree roots, concrete blocks and the uneven river bed, but also because floating objects get washed downstream and there is always an issue with surface traffic – canoes, kayaks etc, plus much more.

Hereford 2“The winning pair of riders / divers was myself, Mike Bailey (rider), and John Taylor (support). The support divers help with balance and direction and were there just in case there was a problem. As winners we received a cheque for £50, which was donated by Linda Prenter (one of the club’s members) but this was then donated again to a charity called Village Water – they provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene for projects in Zambia. The winners also got a small trophy of a diver with a duck attached.

“We may have another go next year, but might change a few things based on the experience gained this time.

“Hereford Sub-Aqua Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The club has been diving to many places, including Pembroke, Scapa Flow, the Orkneys, Shetland Islands, Gibraltar, Spain, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Maldives and the Red Sea, but many other places too. We have about 35 members, men and women, young and old, from all walks of life.”

To find out more about Hereford Sub Aqua Club, visit their website: www.herefordsubaqua.org.uk.

Marine Life & Conservation

Join us in supporting Dive Project Cornwall Crowdfunder Project

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Do you have a moment to help protect our oceans?

We’re on a mission and have partnered with DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL to help protect our oceans for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL is a unique EDUCATION and EXPERIENCE initiative, reaching over 3,000 schools with their Ocean Education Programme, inspiring the next generation to protect our oceans for everyone to cherish and enjoy.

At the heart of the project is a competition for 400 lucky teenagers to win the EXPERIENCE of a lifetime. They will take the learning from the classroom straight to the shores of Porthkerris on a 6-day, life changing trip where they will learn to scuba dive and be taught the importance of marine conservation. They will become ‘Ocean Influencers’ for the future.

DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL needs our help.

Can you join us with a gift to DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL?

Whether it’s £5 or £50, a gift from you to the DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL Crowdfunder Project will help their vision of protecting our oceans through the innovative experience designed for school children.

Will you join us and pledge to support 400 lucky teenagers learn from and EXPERIENCE the ocean like never before and give them an EDUCATION they can use to inspire others, not forgetting the memories that will last a lifetime?

For more information, you can read the DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL story HERE.

Help us create the next generation of Ocean Influencers with a donation to DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL and ensure our oceans (and planet) are protected for the future.

WWW.CROWDFUNDER.CO.UK/P/DIVE-PROJECT-CORNWALL

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Marine Life & Conservation

Spring jellyfish blooms bring turtles to UK shores

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Marine Conservation Society’s wildlife sightings project asks beachgoers to share their discoveries and contribute to research

The Marine Conservation Society’s long-running wildlife sightings project focuses on two key species which arrive on UK shores: jellyfish and, as a result, turtles. Both species are vital in supporting ocean biodiversity and are indicators of climate change while being at risk from its impacts.

The charity is asking beach and seagoers to share when they spot either of these marine animals to support ongoing research.

During spring and summer, jellyfish arrive in the UK’s warming waters to feed on plankton blooms or, in fact, anything small enough to get caught. To that extent, jellyfish feed not only on plankton, but also the array of eggs and larvae of fish, crustaceans, starfish and molluscs which rely on plankton as a stage of reproduction.

With healthy fish stocks and rich biodiversity, jellyfish quickly become part of an effective food chain. Everything from tuna to turtles will feed on jellyfish of various sizes, so the population is well controlled. Supported by a rich and diverse ocean ecosystem, jellyfish link the microscopic world of plankton to larger marine animals and the ocean around them.

Jellyfish are especially appealing for marine turtles. Six of the world’s seven marine turtle species have been spotted in UK seas as a result of jellyfish blooms in spring and summer.

The largest sea turtle, and the most common in UK seas, is the leatherback which has a ‘vulnerable’ conservation status. Reporting sightings of these incredible creatures will support the Marine Conservation Society and others in understanding their movements, potential threats and how to better protect them.

Amy Pilsbury, Citizen Science Project Lead at the Marine Conservation Society, said:“For more than 17 years, beachgoers across the UK have been contributing to scientific research by sharing their wildlife sightings with us. It’s a key part of our work and plays a vital role in better understanding and protecting our ocean.”

In 2014, with partners from the University of Exeter, the Marine Conservation Society published the first paper from the survey data, confirming key information about UK jellyfish and including the first distribution maps of the surveyed species.

Since the 2014 paper, the wildlife sightings project has recorded notable events such as massive and extensive annual blooms of barrel jellyfish and several summers of Portuguese Man o’ War mass strandings.

The charity continues to run its wildlife sightings project to see what happens to the distribution and frequency of mass jellyfish blooms over time. The data will help to explore any links jellyfish blooms have with big-picture factors such as climate change.

Jellyfish can be spotted year-round in UK seas, but larger blooms are more likely to appear in spring, lasting through until autumn. Jellyfish sighting records from 2021 suggest that compass jellyfish are the most common around UK shores, making up 36% of reported sightings.

Jellyfish species Percentage of sightings reported
Compass jellyfish 36%
Moon jellyfish 17%
Lion’s mane jellyfish 15%
Barrel jellyfish 14%
Blue jellyfish 9%
Portuguese Man o’ War 6%
Mauve stinger 2%
By the wind sailor 1%

For more information on how to identify jellyfish and turtles, and to report a sighting, please visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website.

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