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Meet Our Club: East Midlands Sub Aqua Club

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Want to join a dive club? In this new series, we take a look at grassroots diving and find out what’s happening on the club scene in the UK and around the world…


What is the name of your club?

East Midlands Sub Aqua Club or EMSUB – BSAC 1663.

Where is your club based?

In Long Eaton, between Derby and Nottingham.

Club affiliations (i.e. BSAC, PADI, SAA, etc.)

We are a BSAC Branch but many of our current members started with other training bodies.

Where and when do you meet?

We meet at the Wilsthorpe Tavern in Long Eaton every Tuesday at 8.00 pm, except for the third Tuesday of the month when we meet at Lonsdale pool in Derby.

How do you respond to the challenge of recruiting new members?

We take stalls at local fetes and galas. We have run ‘Dive in a Bucket’ sessions with local scout groups and we also have a regular spot in a local magazine.

Some members have been interviewed on local radio and members put up posters at work and in their local area. We also sell try-dive gift vouchers.

What facilities and resources does the club use / have?

At the pub we have the sole use of a room for meetings and training lectures on a Tuesday. We are lucky also to have a member who lets us use a training room that is part of his business at the weekends.

We have around eight sets of scuba kit in a range of sizes suitable for pool work and open water dives. New trainees use the kit for their training sessions and look after them whilst training, which gives them good instruction on how to care for kit. Some of the kit can also be borrowed for dives if any of the club have their own kit in for testing.

We are also very lucky that one of our members owns a rib and he is always keen for people to go along on trips.

Our best resource are the trainers and members within the club; we all work together to help each other and to offer new trainees the best experience we can.

What sort of diving do you do, and where?

Shore diving, rib diving, hard boats, at sea and in quarries. We do lots of UK diving and have had many trips abroad. We particularly enjoy St Abb and the Farne Islands but also North and South Wales, Plymouth; from the south coast up to the Orkneys!

We’ve also recently completed a dry dive at the Midlands Chamber. It was fascinating to see everyone’s reactions at 50m and also to learn about the other work the Chamber do that is not just diving related.

Do you organise any club trips abroad, and if so, where?

As a club we have been to Spain, Egypt and Malta. Lanzarote has been booked for later this year.

Some of the club have been lucky enough to travel to Cyprus, Gozo, Thailand, Turkey, Mozambique, Cayman Islands, Roatan, Tobago, Grenada and Sudan.

Does your club have any special interests such as conservation, special projects etc?

There are many interests within the club with probably photography, history and conservation being the top three.

Does your club have any claims to fame or any particularly interesting stories… or members

Linda and Caroline organised the first East Midlands ‘This Girl Can Dive’ event in October 2015. This was a try-dive session aimed at getting 100 women to give a try-dive a go, in conjunction with This Girl Can and BSAC. We had 101 women sign up for the day and raised money for Ovarian Cancer and the RNLI. We had a lot of publicity around the Derby and Nottingham area and appeared in the newspapers and on the radio.

We have had BSAC’s youngest Ocean Diver qualify with us, aged only 12. His Dad was a member of the club when it first started 28 years ago – he was very young at the time too. And to keep on with the family theme, we have three generations of the same family in the club. They created quite a stir when the Grandson decided he wanted to learn to dive and Grandad came along with him and signed up for the Ocean Diver course aswell. Grandad learnt to dive aged 71 so he had his own write up in the papers…. the story continued when Dad and another Grandson joined too.

What are the club’s plans for the future?

To carry on diving and enjoying ourselves within the club and to carry on training and supporting our new members. It’s great to see people’s confidence grow as they learn new skills. It is a very supportive club.

Where can people find out more about your club

You can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emsub1663/ at our website http://emsub.co.uk/ or best of all, call us on 07591 655512 and come and meet us at the Wilsthorpe Tavern!

Finally… if you could sum up your club in just one sentence, what would it be?

A fab, fun and friendly group of people waiting to meet you and help you on your way to new adventures.

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Wining and Diving – South Africa

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The Wining and Diving series sees Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown embark on a tour to tickle the taste buds as well as to discover amazing dive sites in wine-making regions around the world. Some of the best wines are influenced by sea breezes and a coastal climate, allowing two of Nick and Caroline’s passions to be combined into one epic journey.

**Please note, Nick and Caroline are not encouraging drinking before diving! The two activities are kept well apart on each of these trips.

South Africa’s coastline is wild and rugged and has some of the best marine encounters and diving in the world! It is also home to some superb vineyards and so this is a top destination for Wining & Diving! If you have enough time, then try to fit in several destinations on a tour; take in the Sardine Run, go Great White Shark cage diving, snorkel with Blue and Mako Sharks, try to find Sevengill Sharks in the kelp forest, meet the raggies and oceanic shark species near Aliwal Shoal and make sure you dive with the Cape Fur Seals just down the road from Cape Town. Head north for the stunning reefs of Sodwana Bay and even fit in a land safari too! But make sure you make time to visit some of the top vineyards at Stellenbosch and Constantia too, which are just a stones throw from Cape Town and can be done on a day trip.

Our tour took in the lot and this is an experience to be shared with friends. You have to be lucky with the Sardine Run, but the rewards are great if you are there at the right time, with dolphins, sharks, whales and seabirds all competing for the feast of sardines that migrates up the coast in early summer. It is fast and furious, but can also involve long days out on the boat bobbing and waiting for the action to happen.

Flying into Durban you can often combine Aliwal Shoal to start your Sardine Run trip, to get the chance to dive the famous Cathedral Rock and then drift out into the blue for Blacktip and Tiger Sharks.

Gaansbai is the most famous place for Great White Shark cage diving, although recent years have seen numbers falling away, possibly due to the presence of Orca.

Cape Town offers penguins, Blue and Mako Sharks, Sevengill Cow Sharks, Great Whites and the chance to mess about with Cape Fur Seals, who will seek out divers and play among the kelp fronds for as long as you can stay in the cool water. It is here that you can add a few days visiting vineyards and touring the stunning countryside before you head home.

We would love to go back and spend more time in South Africa, as we did not have time for the Mako Shark snorkeling and would like to try again for the cow sharks too. South Africa has so much to offer it is very hard to fit everything into a single trip! It is a high energy and super-productive trip under the water and a wonderful place to relax with your favourite glass of wine in the evening.

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Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 announced

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Ningaloo Coast-based photographer, Aimee Jan, has been announced as the Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021.

Aimee’s beautiful image of a green sea turtle surrounded by glass fish was captured on the world-famous Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Chosen from thousands of submissions from around the world, it was a unanimous winner amongst the seven world-renowned Ocean Photography Awards judges.

In second place is Exeter-based photographer, Henley Spiers, with a beautiful photograph of diving gannets off the Shetland Islands, Scotland. In third place is Sydney-based photographer, Matty Smith, with an image of a hawksbill turtle hatchling heading out to sea for the first time.

This year has also seen the introduction of the Female Fifty Fathoms Award, a new nomination category designed to celebrate inspiring women in ocean photography. LA-based photographer and biology teacher, Renee Capozzola, has been announced the inaugural winner for her beautiful portfolio of work.

A free, outdoor public exhibition alongside the River Thames, on the Queen’s Walk near Tower Bridge, will be open to the public until October 17th.

The Ocean Photography Awards has a simple mission: to shine a light on the beauty of the ocean and the threats it faces. The competition has this year been produced by Oceanographic Magazine in partnership with Blancpain, Princess Yachts and Tourism Western Australia, and in support of conservation organisation SeaLegacy.

Marc A Hayek, president and CEO of Blancpain, said: “As a keen scuba diver and underwater photographer, I appreciate what it takes to capture extraordinary photographs of the ocean: passion, skill and commitment to your craft. The finalists of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021 display those assets in abundance. Their images reveal the ocean for what it is – or at least what it should be – a place full of life, colour and wonder. They also remind us of the injustices we are inflicting upon it. What a powerful collection of photographs.”

Kiran Haslam, chief marketing officer at Princess Yachts, said: “We are honoured to have seen outstanding images submitted this year; they are of incredible standard, capturing some truly exceptional moments. The images submitted in this year’s OPA, without doubt, poignantly highlight the fact that the most important thing we can do right now is act quickly to protect our planet and our ocean.”

David Templeman, Western Australian Government Tourism Minister, said: “This year’s finalists have done an incredible job, not just in capturing aquatic adventures so evocatively, but in inspiring new audiences to treasure them.”

Cristina Mittermeier, co-founder and president of SeaLegacy, said: “The calibre of the images submitted to the second annual Ocean Photography Awards was incredible! I, along with my fellow judges, were challenged and more than impressed by the entries this year. We spent a lot of time discussing the power these images have to inspire people all over the world to advocate for ocean protection. We also spent a considerable amount of time admiring the incredible artistry. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to this year’s finalists.

To find out more about the Ocean Photography Awards visit their website by clicking here.

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