Anne Peck

I'm a long standing member of Thistle Divers and have gone from Novice diver to Advanced Instructor, Advanced Diver over the years. I love to see and help new potential divers in our club and watch them progress with their diving hobby. Everyone in our small club is happy to help each other enjoy all aspects of scuba from pool training to exploring the delights of open water.

SKYE Diving Trip May 2014

Ten Thistle Divers travelled up to Stein on the Isle of Skye for a weekend of diving with Dive & Sea the Hebrides who have a dive boat and bunkhouses overlooking the beautiful area around Stein.  We all eventually arrived (some initially got lost) but had a lovely evening enjoying warm sunny weather and the good food from The Stein Inn.  Up early next morning for our first days diving to find the weather was turning but still nice enough.  The wind was picking up and it was very overcast. We got the Elena C loaded up and headed off to explore the unknown waters of Skye!!! The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the TD’s oh no! Gordon our Skipper gave very good briefings of the dive sites (he personally dives them so knows them all very well) so we all enjoyed two excellent dives and I think its fair to say we all enjoyed Loch Bay Pinnacle the best even although on the east side the visibility was awful but lots of lovely Nudi’s and small fish to see e.g. baby scorpion, butterfish, ling and wrasse, big crabs and loads of langoustines with lots of interesting life on the kelp and set around pure white sand, absolutely stunning.. The diving was superb over the whole weekend and I’ve never seen so much life on the reefs. Unfortunately by the time Monday came around and our last two dives!  the weather was really bad.   Not enough though to stop us diving in the sheltered areas. Although the dives I had planned were curtailed by weather conditions, the sites we did were fabulous.   Nothing dampened the spirits of the Thistles, we all had a good laugh and enjoyed a chilled out weekend.   Everyone agreed that they would love to return to Skye to explore more of the diverse life found on the reefs. This is just a short summary of a wonderful weekend in Skye with great diving, good company and fond memories!!

Anne

Bali – Komodo Dive Safari Sept 13

Bali – Komodo Dive Safari on Mermaid 1 Liveaboard
20th – 29th September 2013
Anne Peck

How would I describe the diving Jonathan and I did recently? – Amazing, truly adventurous, thrilling, challenging, diverse and a once in a lifetime wonderful experience in my opinion!

We dived around Sumbawa, Sangeang Island, Padar Island Rinca Island and of course down to Komodo Island.
Every dive we did was like swimming in fish soup! so varied from Mantas, White tip reef sharks, Grey sharks, giant bumphead parrot fish to shy Pygmy seahorses and a wide variety of Nudibranches – the trip had it all! Not to mention the most colourful and diverse corals I’ve ever experienced on a dive trip.

The day dives were amazing but the night dives were something else – so many critters to see that don’t come out during the day. I was so lucky towards the end of the holiday on our second last night dive to find a Flamboyant cuttlefish – so beautiful and it was great to see our guide Adnan getting really excited by getting the other guides to come over to see this extraordinary little cuttlefish.

Each day was different, one day diving in the blue swimming with Mantas and sharks and the next we were swimming along a volcanic reef on Sangeang island where the volcano is still active and last blew in 1996. The reef is covered with venting submerged fumaroles blowing bubbles of volcanic gas into the water through the warm black sandy bottom. It’s amazing to see and swim through. The anemones here were luminous and some of the critters were really brightly coloured more than normal, I wonder if that was the effect of the volcano?

Unfortunately, the further south we travelled, the colder the water became and the visibility reduced too, this was all down to the southern currents and oh yes, the wildest currents I have ever dived in. Jonathan decided he wasn’t diving in these but not me! When I asked how fast the current was on one particular dive where we were hooked onto the reef just floating watching Sharks, PJ the dive manager said it was about 3 knots but on a scale out of 10 that would be about 6 and he had dived in current on a scale of 9!! Yes it’s scary at first but after one dive, you want more!! and never mind about feeling cold, the abundance of sea life made me forget all about that!! Sharks, zebra crabs, coleman shrimps, spanish dancers were all hidden in the dense coral found on the reefs. There was the most lovely cat shark just sitting in a coral and it just sat there, I was so close to it I could have touched it!! I loved swimming along and all of a sudden there’s a white tip sitting on the reef really close. They are so beautiful, graceful and shy and really don’t want to be close to humans at all for as soon as anyone got into it’s comfort zone, it swam off slowly, gracefully above us on the reef!

We dived a coupe of very famous dive sites, Cannibal Rock Rinca Island, one of the worlds best 10 dive sites together with Crystal Rock and Castle Rock further north. All were superb. My best memory at Cannibal Rock was looking under a table coral and lying under it were two absolutely adorable baby sharks enter twined in each other just like puppies or kittens would do, so cute!!

The days went by so fast as all we did was eat, dive, rest or sleep, dive, eat etc. Four dives were done most days and in total I did 27 dives only missing one because I was so chilled to the bone from the three dives done during the day I couldn’t face going in for a night dive in really cold water (18 degrees by this time) with just a 3 mm full wetsuit on.

We wanted to see Mantas on the trip and the day arrived when at the first dive briefing of the day, we were told we were diving Manta Alley! We had two stupendous dives with seven Mantas and the memory of the dives will be with me forever. They are all so beautiful, so, so graceful and huge and amazing, there was a huge very black one, he must have been 15 feet across (I call him the Daddy)!, with 5 very big but not as big as Daddy and a little baby one who wasn’t that little, much bigger than me!! They swam right over us and you could see them looking at us all holding onto the reef as there was a lot of current which I think was down to them swimming around us! I didn’t want to leave but as this was the second dive watching them and we had been there not moving much for about 32 minutes in cold water, I was shivering but had a warm feeling inside, elated by the whole experience so time to move on unfortunately. On the way back to the liveaboard on the zodiac after our dive, we watched a baby manta-ray playing on the surface, it was so cute!

We visited Komodo National Park too. Rangers accompany you on a walk through the park, describing different points of interest and you can choose either a short or really long route but we were told we were doing the medium walk which took about one hour – at the end we saw three big Komodo Dragons who did move a little but slept mostly, however that’s a tactic of theirs – prey don’t see any sign of life and that’s when the Dragon strikes!!! Later that day, PJ suggested we all go out on the zodiacs with strict orders not to get into the water once we got near the beach we were heading to because on it were Dragons who were not used to humans and were vicious. We were dumb struck when we stopped the zodiacs to see PJ get into the water and start to video the Dragons with his Go-pro. One bite and it would be game over for him. The Dragons bite is so full of bacteria that it doesn’t need to do anything other than bite and wait for its prey to die. Glad to say that PJ survived and I will post some photographs to show you how mad he was!!
By the time we had dived around the furthest point at Komodo (close to Australia), everyone (the other divers – 13 of them, who were all from warm climates and hated the cold so much) were so fed up with the cold water and just wanted to get back into 28 degree blue water again. Even PJ had started to wear a semi-dry and was still cold!!
On the way back up towards Bali we did a fantastically fast drift dive, we sped along the reef for about 20 minutes where it seemed that we would never stop and then suddenly we slowed down and continued our dive again seeing a beautiful white tip sitting on the reef at about 20 metres. We found a giant black frogfish who was so cool he even yawned in front of us as if to say go away and leave me to sleep!
We dived again, some sites that we did at the start of the trip and it was good to do this because it gave us all a chance to see or photograph things we had missed the first time round.

All too soon it seemed, it was time to have our last dive and it was fabulous, blue warm water, beautiful shoals of colourful fish and corals and to top it all, towards the end of the dive we were shown a stunning pink frogfish sitting in a coral. Out of all the frogfish I’ve seen over the years, never one so strikingly pink!!

The dive guides were all fantastic as were the crew, there were always nice fluffy towels waiting for us when we came out of a dive and I loved the hot chocolate that was waiting for us when we came back after a long night dive.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Mermaid I and if you are thinking of going on this trip, consider the currents and cold water – it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
It takes 24 hours travel time from leaving on a KLM flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam where we then got a KLM flight to Bali, stopping off at Singapore first (to let people off and take new passengers on) and although we were okay going over, we definitely didn’t like this on our return journey as we were tired and we both had developed a bad cold too. It wouldn’t have been so bad having to stop at Singapore but getting off the plane and going through security and then having a three-hour delay because there was a technical issue with refuelling the plane was awful. This took extra time and effort and it’s something we will avoid on any other holidays we plan as it eats into your time when at the end of the day, you just want to get home.
However, us not feeling too great probably made it feel a lot worse for us to cope with!!

I will post some photographs and hope you have enjoyed reading over this summary of our fabulous holiday. Anne

Bali – Komodo Dive Safari on Mermaid 1 Liveaboard
20th – 29th September 2013
Anne Peck

How would I describe the diving Jonathan and I did recently? – Amazing, truly adventurous, thrilling, challenging, diverse and a once in a lifetime wonderful experience in my opinion!

We dived around Sumbawa, Sangeang Island, Padar Island Rinca Island and of course down to Komodo Island.
Every dive we did was like swimming in fish soup! so varied from Mantas, White tip reef sharks, Grey sharks, giant bumphead parrot fish to shy Pygmy seahorses and a wide variety of Nudibranches – the trip had it all! Not to mention the most colourful and diverse corals I’ve ever experienced on a dive trip.

The day dives were amazing but the night dives were something else – so many critters to see that don’t come out during the day. I was so lucky towards the end of the holiday on our second last night dive to find a Flamboyant cuttlefish – so beautiful and it was great to see our guide Adnan getting really excited by getting the other guides to come over to see this extraordinary little cuttlefish.

Each day was different, one day diving in the blue swimming with Mantas and sharks and the next we were swimming along a volcanic reef on Sangeang island where the volcano is still active and last blew in 1996. The reef is covered with venting submerged fumaroles blowing bubbles of volcanic gas into the water through the warm black sandy bottom. It’s amazing to see and swim through. The anemones here were luminous and some of the critters were really brightly coloured more than normal, I wonder if that was the effect of the volcano?

Unfortunately, the further south we travelled, the colder the water became and the visibility reduced too, this was all down to the southern currents and oh yes, the wildest currents I have ever dived in. Jonathan decided he wasn’t diving in these but not me! When I asked how fast the current was on one particular dive where we were hooked onto the reef just floating watching Sharks, PJ the dive manager said it was about 3 knots but on a scale out of 10 that would be about 6 and he had dived in current on a scale of 9!! Yes it’s scary at first but after one dive, you want more!! and never mind about feeling cold, the abundance of sea life made me forget all about that!! Sharks, zebra crabs, coleman shrimps, spanish dancers were all hidden in the dense coral found on the reefs. There was the most lovely cat shark just sitting in a coral and it just sat there, I was so close to it I could have touched it!! I loved swimming along and all of a sudden there’s a white tip sitting on the reef really close. They are so beautiful, graceful and shy and really don’t want to be close to humans at all for as soon as anyone got into it’s comfort zone, it swam off slowly, gracefully above us on the reef!

We dived a coupe of very famous dive sites, Cannibal Rock Rinca Island, one of the worlds best 10 dive sites together with Crystal Rock and Castle Rock further north. All were superb. My best memory at Cannibal Rock was looking under a table coral and lying under it were two absolutely adorable baby sharks enter twined in each other just like puppies or kittens would do, so cute!!

The days went by so fast as all we did was eat, dive, rest or sleep, dive, eat etc. Four dives were done most days and in total I did 27 dives only missing one because I was so chilled to the bone from the three dives done during the day I couldn’t face going in for a night dive in really cold water (18 degrees by this time) with just a 3 mm full wetsuit on.

We wanted to see Mantas on the trip and the day arrived when at the first dive briefing of the day, we were told we were diving Manta Alley! We had two stupendous dives with seven Mantas and the memory of the dives will be with me forever. They are all so beautiful, so, so graceful and huge and amazing, there was a huge very black one, he must have been 15 feet across (I call him the Daddy)!, with 5 very big but not as big as Daddy and a little baby one who wasn’t that little, much bigger than me!! They swam right over us and you could see them looking at us all holding onto the reef as there was a lot of current which I think was down to them swimming around us! I didn’t want to leave but as this was the second dive watching them and we had been there not moving much for about 32 minutes in cold water, I was shivering but had a warm feeling inside, elated by the whole experience so time to move on unfortunately. On the way back to the liveaboard on the zodiac after our dive, we watched a baby manta-ray playing on the surface, it was so cute!

We visited Komodo National Park too. Rangers accompany you on a walk through the park, describing different points of interest and you can choose either a short or really long route but we were told we were doing the medium walk which took about one hour – at the end we saw three big Komodo Dragons who did move a little but slept mostly, however that’s a tactic of theirs – prey don’t see any sign of life and that’s when the Dragon strikes!!! Later that day, PJ suggested we all go out on the zodiacs with strict orders not to get into the water once we got near the beach we were heading to because on it were Dragons who were not used to humans and were vicious. We were dumb struck when we stopped the zodiacs to see PJ get into the water and start to video the Dragons with his Go-pro. One bite and it would be game over for him. The Dragons bite is so full of bacteria that it doesn’t need to do anything other than bite and wait for its prey to die. Glad to say that PJ survived and I will post some photographs to show you how mad he was!!
By the time we had dived around the furthest point at Komodo (close to Australia), everyone (the other divers – 13 of them, who were all from warm climates and hated the cold so much) were so fed up with the cold water and just wanted to get back into 28 degree blue water again. Even PJ had started to wear a semi-dry and was still cold!!
On the way back up towards Bali we did a fantastically fast drift dive, we sped along the reef for about 20 minutes where it seemed that we would never stop and then suddenly we slowed down and continued our dive again seeing a beautiful white tip sitting on the reef at about 20 metres. We found a giant black frogfish who was so cool he even yawned in front of us as if to say go away and leave me to sleep!
We dived again, some sites that we did at the start of the trip and it was good to do this because it gave us all a chance to see or photograph things we had missed the first time round.

All too soon it seemed, it was time to have our last dive and it was fabulous, blue warm water, beautiful shoals of colourful fish and corals and to top it all, towards the end of the dive we were shown a stunning pink frogfish sitting in a coral. Out of all the frogfish I’ve seen over the years, never one so strikingly pink!!

The dive guides were all fantastic as were the crew, there were always nice fluffy towels waiting for us when we came out of a dive and I loved the hot chocolate that was waiting for us when we came back after a long night dive.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Mermaid I and if you are thinking of going on this trip, consider the currents and cold water – it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
It takes 24 hours travel time from leaving on a KLM flight from Edinburgh to Amsterdam where we then got a KLM flight to Bali, stopping off at Singapore first (to let people off and take new passengers on) and although we were okay going over, we definitely didn’t like this on our return journey as we were tired and we both had developed a bad cold too. It wouldn’t have been so bad having to stop at Singapore but getting off the plane and going through security and then having a three-hour delay because there was a technical issue with refuelling the plane was awful. This took extra time and effort and it’s something we will avoid on any other holidays we plan as it eats into your time when at the end of the day, you just want to get home.
However, us not feeling too great probably made it feel a lot worse for us to cope with!!

I will post some photographs and hope you have enjoyed reading over this summary of our fabulous holiday. Anne

Dive Club Pool Nights – Important Information

 
It has came to light that North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) are monitoring the number of swimmers/divers in the pool on Monday evening club nights.  They are doing this to track whether the dive club takings actually covers what it costs NLC to keep the pool open for us and seemingly, this is a cost of approximately £60.   Unfortunately, the majority of the time, we are just not meeting this. 
 
This is all part of their proposals to reduce the opening/closing hours of pools across North Lanarkshire,  (Kilsyth is just one of them) with effect from April 2014 and in doing so will not require the same number of pool attendants to work each shift so basically they are cost cutting!
 
What can the members of Thistle Divers do to help?
 
We are asking for your support here please…. if we cannot justify to NLC the huge importance for our club to keep the pool open late for us one night a week… quite simply ..it won’t be that long until we won’t have this facility to use for training and swimming/leisure..
 
What support do you need to give? – please come to the pool and pay to use the pool facilities, instead of sitting blethering at the poolside, get your cozzies and speedo’s on and get into the water and blether there instead or even better –  go swimming and do yourselves some good!!  
 
Those of you with kids who are old enough to be up until 10 p.m. bring them too!!  The more the better for your club.
 
NLC consult again in September to conclude their proposals so if we have any chance of fighting this we need your support urgently NOW!!
 
We have enough members in our club to make a real impact on this issue.  It’s down to each of you to make it a success.

Committee Meeting Monday 3 June 13

Location: Garrell Vale Community Centre Kilsyth

time: 19.30 h

Committee Meeting 8th April 2013

Our next Committee Meeting is on Monday 8th April 2013 at 7.30 p.m. in Garrell Vale Community centre. 

If any committee members cannot make the meeting, can they please submit a report on their actions to the club secretary prior to the meeting

If any club members have anything they would like raised at the meeting, please speak to your member representative.

Anne

Secretary