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Hi Divers!

Spring has finally arrived, and that means the water is getting warmer and the days longer. Soon the days will be long enough to sneak in some after uni/after work dives. The downside to spring is it's normally the windiest season, but fortunately it's usually from the west so any east-facing shoreline generally makes for a great dive site.

Spring also means algal blooms in the water - while this may result in reduced visibility by day, it means phosphorescence by night. Phosphorescence, or marine bioluminescence, is generated by phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates. This small marine algae light up at night and makes the water water glow blue. This phenomena results in some awesome night diving. So if you have your night dive quals, make sure you do a night dive this spring!

phosphorescence

This past month we had a stall at the UTAS Open Day where we took Thumping Willy along and talked to prospective UTAS students about the club. While this was happening Trojan was out at Isle de Phoque packed with divers swimming amongst seals.

This month we also submitted an application for the Environment Award in the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards on the basis of our Marine-Debris clean-up program which has been running for 7 years now. Thanks to everyone who has ever been on a clean-up dive over this time, and fingers crossed as there is a $1000 prize attached to it which would be a handy boost to the club!

If you're up for an epic weekend dive trip, why not sign up to the St Helens 4-day camping trip in October or the Bicheno trip in November.

Until next time, happy diving!

- John Keane, TUDC President
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CSIRO

Featured Dive Review

CSIRO wharf - 25th August

"Spring has definitely sprung amongst TUDC members! Despite the weather in Hobart looking all but inviting during the morning, the skies cleared and the wind dropped in the late afternoon to allow a few relieved (is that the right word?) divers to jump of the CSIRO wharf in the afternoon and during dusk to explore our cities shoreline.

After pottering around the pylons in fair visibility at around 15-16m (12C), we slowly ascended to 10-12m where the vis improved significantly. We were lucky to observe some interesting life hidden amongst the rocks and bolders, including a couple of Big-bellied Seahorses twisted around a fishing rod, Pygmy Leatherjackets and, to our surprise, an elusive green spoonworm! For those who haven't heard of this little toxic creature before, it is widespread across the world, hides in little rock crevasses where the male spends his entire lifetime inside the female's reproductive tract, regurgitating sperm through his mouth to fertilize her eggs (bet you haven't heard that one before!). During the dusk dive lots more creatures were observed, amongst them, octopus, squid and the omnipresent pufferfish. This easy dive is for all the macro lovers and those who are keen to find pretty things in lots of mud and rubble."

   - Elias

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News Around The Club


TUDC Boat License course a resounding success!

The annual TUDC drive to facilitate members obtaining their motorboat license was again highly successful. With 22 participants over 2 weekends passing the course with flying colours, the process was by all reports great fun and comes highly recommended to any members who do not currently hold boat licenses.





SO YOU THINK IT'S ALL OVER... [tips from our gear officer]

The procedure at the end of a dive is, in principle, trivial. We get back on the boat. The devil is in the detail of exactly how we get aboard. There is plenty to remember, but it will make the whole process both easier and safer...

STAY ON THE SURFACE
Once a boat has begun manoeuvring to pick up divers, the most dangerous thing a diver can do is to go back under water, because that's when the skipper loses his reference point. In a large boat, he may be committed to the manoeuvre and have no option but to pass where the diver was last seen, with no idea of what last-minute corrections he needs to make to avoid a nasty accident. If only one of a group goes under water, the skipper may not be aware that a diver is missing, and that it is not safe to approach the rest of the group. So it is critical to stay on the surface.

Even if, on close approach, a diver is about to get bumped by the hull of the dive-boat, he should still stay on the surface and use his hands or legs to fend it off. At least it is only the hull against a hand or leg. Diving at this late stage would be more likely to result in a propeller against the diver's head.

IF YOU HAVE NO CHOICE
Staying on the surface assumes that the approaching boat is actually aiming to pick the divers up. But this will not account for all boat traffic. There is always the chance that an idiot in a speedboat or on a jet-ski is heading straight for you, or that you have surfaced in the path of a much larger ship which which just can't manoeuvre fast enough to avoid you. You are now threatened by a fast-moving hull that may well run you over and push you into the path of the following propeller. The only option then is to get back under fast, as deep as possible and as quickly as possible. That means dumping all buoyancy, then finning hard in a headfirst descent.

TRUST THE SKIPPER
The usual situation in TUDC is that the boat stays live, so that when we surface the skipper manoeuvres to pick us up. What often catches divers out is that the skipper may not aim the boat directly towards them. Depending on the boat, it may seem to be passing 5 or 10m away. The important thing is to trust the skipper. Aiming slightly off from divers in the water allows for things like wind and waves pushing the boat, and for the paddle-wheel effect of the propeller. At slow speed, especially in reverse, a propeller can be used to kick the stern of the boat to one side or the other. The skipper has all this carefully worked out to bring the boat to a halt at a safe but convenient distance from the divers. Swimming towards the boat before it has come to rest will only make life harder for the skipper and may endanger you.

PAY ATTENTION
A pair of divers surface after a fantastic dive and can't wait to chat about it as the boat manoeuvres to pick them up. At least one buddy, if not both, is not watching the boat.

This isn't just a beginners' mistake. Some instructors and dive guides are the worst, surfacing with a group and immediately beginning a debriefing when they and their divers should be concentrating on the approaching boat. At some point the hull will come close to a diver's head. For a large boat this will most likely be as the boat skews in from the side. For a smaller RIB, the preferred method of picking up divers is often virtually to park the bow right among them. In either case, a diver who does not pay attention runs the risk of being bumped on the head.

AVOID ROCKS, SMBS AND BUBBLES
If you surface near rocks, you may need to swim out a bit before the skipper can manoeuvre to pick you up. This is swimming to improve the boat's safety. If you surface close above other divers who are still decompressing or ascending, you will have to swim away from them before the boat can pick you up. This is for the safety of other divers that the skipper will not want to run over. Again, stay aware of the boat's position, and don't swim towards it as it manoeuvres towards you.

EASE A SKIPPER'S TASK
A diver on the surface is not a big target for the skipper to keep track of as he manoeuvres the boat. Visual contact can be intermittent among the waves. As the boat makes its final approach to pick up divers, there is often a blind spot close to the bow where the skipper can't see us. If you can't see the skipper's face, chances are he can't see you. There are a couple of things you can do to make his life easier. After surfacing on a delayed SMB, rather than letting it lie flat, hold it upright, especially as you disappear into the blind spot. Even if the skipper can't see you, he may be able to see the top of the SMB. If you don't have an SMB, hold up a hand as you disappear into the blind spot. The skipper, knowing your exact position rather than having to interpolate, can be far more precise in his boat-handling.

GRAB THE GRAB LINE
When you reach the boat, your first point of contact should be the grab-ropes. There are two good reasons for this. Firstly, if another diver is already on the ladder, we don't want to be beneath him if he falls off. Secondly, if the boat is pitching and rolling, hanging onto the solid frame of the ladder or lift will jerk your arms about. The grab-line will have some give, and is much easier to grasp.

KEEP MASK AND FINS ON!
At this point, what you do depends on the type of ladder, or you may just be hauling yourself over the side of an inflatable or RIB. You may want to take some of your equipment off in the water and pass it up before getting back on the boat. However, in anything but a flat-calm sea the two bits of kit you need to keep with you until you are safely on board are your masks and fins.

Keeping a mask on is generally more comfortable if the sea is sloshing over you while you are doing everything else. Should you drop anything, retaining a mask also gives you a better chance of catching it before it disappears into the depths. Even if it is necessary to remove fins before climbing a ladder, you can still loop them over your hands. That way, if you should fall off you will still have your fins available for swimming back to the boat.

BELT BEFORE BUOYANCY
A friend was diving off a RIB with a new drysuit. At the end of the dive, he took off his BC and handed it into the boat, using his left hand, then his right, to help push it up.

The cuff dump in his suit immediately dumped all the air. It was a new drysuit, he was a little over-weighted and he began to sink. He remarked afterwards that he had to swim quite hard before he could reach up and grab the lines on the side of the boat. He may have had to ditch his weightbelt to avoid drowning. It just goes to show that there is a very good reason why weightbelts should be handed into a boat before removing a BC.

When removing a weightbelt, remember to hold it up by the strap end rather than by the buckle end, so loose weights will not slide off the end. In the process, if you have a drysuit with a cuff dump, you may want to keep that arm low and lift with your other arm. When handing anything up, don't assume that the crew have hold of it. Look them in the eyes and get positive acknowledgement that they have a firm grip on whatever you're handing up.

MIND YOUR FINGERS
Finally, it's time to climb the ladder or lift. Keep fingers well clear of the hinges and slots where they fit together. If your hands are cold from the dive, you may not even realise how many fingers are missing.

- Gear Officer Richard (reproduced from DIVER magazine, March 2008)

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SO, WE HEAR YOU LIKE TO READ...

We've finally got around to archiving all our past editions of TANKED news so you can check them out ANY TIME on our website!

If you want to see how far we've come over the past year and a half, are keen to check out some fantastic TUDC dive reviews written by members, or you're just worried that you might've missed out on something exciting, jump onto the "news" section of our website and take a look at...

TANKED news - THE ARCHIVES

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Cheap dive courses available to TUDC Members

For those of you yet to get certified, Ian from The Hobart Dive Shop (6234 3428) is once again offering a fantastic price on Open Water courses exclusively to Tas Uni Dive Club members.

The following courses have just been posted up for August & September - jump on the Dive Shop website now for full dates and to make a booking! www.thediveshophobart.com.au/courses.php

  • PADI Advanced OW Course - from 28th September: $350
  • PADI Open Water Course - from 7th October: $295 (for TUDC members!)
  • PADI Open Water Course - from 4th November: $295 (for TUDC members!)
Remember, the cheap deals on the OW courses (usually $375 each) are exclusive to TUDC members, so make sure you mention you're from the Tas Uni Dive Club!


NORTHERN
discounted dive courses!

Our friends from GoDive Launceston have jumped on board to offer some cheap dive courses exclusive to TUDC members in the North of the state.

  • PADI Open Water Courses - from 14th September, 5th October, 9th November, 7th December
  • PADI Advanced OW courses - from 5th October, 26th October, 30th November

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Recent Dives & Happenings

News from the North - by Masa

Clarence Point clean-up dive

Six volunteer divers gathered together for the second clean-up dive held this year in the Tamar Estuary. The flood from the previous week stirred up the entire estuary and visibility was around 30 - 50 cm! Diving in low visibility like this was not exactly normal conditions for most divers, but all communicated well with their buddies and conducted dives safely. All in all, we managed to pull 40 kg of rubbish out from the estuary. Unfortunately, we didn't come across many exciting underwater creatures, but still saw a cute small baby calamari and a seahorse. All the divers enjoyed the treasure hunting style of diving in the restricted visibility, and it provided an excellent opportunity for gaining experience confidence in diving skills! The fact that we found this much debris under very limited visibility was indicative of just how much more must be down there...




UTAS Open Day (Launceston)

The UTAS Open Day on the Launceston campus attracted a bunch of keen new divers. TUDC North had a booth right next to TUU which provided a good flow of people. Those who are interested in marine science showed us special interest in joining the club and obtaining a diving qualification. The day also provided a great opportunity to let current students know that Tas Uni Dive Club is now on the Launceston campus as well as the south, and to watch out for upcoming dives in the north!

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Gear Classifieds

We often have members wanting to trade up gear, so what better way to advertise your needs than in our classified section! Drop us an email if you have anything you're looking to buy OR sell and would like to post it here for next month.

FOR SALE


BRAND NEW Oceanic Dive Computer! Still in original packaging.
RRP $700, selling - $500 ONO! [SEE SPECS]
  • Contact - Elias (eliasp@utas.edu.au) for more info.


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    dive calendar signups


    Upcoming Dives & Events


    September 11th - Pub Night
    Take a break at the TUDC Pub Night. Remember that Wednesday is cheap beer and pizza night! All new, old and prospective members are welcome, so come along for a beverage and/or a bite to eat. Please sign up so we can book a table big enough! Contact - dive calendar

    September 14th - The Nord / Cathedral Caves
    The bow sits on the sand 42 meters and the shallowest part of the wreck is at 30m. The wreck has attracted a very thick coating of sponge and also attracts large schools of fish. Huge clouds of Butterfly Perch are permanent residents. We'll be heading out to Cathedral Caves for our second dive - with a huge array of temperate water invertebrates and the 'sunken church', complete with a dome, an arch, and catacombs creating a spectacular diving site. Advanced Open Waters ONLY. Contacts - Ness & George

    September 15th - Ninepin Point
    A fantastic little shore dive for both beginners and easoned divers. This site is one of only two marine reserves in SE Tassie, and is home to a unique assemblage of plants and animals in an unusual environment where tannin-rich freshwater meets nutrient-rich oceanic water. Huge crays, beautiful seaweed assemblages, and more! Contact - Elias

    September 19th & 26th, October 10th - Movie Nights! [north]
    The northern branch of TUDC are putting on a FREE movie night (along with FREE pizza and drinks) to be held at the Launceston UTAS campus. Some of the films to be shown include Stories From The Sea, The Giant and the Fisherman, Into the Gyre, and a bunch more! Contact - Masa

    September 21st - Cape Maurouard
    One of TUDC's favourite dives. The cape is past eastern-most point of Maria Island. Steep drop-offs on into 40m petrollod by large schools of Butterfly Perch, carpeted in colourful sponges, sea whips and hydroids. Advanced Open Waters ONLY. Contact - George

    October 24th (whole weekend) - St Helens
    We are taking advantage of the Hobart show weekend and spending 4 days camping and diving around St Helens. There are dives for all experience levels of divers, from some lovely dives in Binnalong Bay to St Helens Island and Merricks Reef. Pack your tent, camp chair for 4 days of fun. Bring your friends as well. This is a trip not to be missed! Contact - Johnny

    October 26th - Tamar River [north]
    Two dives in the mouth of the famous Tamar river! Home to an incredible array of sponge and invertebrate gardens due to the high current in the area, descending down the steep slopes surrounding the beacons. Contact - Masa

    November 22nd (whole weekend) - Bicheno (coinciding with festival!)
    Combining a huge variety of diving with Bicheno's Food & Wine Festival is a recipe for an excellent weekend. Oh, and the music line-up is top quality so if you don't want to get in the water at all on Saturday we fully understand! Contact - Sparky


    CCW 2013 flyer

    *****ALL of September - Underwater Festival 2013 Photo Shootout*****

    The Underwater Festival 2013 is Australasia-wide month-long simultaneous photo and video shootout competition like no other, with over $100,000 in prizes! See www.festival.underwater.com.au for more.

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    Your 2013-14 TUDC Executive
    (aren't we pretty?)

      Tasmanian University Dive Club
    Proudly sponsored by the TUU.
    www.tudc.org.au
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