Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Memories of Earlier Days…

Wave Shape

So thanks Andy and John and Mike for agreeing to share some memories about the club’s early days.

Q – Can you recall when you joined 7 Seas and something about its history prior to that?
A – I joined the original 7 Seas Diving Club straight out of university in 1990. Within a year though, the Club was brought to its knees when the original Diving Officer disappeared with the boat and all the cash in the bank accounts. Luckily the local BSAC coaches stepped in, acting as Diving Officer and putting on a special training course to help a few of us get qualified as instructors as well as loaning the Club some kit to get us back on our feet. Since the the club has gone from strength to strength

Q – Mike, you have a different story about becoming a 7 Seas member.
A – So does Paul Elliot …. He joined us after we found him and his Son lost at sea !

The Black Pig

Q – Our first boat was called the Black Pig. Was that anything to do with Captain Pugwash? That last reference is for members of a certain age!
A – Not so much – although we all secretly wanted to be pirates no-one was keen to be the cabin boy and the name was mainly due to the fact that the boat was a dark grey and very wide so could be a bit of a pig to steer although it did fly well on a calm sea.

Q – My abiding memory of the Black Pig was that it had a tendency to fill with water as the drainage bung never quite fitted. On one occasion we managed to tangle the shot with the propeller as we were lifting it. The tide was rising and the boat was slowly tipping backwards towards the stern. We were genuinely at risk of sinking. The smart thinking of Lawrence Trickey (Flo) saved the day as he entered the water and freed the propeller by cutting the shot line. It was a reminder that you have to respect the sea. Do you have any other stories that won’t put our members or future members off diving?
A – Many songs were sung about the deeds of the Black Pig and those who sailed in her … mainly what goes on tour needs to stay on tour but suffice it to say that despite having her nose broken by the odd wave and being towed by RNLI (when someone couldn’t re-start the engines) she always made it back to port under her own steam (once the dead-man’s kill switches had been plugged back in!).

Q – Any idea how much lead we have lost over the years?
A – Enough to roof a few churches I imagine (which is where a lot of it came from I think 😄)

Q – How did we acquire the John W diving RIB?
A – The Black Pig was suffering from some repetitive engine issues (despite having two of them) and I met a lovely couple whilst on holiday and we got chatting and the conversation turned to diving. As luck would have it, they were members of a dive club close to London which had a Dive RIB (the John W) that they never used and was currently kept in a barn. We could have it for a great price if we wanted it, as long as we invited the few members of their club who did actually want to dive in the UK on our trips. It was an offer that we could not refuse … and even though it turned out that the barn was also full of chickens and it took more time than expected to remove all the poo, straw and eggs the John W was soon ours and became an integral part of the Club.

Q – We used to train in the old Epsom Swimming Baths. These later became the Epsom Rainbow Centre. There was a standing joke about ‘kicking up the bottom of the pool’.
A – To be fair we had the pool for the last hour on a Friday night, before a mad dash to the British Legion before closing time. We subsequently used several pools including the Royal Marsden pool in Sutton. Mike, you were involved with that…

Q – We had some great holidays in the Red Sea, Gozo and Scotland. Are there any stories that spring to mind?
A – What goes on tour stays on tour … except for the photos of course, and stamping logbooks and possibly foreheads (after too much vodka), remembering that after you have gone ashore to the pub if the boat is rocking don’t come knocking, and of course the best photographic advice ever (from an otherwise very grumpy redfaced man) … get close, get low, shoot up !

Q – What makes 7 Seas a long standing club and what would be your aspiration for it’s future?
A – It is all about wanting to be involved. If everyone wants to be hand fed everything and doesn’t want to help out then a club dies. In 7 Seas over the years many people have wanted to help and be involved and this continues to this day and has made the club what it is today.

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