Mark 'Crowley' Russell (from DIVE Magazine, April 2020)
The Coronavirus pandemic has already had a devastating impact on the scuba diving world – but there's another question on divers' minds: 'What happens if I get it? Can I dive after COVID-19?' And the answer is not straightforward.
An article published in the German magazine Wetnotes on 15 April gives an insight into the medical problems that scuba divers who have contracted SARS-CoV-2 might face. In it, Dr Frank Hartig, a senior consultant and response crisis coordinator/disaster officer for SARS-CoV-2 at Innsbruck University Hospital in Austria – and a scuba diver himself – describes some of the problems he has already encountered as a physician.
The acronym SARS – as in SARS-CoV-2, the official name of COVID-19 – stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. SARS attacks the lungs, and while research into the long-term effects of the novel coronavirus is only just beginning, its physical impacts are all too tragically well known. Lung damage caused by conditions such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has been widely reported. It is also known to attack other organs, including the heart, although cardiac damage may go unnoticed until the heart is actually checked. Although we might not know much about the coronavirus itself, it has long been established that scuba diving with a compromised cardiopulmonary system can lead to serious injury, even death.
An extract from ‘DIVER’ magazine, January 1984, courtesy of Terry Blackmore.
I didn’t know what they were up to when Brendan Jaffa of Torquay BSAC asked if I could take a group of divers out on Likely Lad for an evening dive on the wreck of the SS Maine. They asked to be put down on the stern end – a normal request.
Over the next few months we dived the Maine again and again - always on the stern! My suspicions were confirmed on the third dive when they went over the side with cameras, tapes and note pads. Brendan then felt obliged to let me in on his secret: they were going to lift the spare propeller!
Although as far as I was concerned, it started with that dive in early April, the planning and preparations were all carried out long before. Torquay BS-AC had purchased the Maine back in the early sixties, shortly after Derek Cockbill and his band had first dived on her. The ship’s main bronze propeller was raised and sold in 1963 by Derek and his team, an exploit well documented in DIVER.
The name of the Branch shall be The Torbay Branch No 0008 British Sub-Aqua Club.
The constitution of the Branch will be the current rules of the BSAC except as amended in the Branch Constitution. The latter must not conflict with the former, and should such conflict arise, the constitution of the BSAC shall take priority. The Branch Constitution can only be amended at an Extraordinary or Annual General Meeting.
Membership is open to anyone interested in the sport of diving regardless of sex, disability, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or other beliefs, over the age of 14 years and who having submitted an application to the committee is accepted by them.
The committee may require diving members to submit to a diving medical.
All diving members must be members of BSAC.
Branch fees and levies will be decided by the committee from time to time.
On Saturday 29th June 2019, Torbay BSAC held its 3rd annual “Splash-In,” a one-day underwater photography competition attracting enthusiasts from across the Southwest region (and even further afield). Entrants had to take their underwater photographs on that day between midnight and 4:30pm within the Torbay area. There were 4 classes of entry: wide-angle, macro, compact camera, and beginners (not won a previous competition).
The competition was open to anyone with an interest in underwater photography and photos could be taken while scuba diving or simply snorkelling. Prizes were to be awarded at a dinner taking place that evening at Living Coasts in Torquay Harbour. Peter Rowlands, the editor of “Underwater Photography” magazine had again kindly agreed to be the competition judge.
Despite numerous setbacks (Covid-19, Rule-of-Six, poor sea conditions) we managed to attract 19 competitor registrations, leading to 12 competitors submitting a total of 49 photographs. As in previous years, the quality of photographs continues to be high, which given the poor conditions on the day, is a testament to the skills and resourcefulness of the contestants. As usual, we had a booth set up on Beacon Quay for the contestants to meet us and hand in their photo submissions. It also aims to raise the profile of the club for local visitors and in the past, it has attracted new members.
We are indebted to Peter Rowlands, our esteemed judge, who provided insightful and interesting comments on the winning photographs, and all done in a supremely timely manner on the night, even though he was working remotely. The Evening Event was attended by less people than usual (mostly due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions) and unfortunately only one of the winners was present to receive their prize on the night. However, the dinner and presentations were, I hope, appreciated by the 20 or so people who did attend. Thanks to the Royal Torbay Yacht Club who provided an excellent venue and meal on the night.
This year, we were delighted to accept sponsorship for two of the prizes: Christopher Ward provided a valuable diving watch for the winner of the Popular Vote, and O'Three provided the First Prize for the Beginner Category (including a voucher for 50% off a new drysuit).
Each year, the Club awards a number of trophies to members who have distinguished themselves in one way or another. Some of the trophies have a long history and some distinguished past recipients. Diving trophies are presented at the AGM in April, and Photographic trophies during the Christmas Dinner.
Most Dives in the year. Awarded by the Diving Officer.
Presented by D Cockbill (Chairman 62-65). Awarded by the Chairman for hard work in the club during the year.
Dominic was lost in a diving incident in March 1995. The knife was presented in his memory by Sea & Sea Ltd. Awarded by the Committee for support to the club over the years.
“The first 1st class diver in Torbay”, dated 28th December 1959. Awarded by the Committee for the Best Lady Diver.
Awarded by the Committee for the Best Trainee.
Awarded by last year’s winner for the most spectacular 'cock-up' of the year.