The ANU SCUBA Club tries to go diving without being strangled by red-tape and officialdom. This means that we’ll do what we can but please don’t expect it to happen like a well organised dive charter. Just remember that the Club is you and many other people like you – so when you want the Club to organise or do something, just think about what you could do to help.
Before the trip
The trip coordinator will send an email to the ANU Scuba club mailing list 1 or 2 weeks prior the trip. You need to respond to this email providing the details requested. If for some reason you are not receiving these emails, firstly check your “spam” folder, and if they are not there, contact the Club Secretary to add you to the mailing list.
If you need a lift, the coordinator will try to line you up with someone who has a car space.
If you need snorkelling gear (eg wetsuit, mask, fins, etc) you will need to hire it from a local dive shop.
The Thursday before the trip (or the Wednesday on a Friday long-weekend) we all meet at the ANUSC gear shed. This is the tastefully decorated green double garage next to the white sports pavilion on North Oval (across Barry Drive from the Sport and Recreation Association). Here you can pick up any club gear you need (we have tanks, regs, BC’s and some weight belts), and find out more details of where we are going to stay, where and when we will meet at the coast, and we’ll try and sort out lifts for those people who need them. If you’ve been paired up with someone else for a lift, it is now up to both of you to arrange the finer details of getting yourself and your gear down to the coast.
At the Coast
When down at the coast we typically camp. This will mean that you will need a tent and something to sleep on or in (eg a sleeping bag and a foam mat). If you need to hire camping gear, the ANU Mountaineering Club is a good source, and the club has a couple of tents. You don’t have to bring camping stoves unless you wish to, although many of us do. (You will be able to beg some boiling water from someone for a hot drink.) As we usually need to go to town for air, you will usually be able to get food there. Usually at least some of us will go into town for dinner, on a least one of the nights during the weekend. However, it is a good idea to bring something for breakfast and maybe snacks for the daytime. There are a few other things that you should bring:
- As we often sit around in a large group at night, a folding chair (~$20) is an excellent investment.
- Bring a torch to find your way to the loos at night.
- Bring a rain jacket and hope you don’t need it!
- Take a hat, sunglasses and suncreen.
- If you have a waterproof bag or tub for your dive gear you’ll make the owner of the car you are travelling in much happier (you can buy decent ones from Big W or Target).
- Your sense of humour!
Getting on a boat ride
When at the coast the coordinator will arrange boat (and shore) diving trips to suit the desires of the trip participants. Help them out by letting them know that you want to go on a particular dive, and make sure that you have air in your tank for that particular dive. This may mean that (if you don’t have a car) you will have to arrange with other members to get your tank filled, or arrange with the coordinator to borrow a Club spare (and then get it filled at the end of your dive). The best advice for those wishing to dive is to be pro-active and let it be known that you want to dive.
Please remember that the Club is run by the members. The trip coordinator is only that. Things will happen much more smoothly if everyone lends a hand to do those things that need to be done: getting the boats ready to launch, getting the boats on and off the trailers, getting the boats ready for towing, learning how to drive and anchor the boats, doing runs to fill tanks, doing runs to fill jerry cans, helping other club members with gear, etc. The more everyone does, the more the club can do! If you don’t know what to do, ask someone who does and you’ll soon be picking up heaps of new skills.
Safety, and diving at the level you want
Naturally, there are elements of SCUBA diving that carry certain elements of risk. All club members are required by the Club Constitution to “conduct their activities in such a manner as to not expose other members of the Club to any additional danger or undue risk”. Do not be too timid to speak up about your inexperience as, by not doing so, you could be setting in train events that will make the dive unnecessarily stressful for both you and those members who may need to come to your assistance. Just remember to let others know if you’re inexperienced or haven’t dived for a long time and we can make sure that you have a buddy who will keep an eye on you and make sure you’re okay.
The Club strongly encourages all members to carry out a safety stop at 5 metres for at least 5 minutes at the end of all of their dives. Carrying a safety sausage is also an excellent idea. If you are uncertain of any of these safety practices, then you should discuss this with a member of the Club Committee or the Trip Coordinator.
It is important that you discuss the level of diving that you wish to do, and the depths to which you are happy to dive, with the Trip Coordinator and boat driver before the boat leaves the shore. Members are divers trained to accept responsibility for their own diving, and you will need to demonstrate this within the Club. A ‘club dive’ is not an organized diving trip where you are told what you have to dive. If you want to do an easy, shallow dive then tell the coordinator and one can be arranged.
You will need to pay for your (shared) transport to the coast. This is generally a round trip of 400-700 km. You will need to pay for your own food. Additionally there will be costs for camping, boat towing, air fills, etc. On average these costs will come to around $50 to $100 for a student and slightly more for others.
How many dives you do is up to you – there is no set number, it just depends on demand and the number of people down on the weekend.
After the weekend
The trip doesn’t finish with the weekend: afterwards there are still some things that you need to do. First off, the trip coordinator will advise trip participants about the day and time of the boat wash. This only takes half an hour if we’ve got 4 or 5 people – please come to the gear shed at the announced time if you’re able.
Next thing is your gear: this needs to be well rinsed in fresh water and dried out of the sun (see the hints on washing gear here). If there was any problem with any of the gear on the weekend, it is your responsibility to contact the gear officer and tell them straight after the weekend. They will let you know know what we want you to do with it. If it’s something that we can’t fix quickly or easily ourselves, we may want you to take the problem in to the Scuba Store (where we have an account) to be fixed. That way we will have a functioning unit ready to reissue the next Thursday for the next weekend.
On the Thursday following the weekend all of your gear needs to be returned to the dive shed. Make sure that you are returning a full tank, and that all of your gear has been washed – only then will you get your deposit back. If for some reason you can’t get to the gear shed, let the gear officer (or if you can’t contact them, one of the committee) know and usually we can arrange something else. However, if you don’t contact anyone, you will lose your deposit and may have your borrowing rights suspended.