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Dive into new adventures with West Wickham Sub Aqua Club
A very wet, shark-spotting club is encouraging new members to get suited up and dive into adventures of oceanic proportions.
The West Wickham Sub Aqua Club has been teaching people how to scuba dive and explore the mysterious world under the sea for more than 40 years.
From the safety of the swimming pool at West Wickham Leisure Centre, beginners can join and learn the basics for an hour every Thursday.
Ian McCoy, diving officer, has been working with the club for 10 years.
He told News Shopper: “I love diving because you feel like an aquanaught, there’s nothing holding you.
“It’s like being in space – you’re just floating up and down the water.
“There’s a lot of heavy gear on your back but you don’t feel it.
“You never know what you’re going to see or what you’re going to find.
“It could be a wreck, there’s a lot of history involved.”
Divers train for about 16 weeks in the pool and when they feel comfortable, Ian takes groups to the lakes in Kent and then to Brighton, where the club has a raft waiting to ship members out to sea.
Ian also organises trips for qualified members to diving hotspots in exotic locations.
He added: “Once I went down 60 metres to see a French liner in Malta.
“And I’ve seen quite a few sharks at a safe distance away, just swimming below me.
“I also saw a locomotive, trucks with their guns still attached – it’s like an underwater museum in the Red Sea.”
But diving in Britain can also be a great deal of fun, and rather mysterious.
“Sometimes we don’t have the best conditions, and it can be cold and murky.” Ian said.
“But you would be surprised at what’s down there.
“We have hunter gatherers in our club who go scalloping.
“You get hooked on UK diving.”
The club encourages its members to stay with them once they are qualified and continue diving all over the world.
They started with 14 original members and now boast a membership of 50 divers and 15 nationally qualified instructors.
The first stage of training is called Ocean Diver and learners must complete five pool lessons, seven classroom sessions to learn theory and five open water diving lessons.
Assessments and examinations will follow.
Annual membership costs £173 which includes a year’s usage of the pool each week and a subscription to the monthly BSAC magazine, SCUBA.