Scubadive West in the National and International Media
Photo Rally Autumn 2013
Scubadive West’s Inagural Photo Rally was a resounding success, as underwater photographers competed for great prizes in three categories: Wide Angle, Macro and Best Novel Photograph.
When you see the photos you’ll agree that there is some real talent for underwater photography in Ireland!
Maja’s photo above, taken on Saturday afternoon at the Julia T shipwreck gives a flavour of the abundant life and colours captured during the photo rally.
All the photos were taken here on boat dives and shore dives from Scubadive West over the October Bank Holiday weekend. On Friday we had calm seas, no swell and spectacular visibility. Saturday morning brought a brief spell where the Southerly wind hit Gale force 8, it soon calmed down again and we were able to enjoy dives at Doonee Beacon and the Julia T , with visibility of 15 metres or greater and abundant marine life. The boat dives offered great opportunities for framing Wide angle shots upwards into the clear water while other competitors foraged for that winning Macro or Novel photo. Meanwhile shore divers snapped up photos in all categories.
And the winners are….
Equipment Test Weekend Summer 2013
For our 2013 Test Event we were delighted to have O’Three Drysuits onboard with us, and we are now Irish Agents for this very popular brand! We have a large stock of the O’Three MSF 500tb flex (5mm neoprene) drysuits in our rental fleet here and O’Three are brought their whole range of drysuits to try out too! including the Ri 1-100 and Ri 2-100, (1mm and 2mm neoprene)which were all be available to try out on a dive, for free! Some divers even got measured up for their own drysuit on the weekend. (A service that we have available here everyday too!) They also had a prize draw with 3 winners each winnig a £100 voucher!
We had the guys from SUUNTO here again with their full line up of wrist mounted dive computers available to try out on a dive. Last year all the models were popular, from the great value ZOOP to the High Spec. Hel O2, with many people buying their own unit over the weekend here. Also very popular to try out were the SUUNTO Dx and D9tx watch computers.
Fourth Element were back again this year with their Xerotherm and Arctic range of Thermals for all visitors to try out. Also they had the amazingly flexible Proteus wetsuits, ideal for some snorkelling and ’Free Diving’ with Feargus Callagy from Freedive Ireland , Ireland’s Apnea Academy freediving Instructor, who was onsite to put visitors through the paces of some exciting free diving. Many opted to try out one of the Suunto watch computers in ‘free diving mode’ at the same time!
Analox Ltd is a world leader in the design and manufacture of gas sensors and analysers for all branches of the diving industry from sport to military applications. We are very proud to announce that we are agents for Analox Gas Analysers. They attended for the test weekend too! They brought the very popular O2EII Nitrox Analyser and Portable O2 Analyser models for demonstrations and for people to try out. They helped with technical questions and also had a free competition, with prizes of £20 and £100 vouchers being won.
2012 SUUNTO, Fourth Element Test Weekend. 28th & 29th April
Last year our inaugral SUUNTO Fourth Element Test weekend was a great success with divers travelling from all over the country to try out the great diving gear available. All present enjoyed the shore diving with abundant marine life and great visibility. Many explored the 60 footer wreck, with it’s purpose built, cool Suunto deco station. There were great boat dives on offer all weekend, with reports of great viz, congers and a huge thornback ray sighted at Doonee Beacon, and of course loads of cool Scuba Equipment to try out for free!
See report above for further information.
2011 SCUBAPRO Diving Days 11th & 12th June
This was our third annual Scubapro Diving Days event, and it was a great success!
Some further information below.
SCUBAPRO Gear Available for Use in a FREE Dive
SCUBAPRO UWATEC's latest and greatest dive equipment is available to try out in a FREE dive with the option to purchase the preferred items for a very generous discount off normal retail price. There will be a full range of popular items such as the Equator and X Force BCD, the Nova Scotia wetsuit, the Everydry drysuit, the MK25/A700 regulator and Seawing Nova fins.
There will also be a range of Sealife cameras available to try out at the weekend and Scubapro are providing a photographer to run clinics on how to use the cameras and how to get good underwater photos.
Discover Tec for FREE
This year Scubapro will have their new X-Tek range of Technical diving equipment on display and Cillian Gray, PADI Course Director and Tec Instructor, will be on hand to bring interested divers on a Discover Tec dive on Sunday using this gear. If you are curious about Tech Diving this is the perfect opportrunity to see what it feels like to dive with a twin set. BE SURE TO CALL OR EMAIL US TO BOOK AS SPACES ARE LIMITED
A hundred excited divers made for a real festival atmosphere at last year's event. Oh, and let us not forget the massive BBQ on Saturday evening.
SCUBAPRO Days 2010 at Scubadive West
Sport Diver Magazine Spring 2010
Mark Evans, Editor of 'Sport Diver' magazine has become a devotee of diving off the coast of Connemara. In this feature, Mark details his road trip to Scubadive West, which took place in May 2009. Mark's buddy Paul was a willing travel companion. The road trip was featured in two parts, one in the March edition of Sport Diver, and part two in the April edition.
Please be advised that the file size is very large and may take some time to download.
Part 1:Happy reading! courtesy of 'Sport Diver' magazine.
The 'Julia T' Named as one of the "100 Essential Wreck Dives" by the Ultimate Dive Destinations team!
Scubadive West is delighted to report that one of our most popular dive sites, the wreck of the 'Julia T' has been named as one of the world's essential wreck dives. This is in no small part due to the proliferation of marine life and plumose anenomes, which call this wreck home!
Click Julia T for a copy of this review.
2009 Photo Competition Winner Lands the cover of Sport Diver Magazine
Darragh Norton's photo of a monkfish off Inis Boffin won First Prize in the Wide-Angle category of our 2009 Photo Competition. So impressed was our judge; Mark Evans, Editor of Sport Diver Magazine; that he chose Darragh's photo for his November magazine cover. A pretty huge achievement. All at Scubadive West are delighted for Darragh and wish him well for the future. We will of course be running our hugely popular photo competition in 2010. Don't forget to enter and you too could feature on the cover of Sport Diver.
Sport Diver October 2009
Streamstown Drift Dive Feature
(CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN ARTICLE)
Sport Diver UK April 2009
(CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN ARTICLE)
The Irish Times Go Saturday March 14th 2009
<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->Cillian Gray: "Diving attracts people from all walks of life"
In conversation with Sandra O’Connell
CILLIAN GRAY describes a his day
I RUN SCUBADIVE WEST diving school with my brother Breffni. Our parents set it up decades ago and chose Renvyle because of the quality of the diving; there is exceptional water clarity and amazing underwater topography.
Each morning I commute 50 yards from the house to the dive centre and check the schedule for the day. Divers start arriving at 9am. Diving attracts people from all walks of life. What they have in common is that they tend to be nice. I think it’s because there’s no competitive element to it.
If it’s a beginners’ group, we get the paperwork sorted and do a 20-minute presentation about the basics before introducing them to the equipment. Then we take them to some shallow waters to get used to it.
After doing more skilled practice at standing depth, we move them to depths of between six and eight metres to get a fuller experience. Novice divers always say the same thing: they thought it would be cold and dark. They are amazed that it’s colourful and warm.
For more advanced divers we run full-day boat trips. We’re about 40 minutes away from some amazing dive sites where the underwater scenery is spectacular. If you can imagine being suspended from a cliff edge and being able to see any part of the mountainside you want, that’s what it’s like to dive off the west coast. There are plenty of gullies and caves to explore, too.
We dock at either Inishbofin or Inishturk for lunch, where a local BB owner gives us soup and sandwiches, and we relax for an hour or so before getting back on the boat for the afternoon’s diving. The divers get back on shore in time for dinner and a few pints.
I’ll still have work to do, though, refilling air bottles, refuelling the boats and rinsing and storing 25 sets of equipment. Then there is the Padi paperwork to go through, as well as any administration work left over from the morning.
Once a month the staff all go diving together, to find new spots and so that I can indulge my interest in underwater photography. We run courses in that, too.
One of the most popular things we offer, and which is particularly good with spring tides when the currents are strong, is drift-diving. With it, you are taken out in a boat
and dropped off to go with the flow for up to four kilometres before being picked up. It’s brilliant.
Another thing about diving is that, apart from the normal fatigue that comes from physical exertion, it has a particular physiological effect on you, which means you sleep like a baby afterwards.
Scubadive West, Renvyle, Co Galway, 095-43922, www.scubadivewest.com
Galway Independent Making Waves 9th January 2008
Me and The Sea Breffni Gray
Breffni Gray is a director and founder of Scubadive West. Originally from Dublin, he and his family relocated to Connemara in 1992 and opened Scubadive West.
Having grown up by the sea in Dalkey, where his family has run a dive school since 1975, scuba is only one of Breffni's marine hobbies. He also sails, windsurfs and fishes, all of which he says he learned while waiting to reach 16, so he could qualify at scuba.
Breffni has vivid memories of his first attempt at scuba diving, at the age of seven. "My father used to take us scuba diving in the swimming pool, and it was fine. The cylinder is weightless in the water, so I managed it fine, but I fell straight back in when I tried to climb out of the pool."
After studying engineering at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Bolton Street, Breffni worked as an engineer for a period and then returned to his first love, diving. However, he says, even now the engineering training comes in useful with the technical equipment involved in the diving school.
When the school began operating in Connemara in 1992, the market was mainly for tourists, particularly those coming from the UK and other parts of Ireland. These days, however, "the Irish market has grown considerably", and Irish people have developed a much greater interest in watersports.
While scuba diving is his work, Breffni also sails, with the Clifden Boat Club. He has dived in some of the world's most exotic locations, such as the Red Sea, where he saw sharks and dolphins, and "the water was so clear you could see for miles." He has also dived off El Hierro, one of the lesser-known Canary Islands, which he says is "super diving, only a four hour flight away."
Scubadive West operates all year round, only closing for "a couple of weeks" at Christmas. Relocating to Connemara was obviously a good choice for the school. "The water is so clear off the West coast, and the marine life is better than Dublin. The clarity is just great, and people are increasingly diving off the West coast. I like the country life too," says Breffni, who has three children who have been born and bred in Connemara.
See www.scubadivewest.com for further information.