Lodge diving

The Founders originally deemed that the Lodge should “be primarily for members of the British Sub Aqua Club”. In keeping with many other leisure activities, the popularity of diving grew extensively during the formative years of the Lodge, and additional governing bodies began to emerge.

One past member, W. Bro. Leo Zanelli, was instrumental in establishing the Sub Aqua Association, which became the second major organisation to set standards and promote the sport nationally. Meanwhile, increases in foreign travel meant that holiday-makers could often find the opportunity to gain diving qualifications, at resort centres where training was readily available from members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

By the turn of the century, the Lodge officers were becoming more compromising in changing circumstances. The ability to adapt and adjust has kept the Lodge vibrant and successful. As a result, divers past and present, from any of the recognised organisations, have been offered a fraternal welcome, either as initiates or joining members.

An early Lodge expeditionDuring the 1980s, the Brethren occasionally took part in Lodge Dives from the “British Diver”, a diving boat owned by the BSAC at the time.

The Brethren who took part would not need much persuasion to recount salty sea-dog tales of heavy seas, leaking decks, and the Brother who once had to be lashed to gunwale rails to allow him to be left to part with his breakfast in relative safety.

One could only hope that they would have been more reticent to describe the solitary use by one Member of a surface marker buoy that bore a remarkable resemblance to a blow-up doll. Clearly, the other Brethren had righteously disapproved of this practice as, when the owner re-surfaced, he discovered that they had been using it for target practice with an air rifle.

As with any activity that is heavily dependent on tide, currents and weather, there were inevitable occasions when the only recourse was to abandon hope of putting to sea, and to adjourn to a local hostelry. No doubt many better fraternal relations were forged as a result.

The meetings in May, in Dorset, have often given the chance of an early-season dive or two. The local members will organise a dive-boat, air etc. for the day before or after the meeting, so that travelling Brethren can make a weekend trip of it, and share the pleasures of both favoured recreational activities.

In more recent years, members have organised Lodge diving holidays in Florida, Malta, Spain and most parts of the Egyptian Red Sea.

In 2011, the itinerary of a liveaboard boat trip included a few days of diving around two remote islands off the coast of Southern Egypt – known as the Brother Islands. So, thirty years after the Lodge was first consecrated, the Brothers went to the Brothers!




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