St Andrews Sub Aqua Club certainly got their fair share of sun during the winter break, taking their annual warm water diving trip to Thailand, something I am sure we would all love to do. They went from January 7th to just before most of us came back on January 24th, experiencing dives in remote parts of the country, seeing barracudas, cuttlefish, turtles, manta rays and much more in their natural habitat. It is a matter of great importance for the club and is organised with intense precision, with one committee member solely dedicated to the task of planning the whole thing, including the nights out.
Thailand is a fantastic country, with a very unique culture and lifestyle and it presents fantastic opportunities for diving and therefore was in high demand with the club members. There are suggestions of future trips going to different parts of the world but I am sure it will be hard to top the experience that the divers experienced in the South East Asian country.
Some phenomenal images of the trip, taken by Astrid Vinall, an alum of the University and current club member Adam Chapman, are shown throughout this article, just highlighting the great experiences they all got during their winter break.
The warm water trip is a definite highlight on the calendar for the Club, but is one of many trips they run throughout the year, with regular trips to the West of Scotland a part of their calendar. There is the trip to Arran in the Spring Break, a regular trip for the club that offers a great mix of diving action and some nice nights out, helping to establish friendships within the club that has a fairly long history with the University, predating many with a start date in the 1990s.
Other trips offered include trips to remote islands, with seals a common sight on those and they take place regularly throughout the semesters, offering students a chance to just get away from the stresses of Uni life and embrace the open waters, however cold they may be.
The other major trip is a cold water diving trip that takes place after the exams during the semester, with last year’s iteration going to Malta and this year looking like it is Croatia-bound, with the beautiful scenery there sure to provide some great experiences for the members.
The club itself may not be one of the most well-known at the University but it offers something very unique and something that appeals to a lot of people. The membership fee of £100 is very reasonable as they get access to the University club, the British Sub Aqua Club, the gear to do the dives and then insurance. With almost 70 members of the club, it appears to be going from strength to strength and they are always looking for new members to share experiences and opportunities with. Not to mention their socials every Tuesday and their Sinners efforts, often co-ordinated with other clubs at the University. Talking of opportunities, this semester looks to continue the work done previously in forging links with other Scottish Universities. The St Andrews Club has previously done dives with Stirling and they are currently planning to work with Dundee on some upcoming dives and possibly Edinburgh also in the coming months.
Another key part of this semester for the Sub Aqua Club will be their ongoing initiatives outside just diving. They are part of an ongoing project called Project Baseline which involves collecting data from the dive sites about water, pollution and wildlife levels. At the moment it is solely images but it is set to develop and play a bigger role within the club as scientists look further at the damaging effects of Global Warming.
On a more positive note though, the Club are in the early stages of planning what will be a phenomenal initiative for charity. They are looking at doing a 24 hour sponsored dive in St Andrews for Cancer Research UK, something very close to home for the club captain. It would take place at the St Leonards swimming pool in the town and would involve a vast majority of the club’s members, taking place after the summer examination diet. This, as I am sure you can all appreciate, is a brilliant effort by the Club and is unique to what they do and is something we can all get behind. Keep your eyes peeled for more details in the coming months!