ssweb.jpg Seasearch in East Anglia
Support the Marine Bill!

The campaign for the Marine Bill is still in full swing - see Marine Reserves Now!

During the past 4 diving seasons we have been taking part in the Marine Conservation Society's Seasearch program. The aim is to establish a continuing survey of the UK's marine wildlife to identify important habitats, vulnerable species, monitor change and better understand the effects of human and natural and influences. The East coast is the least surveyed of the UK's marine environments. The often murky and uncooperative nature of the North sea doesn't help as diving is very weather dependant. On top of that we have negligible 'reef' which means almost all diving is distant from shore*, around wrecks, but when it's good it really good.

*With a few exceptions -
see Norfolk's pair of shore diveable shipwrecks, the Vera and Rosalie

Dawn (assisted by Rob) is the Eastern region coordinator for Seasearch. We will be trying to contact as many local clubs as possible to promote Seasearch, arrange courses courses and events. The aim is to foster a group of keen divers to help survey the local marine wildlife. Why not visit the main
Seasearch website to find out more about the project and joining the Marine Conservation Society or contact us about courses and with any questions you have.
If you are a group or club who are interested in Seasearch just let us know and we'll be very happy to visit and explain more about it - in return we'd love to hear what you've seen on your dives in the region.

If you want to know more about Seasearch why not invite us for a chat? We have some club evenings planned already:
27th January in Lowestoft -
        8th May in Newmarket

In 2009 several courses are planned...
5th April Seasearch Fish ID for divers completed but see what you missed here -
4/5th July Seasearch Observer - Sheringham
13th June Seasearch Observer - Lowestoft

We may also add a 'dry' course for environmental workers as an introduction to the project in the winter. The content would be the same but there would be more time spent explaining the complication of surveying underwater :-)

When there is decent visibility we'll be diving regularly... some dates will appear on the main Seasearch calendar or e-mail us to see what's planned. It's hard to keep this page up to date so we don't tend to list dive dates here.

Qualification FAQ: There is diving planned with each of these events and as we usually have questions about the level of qualification and insurance that Seasearch events need we've added a page to explain - in short it's easy if you are a regular club diver but PADI divers usually need 3rd party insurance.

We ran 3 courses in 2008, click on them for more details on what to expect
Seasearch Observer
Seasearch Specialist Nudibranch ID and Photography

2008 Summary: Observer courses were run in Sheringham (June) and Norwich (September) and we were very lucky to have Jim Anderson come down from Scotland to tutor our Nudibranch course in June. When the vis did arrive we had a pretty good diving season ourselves, out with clubs and our Observers. Observation and Survey forms were returned from a wider range of sites than before although we still struck out for Suffolk and Essex - we desparately need to find active divers to cover those coasts. As well as documenting our favourite shore dive wrecks, we adopted them too - we're still waiting for the CSA  to get in touch.

2007 Summary: Observer courses were run in May, June and October. A course in August at the Orca Scuba Diving Academy for the Essex Biodiversity Project added another 6 Observer candidates! Our last course of the year (6/7th October) ran sucessfully and another 7 Observers completed their first 2 dives and are well on their way to surveying. We know it can sometimes be a little tough to get past the first 2 supervised dives and to complete the next 3 assessed forms... which also meant we have enjoyed the company on our dives of some divers from previous courses elsewhere. It has been very rewarding to see how much purpose the course has added to their diving.

We got a couple of articles into the local press, 
the first on Seasearch and the second on the campaign for a Marine Bill

We planned to continue diving locally through the winter but the weather conditions haven't been favourable since the storms in November. We hope to eventually complete a continuous annual survey but maybe that will have to wait for another year :-) Contact us for updates on the next trip and recent conditions. If you fancy bringing your friends along our guide to North Norfolk's pair of shore diveable shipwrecks, the Vera and Rosalie, is here.

There are Seasearch dives planned nationally throughout the year - see the main Seasearch site for details.

The Observer form and the new Surveyor form can be found on the main Seasearch recording page which also includes guidance on filling them in.

Feel free to email us, please use the usual symbols, this odd format is just to reduce the risk of spam:
hello (at) 1townhouses (dot) co (dot) uk

searchbook.jpg As well as the courses and survey project Seasearch, in the person of Chris Wood, has produced a new book aimed squarely at helping with marine ID. The Observers Guide to the Marine Life of Britain and Ireland is an ideal trip companion - especially for seasearch surveying. Dawn and I have contributed pictures but aside from that excitement we were particularly impressed with the clarity of the sections on the sessile undergrowth that can be so hard to name. The book is out now to buy from the Seasearch book shop with proceeds raising money for the MCS.

Fish ID CD
We were also very happy to contribute a few photographs to the CD and presentations for the Seasearch Specialist Course - Identifying Fish for Divers by Frances Dipper. The course is a very worthwhile addition to any UK diver's studies. Dawn was thrilled that her John Dory picture was chosen as the 'cover' shot.

I'm told we must be masochists as we enjoy diving around the UK and in many ways prefer it to some of the blue water diving that we've done. The UK offers varied and often beautiful diving with diverse wildlife and habitats. We're not pure wreck enthusiasts but appreciate their role as natural reefs which are magnets for everything from cod to cuttlefish. British wildlife is often less extrovert than its tropical counterparts but rewards the effort made to see it.

If you still don't believe British dives can be colourful and interesting perhaps a browse through our UK galleries will help change your mind :-)