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Saturday, 21 September 2019
An Introduction to Nautical Archaeology Print

If like me the nearest you've come to archaeology is sitting on the sofa on a Sunday night with a glass of red and watching Tony Robinson and Time Team then this introductory course to nautical archaeology is probably the ideal venture to wet your taste buds for further study.

Our first evening was spent discussing a broad range of subjects each in turn building upon the others to give a good idea of the why's, what's, when's and where's of nautical archaeology. Our lecturer, come lion tamer, for the course was Mary Harvey and would answer our testing questions, always with a smile, sometimes with a laugh, but always in an informative manner.

I came away from this first evening session having hardly noticed the time fly by and looking forward to the following week where we would be let loose with a tape measure and a clip board. I could only begin to dream of the chaos and confusion that I would endeavour to unleash upon my fellow students.

Image The second evening began with a quick recap of our previous discussions and then onto our task for the evening and descriptions of the techniques we would be using in the dry this evening and then onto the pool the following week. It should be second nature for a 30 something male to be able to handle a tape measure and count from 1 to 10 but as we were about to find out even the simplest things can escape you at times!

We learned 2 techniques for 2 dimensional mapping of a small site, personally I think it felt at times like we were trying to map the 8 dimensions of time and space, my buddy and I managed to confuse even the simplest of tasks, like counting, which end of the tap to use and that you can't move the object to make your measurements right.

Our first task was to draw a quick and simple sketch of the site in front of us and making quick notes, type of object and colour etc so when it came to using the surveying techniques we would have an idea of which object it was we were surveying and its relation to the other objects around it.

The first technique to be put into action was offset, a simple process of length and distance on a known baseline. Simply measure from the object to the baseline and make sure you are at right angles to the baseline and then you're able to take the 2 measurements, simply put - along and up. Larger objects could be measured from either end with an object length added to give a cross check for the other measurements.

Image The second technique was trilateration, a term only known to nautical archaeologists apparently and simply involves measuring out the distance of an object from each known base point. This is then translated to a scale drawing with protractors, it sounds easy but you soon get the impression that again accuracy is the key to everything.

We finished our evening drawing our plot onto paper and it began to bring home the realisation that it wasn't all that easy and a little more accuracy and precision would be required. Putting both techniques over the top of each other and then scratching our heads wondering why the 2 sets of measurements didn't exactly add up, I mean how hard could it be. I could only leave the hall giggling to myself as I contemplated an evening in the pool, 'oh here comes the fun'.

Seasearch dive into conservation Print

Seasearch is a project for recreational divers who want to do their bit for the marine environment by collecting information about marine habitats and plants and animals only divers see. 

I recently took part in a Seasearch training course and it was very interesting as well as great fun !  I now have a much better knowledge to help identify the types of plants, animals and habitats I see when I go diving. 

Please find below more information.  I undertook the Seasearch Observer’s training (the basic level !) at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust HQ at Curdridge in Hampshire. 

It is also worth checking out the web site  there is a lot if interesting survey material from the Manacles area – a place we visit every year and which we could be contributing to. 

Finally – if enough people are interested (max 12) we could organise to have a Seaserch Observer course run specifically for the club at the Waterside Centre.  The cost is £40 for the full day including your course pack.  The ideal time to run a course would be sometime between January and March 2009 to allow the follow on x2 qualification dives to take places fairly shortly after the theory training day.  If you are interested then please do speak to me. 

John Gibson

Getting in the Gym Print

So you’ve done your induction, paid your money and now you’ve got your key, so what do you do?

I’m assuming the majority of people who have keys have the intention of loosing a few pounds and getting a bit healthier so here’s a page or 2 of suggestions to help you get there. I’m not an instructor, I have no qualifications but these are some of the things I’ve learnt from many years slogging away in gyms and many miles through the Surrey hills.

The most important thing for any one going to a gym is actually getting there, sounds odd but let me explain. If your intention is just to go when you feel like it then here’s what happens, 1st week you go 3 times, 2nd week something comes up and you go twice, onto the 4th and 5th weeks and your down to once a week cos something always comes up, you don’t feel like it, the weathers pooh, something on telly, bit achy, bit sniffly, bad day at work etc etc etc. So going when you feel like it just doesn’t work, you’ll be back to square one in 6 weeks. I’ve seen it happen so many times.

  • So what do you do? set yourself 1 hour time slots 3 days a week, twice during the week and once at a weekend, do not vary from this and no excuses. 1 hour is all you need, in fact, it shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes to start with.

So now you have every intention, you’ve set aside the time and your going to stick to it, couple of things that will help. Obvious really but easy to forget. Wear comfortable clothing that’s not to tight and lets you move easily, I’ve ripped a fair few pairs of shorts and it’s pretty embarrassing. A water bottle with cold water in it and a towel to wipe yourself down. A pair of suitable running shoes, to start with a normal pair of sports shoes, cross trainer types, nothing too flash.

Ok you’ve reached the doors, stepped onto the sacred ground and are about to launch your self into a strict regime of intense training. Forget it! You do that and you’ll be on the physio’s bench in a week. Start gentle and build up slowly, your body won’t be used to the pounding your about to give it and you need to give it time to adjust and strengthen itself naturally.

  • Pick a cardio machine that you feel comfortable on, running isn’t for everyone. So try the rower or the cycling machine and see what feels the best for you.
  • Start gently and build slowly. If on the treadmill, start with 3 minutes brisk walk and 1 minute jog and repeat a couple of times. After a week doing that, change to 2 minutes walk and 2 minutes run, when you feel ready and that hasn’t killed you, 1 minute walk and 3 minutes run, can you see where I’m coming from.
  • Look to go for 20 minutes cardio work out, use a number of machines to break things up, and if you begin to fell uncomfortable at any time, STOP!

As to the intensity of your training as I said forget it, that comes later. It’ll take you a number of weeks to begin to understand what your body is capable of and how you respond to various exercises. You build the intensity slowly, once your happy running for 15 minutes straight then you can begin to step up the training and really begin to work off the pounds.

Ok so you finished the cardio session and your about to take on the weights, stop and think! Again its start gently and build slowly. I’d seriously advise against using free weights to begin with unless your with a training buddy. Use the machines to start with as these will generally have safety features and control the body motion so as to reduce the chances of you hurting yourself.

  • The general terms are ‘reps’ (repetitions) and ‘sets’. Usually its something like 8-10 reps is one set and you repeat and exercise for 2-3 sets. You should start light and again build slowly, if you start heavy you’ll injure yourself and it’s real easy to do if you get it wrong.
  • It should feel fairly easy to start with, 8-10 reps for the 1st set by the end of the 2nd or 3rd set you’ll be feeling your muscles work.
  • Use a variety of machines to cover all the major muscle groups, don’t train one specific muscle group to the exclusion of all others, your just not there yet and you’ll hurt yourself.
  • If you train one muscle group, train as well their counterpart, eg. If you train your Biceps train as well your Triceps.
  • When your on the machines, 1 set then 30 seconds rest or so, then onto the 2nd set and so on, don’t wonder off and have a chat between sets you won’t be getting any benefit from the exercise if you do this.
  • The major muscle groups that you want to be training to begin with are really Back, Chest and Legs. Now remember not to be silly with your back especially if you’re prone to back pain, get some proper advice and instruction on what exercises are appropriate.

And remember when you start your exercise, start slowly to warm up and after you finished take a bit of time and stretch and warm down you tired muscles…

So you’ve read the above, pretty simple and obvious stuff, if you can keep that up for more than 6 weeks you’ve probably got it cracked. Now here’s the kick in the teeth, the above probably won’t having you shedding pounds and looking like a super model, the simple and painful truth is it takes an awful lot longer to move that weight than 6 weeks in a gym. It’s taken you years to put it on, and it’ll take you months of hard work to shift it but it is possible if you stick at it and give it a chance. There’s no overnight panacea to loosing weight but hard work and effort.


and a cold beer has never tasted so good as when you earn it the hard way!

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