Record-breaking scuba diving club famous for Glaucus Project celebrates 60th anniversary

SUBMARINE:  Colin Irwin and Adrian King with club members

SUBMARINE: Colin Irwin and Adrian King with club members

First published in News by

A SCUBA diving club celebrated its diamond jubilee by reliving a world beating feat at a special event in Poole.

Bournemouth and Poole Sub Aqua Club was set up in 1954 after an advert was placed in the Echo seeking keen divers – and the anniversary was marked at the Harbour View Suite of the RNLI College at the end of last month.

The celebration was led by Colin Irwin, who recounted to members one of the clubs most famous achieve-ments – the Glaucus Project – which still remains in the Guinness Book of Records.

Inspired by similar experiments carried out in the early 1960s by legendary French diver Jacques Cousteau, Colin decided to put an undersea habitat in place and occupy it for seven days along with fellow club member John Heath.

Colin said that although it was nearly 50 years ago he can still vividly recall the time he spent in the cold, cramped and damp cylinder.

He added: “After we had been down there for a couple of days a really ferocious gale blew up on the surface but luckily it didn’t affect us too much and the project was able to continue.

“John and I did some experiments in artificial atmosphere while we were down there. We raised the oxygen level to a point where we wouldn’t get the bends when we came up and I think this must have worked because we didn’t get them.”

Adrian King, who has been a member of the club since 1976 and served as its chairman for the past six years, said that even by modern standards this was a hugely ambitious project – which has only been attempted by a few majorly funded operations since.

“Where this one differed significantly from the Cousteau and American experiments was that the Glaucus Project cylinder was not linked to the surface by an air line but had its own artificially maintained air environment with a chemical scrubber to remove the carbon dioxide,” he added.

“It was for this reason and the length of time the two men spent underwater that Glaucus still has a place in the Guinness Book of Records.”

The Glaucus cylinder remains underwater not far from its original site on the seabed of Plymouth Sound.

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