Lighthearted profile of dive centres or clubs from all over the United Kingdom. This month, we look at Whitley Bays Deep Blue Pirates.
Deep Blue Pirates formed in 2008 as a dive club linked to Deep Blue Dive in Whitley Bay, but quickly progressed to take on diver training as well. Now they have a fantastic club scene with weekly club nights at the dive centre, plus monthly get-togethers, holidays and camping weekends.
They offer a full range of RAID training from trydive through to instructor level and technical diving. Owned by father-and-daughter team Pete and Robyn Black, Deep Blue Pirates has a laid-back dive club feel, yet has great on-site facilities and offers diver training to a high level.
Who is in charge?
Name: Robyn Black (but father Pete thinks he is)
Rank: Both Instructor Trainers
Date of first certification: 2001
Number of dives to date: Good question! Coming up on 2,000
What’s your story?
I started diving aged 13 in the Caribbean and quickly got hooked, diving in the UK as well as on family holidays. I then studied Marine Biology at university and became an instructor. I have worked in Egypt, the Maldives and Cyprus but came home to help my Dad run Deep Blue Pirates – back where it all started!
Q: How would you describe your team at your dive centre?
A: An eclectic bunch of pirates! Our instructors and Divemasters vary in their teaching style but are all friendly and passionate about every single student they have.
Q: What is your most-embarrassing teaching moment?
A: My hair after every dive!
Q: What is your favourite place to dive in the UK?
A: You can’t beat a good day diving Longstone Ends at the Farne Islands.
Q: What is your favourite place to dive abroad?
A: Tough question. The Gili Islands in Indonesia are always nice for a relaxing dive.
Q: If you could change one thing about diving, what would it be?
A: People’s perception of diving; that everything in the ocean is going to either eat you or attack you!
Q: Who is the worst air-guzzler in your team?
A: We don’t really have an air guzzler, but David Lindsay refuses to get out of the water until he has had an 80-minute dive.
Q: Who is the biggest wimp out of the lot of you, and give a recent example?
A: Probably me. I regularly have several undersuits and a heated vest on under my drysuit.
Q: Who attracts the most attention, good or bad?
A: Got to be Lewis Brown – he is a gentle giant, but daft as a brush.
Q: If you could teach a celebrity to dive, who would it be and why?
A: Peter Kay, because it would be hilarious!
Q: What’s been the biggest fear factor in your diving career to date?
A: I was struck down with sinus problems and thought my diving was over. But thanks to a great surgeon I am back in the water with (fingers crossed) no more issues.
Why you should join our club
Our famous ‘Tea & Tank Thursday’ involves a reduced price air fill, a free cuppa and a slice of homemade cake! Call in from 6pm until 9pm for a chat and a browse, or jump in the pool and practice. Everyone is welcome (our club is non-agency specific), with all staff members available for advice if needed. We normally go to the pub afterwards as well. We also have a monthly get together, everything from bowling to beach cleans!
British diving trips
We dive all year round at the Farne Islands and St Abbs. Our boats are advertised on Facebook and all divers are welcome (although sometimes places are limited), we can also offer equipment hire and training on the boats. The Farne Islands are perfect in late-summer/autumn to see the grey seals in the water. St Abbs is beautiful all year round, often with dolphins playing around the boat at the surface interval.
Foreign dive trips
We run several trips throughout the year, including Egypt, Malta and Tenerife. Our trips cater for all level of divers, and training courses are offered on the trips.
We have an onsite-heated swimming pool for confined water training plus a well-stocked equipment store and a classroom area. Our team of experienced instructors and Divemasters are always on-hand to help students out and guide them, even when they are not doing a course. We are firm believers that time in the water is the best way to learn, so we don’t have limited pool sessions on courses, or restricted dive times at open water.
Address and contact details (Tel, email and website)
Tel: 07539 941314
Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday we are normally diving!
Monday and Thursday open until 9pm for club nights
From trydive through to instructor-level training available. We are a RAID Instructor Trainer centre and also offer technical courses to 50m.
Rental kit and brand
We have a wide range of rental kit available (plus an equipment store at Seahouses for divers at the Farne Islands) from several brands. All regulators are Apeks and cold-water certified.
We partner with Deep Blue Dive (www.deepbluedive.com) in Whitley Bay to offer a huge range of dive equipment from most leading manufacturers, in one of the largest dive showrooms in the UK.
Unfortunately, we do not currently offer gas blending, but we can fill up to 300 bar cylinders with air.
We offer a wide range of servicing – Apeks/Aqua Lung, Mares, Scubapro, Suunto, Atomic and Seac. Plus drysuit repairs and not forgetting BCD servicing.