As you can read from our club history page here, our Club has been founded way back in 1970. Last month, 46 years later, two of the founder members actually got in touch with us!
We will let their correspondence speak for itself...
My name is Bob Harris and during the years 1967-72 I was an expatriate working at the Royal University of Malta (as it was then). In fact I was one of the founder members of CSAC. Some while ago I came across your website and was so pleased to know that the club was thriving after all these years. I read with interest your history page and it was like going down memory lane. In fact your account is just how it happened! We did enrol our wives, Jo (my wife), Roberta (Harvey Fudge’s wife) and Agnes Upton as members to swell the numbers! And they all became proficient divers.
As your page states we used to meet at the Mellieha Bay Hotel and had the use of their pool for initial training. Chris Scott Taggart was very helpful and made us feel welcome when we turned up on Monday nights for meetings and lectures. We gradually recruited more members and held our annual general meetings and club dinners at the hotel (see attached .jpgs). We were very keen to promote safe diving and we ran two “Safety in Diving” courses open to the general public at the University which were very well attended. It was very easy in those days just to go to a dive shop, rent a twin tank and jump in the water with a minimum of training so we felt we had a duty to try to encourage would-be divers to join us and train with a BSAC club.
Very soon quite a few Maltese friends joined us which was great for the club. A proud moment was when I accepted the Heinke Trophy at the BSAC AGM in Edinburgh, Scotland in April 1973 on behalf of the club (I had been chairman of Calypso BSAC for a couple of years). There should be a small replica of the huge shield awarded to us for promoting diving safety somewhere in your memorabilia. By the way one minor correction to your excellent history – neither Harvey nor I are, or were, botanists – in fact we had met before we got jobs in Malta. We were both students at the Department of Oceanography, Southampton University where I did my PhD and he followed the MSc course. We were qualified as marine biologists, I suppose, and we are still in touch and have great memories of diving around Malta – in fact we co-authored a booklet published by Progress Press “Diving around the Maltese Islands”. A very basic treatment compared to modern guides but we enjoyed writing up the dives!
This is all old history, I’m afraid, but I found my BSAC training a useful skill in my career – I am now retired, of course - and was able to dive in many exciting places, including the Pacific, Caribbean, and Atlantic as part of my job. Jo and I still snorkel – we discovered Corsica recently - but our diving days are over. They were days of great fellowship and fun. Reading your impressive training programme makes us want to start all over again! Anyway we hope the attached pics are of interest! It was great reading about your activities and we wish you every success in the future.
From two former members (still possessing their logbooks!). We live in France (Brittany) with a view of the Atlantic! My last dive with CSAC was in early 1979! We dived on the “Maori”. Can you still dive in Grand Harbour and Marsamxett?
Bob and Jo Harris
Obviously, we did get back in touch with them and have given them an update on the status of the club, our current plans etc. The Committee also discussed and unanimously approved nominating them as Honorary Members, something which they welcomed as per the below 2nd email.
Many thanks for your reply to our email. It was great to get news of CSAC and to know that it is thriving. To have 90 members is amazing. Well done! We accept with great pleasure the honour you do us of making us Honorary Members and shall always look with affection at the Club’s development in the future. Perhaps one day we shall make a return visit to Malta and come around one club night and meet you all in your new permanent premises. That would be great!
Please make what ever use you wish of the letter and photos we sent. I am enclosing a few more which you may find of interest. One of them shows a group of Calypso members, with me, starting a dive at Marsamxett in Jan/Feb 1979. I am the third kitted-up chap from the right! I think I remember that your clubhouse was sited near where we dived but I cannot be sure and, having contacted the club, we met the members on a Sunday morning there and had a great dive on the “Maori”. The other photos are of a “U/W treasure hunt”at Salina Bay some years before (TOM article gives date) and the cover of Fudge and Harris (1972)!! Roberta Fudge did the cover which had to be in minimal colours in those days i.e. black, white and red! There was a later Interesting development about the booklet. It sold very well and we had a second print but one day (1980’s, I think) I came across another booklet put out by a company called Vacances Gozo and found in several places they had plagiarized our material! Flattering, I suppose, but they could have asked nicely! I have a copy of our booklet and, if you wish to add it your club memorabilia, shall send it to you. Just let me know, if you are interested. Quite a few dive sites are listed in Malta and Gozo and the Club is mentioned. It also gives an idea of early diving in Malta.
We shall follow with interest the progress of the club and wish you all well for the future.
With all best wishes
Bob and Jo Harris
We attach below this article the photos they mentioned and we'll keep up the correspondence!