City of Derry Sub Aqua Club The City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club was formed in the mid 1960ís by people attracted to the possibility of exploring the seas and coastlines close to the city. Some of the first members came from a naval background and thus were able to pass on their experience to those starting diving for the first time.
Diving technology at the time was limited and expensive so that stories exist that those early members went diving with equipment that nowadays would be frightening. -plastic bags instead of wetsuits, bottle gas cylinders instead of diving cylinders.
The club used the city baths in William Street as a base for training and affiliated itself to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) in order to receive up to date training literature and accreditation . Membership grew gradually over the years.
In February 1971 whilst on a regular Sunday dive the club discovered the wreck of the second largest ship of the Spanish Armada La Trinidad Valencera which sank in 1588 in Kinnego Bay Co. Donegal and the club suddenly became the centre of attraction to diving and marine archaeology.
Documentaries were made and academics spent seasons researching the site. What really impressed the diving world was the unselfish approach the club, as salvors, took to preserving the site. They avoided the temptation of plundering the site of any artefacts of value but rather determined that the site should be preserved for its archaeological value. Despite the legal and administrative headache this involved the club maintained this policy up to 1982 when the final solution to the future of the artefacts was settled. The clubís attitude remains a source of admiration among archaeologists and others wishing to preserve national heritage. For logistic reasons and because the wreck lay in Irelandís territorial waters the club affiliated to the Irish Underwater Council and has continued to do so ever since.
La Trinidad Valencera
Meanwhile the club continued to pursue its main activity of sports diving but this was made more difficult with the civil unrest in Derry in the early 70ís. For a long time the clubís base in William Street was closed after a lady attendant at the pool was shot and badly wounded outside.
The club however continued as best it could and when the pool reopened again new members started to join. Many of these new members sought to achieve diving qualifications beyond the basic qualification so that some became leading divers, national divers and instructors. One of its members has held the office of Irelandís national diving officer and went onto becoming President, the only club north of Dublin to have supplied the National diving officer and President in the history of the Irish Underwater Council. The same person also held the office of President of the European Underwater Federation, EUF.