Taking the plunge

On 8 and 15 October, 58 people took the plunge and headed to the Varembé swimming pool in Geneva for their first taste of scuba diving at one of the CERN scuba club’s free trial dives.

Club president Alberto Pace, left, taking a new recruit on his first dive.

The CERN scuba club was making waves down at the Varembe swimming pool on Wednesday 15 October. Thirty-six people turned up to the club’s second free trial dive. "It was fantastic," said Jörg, one of the new recruits, after his first ever dive. "I’ve always wanted to try diving and this was a free lesson, so I thought I would come and have a go."

Fourteen of the club’s fully qualified instructors were there to give one-on-one tuition. After a first dive in the normal pool the new divers moved into the deep pool. Some took to the water like fish, and at one point an impromptu game of aqua-Frisbee broke out, five metres below the surface.

Richard Catherall, who organised the event, explained how he started scuba diving: "I came with my wife five years ago to one of the club’s trial dives, we signed up for the course and we haven’t looked back." Many club members end up qualifying not just as divers but as instructors too. "In fact," said Richard, "nearly all of the instructors here tonight learned to dive with the club, in this very swimming pool."

But don’t worry if you missed the trial dive, you can still sign up for the club. The level 1 course starts on 19 November and runs throughout the winter every Wednesday evening at the Varembé pool. The course culminates in May with an outing to the Mediterranean, where the new divers’ certificates will be validated.

"Each year we take up to 20 people on the level 1 course," said Richard. With over 120 members it is the biggest scuba club in Geneva, but it is not just for CERN personnel, everyone is welcome.

Founded in 1963, the club has taught hundreds of people to dive. But as well as learning the practical side of diving you can also learn the art of underwater photography and video, or even underwater biology.

For more information about the club, or to sign up for a course, please visit the webpage at


Or e-mail: mailto:subaqua@cern.ch.