The Sydney Underwater Bushwalking Society (SUBS) diving club are checking their wet suits and packing their bags in preparation for the upcoming international gay and lesbian SCUBA jamboree, set to take place 18-25 October off the coast of Phi Phi Island, Thailand.

Organised by Dive for Life, the annual event which attracts GLBT diving clubs from around the world raises vital funds for charity. It is a fundraising event with money being put towards the clubs’ favourite charities.

It is actually brilliant to be involved in something like this. It’s a great idea. You get to do something you enjoy and help people as well, SUBS secretary Matt Kaine said.

Most of our members who are going haven’t been to Diving For Life before, so it’s going to be a totally new experience for them. I know, from my experiences with the first time I went, you expect the diving to be good but you don’t quite realise how much fun all the other activities are and how great all the people you meet are.

Because we’ve been attending for a couple of years now, since 2004, we’ve built up some great friendships and relationships with people, so it’s about going for the diving but also about meeting up with those people again.

But in terms of the diving it’s also going to be a bit of a different experience from our usual trips around Sydney. It’s a completely different type of diving experience because it’s warmer. When it’s cold you tend to stay more aware, whereas with this it’s more relaxed because it’s warmer. It’s like underwater bushwalking, you get to hang around and just watch fish and whatnot go past.

The club is yet to choose which charity they will be donating their funds to. Last year they managed to raise $1,250 for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, with only two divers participating. With 20 participants signed up this year, the expectations are limitless and Kaine expects the proceeds will be divided between a local Thai HIV charity and a Sydney-based GLBT organisation.

To join SUBS or find out more about about Diving for Life, go to www.gaydive.org.au.

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