Archive for August 2016

Firstly let me start by saying I came relatively late to the sport by most people’s standards at 37 but let me explain why it took so long.

I was always one of those people on holiday when they came round the pool or I was walking down the strip and they tried to get you to sign up for the PADI dive experience I would really fancy it but a quick glance to my partner and I would realise taking a couple of days out of our only 7 day break together to go diving would not end well for me. So I’d pass and say maybe next time.

Fast forward on repeat for 10 years & a couple of people at work were joining a local group but it seemed to be really haphazard lessons and they seemed to be in the pool forever, in fact in the time I worked with them I never actually heard either of them say they had actually been diving. This again put me off joining them as it all seemed very expensive in my head thousands of pounds on equipment & lessons to just swim in a pool.

On rolled another 5 years or so and a BSAC group were doing try dives for £10 in my gym on a Saturday morning, so this time I though why the hell not, what’s a tenner and I’m here on a Saturday anyway.

10968204_884675608222154_1829451416705410251_nSo I roll up on the day along with 3/4 other people and get my briefing, all good so far, we’re then given some kit to put on, 1st problem ….. I’m a big guy with size 13 feet, so squishing into size 10 fins is not comfortable but power through I do.

Once in the water a few lengths of snorkelling, something I’ve never been good at as I tend to look down too much and flood the snorkel, but after a bit of tuition were away with that and apparently my finning is good?

Next comes all the big gear and the mind game that because I have all this heavy gear on I need more weight to weigh me down (this all makes sense much later on during Ocean Diver Theory Lessons). Off we go up and down the pool and I’m absolutely loving it, kicking myself why didn’t I do a week’s course on holiday all those years ago.

All too soon it’s over and it’s back dressed in the pool café ready for what I assume to be the hard sell. To my surprise it never comes, the route forward is fully explained and when it comes to cost it’s a 3 figure number and not even a very high one and all the kit is thrown in free while I train??

I didn’t need to think twice and signed on for the next Ocean Diver course that was starting in a couple of months. Over the following 6 months I completed Ocean Diver & Sports Diver and can say the theory really drives things home about how & why you do things, something in hindsight I know I wouldn’t have taken in on a 1 week crash course on holiday.

So here I am just over a year & 50 dives into my diving and back to that original question, why did I take up scuba diving?10418415_928426427180405_3443156192959145676_n

Well, like hill walking I suppose there is a multitude of flora & fauna to see, different scenery wherever you go, but the best part for me is the feeling of isolation and comfort it brings, no modern distractions, mobile phones / iPads / no noise other than the bubbles from my regulator, no aches & pains in the joints as everything is nicely supported by the water. It’s a perfect switch off and reset from a busy week at work, the only things to think about are staying alive & keeping an eye on my buddy, the rest is just a sight-seeing trip.

I’m glad I took the BSAC route to diving as not only did it introduce me to a local club & a pool of dive buddies that I regularly dive with, but I liken the course to taking driving lessons one a week for 6 months or taking all of them in a week before your test, yes you can pass either way but how much sinks in in a weeks constricted course?

If you’re thinking of starting diving it’s never too late, the club I’m in ranges widely in ages and there is always someone either at your ability or willing to take you under their wing until you’re ready to fly. If you’re in the North West anytime and want to learn I’ll point you to as a good starting point.


Good luck



Very Early Pathe News footage (1958) of diving lessons theory & practical.

Various shots of naval divers getting dressed and entering the water at Whale Island Diving School. Several Shots of the divers in the water and as they finish the exercise.

Try to recognise as many as possible. Most are music based, but some may be well known characters from real life, tv or film. The first answer is filled out correctly as an example… Good Luck !


It was the 1st dive of the day on a 35m wreck of the Folio off the coast of Ireland, we descended the shot line and at approximately 20m depth the air began to taste strange coming from my main cylinder. I initially put this down to either swallowing salt water or a previous bad taste in my mouth.

Upon reaching 33m at the rear of the wreck I paused to adjust my straps & weight belt and prepared to move off. My buddy had signalled OK and I signalled back to wait a second, I initially signalled OK & we then started to move away from the shot line and the taste was getting worse. I signalled to my buddy I was not OK and would be returning to the surface. Unable to convey to my buddy that my fill was suspect only that I was not happy with my regulator, he offered me my octopus which I declined, he then pointed at my pony cylinder and I swapped on to that regulator. The taste changed instantly (the pony was filled on a separate day by a separate dive company compressor). We returned to the shot line and prepared to ascend with me on my 3 litre pony keeping an eye on my pressure gauge & depth computer.

At 6m my computer indicated a 1 minute deep stop followed by a 3 minute safety stop. Both were performed fully while still on the pony cylinder.

We returned to the surface at which point I signalled to the dive boat I was not OK and I finned towards the line. Once on the boat I was de-kitted and took on some water. I did not require any oxygen and it took some time for the taste to go.


The next day other members of the group checked their cylinders and reported a similar taste / smell coming from their cylinders.

On return to the UK I had my cylinder inspected and serviced, they confirmed presence of sea water, rust and hydrocarbons confirming what I had tasted.

The training drilled into me by my BSAC instructors during my lessons and the confidence in my buddy pair both helped in changing a potential incident into no more than a diving anecdote.