I was fascinated as a child by the idea of being underwater, watching Mr Cousteau’s fantastic adventures on the television and indeed still have my original Ladybird book of Underwater Exploration. A poster in the local fish and chip shop for try dives started my diving adventures with the Ashbourne branch of the British Sub Aqua Club in 1979. Training, in a then, very different Stoney Cove, allowed trips to the UK coast, the South of France, Spain and Greece. Fantastic adventures and great memories.
Progressing through the training levels to BSAC Second class diver allowed me to learn how to handle inflatable boats and even high explosives (courtesy of the Royal Navy). Hard boat diving around the UK coast was the preferred way to get out of the tourist sites way and see something more special.
Although this was all brilliant, my real diving exploits blossomed with the founder of Go Dive, Mark Hudson. As a PADI Instructor he taught me the ‘mystery’s’ (BSAC banned it at the time) of Nitrox and the huge benefits it offered. This led to the world of ‘Technical Diving’ mixed gasses, decompression schedules, deep wreck diving, all fascinating stuff. Mark’s expeditions were pushing the boundaries at the time and I loved it. Truk Lagoon in the Pacific with its fabulous wrecks, Egypt and brilliant diving in the English Channel all courtesy of Marks trips.
The shop soon followed and was an immediate success. A friend wanted to do the PADI Divemaster course and I said I would do it as well to support him. It was brilliant. Paul Hardy, the Training officer was a demanding instructor but that’s what we were looking for, not just a rubber stamp. It was fabulous and I still work as a Divemaster for Go Dive enjoying passing my experience and enthusiasm on to students.
My diving has been a passport to adventure and friendship all over the World. I have been lucky enough to enjoy expedition technical diving trips out of Singapore to the wrecks of the Repulse, Prince of Wales and HMS Exeter amongst others. I still love diving the shipping lanes in the English Channel, discovering new wrecks and helping identify others.
There is no other sport that I know, where what you do, or are, is irrelevant. We are all divers, bound by a love of adventure and sealed with a commitment to help each other, whilst enjoying ourselves in the process.
Why not pop in for a chat? You never know where the journey might take you …….