A lack of spare time prevented me from trying SCUBA diving for a long time, but I eventually took the plunge in 2006, aged 43. From the first pool session I was hooked; the feeling of being weightless, seeing and breathing underwater and the general sense of freedom made me want to find out more about diving.
Progress was slow to begin with, mainly due to my working unsocial hours as a coach driver, but one of the benefits of BSAC Club diving is that you can train at your own pace – there are no time limits. I gained confidence and experience over time and, with the encouragement and support of other BSAC Club members, made the grade of BSAC Dive Leader three years ago and qualified as a BSAC Open Water Instructor last September; there are photographs of us doing the brief / debrief wearing face masks due to Covid-19 restrictions!
I enjoy UK diving all year round, whether it Is a shipwreck off the South coast or training at an inland site (good old Stoney Cove!), although it Is nice to dive abroad in warm clear water occasionally. Highlights of my travels include the wreck of the Zenobia in Cyprus, a shark dive in the Bahamas (oceanic reef sharks, no cage required) and a fish farm in South Australia.
A lot of diving has been put on hold this past year, but as a BSAC Club we have still managed to do some training. The only trip we did was in early September to St Abb’s on the Scottish border – nice scenic gullies, kelp forests and the occasional seal. We are hoping to go again in July if we are allowed out by then…!
Although I am writing this in lockdown on a cold, wet January afternoon, I still feel positive about the coming year; once restrictions are lifted I predict that diving will be back, even if it is not the “normal” we knew before. So start dusting down your kit, make sure it is serviced and/or tested and await the call…
Best wishes and safe diving