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ISSUE 16 ARCHIVE - DIVING DOWNSIDES

PORTLAND ARCHITECTURE

Probably Britain’s most visited coastal dive area. A Gibraltar-style rock on the end of the Chesil isthmus, but still called an island. It’s bedrock is hewn in ten ton blocks and used to build most of the classical London landmarks. It’s dive sites are a wreck divers heaven. It should be the first on the list for weekend dive getaways. But it has to have some of the worst architecture in the country. On my last visit, what I thought must be a prison from a distance, turned out to be my hotel. Bare concrete unfinished “sea view flats” overlook the harbour... the Irish landlords having run out of money. For a place that has hosted Olympics, downtown Kiev has more aesthetic value. So c’mon Portlanders, elect a council that understands feng shui. I don’t want to come back on my club RIB from a dream dive and have to look at your carbuncle of a skyline any more. Ugly.

DIVE FESTIVALS

The last one I went to in Cornwall didn’t have Bob Dylan and there were no drugs. Call that a “festival”? Next time make sure all the toilets in a ten mile radius don’t work, make me queue for an hour to park, then treat me like shit. Then I know I am at a proper festival. Of diving.

MOZAMBIQUE

Still some of the best diving in the world.
Still some of the most reverse-profiley diving in the world. Still no recompression chamber. If and when you get a bend there, you have to get to Durban. No kidding!
That’s another country and about two days of travel.
Not much good when you have a bubble in your brain the size of a walnut.
So... sort it post-colonial African government. And here’s a little something for you Minister of Health.
That’s the way it works there... isn’t it?

AIRLINE SECURITY

Frankly, the ownership of a PADI card should allow the bearer to carry a dive knife onto a plane. It is well documented that few, if any certified divers, hijack said means of transport – let alone would even dream of carrying out any sort of “atrocity”.

Most planes haven’t got Sky Marshals yet, and when I did my Open Water in Beirut the course was very light on mask clearance but heavy on disarming terrorists. That’s why we need our trusty 8 inches of anodised steel near us. Come on BAA, let us on with the tools we are trained to use, then the EasyJet flight to Sharm will never be in danger.

Ever.

MUCH-DESIRED FLABELLINA

You’re not some character from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. No ugly sister, you. Know what you are? You’re a nudibranch. But you are angry. Exactly who decides the names of these little water sluggies? Not Linnaeus – he didn’t have a snorkel. So it has to be some weirdo at the Natural History Museum... of America probably. There should be a deed- poll for your species as your cousin is the Many-Flanged Quatrill.

Better to be just called Stevie or Cherry in my book.

JUNIOR BUBBLEMAKER

There’s a ray gun you can buy in Germany – fill it with Fairy Liquid (or Ecover if you vote Liberal) – pull the trigger and out shoot bubbles. It’s called “the Bubblemaker”. Cost – 5 euros.

There’s a diving course aimed at submerging 10 year olds at PADI 5 star resorts.
 Cost – 200 euros.

I know which one my kid’s gonna get for his next birthday.

SNORKELS

I used to use these for breathing near the surface of the water to save air from my tank. What a waste of 12 inches of plastic. Much better to pop the end
of a plastic bottle on the end, fill it
with tequila and cider and make
the newbie DMs drink the
whole darn lot.
Snorkel. Snorkel.
Bleugh.

DIVE BOOK LAUNCHES

One minute I am respectably drinking a spritzer and toasting the launch of the latest dive medicine tome at the Groucho. Next minute I’m out of my head
on Expresso Martinis as my
bird gets chatted up by that
bloke out of Dog Soldiers.
Then I wake up on a boat in
Eastbourne without a drysuit.
And I am running the dive.
Fuggin’ A. I thought owning a
dive shop would quieten me
down. Mind you it’s good to
go mental now and again.

DIVER-CAUGHT SCALLOPS

Posh restaurant in Soho... “I think I’ll start with the diver-caught scallops with chorizo” Its b*****ks really ain’t it? Have they really been brought up by a sweaty lad in a drysuit from the bottom of Weymouth harbour?

I doubt it. I see enough dredgers ploughing the oceans to know what really goes on. “Sea-raped scallops”. Tell the truth maître d’. It’s like those organic eggs that look like the old battery ones. They just open the window every hour so the chooks can see the sun. Food – it’s all a con.

Divers should have one of those little
log book stamps so
they can imprint the shells.

Then we can tell.

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