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Miranda Krestovnikoff, Presenter


BEST: How do you single out a best dive? The deepest, the longest, the most exhilarating? Diving in a cave? Under the ice? We all have dives which fit into those categories but what can beat being side by side with a Basking shark; being face to face with a grey seal; playing with a young dolphin? And what about the smaller stuff? I just love the quiet and calm of an unspoilt reef in great vis, fish everywhere... just me and my buddy, shallow, no agenda, no stress...

But that's not exciting! So here's another of the top ten:

Whilst filming BBC's "COAST" we have some incredible encounters underwater. In the UK we tend to forget what is on our doorstep we forget that around our very own coastline we can swim with sharks, dolphins and seals, so on a very cold and windy day we set off for the Farne islands. Anyone who saw "Autumnwatch" will know how unpredictable the weather can be up there so you're always on edge as to whether you'll actually get in the water or not. I dived with local GP Ben Burville who seems to spend all his free time making friends with the seals there. He gave me a few pointers don't stretch out a flat hand to them as it's easier to bit through than a fist (!) Sit still and let them approach you, no sudden movements etc...

We dived in. all was quiet. 10 minutes passed, then 15... I started to feel the cold and think about warm cups of tea and a few cubes of Dairy Milk! Then a single male swam by... the "scout". Often this happens when an individual will go and see what's going on and check it out... as if to reccy the situation to let the rest of the group know.

Another wait, and then several seals: a male and 2 females swam by, but this time they stayed to play. Inquisitive creatures, they approached and started to check out my hoses, my fins... "Hmm, I wonder what happens if you tug at these large yellow things???" Then one female stared at me face to face (well nose to mask!). Those big eyes so appealing but so questioning! She nuzzled my glove. My instinct was to reach out and to stroke her but I held my fist firm remembering what Ben had said...

Ocean Leisure
Miranda Krestovnikoff, Presenter WORST: This has to be the dive which became my steepest learning curve. I had just secured my very first presenting job on a series for Fox Television in the US called "World Gone Wild". Because I was a diver, 6 of the 13 stories I was to present were going to be based underwater. It was my first time combining work with my hobby, my first time wearing an Aga mask and talking underwater and the first time with many of the animals I was to film.

Shoot one was in the Bahamas the famous Stuart Cove's... the place to see and feed sharks. Shouldn't be scary they're only reef sharks. But things just didn't go according to plan from the start.

(Think incident pit!!)

The director was seasick just minutes from land so we had to turn around and drop her off and continue, undirected, to shoot the sequence.

I was a fairly inexperienced diver at that stage and a bit apprehensive about diving with sharks, but after a brief interview with the leader of the project and some "chumming" of the water to attract the starts of our show, we dived in. Our aim was to create and film a feeding frenzy, but also to indicate that the sharks weren't really interested in eating us just the fish!

Within minutes we were surrounded by a swarm of sharks coming at me from every direction maybe it was a time when one is grateful for the lack of peripheral vision in an Aga mask! "One's on your head, Miranda!".
Miranda Krestovnikoff, Presenter I never saw it; instead, I felt another one on my arm biting it! Thank god we were wearing chain mail (only on our arms, though!) I felt a huge pressure but no pain and all I had to show for it was a small hole in my suit. I calmed down and filming continued... all was going well...

After what seemed like an eternity on the dive we ascended this was when things started to go wrong. No one had been monitoring the dive. I guess, understandably, we were too caught up with the sharks and what they were going to eat next!

I started my ascent, to the sound of my computer bleeping a warning for 10 minutes of deco...

I checked my air.
"****!" Not enough
What to do?

With an Aga mask on it's not easy to just rip it off and to swap cylinders. I asked for instructions from the boat. They said to surface, grab a mask, another cylinder, descend and then carry on my deco. So that's what I did. Back down at my deco stop, I checked the air in my new tank. Nearly empty! "****!"

They must have given me a used tank. B******ds!
So up again for a third cylinder.
More expletives!

With a full cylinder I finished my deco and surface, unharmed and with no sign of decompression sickness. The dive was certainly not life threatening but for me it was an early warning to an inexperienced diver not to rely on others but to take charge yourself especially with sharks around!
The Underwater Channel

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