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H2O Dive
I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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Kitler in her bunker.

We've been looking after a friend's cat for the past few days. For a while I assumed that, as with any cat, her hobbies mostly included just scratching the new couch and depositing fur on every object in the flat. How naive I was.

Having seen the picture on the left, the danger will be immediately apparent to anyone with a passing knowledge of feline fascism.

Her name is Clarabel. "As if that would fool anyone!" I hear you cry. Sadly, I was fooled until it was almost too late.

My suspicions were first aroused when I realised that it's almost impossible to open a cupboard here at the moment without "Clarabel" leaping inside. When she's not in cupboards, she's under things: couches, tables, shelves. "There goes a kitten that loves overhead environments" I exclaimed, simply, foolishly, naively, "She'd make a great wreck diver!" (This isn't true, incidentally: she wouldn't make a good diver at all, because she's a cat, so she'd drown and die).

And then for the past two nights, Marina has been on night duty at the hospital, and so, selflessly and heroically, have I.

Not at the hospital, obviously, but at home, on the laptop.

Anyway, I used to think that at night, cats slept or ate cat food or played with cat toys or had cat sex with other cats or something. But this one spends half of the night with a fat, puffed-up neck and big black eyes, subjecting ornaments and bits of furniture to merciless, unprovoked attacks.

The other half she spends bullying my psyche with her relentless, fascist propaganda: demanding food and water for the master race (cats) and subjecting me to terrible slavery (mostly involving making a fuss of her: if I don't, she miaows relentlessly).

Of course, I should have known it would end like this at the start, as soon as I saw the Kitler moustache.

That and the fact she kept planning reichs.

I told Marina about all this when she returned home this morning but, selfishly, she seemed more interested in banging on about boring work stories involving people coming in with horrific injuries and dying and stuff. I was forced to interrupt: "All the signs are there", I said, "This is what happened in 1938 with Czechoslovakia". I eyed Clarabel suspiciously. Marina tickled her on the chin. Then she told me to shut up and went to bed.

It's Poland I feel sorry for.

LDC Training

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Getting a Semi On
Seahorse contemplates zip repair.

Marina bought a BCD and semi-dry wetsuit last weekend, which leaves me on the horns of a shocking dilemma. You can look at the pretty picture of the seahorse whilst you think about it.

The BCD is awesome, but so is mine, so I can handle that. Unfortunately, the semi-dry is also awesome and it was underneath Rye Pier last Sunday that my drysuit was clearly inspired to fulfil its own ambitions and became a semi-dry itself. It's been threatening to ever since I hauled it, battered and crushed from the shipping crate. The problem is it's the zip that's gone, so I'm looking at a AU$500 repair bill.

A fantastic semi-dry along the lines of Marina's will set me back AU$850 and will sneak me back into the lead in the battle of "who has the best gear" because my regs are superior, and will remain that way for at least another two months until they break as well.

What do I do? I'm not a tight person, except when it comes to spending money, so any advice would be appreciated. So that you have all the information required to make an informed decision on my behalf, I can tell you that the drysuit is a membrane design and now goes under the name "the thing with the bastard zip". The water temperature is f***ing cold, or 12 to 13°C. And the seahorse is yellow.

The Underwater Channel
Comments on this post:
Rob, yesterday

Re Marina's "semi-dry wetsuit". I hope she kept the receipt.

A diver cannot have a girlfriend called Marina unless he is Captain Troy Tempest. Are you Captain Troy Tempest? No.

Actually I spoke to a postman the other day called Roy Mayall. This is 100% true.

e-med Arabic

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Ronaldo Must Die
Not a koala

OK, so further to the last blog, it appears there is no such thing as an underwater giraffe. Marina pointed this out to me in words of mostly one syllable and four letters, after our second dive of last weekend.

Or, at least, I think that's what she was trying to say. She was once again wearing what might have doubled as a flimsy cocktail dress for exposure protection and her teeth were chattering too much for anything really intelligible to be heard. Tiring of this, I was forced to interrupt her in order to complain about the serious issue I was having with a leaky drysuit which had rendered my right arm slightly damp. A brief silence of one or two days ensued.

The saddest news item this week revolves around the subject of addiction, I'm afraid to say. It's something that ruins the lives of the addicted and those around them, and whilst it probably shouldn't play a part in what ought to be a light-hearted blog, I can't help but mention the events here that have touched, and threaten to destroy, my own life.

Last Friday, I downloaded a football management game from 2008 onto my mobile phone and I can't stop playing it. It's got to the point that I claim to be going outside for a cigarette, but manage the fortunes of Sunderland Athletic instead as this, tellingly, now incurs less retribution from Marina. I often have to light up, whilst not actually smoking, in order to make the ploy convincing.

Oh, before you ask: there was no option to take the Mighty Wednesday on to mightier things. This is probably because a) everyone would do it and so many of the game's hidden features would therefore remain hidden; or b) it's not possible and trying to do so could create universe-ending paradoxes in the fabric of space-time, or at the very least be unrealistic. Anyway, apart from that obvious point, the only change I would request from the makers for the next version would be the inclusion of the following commentary line when you play M** U****d: "Cristiano Ronaldo has the ball... He's been fouled by Rob! Cristiano Ronaldo has actually snapped in half and Rob is urinating on him as he bleeds to death on the pitch. And the fans are laughing! Everyone is laughing! Even Ronaldo's own family and everyone that has ever known him are laughing as he slowly dies. And his hair looks crap too."

I look forward to hearing from Jonathan on this issue. I bet he still spends his weekends playing football manager as well.

There is good news though: koalas have been taken off the CITES "never-existed-and-anyone-that-claims-to-have-seen-one-is-making-it-up" list and put onto the "actual-real-animals-list" because I saw one this weekend. Sadly, the former list is still large and contains, amongst other things, such wonderful yet sadly mythical creatures as the whale shark, the killer whale (in fact anything with the word "whale" in its name), and the badger. But koalas are sure to be as pleased as bullsharks were a few weeks ago.

I would have posted a picture, but having gone through them, it would expose my photography skills for the shallow sham that they are. Instead, you have a wonderful view of the underside of Mornington pier: in my opinion, one of Melbourne's best dives. In Marina's opinion also, since the other dive we tried was very much like the Wraysbury-esque one of the previous weekend but with worse visibility.

I can't say I really noticed though, to be honest. I was too involved in weighing up the merits of an attacking 3-5-2 formation against a nice solid 4-4-2. Time wasted, as it turns out, because M** U****d beat you 4-0 either way.

Comments on this post:
A koala.  No, honest, it is.

Well, shocking photography skills didn't stop me with the bullshark...

e-med Arabic


which is harder..a koala or a sloth.

I reckon the koala has more speed, but the sloth's reach and claws give it the edge... if it were cage fighting, that is.

Monkey Allan
H2O Dive

That's an important question, Monkey, and I think I'd go with the sloth since koalas are usually stoned. Sloths just pretend to be wasted and then let rip with those claws when you least expect it: drunken master style.

People say it's cruel to put animals in cages, but how else are we to get them to hit each other?

Blue O Two

Hi Rob, and thanks for inviting me on the show. It's great that you have been looking forward to hearing me talk about Football Manager, as most people who hear me talk about Football Manager look forward to me stopping. Or someone filling their ears with molten uranium, whichever comes first.

And as for suggesting that I spend my "weekends" playing. Naive boy! I have been known to take my laptop to work with me.

Anyway must go. The demo of FM2010 has just been released.

Blue O Two

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Best Dive, Worst Dive
The Average Visibility on Last Sunday's Dive

I haven't written anything in this blog for ages. Is it because:

a) I was abducted by incredibly hot lesbians who sexually molested me for three weeks, forcing me to perform unspeakable acts now available on DVD from all good Soho stores?


b) I forgot?

Answers on a postcard please. The DVD is very reasonably priced.

So, last week I went to watch the sinking of the ex-HMAS Canberra down by the sea (the sea is traditionally believed by many to be an excellent place for wreck-sinking). It was delayed for quite a while which meant lots of sitting around watching news crews helicopter about. Fortunately, they left after a while, at which point the actual sinking happened. Unfortunately, this meant our planned shore dive was delayed.

I say unfortunately because, this being Marina's first dive in cold water, I had rather "bigged it up"*. It has been suggested by some sources (one in particular) that during this particular spree of "bigging", I claimed that the diving in Melbourne was "nothing short of spectacular", that it was "far, far superior" to the "overhyped twaddle" offered by the Great Barrier Reef and that "I actually feel sorry" for anyone who doesn't get to dive here at some point because "when they die their entire life will have been pointless". I won't make that mistake again.

Those with a bent towards the science of psychology might fear at this point that I may have raised Marina's expectations a little too high and, as we entered the water at exactly the wrong time of day for the tide, I began to picture myself imminently concurring with this point of view.

Luckily, I was wrong: the dive was awesome.

OK, in order to illustrate the magnitude of lie contained within that last sentence, the picture at the top of this post is an accurate representation of the visibility we encountered during those 25 long minutes. I have no way to illustrate the cold, but I don't need to because I was nice and snug in my drysuit. One can only imagine how chilly Marina was in an ill-fitting wetsuit and invisible hood in 13 degree water, but to give you a clue she described it as "the coldest I have ever been in my entire life and that includes when I went to Finland for Christmas and got locked out of the lodge for an hour in a blizzard without a coat".

I recorded a maximum depth of 4.6 metres. I believe this was when the surge threw me into some rocks and my computer-wearing wrist was thrust into the peculiarly abrasive sand. All in all, it was worse than Wraysbury. To be honest, I'd prefer to dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

But luckily for you chaps, we're giving it another go on Saturday. This time it's a tried and trusted site, that I personally know to be so good it has even made blind people weep and features, amongst other life, underwater giraffes and a wizard who makes any wish come true if you let him use your torch for five minutes.

I'll let you know how it goes.

*For those who aren't hip enough to know, "bigged up" is a word the cool kids are using these days and roughly translates as "hyped". In this case it means "hyped out of all proportion" and required lengthy apologies for the following four days.


For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Brad borrowing my drysuit

The entire nation will doubtless be relieved to learn that my drysuit has finally arrived, so who knows, maybe I’ll actually do some diving. Stranger things have happened. (That’s a joke, of course: they haven’t.)

Perhaps even more edifying for me was the arrival of my puffer jacket. I’ve been coatless until now as I threw away my other jacket in Madrid this summer because it was very hot at that particular moment and therefore I didn’t need it. Looking back, I’m reminded of the best wetsuit I ever owned, which still resides at the top of a mountain in Nicaragua where I dumped it because there wasn’t any water around. Incredibly, it seems it would’ve come in useful a while later when I did some warm water diving again in t’Egypt, but I didn’t have it so I had to buy a new one.

In any case, I believe it was at the exact moment that I donned said puffer jacket that warms winds started to blow in from the north and the temperature changed instantly from 8˚C to to a sweltering 25˚C+. Luckily, I still have some t-shirts that Marina didn’t let me throw away because it was too cold to wear them. And we have a fridge to keep food cold in, which amazingly has come in handy. I had argued vehemently against buying one because I wasn’t hungry, but for some reason changed my mind when Marina asked me again a few hours later.

Ralf Tech
Comments on this post:

In primary school they asked if I wanted to learn to read and write. I replied "no", because Rob hadn't written any blogs yet.

That is why I neither read the above post nor wrote this comment.

Blue O Two

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Ca'an The Doggies!
A black cockatoo for Ed, who likes that sort of thing

I attended an Australian Rules Footballing game at the MCG on Saturday. This was a very different experience to the type of football I'm used to, not so much for the entertaining mayhem on the pitch but more due to the disappointing cultural differences. Specifically the lack of culture that the antipods are generally accused of.

This became immediately apparent on the short train journey to the ground. All the carriages were packed with "footy" fans. Normally one would expect said fans to be bellowing something along the lines of "Come on in and drink with us, We'll drink you to a frenzy, We all come come from Sheffield, And we are Sheffield Wednesday, Na na nana na na na etc." to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy, but these Aussie types showed a marked lack of refinement by simply talking quietly amongst themselves instead.

Secondly, and even more worryingly, there were fans of both teams on the same train and yet there were none of the incitements to violence that the cultured man would expect.

Thirdly, and most troubling of all, they were all sober. I can honestly say I didn't see a single man, woman or child urinate into a beer bottle.


Anyway, the game was good and both Giant Bearded Scotsman (GBS) and I did our very best to make up for the generally disappointing levels of alcohol consumption that were to be seen throughout. And then luckily, at the end, we were made to feel properly at home as a young fan of the losing team (our team also) saw fit to apply a judicious Glasgow kiss to the nasal region of one of the security guards. This caused quite some consternation amongst the other spectators who, incredibly, aren't used to seeing this type of thing at sporting events. Best of all, after this quick scuffle which GBS and I, to be honest, barely noticed even though it was actually occurring at our feet, the securitons broke out the pepper spray. I've never seen it employed before but judging by the reaction of the man who received a face-full, I'd say it might sting a tad. Fortunately, the Brits were there to keep a level head and GBS continued to keep the offending young man (by now pinned to the floor in a painful-looking half-nelson) updated by cheerfully informing him at 30 second intervals that his team were still losing.

In other news, Marina and I have our own lodgings. I imagine this will be particularly useful next time I get incredibly drunk during and after an Aussie Rules game and fall asleep on the train home, winding up somewhere unpronounceable in the state of Victoria. Not that the flat will be useful per se, just that when I finally do get home, I won't have to worry about waking any military parents as I stagger around an incredibly expensively furnished home in the darkness, whilst struggling to keep bodily fluids properly internalised and trying to remember not to sing.

Instead, I can stagger through the front door, slam into some electrical appliance (which Marina persuaded me to spend a fortune on), trip straight over the IKEA couch (which Marina persuaded me to spend a fortune on), stand on the Wireless Router (which I persuaded Marina to spend a fortune on and which doesn't work, which is why I'm writing this in the public library) on the way to the 2nd floor balcony where I can shout lurid greetings to the possums that congregate around the trees outside.

Get in!

The Underwater Channel
Comments on this post:

You just wrote an entire blog post about football and didn't manage to shoehorn in even one tiny pun about diving. What's wrong with you?

Diving Chamber Treatment Trust

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Prisoner Cell Block H
Carbonised trees regenerate in the bush after last summer's fires

Ha! Look at that, eh? Look! Just there on the left. That's right: pictures. 20th Century here we come. Have a flick back through some of your favourite posts; the ones that brought tears to your eyes and bile to your mouth, and you're sure to see that the blog is now infested with pictures with exciting alt-text captions for those who care to scroll over them. You can also add your own photos to your comments. No, really, you can.

I'm in Melbourne now. I left Fat Dan to the lesbians of Tioman, and bought an AirAsia ticket to Oz. AirAsia is the EasyJet of, er, Asia: bizarrely cheap, nauseatingly cheerful and most importantly, not Q*ntas (wankers). Get your tickets now (you can buy a big baggage allowance).

We almost have somewhere to live, despite the fact that Marina seems to have wasted all her time nursing people to health in a hospital and haggling with estate agents whilst I worked my knuckles to the bone in various Asian drinking establishments [insert ladyboy joke here].

Until then though, we're staying with her parents, which means I'm spending all my time trying not to swear, drink until 3am, make careless comments regarding sex with their daughter, or make smells. They've been phenomenally nice actually, which makes me nervous. Her dad's a military man so I expect the pleasantries are just a prelude to him wandering in one afternoon and shooting me in the face. That's what I'd do if my daughter was associated with the likes of me.

For those who've never been; this is what Melbourne is like: exactly the same as Neighbours but colder and wetter. I put this to Marina and she said: "No, it's not, it's... actually, yeah, you're right", and then added in a warning tone: "It's not like Home and Away though". I hadn't suggested it was but agreed with her in a way that made it sound like I had and that I was wrong to have done, since it's never wise to be correct around an Australian. Especially Australian girls. And especially Australian girls with fathers that are trained to kill.

Denney Diving
Comments on this post:
A real-life hot babe and not an image pathetically Googled by Rob.

Hi Rob!

Yours is easily the wittiest and most intelligent writing ever to grace the whirlynet and having seen your profile photo I would have to say you are probably the bestest lookingest bloke on planet Earth.

I've uploaded a picture of myself in order that you may see what an absolute babe I am, and in no way have I posted it just so you can prove that the Add Picture function works when posting comments. It wouldn't make sense for me to do that as testing the forms is your job and no one else would do that for you unless it was actually you pretending to be someone else. But this isn't Rob, this is someone else. Look at me. What a babe, eh? Phwoar.

I should also point out that I am Australian and all Australian girls look like this and all Australian girls fancy you, so Marina should probably bear that in mind next time she has a go at you for smoking (ie. next time you go for a smoke).

Not Rob
Blue O Two
Jonathan, feeling (and looking) like a completely different person.

Hi Rob! It's your old housemate Jonathan here.

I was so inspired by that nice lady that I decided to upload a photo of my own. Well, as you can see I'm on a bit of a health kick and have spent some time down the gym.

I've still a long way to go but I feel like a completely different person.

Fond regards,

Jonathan, Herne Hill
Adventure Divers La Manga
Smoking is bad for you.

Nice site

Adventure Divers La Manga

Look! We're getting spam now. I feel like we've made it. Must be due to the Top Of The Spam feature in the last issue that seemed to upset some sensitive types. I only wish I'd actually wrote them rather than just copying and pasting them.

Anyway, did anyone know that smoking is bad for you? I don't think there's any evidence for it.

Blue O Two

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

BS 2, FD 1

Fat Dan got off with a lesbian last night while I watched...

...Raiders Of The Lost Ark on my laptop. This is what happens when you go to bed early and leave him in a bar on his own.

I have a cold, so that's it for diving and drinking (at least it was last night), but I'll be in Australia in a couple of days anyway and there's probably no water or beer there.

Fat Dan, when not inexplicably making sexy-time with people genetically incapable of fancying him, owns his own Graphic Design business and has worked Phottyshop wonders with my bull shark image. It's now almost recognisable. You can even see his two willies (the bull shark's, not Fat Dan. I expect Fat Dan only has one willy, but to be honest, I've never thought to ask).

Watch this space...

H2O Dive

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog


I saw a bull shark yesterday.

We're on Tioman Island in Malaysia. It accidentally took us two days to get here because we're quite stupid.

There was an enormous Singaporian man on the ferry here, built like The Terminator, who was wearing a t-shirt with a dive flag that read: "It's not a sport unless you can die from massive internal injuries." He sat in front of me and with his massive shaven head no more than a foot away, it was very difficult to resist the urge to flick his Cro-Magnon pate. At that point you would have to whinily beg him not to hit you until he turned around and you could do it again, ad infinitum.

So, yesterday, we did a dive at a place called "Tiger Reef". Very beautiful corals but 5m vis. Fat Dan ran low on air after 30 minutes because he spent most of the dive flapping around and being girly, so whilst the DM took him and some other breathers up, I went to the front and dragged a couple of people around.

As I came around the corner of the reef, I looked up in time to see the biggest shark I've ever laid eyes upon (and I've seen a few) doing a u-turn maybe a metre and a half from my head. He was enormous, maybe three metres long and so solid and stocky, there's no way I'd have gotten my arms around him for a cuddle, although I did try.

And then he was gone.

I've seen a lot of grey reefies in my time and had always assumed that a bull shark was just a bigger version of them, but now I see the difference. This chap was seriously muscly and, well, basically bull-like. A bit like the Singaporean except I had no urge to flick his head. I have a terrible photo which I will post here when I get the technology up and running (soon, I promise).

Nobody on the boat believed me, obviously. They haven't said anything but I can tell. The problem is a) I was the only one to see it, b) I didn't really see its head, c) the photo is awful, and d) no one knew you got them here. I suppose it could have been a very vivid hallucination, similar to the one I'm having now that leads me to believe I'm typing all this into the world's slowest internet connection, but I'm a shark obsessive and I've also matched up details and shapes of fins as well as I can from the photo with the reef guide and that's what I saw. Bizarrely, I think people don't see them because the vis is usually much better. This one was obviously swimming in to have a proper look at what was making all the noise, whereas usually he could do it from about 40 metres away and keep himself secret.

Somebody on the boat did ask me if it was behaving aggressively, but I have to assume that since he was so close and already turning when I saw him; if he had wanted to be aggressive, he would probably be still gnawing on my thick skull now, trying to find a morsel of brain, and I would never have known about it.

Surprisingly, Fat Dan and I celebrated this experience with massive amounts of beer. The only thing I really remember from last night was drawing a map of the UK on the dart scoreboard and writing below it: "Special Question for Manchester United fans [of which there are many in Malaysia]. Here is a map of Britain. Where is Manchester?" No one was having much luck and then a Malay guy strolled up, put a mark at just about the right point and wrote next to it "Liverpool".

Excellent. Absolutely excellent.

e-med Arabic
Comments on this post:

Actually my size puts people off me, so next time you want to flick my head laddie, do so, I love it.

See you on the boat back.

Fat Singaporean
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust

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Wax Off
Fat Dan, there's no need to feel down, I said Fat Dan...

We went to see some Thai Boxing last night. I was a bit worried because I’d been before some 100 moons ago and it was utterly crap: When they say: “Real fight! Not for tourist! Not show fight!” you begin to suspect that they’re lying because they’re held in the tourist centre and only tourists go except for the odd prostitute accompanying a fat white man. But as it transpired, unlike last time they were real fights, just amateur ones. Irritatingly, there were a group of Americans behind us who became tactical experts after the first round of the first fight, loudly pointing out where everyone was going wrong. Of course, it would be impossible to take them seriously, but this was even more the case because the evidence for their observations was (I’m not joking here): Karate Kid. This line of reasoning has several drawbacks. Firstly, Karate Kid is a movie. Secondly, it’s a kids movie. Thirdly (and following on from one and two), I’m not sure how realistic it is. And fourthly, it’s a movie about karate, not Thai Boxing.

In between fights, ladyboys would dance to tunes like YMCA. I was there with some younger lads who weren’t sure if they were really ladyboys and so I spent much of the night claiming I wasn’t sure either and encouraging them to find out for sure.

Anyway, later there was a white guy boxing. This was the main event, an “International Contest” between a German (“Michael”) and a Thai. The German was massive. He spent the first 45 seconds relentlessly pummelling his opponent, much in accordance with the advice of the Americans, whilst the Thai guy did absolutely nothing. Then, whilst the German was unleashing a stinging volley of vicious kicks, the Thai guy side-stepped, punched Herr Michael once in the face, and knocked him out.

The best part was the “Show” part though: blind boxing. Three aged ex-boxers were blindfolded and pushed around in the ring. When they got close to anybody, they started pinwheeling their arms wildly. They connected more often than you would think, although 30% of the time with the guy doing the pushing. This was wrong, tragic and pitiful. It was utterly hilarious.

Blue O Two
Comments on this post:

I kicked the living shit out of the dude right after the photo, only to discover he actually was blind (and a passer-by).

Fat Dan
London and Midlands Diving Chambers

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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