So then, my second Top 5 post. Just before I broke my leg, I spent a week on the Isle of Man learning to Scuba dive, and it was great. If any of you reading this have been contemplating learning, please let this article persuade you to actually get started. I can tell you for certain that it’s one of the greatest things you will ever do. Enjoy.
Yeah, I know, obvious reason, but I couldn’t think of a better way to sum the whole sport up.
I’ve always been a fan of the sea and what’s under it, but to be able to immerse and envelop yourself fully in it, to put yourself and your safety in the hands of such an elemental force is truly awesome (for want of a better word).
And there’s the exploratory angle. I have an active imagination, and when I was 15-20 meters below the surface it was very easy for me to imagine that no other human had ever been to the places I was finning around. When all you can see is your buddy and a whole host of sea life in 10 meters of visibility it’s very easy to convince yourself of this.
But add to that the knowledge that during your diving career, you probably will do exactly this, no imagination required. The sea is a pretty big place, and when you start diving deep to areas that no human actually hasn’t been before, you are an explorer, in the best sense of the word.
I love stuff. Stuff that you can take apart, change bits, put back together. I also like building up a collection of bits that suit me and my way of doing things. It's this love of stuff and parts that certainly contributes to my love of bikes, computers, and now diving.
I frankly can’t wait to start building my own kit up, having everything working how I want it. I’m going to love browsing catalogues and online shops for ages, searching for the perfect part of equipment that I need. For me, the satisfaction you get from buying and learning to maintain your own kit is immense.
I love sharks *
I have done since I was young. I’m not sure whether it’s the danger, their cool shape and appearance, or Jaws, but I’ve wanted to dive/swim with them in the wild for ages, and diving will finally let me do so.
Whilst I secretly was hoping for a glimpse of a basking shark when diving in the Isle of Man, I wasn’t disappointed that the first shark I met was a species of dog fish. I saw a few in fact over the week, they’re pretty cool, and can be tickled.
So, I’m excited about diving with some grey reef sharks, anxious about seeing a great white and hammerheads, and I really can’t wait to dive with a whale (or basking) shark. If I could go back in time I'd like to watch a Megalodon from a safe distance.
* In a strictly non-zoophiliatory way.
I love seafood and I’m shit at fishing, so diving is the only way I’m really ever going to catch a decent dinner in the sea. Lobsters, crabs, scollops are all easy pickings, and if you want to go controversial, you can use a spike to hunt flatfish, or a harpoon gun (like in Thunderball) to prey on larger fish or other divers, if you’re so inclined.
Going actually underwater to grab something for dinner is far more exiting than fishing, and if you don’t end up catching anything at least you’ve had a good time! I can’t wait to live by the sea and go diving for dinner every evening.
I’m still unsure that this one doesn’t actually belong to a “Top 5 reasons not to learn to dive” post, but here it is anyway.
Simon Campbell is the man who taught me to dive, he’s a friend and a shit-talker, amongst other things. If you learn to dive the proper way (with BSAC, instead of PADI), you will probably get to meet him at some point, as he has his massive fingers in all sorts of Scuba pies. This will either be a excellent or very bad experience, depending on your personality, and how you get on with aggressive little men.
Having him as your dive teacher however, will most likely be a fantastic experience. When he gets under the surface all his personality attributes reverse themselves; he’s a patient, respectful, careful and informative dive teacher. Also, with his dive mask and hood on, he looks a lot like Gandalf the wizard, which certainly helps on the trust front.
Campbell - thanks mate, you’re a legend x