....

I started my SCUBA training later than many (at 43 yrs of age) with Melovan Galea in MALTA in 1988. Mel is very well known in the Maltese islands and has introduced a great many people to the wonders of the undersea world. Having had a taste of that world I returned to the UK and searched for a dive school. I found White Horse Diving, run by Mark Horton, in the hamlet of Uffcott just south of Swindon. A dive school on a farm... we did wonder!

My son, Simon, and I took the PADI Open Water Diver course during the Easter holidays in 1989. We did it the best way - an intensive, one-week straight run, including Certifying in the world famous (and at that time less-refined) Stoney Cove. I then followed the standard run of PADI courses. Advanced was done in Malta with Meldives. Rescue in the UK and Divemaster too.

To this day I maintain I did it the right way - LOTS of diving between courses to broaden experience. No point in "fast-tracking" just for the paperwork/licence. For the first six years I dived only the UK, apart from 2 trips to Malta. The Red Sea beckoned in 1995 when we went to visit (again - less refined than today) Camel Divers at Sharm. I took my Instructor Course and exams in November 1996 and certified my first OWD students while visiting our ex-White Horse man Bob Cozens at Hurghada in early 1997.

Now I teach mainly the PADI Advanced Course, and Photo and Video techniques in the UK. The best advice I can give anyone taking up SCUBA diving is:

 

GET YOUR BASIC CERTIFICATION, JOIN A LOCAL DIVE CLUB, AND DIVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN IN AS MANY LOCATIONS AS YOU CAN


When I am not diving, I try to get others to star! I also undertake photography/videography work for good causes.
I have been fortunate enough to dive in the following locations over the years, and some I will revisit one day (I hope):
Vancouver -

 

Antigua -

 

Hurghada -

 

Sharm (Naama Bay) -

 

Marsa Alam -

 

Florida - East Coast

 

Florida - West Coast

 

California -

 

Malta -

 

Turkey -Altinkum/Bodrum -

 

Scapa Flow -

 

The Lizard in Cornwall -


Stoney Cove -

 

Vobster Quay -

 

NDAC Chepstow

 

Lyme Bay, Plymouth, Beer,

Teignmouth, Portsmouth , etc..

 

The Scilly Isles -

 

Falmouth -

 

Pembrokeshire -

 

Shetlands -

 

The Farne Islands-

 

The Baltic

 

Happy to do List:

 

the Straights - Giant Pacific Octopus are something to see, and they will examine you in return !

 

pleasant diving, good novice area, not up to Red Sea standards for fish varieties etc but can surprise you..

 

good base for the Red Sea Wrecks

 

Ras Muhammad Park - still good today,

 

effectively the Southern Red Sea - fairly new and worth the effort, shore or boat,

 

Atlantic Coast - West Palm Beach - if you like fast drift dives, and hanging on to a wreck just to get a view of it...

 

Crystal River and the gentle Manatees

 

Catalina Island: wrecks and kelp forests and cooler water than you might expect. (Take a dry suit to be sure.)

 

you need to pick the right people - there is life in the Med!

 

a good first destination,

 

not for the faint-hearted but excellent wreck sites!

 

unbelievable colours and fish varieties - Sunfish, Basking Sharks,

 

still the best inland in the UK (excellent training venue): Images

 

catching up on Stoney in underwater attractions and services (excellent training venue): Images

 

plenty to see from 5m to 25m and with depths to over 60m see here

 

UK mainland diving continues...

 

 

achieved in September 2012... excellent diving, wonderful colours and sea-life

 

May 2013 - second visit, well worth the effort: Images

 

June 2013 - my first visit, hopefully not my last: Images

 

a long way to go (Scapa Flow + travel to Lerwick) but good diving: Images

 

excellent destination for seals and more - see here

 

July 2015........ busy week live-aboard sailing out of Gdansk

 

St Kilda, North Carolina, Bermuda, Belize... and Archaeological Diving Surveys ANYWHERE

  In 2000, I got the Video bug, and in 2003, the Photo bug.

That's what I do most now - record that very special world - a world we are threatening with our pollution every day - and show others how to record it too. Record the sea-life, record the wrecks, record the underwater "landscapes". All of it has beauty, sometimes a harsh beauty, but nevertheless an intensity that must be seen... why not by you? This also provides evidence of changes that we may be able to stop or at least slow down, by conservation action.

Find your local Dive School and invest in a "try-dive" - do it soon, and you can learn to dive by Spring 2015
  Your Diving environment is one of those things that you can select, but please note that if you only dive in warm water when on holiday - make sure you refresh your skills at a local club or school before you go.

If you want easy diving - you can have it. If you want extreme diving - you can have it

Warm water, cold water, fresh water, sea water, under ice... do it because you want to.

Accept no peer pressure... dive regularly with like-minded individuals you are comfortable with.

 

UK DIVING IS GREAT! What may surprise some of you is that UK diving is still my favourite. I like cool water diving!

I remain a life-long member of the Seahorse Dive Club, Wroughton, Wiltshire: now in its 22nd year - they encourage a continuing interest in UK diving, with member numbers typically hovering above 40, many of them diving in the UK all year round. The Committee and some of the Members also arrange overseas trips, often in parties of 10 or more. We have a tradition now: the Christmas Dives and Dinner - usually one week before Christmas - where the attendance often exceeds 50% of the membership, whatever the weather - TWO dives followed by an excellent Christmas Dinner.

Along the way, I also got interested in the history of wrecks and submerged land sites and joined the NAS. If you have a passion for Nautical Archaeology contact the NAS in Portsmouth. Through the NAS you can dive on restricted/protected wrecks throughout the UK.

 

The NAS can arrange special evenings and/or days at your club too, so why not ask them about that and the Introduction Course (which is now available as an e-learning course). Have a look at the NAS site. Start diving with a purpose today: NAS Site

 

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