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ISSUE 11 ARCHIVE - DIVING DOWNSIDES

Jules Eden

I love it. You love it. That bloke down the pub with all the kit who never gets wet loves it. So there has to be... a downside.

NUDIBRANCHS
We hate them in our gardens and poison them. So why do we like them underwater? They are just slugs after all. Yep, they may be colourful and yep, they make a good macro shot with your new Nikon, but they are just slugs. And look at the damage they do to sea lettuce. I had a wonderful coral garden and in two months they destroyed the whole lot. But I've found a solution. They love beer and drown in it. So I offered free diving to all Glaswegians when there was a strong surface swell and next thing their subsea barfing killed the whole lot. Just got to sort out the sea snails next before they have me cabbages.
Ralf Tech
GOOD VISIBILITY
50 metre viz... frankly much over-rated and, in my book, completely against the whole raison d'être of diving. Diving is dark and ethereal. Diving is going back into your mama's womb. Diving is well... Hard. I was on a RIB in Portland once. Bloke with a twinset and a hard hat told me he liked to dive in dark Croatian caves looking for salamanders. My buddy said she loved the Red Sea. He looked in horror at her and said the Red Sea was crap... "It's like diving in a bloody fish tank, you might as well go to London Aquarium and save the air fare."

He knew it, the ability to see underwater is for fairies, real divers only need to see their hand and maybe the back of their buddy's fins.

RENTAL GEAR
If I wanted to encompass my body in that much neoprene and other people's urine, why go to the Torture Garden? For a few quid I can get a soggy 5mm, probably used by J. Cousteau forty years ago, which is cheaper than the cab fare back from said pervert's nightclub. Yes, indeed rental gear. If ever there was a sporting Petri dish for viruses and bacteria, I have yet to find one. One case I saw contracted herpes, a pseudomonas UTI and got pregnant from a battered pair of regs and a weight belt. Her boyfriend/buddy was going to kill her for getting up the duff like that, but the meningitis from the two bucks a day mask got him first.
In this country the HSE crawl up our behinds for so much as cooking a sausage on the street so where's the fair play abroad? I say send out those babes from CSI with their UV lights and swabs to check all neoprene for hire. That'll keep us safe when we dive and can't be arsed to bring our own kit away with us.

SNORKELS
PADI taught me to always have one dangling from the side of my mask. So PADI can bloody well pay for the eight I have lost in the last three months. They get in the way there so like many a diver I stick 'em down my weight belt. And guess what's not there when I get back on the boat. Yes, twenty quid's worth of Chinese made plastic. Someone once caught one and gave it back to me. I lost it again in a few minutes. "But you need snorkels for snorkeling back to the boat if you are low on air" I hear you say. B*****ks, I pay sixty bucks a dive for the boat to come to me. That's a proper service industry. The best thing you can do with a snorkel is use it as a particularly blunt dive knife. Just club your way out through the fishing lines that trap your leg under Swanage Pier. Right on.

ANEMONES
I have just come back from a dive and saw a beautiful anemone. Pale green with little blue tips. We all know they are the definition of symbiosis. If it's not a clown fish, it's a crab. There's even a fish named for its ability to live in it. Yes, the anemone fish, if you need me to tell you. So get this, there was nothing in this one at all. God I find that depressing. How lonely it must be. Diving is supposed to enhance my karma not put me on a reflected life low. So come on all you lonesome plantanimals or whatever you are get with the programme and make yourself more attractive to symbiotes. Get more colourful, offer free food. Add protection for little terrified fishies by evolving awesome spikes or a menacing black and yellow frond or two. But don't make the same old error of the Labour Party by offering too much to get people to like you. Realise you can't sustain it and get the urchins voted in to sort out the mess afterwards.

DIVE KNIVES
Just what is it about these things that get peoples' juices up? Bought my kid some snorkeling gear at Go-Dive the other day and after eighty quid's worth of fins and mask etc, guess what he wants to finish the look? Yes, a sodding great serrated piece of steel that would make Jim Bowie proud at the Alamo.

On my last dive yesterday in St Lucia, there's a BSAC instructor. It's a five metre hotel shore dive pootle over some rocks with the odd blue fish here and there. "Can we bring our dive knives?" He asks. For ****'s sake. What do you want that for on that sort of dive? If you want protection from subsea crack sellers, use a spear gun. If you are worried about getting enmeshed in fishing line then take a cut throat razor, it gets through nylon quicker. He just wanted to strap it onto his thigh to impress the Russian chicks in a Daniel Craig sort of way.
Ocean Leisure
Has anyone ever needed one, outside of a Stoney Cove parking lot fight? I doubt it. The last time I used mine was to cut up oranges from a Dominican street market to make fresh OJ in a hotel room.

But there's something about their whole diveknifeiness that keeps us buying more of them. Did the kid get one? Nope, I got him an airgun instead and he can now hit an urchin from fifty fin kicks.

SEA URCHINS
Fed up, I am just so fed up of these bloody things. Trying to keep off them in a three metre depth at the end of the dive, with a one metre surface swell and considerably over weighted, has done it for me. What is their point? (Well they have lots of them in fact) Just where you think it's safe to put your hand on a rock for a moment, there's one there. Big eye in the middle, wobbling their spines at me... Come here laddie, one hand here and it's a third world A and E for you... X-rays, needles and extraction. Plus a two hour wait with a ten hour insurance claim to follow. Just leave us alone and migrate into seriously deep water where only bathyscapes can crash into you. Not fleshy handed humans who are only trying to get back to shore.

Begone urchins. You are the Sons of Satan himself. All black and scary.

ROLEX WATCHES
Ad blurb at the airport... 'The Rolex SubSea. This is the only watch that can take the pressures you will find at the bottom of the ocean. Tested to 3900 metres, it will still work where we have yet to go. With our patented gas elimination system this watch will take any pressure at any time.'

It just tells the time... The sodding time. That's all. Depth NO. Bottom time NO. Deco time NO. Ooh, is it teatime yet?

Oh yes, my Rolex says it's 4pm.

Stick to tossers who can't find their Maserati at Ascot, Rolex and leave proper dive watches to Suunto.

And for five grand I could have a new D9 with enough money left over to get the missus a TAG Heuer Swarovski Disco watch. Looks good on the dance floor and has a hole at the back for her lipstick.

Does anything about diving annoy you? Send us your "Diving Downsides".
Maldives Diving Adventure

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