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My name is Sarah Bagdi and I spent my childhood living around Southampton and Portsmouth. However when I was 17
I joined the Airforce and finished up living in Staffordshire. Since leaving the Airforce I have worked in the control room for Staffordshire Fire Brigade where I met my husband who, whilst on a holiday to the Dominican Republic, found this new activity called Scuba diving to which he then completed his Open Water course
(on our honeymoon).

He then joined the club at Scuba and Outdoor Pursuits in Staffordshire and I very quickly became a dive widow, so after two years of persuasion my hubby finally convinced me to try it out. And here I am now four years later, qualified and an Open Water Scuba Instructor and also working for Scuba and Outdoor Pursuits
full time as their Training Manager.


If I had been asked to write this article a week ago my best dive would have been when I went to Marsa Alam in Egypt two years ago, as we had a fantastic encounter with an oceanic whitetip shark, however this has since been beaten. As part of my role
as the Training Manager for Scuba and Outdoor Pursuits, I also arrange trips and holidays for the club members and was fortunate to not only arrange but also attend (as the face of Scuba and Outdoor) a trip to the Farne Islands at the beginning of September.

I was a little apprehensive as I had not done many dives off a RIB, however our Skipper, Alan, was a superstar with advice and also excellent knowledge of the area.

Saturday morning soon came around and Alan was getting us and our kit all on board ready for the off. Ten minutes later we arrived at our first site and within seconds the seals popped their heads out of the water to have a nosey at who had arrived. We quickly kitted up (well, as quick as you can with twelve people, twelve sets of kit on a RIB) and dropped in. Down we went and within seconds my hubby was clicking away like a lunatic with his camera, but no sign of any seals. I was thinking “have we scared ‘em off already”. But no, five minutes later as I am diving along in a world of my own, a seal came flying up right past me. I quite figuratively jumped out of my skin. I then paid more attention to where I was and what was about so as not to jump again.

We then rounded the reef and came into a gulley about 10m deep. I suddenly felt little tugs on my fins, I slowly turned my head and
I had a seal nibbling on one fin and another on the other and a further one coming along to see what was going on. I managed to turn without spooking them and slowly moved my fins around and they followed (like playing with a cat with a piece of string). It was amazing how they were interacting with me to the point that they were also getting closer to me and cuddling into my fins. After a fair time of playing with the three seals in the gulley we realised we had been down for forty minutes and although our air was still OK we had been down for a while and didn’t want to worry the rest of the group. As we began to swim out of the gulley the seals rapidly reappeared as if to say “Don’t go yet” so we stayed a little longer having a play and swim with them. When we did get away we were followed by one of them for a short while but when it realised we were off it went back to its group.

It was the most exhilarating experience I have ever had to interact with these creatures. I am still buzzing over the experience today and have no doubt bored everyone silly that didn’t go from Scuba and Outdoor club and customers that have come into the shop about the stories of the dives over the weekend. It is well worth a visit if you haven’t been.


I really had to rack my braincells on this one as I don’t really recall having a bad dive as such. Yes, I have had dives when I first began diving trying to get my buoyancy right with a couple of dives where one minute I was diving and the next I was on the way up, and other dives where I got to jump in the water to rapidly jump out as I had managed to gain a leak thanks to a hole in my drysuit.

The worst dive I can say I have had was in Porth Dafarch in Anglesey. The bay was beautiful and the sun was out too. We
had quite a good turn out of club members, some of which had camped overnight. Time soon came around for us to start getting our kit together and to get into the water. It didn’t look too choppy on the surface but when we dropped down there was a terrible swell which was dragging up the sea bed creating zero visibility. Backwards we went and when the water eased and we could go forwards again we finned for England. We thought if we can get out a bit further it may clear up a bit so we held hands (as we couldn’t see each other) and with the other hand out in front of us to to try to avoid bumping into the rocks etc. we gave it a whirl. After about ten minutes we decided to pop up on the surface to see how far we had got. We had gone nowhere. Yes, nowhere. We looked at each other and said “Let’s give up and get back to shore” as it definitely was not fun. I even had the bruises to show from the rocks that had jumped out at me.

Although the dive itself was bad the whole team and club from Scuba and Outdoor still made the most of the day and had a great day out sunbathing on the beach instead.

That’s the trouble with coastal diving, especially when you live inland. You have a distance to travel to get to the coast and it’s always a shame when you don’t get to go in or if you do go in, it turns out to be very bad visibility.

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