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ISSUE 22 ARCHIVE - DOS AND DON'TS: DIVING IN WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND

Traveller

DO

Look right as you take the by-pass around Dorchester and get to the roundabout going left to Weymouth. The stadium is owned by our future King Charles. It is home to Dorchester Town Football Club. They hate Weymouth. And vice versa. Bored divers can watch a local derby and wonder why both sets of fans accuse each other of being in-bred. And wonder why the Police outnumber the crowd. This is Dorset.

DO

Visit O3 on the old Osprey site. Like in Jermy Street, London they are the Kingsman of bespoke suit fitters for the finest divers. If you already have a dry suit, you will need another soon when age catches up and Greggs chicken slices take their toll.

DO

Choose your weekend accommodation wisely. Portland is closer to the sites. Weymouth is closer to the "action". Your call. If you like the wind and a quiet pint. Portland. If you like clubbing with drunk foreign language students and a fight with the locals. Weymouth.

DO

Find time to go to the Crab House Café it's the best restaurant in the world. Seriously. With its own oyster bed, fresh catch and funky bibs for sale I give it all my stars. And the dressed fresh crab in Chinese marinade makes foodies come from Michelin to check it out. It's right by your dive site.

DO

A dry-suit course down there. I did. The clever thing is there's a pool you can use to get used to the weight and floating head down. And when you have to hit the sea Portland harbour is safe for your incompetence with a bunch of wrecks to take your mind off the ensuing saw tooth profile.

DO

Go and check out Chesil Beach. Dive it or walk it - it's a blinkin' geographical wonder. I did it for my O levels. But like the book "On Chesil Beach" never take a stone from there it's unlucky. I drove 100 miles to return the one I took after the dog was killed by a meteorite and I had invested all my money with Bernie Madoff.

DON'T

Look for an Olympic Legacy. 2012 pissed off many locals when their rents went up 100% and

they had to move out. What's left are some weird stones on metal stalks on Weymouth's outskirts as you drive in. And a big sign with the 5 rings. The green night time laser might still be shining after sun down unless it has been nicked by a Guernsey stag party.

DON'T

Forget that the water is green. Not blue. All you tropical divers will see a different world. British seas are a manly verdigris colour not that faggy easy to dive turquoise. It's like Plymouth versus Chelsea. Who is better but who is harder?

DON'T

Mess with the Spider Crabs. Quirky but attractive like that model Cara Delevingne they hold a punch. Odd looking limbs and carapace will bring you in close. Next they shred your suit and boots resulting in a freezing in-flow and rapid ascent. Ouch Spidey one day you will be a Marvel Super-Crab.

DON'T

Look in the skies for the local Sea King rescue helicopters. They have all gone. Some politician decided to base them all 200 miles east and west of the UK's busiest south coast dive sites. Why? To save a few million quid when we will waste many billions on a train line. Go figure.

DON'T

Take any pound coins. Save all tuppences and pennies for what is the last place they still have amusement arcades. I thought amusement was Michael McIntyre on a Saturday night I now know it is pumping coppers into a slot and hoping to win a 50p coin with a cheap watch attached.

DON'T

Wonder why there are so many wrecks in the area. Apparently Weymouth and Portland were the firewall for Henry the Ocho, WW1 and 2's defence against all that would do us harm. We beat them all off with well-placed sunken boats. That left us still speaking English. And you the diver with some rusty vessels to explore - with mullet on them.

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