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ISSUE 22 ARCHIVE - ARE YOU A HARDENED UK DIVER?

In or out?

It's the question on everyone's lips. But if you can't make up your mind take this test to see if you are Jacques Cousteau on Calypso or Admiral Lord Nelson on Victory. Let the Dive decide.

1) Pre-Dive

You have been asked politely to be at the front of your hotel at 8 a.m for the pick up to get to the Dive Boat for an early departure.

A. Stupid I have to have a coffee from the room kettle, dress in my Desigual breakfast clothing and then ask for a very complicated omelette from the man before having more coffee and perhaps some cheese. Then I have to wash my sunglasses before I can be seen by the driver. Oh, I have forgotten my spare snorkel for the days diving. I will be only a few minutes getting it.

B. "Bloody 'ell love its 7.55 make us a cup of tea and I'll take the mini-bar water and Pringles for now. Don't want to be late".

2) On the Bus

It's way hot. Like over 20 degrees. All the passengers are sweating. What do you do?

A. Insist on keeping all the windows closed and then trying to see if the A/C will work for the short duration to the port.

B. Assume the 80's converted Transit is basically screwed. Open all the windows and be glad you are wearing a lightweight football shirt where the sweat diffusion cools you down.

3) On the Boat

Dive site is an hour away. There's a briefing in 45 minutes.

A. Get kitted up straight away. Start tank checking, suiting and lens cleaning the camera. Sit on the seat and talk loudly about your last dive and the size of the sharks you saw.

B. Where's the coffee? I need some now. Fumble with the powder milk sachet and pour sugar 6 inches away from your cup when the boat hits a wave. Drink it and then need the loo. Break the hand pump and hope no-one has noticed. Suit up in less than a minute. Good to go - but your camera is still in the hotel room.

4) On the Dive

Wow. The best coral ever seen with delicate anemones and nudibranchs. What's your Dive Plan?

A. To try to get as many underwater souvenirs as I can possibly snaffle with the compliance of my buddy. If there was a B&Q at the port I would have gotten a couple of chisels and a waterproof angle grinder.

B. Was there coral? Was there an anemone? I thought I saw a shark but it could have been a plastic bag. God, I am so hungover. Maybe the next dive will revive me.

5) Post-Dive

Time to get out of your wetsuit and into your civvies before the boat hits the home mooring. Does this take long?

A. Of course not. I shall fully remove all my neoprene in front of everyone as I am happy with my body. Whilst naked, as we do often at home, I shall apply as much moisturiser as it takes to rehydrate my skin. If you are offended by my nakedness, then that is your problem not mine. My buddy is also nude and will apply ample L'Oreal to my back.

B. Ages. I have to undress with a badly positioned towel around my waist. If no-one is looking I shall quickly pop on my Primark undies. If someone is looking I will shuffle a pair of shorts up my legs and hope the towel will stay in place. Once the bottom bit is done, my gut releases the towel so everyone can see the snake tattoo coming up from my perineum to my shoulder.

6) Underwater Camera

Digital photography and a big piece of plastic housing has allowed the keen amateur to replicate shots that only the best used to take. What have you got?

A. Nikon XLS with a Hannheiser mount. Krypton flash and all wrapped up in a bespoke Korean made poly-kevlar shield. Don't ask what it cost you can't afford it. "Look at my shots of the grouper got the light right it even shows the tiny teeth. Macro-tastic. Wait while I take you through the other 400 images from the safety stop."

B. Kodak Underwater waterproof to 4 metres. But I took it down to 60 to see if it would implode. Got a few shots of fish tails but a great one of your wife/buddy sharing air and phone numbers with the instructor after they got bored of waiting for you to photo a shrimp. One of us will be mugged on the way back to the hotel. It won't be me.

7) Sun Lotion

Skin cancer is a serious issue. Especially in a hot, sunny ozone free country that you visit often. Slap it all on?

A. Of course. I apply Factor 50 before I go to sleep, and top up with that new stuff P20 for the day. I do not want to burden my health service with an unnecessary melanoma when I could have avoided it.

B. It's not that hot. Honey, give me that stick we put on the kids lips and I will try it on my nose. You need to get some sun on you the first day to get the tan working by the end of the week. And the red turns into brown later I read it on the web.

8) Dive Kit

Diving, apres-dive or in the disco on your holidays how important is it to you to have the latest gear on an active holiday?

A. Mandatory. We invented fashion. I cannot show a friend a single photo of me with barracuda if I look like a dick. Each year I burn my old neoprene to power my eco- friendly chalet and get a subsidy for my new Mares from the local mayor.

B. Northern Diver. Second hand. eBay.

9) Breakfast

Power the diving day by eating well. It's your fuel for the cold waters below the thermocline, and when you mix gas on that 100 metre dive, a 5 hour deco stop can make

you hungry.

A. Bircher muesli, fruit salad and some of that salty cheese with a tiny bit of salami.

B. Under the bacon lies bread to mop up the fat. That and more bacon. If they have sausages, five. If they have Baked Beans a bowl full. Cereal to make me feel healthy but only the bootleg Corn Flakes.

10) Flight Home

A huge queue at the check in for the flight back. Your local guide has a friend at the counter and can get you straight to the front for 20 bucks.

A. NO I will go there myself and demand to be checked in now, because I have a loud voice and a bad haircut.

B. NO I will wait in line because I can complain later. Though I won't as the phone line is an 0845 and that will take all my phone credit.

SO HOW DID YOU?

Mainly A's: Zut alors, Teufel, Ay caramba you are truly a Scion of Schengen. You will vote IN to bring you closer to the culture and sophistication of Rome piazzas and cheaper roaming charges.

Mainly B's: As British as the bacon butty you eat by a freezing cold quarry in mid-November. You will vote OUT as you know global warming will give Weymouth a Mediterranean coastline in a few years and so there will never be a need to leave this Sceptred Isle.

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