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Diving Chamber Treatment Trust
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This Is Awesome. Where's The Dynamite?
Blue swimmy things, blue liquid and non-animal living material (not blue)







Poor Knights is outstanding. Turns out the only thing it has in common with Seven Sisters Station is that the Northern Line doesn't run through it.

Jacques Cousteau himveryself rated Poor Knights as one of the top ten [places to dynamite reefs, ride turtles, harpoon whales and hack-up sharks with axes] in the world. I'd go further than that and put it in the top 9.9. I'm tempted to write a trip report on it for the mag, except the last one I wrote was so bad I had to hit myself repeatedly in the face before anyone else did.

Instead of that, I will say this: Go there and dive it. Stop what you're doing and do it now (extreme attempts by Mother Earth to curb global warming notwithstanding). Blue water, 19 degrees, 30m+ visibility and everywhere you look are those things that swim around [fish - Ed]. There's more colours than a page of your favourite book after a child's been at it with crayons. It's easily the best cold water diving I've done. And I include Wraysbury in that.

So, I'm driving down to Wellington tomorrow. I'm driving because I want to see the scenery, although I could have flown. No, really, I could. Could have just hopped in an aeroplane and flown there. Through the sky. I know what you're thinking: "witchcraft". But it's not. It's just a very fast and convenient mode of transport that we have down here in Antipodea and are able to utilise at will. Whenever we feel like it.

Unfortunately, I'm back in a hostel in Auckland today. Somebody is playing a guitar in the communal area. I need some Kryptonite for hippies. I guarantee this is what's going on in his head:

"Hey, I have a guitar, I can't play it very well, but who cares, right? It's about the spirit of the thing, yeah? OK, No Woman No Cry. How does that go again?"

Actually, I do encourage that "it's the spirit of the thing" attitude. Particularly with regard to air travel and as long as he's on his own flying the plane over a shallow part of the ocean somewhere. Preferably close enough to shore so that we can dive the wreckage.

Rob
e-med Arabic
Comments on this post:
21/04/2010
Jonathan before getting a tan

Hello Rob. I haven't checked in in a while. I've been really busy you see, what with everything else in the world still being in existence.

Anyway, it's my loss. I liked the stories about your parents.

I went snorkelling in Aruba. When I live there you can come and visit and go diving while I do something else. Anyway I got sunburned as you can see from the photo.

I was on BBC World Service yesterday, but as you are an ex-pat living in the World you will have heard it. I just want to say thanks for listening.

Jonathan
H2O Dive
21/04/2010

Good to hear from you, Jonathan. And I mean that literally: I did indeed hear your lucid three hour presentation on the fortunes of Stirling Albion this season. Perhaps a few less random sound effects next time, although it was nice to hear MC Hammer again.

Anyway, you'll be delighted to learn since you last checked in that I'm no longer addicted to Championship Manager 2008 on my phone and have moved on to Fifa 2010. The Mighty Wednesday are currently third in the Premier League. When, oh when, will the real Wednesday realise that all they need to do to ensure success is put the setting on "easy" when they play their games?

Come to think of it, that must be what other teams do when they play us.

Rob
Blue O Two
29/04/2010

Rob,

may i be the first to wish you and the Tuesday, or it it Thursday , the most 4 leafed clovery, Oirish beejesus luck against the Palace on Sat. ITS YOUR CUP FINAL and thank God you have one. Win and its Scunny away, lose and its off to Rochdale.

Nice

T Venables
Diving Chamber Treatment Trust
29/04/2010
Why Supporting Sheffield Wednesday Rocks

TV,

Glad someone appreciates the stresses inherent in what I believe Sir Sarah Ferguson referred to as "noisy bumhole time".

All I've been getting from Marina all week is: "Stop grinding your teeth", "Enough with the nail chewing", "I thought you'd quit smoking" and "How did you manage to drink an entire bottle of gin before breakfast?"

It's all about effective management...

Rob
Blue O Two
30/04/2010

My bumhole is also primed for an eruption:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_div_1/8653115.stm

Jonathan
Adventure Divers La Manga
01/05/2010

Go the Binos / Beanos / Bee Nose!

Rob
H2O Dive

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Fush and Chups
Auckland







Whenever you tell people you're going to New Zealand, they always say: "Got to the South Island, that's where all the awesome stuff is. Just the South Island. No, not North. South." And then they'll pause for a moment, perhaps suppress a belch, I don't know, and then say "South Island". Then walk away.

I'm a free thinker though: I've been taught that by rote, and furthermore I'm a maverick and have been known to start crossing the road whilst the green man is flashing. And so, I'm in Auckland. You can see a picture of it up there on the left. That's the view from my room.

I'm staying in the bit of town that has all the strip clubs and drug dealers. Well, you have to call ahead to check on these things. It's a bit like Brixton. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against Brixton. I lived there and thereabouts for at least three years of my life. It's just that I wouldn't necessarily want to go there on holiday. Actually, Brixton is a bit unfair. It's more like Tottenham. Anyway, it would be a narrow-minded sort of simpleton that would judge an entire city on the two or three streets of it they had actually seen.

Auckland is rubbish. So is the whole of the North Island.

It's a small town. I've bumped into the local drunk three times since I've been here. That only usually happens when I look in the mirror. It's a small country as well. I had to declare my dive gear as a potential biohazard on the way in. Customs didn't seem bothered.

Actually, that is the only difference between the whole country of New Zealand, plus all neighbouring islands / watery bits, and Electric Avenue in Brixton. The people are astoundingly friendly.

I have to go. I'm off to Poor Knights, which will doubtless be like Seven Sisters Tube Station. Expect more soon.

Rob
50 Reasons to Hate the French

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
This Way Up









(iPhonoclast version)

Marina and I went to South Australia for Easter in order that I could learn naughty driving habits from Delirium Tremens and that we might partake in some gentle swimming around underwater.

Highlights of the trip included but were not limited to:

Getting 35 miles out of Melbourne and realising we (by which I mean I) had left our dry / wetsuits at home.

Arriving at the dive site to realise that we (I) had left my camera in the motel, thirty minutes away.

Tucking into a cheese pastie with a hangover as large as a Pink Floyd song is long, to discover that it was a delicious non-specific meat pastie. Being vegetarian (but not gay), I should have complained but I'd already thrown it against a fence.

Walking 800m along a beach in full drysuit in the noonday sun and swimming out for 25 minutes so that we might then descend the two metres to what could only be described as a dive site because it was underwater. After four minutes, we gave up and made the return journey back. That was the same day as the pastie. The one with the hangover.

Ewens Ponds, which some (Marina) insist on being the real point of our trip (and not so that I can accelerate to 140km/h whilst laughing maniacally and overtaking a pensioner), was stunning though. It's a series of three freshwater (no, really) ponds, five to ten metres deep, connected by two excellent streams that you can just about stay submerged for until you get tangled in the plants.

The video on the left is at the end of the first stream, as you enter the second pond. As you'll notice, it looks a bit like the world, but sort of upside down.

Australia, innit.

Rob
Denney Diving

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Separated at Birth
Dude, where's my teeth?







You have my mum to thank for this, although I'm not sure whether her remark of "Is that Jaws from James Bond?" was a wry observation or an honest question, since she doesn't know what a Quentin Tarantino is.

I meant to post this a few days ago but I bought the wrong kind of bread and became distracted by the ensuing discussion of "what kind of a son would buy bread with bits in rather than normal white sliced bread like what we have in England?".

As a result, as well as not being particularly funny, the picture opposite is also no longer topical what with the Oscars, like Avatar, having faded into a distant memory.

As an aside, I took some footage of ickle baby seadragons at the weekend. I even set the white balance properly. I thought you might be bored of them by now but if anyone has some sort of debilitating urge to see them, please comment here and I'll post ten-seconds' worth. I won't hold my breath, though.

Rob
Dive Worldwide PNG

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
****ing Tourette's
Diagrammatical Illustration of the Daily Mail Mindset







I had wondered why my parents timed their trip to Australia as they did: early enough for me to not yet have a work visa and to still have a host of relocation concerns, but late enough for my money supply to be laughably indiscernible. But now I know why.

It's so we can spend vast amounts of cash taking them to places so that my dad can tut, sigh, swear and complain. I knew he was skilled in this field before, of course, but it was only as we drove down the Gr'Ocean Road that I discovered he's been working on doing all four at the same time.

So, as we meandered along the boring inland bits of one of Australia's top five tourist attractions, you'd hear a "Tchaaah - [expletive]!" from the back every time there was a bump in the road. Just to clarify, the "Tchaaah" is a mixed tut and sigh, the whole expression counts as a complaint and the expletives are randomly selected from a sadly limited range of "Christ" (with optional prefix of "Jesus"), "S**t", "Bloody hell", and there was one F-bomb when I took a corner at 5km/h too quickly for his liking.

It's a very long road. Marina had to suppress constant fits of giggles.

Luckily, he only keeps this behaviour up whenever he's awake. He slept through the coastal parts of the (Great Ocean) road.

It's astounding, actually, what he manages to complain about. Flies for instance. Not collectively, which might evoke one or two understandable grumblings from even the most patient of people, but each individual fly. Every time he sees one. Every single time. Also, he has a top that "attracts crumbs" [when he spills them down his front], that got him going for a few minutes. He doesn't like the fact that half-pint glasses are called "pots". And the weather is either too hot or too cold, but I'm sure by this point you'll already have worked that out.

So, his new nickname is "Tourette's", and I've often wondered how my mum's gotten this far through life with him without developing some sort of cunning mental defence mechanism. Then, the night they arrived she said this: "It's funny, isn't it, that in England, in June, it's quite warm, whereas in Australia, in June, it's quite cold. And yet it's still June. It's impossible to imagine, isn't it? In England, at Christmas, it's cold and it snows, but in Australia, at Christmas, it's quite warm and they'll have barbeques and things. Whereas in England it would be really cold because it's in the middle of December. Christmas. Cold. Or warm in Australia. It's amazing, isn't it? You just can't get your head around it, can you?"

So, that'll be the mechanism then. Permanent bewilderment.

Rob
Scuba Trust

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Not in Texas
Prediction: Pain







My parental unit has arrived and will be staying with us for two weeks.

Rob
Maldives Diving Adventure
Comments on this post:
03/03/2010

That's Keith Richards that is... or is it Jagger or their bas*** demon offspring genetically engineered by that bloke out of Devo [70.s US bio-punk rock sextet].

My way of foreshortening a parental visit is to start showing them nursing homes.

AtT

Agrippa the Toilet
London and Midlands Diving Chambers
04/03/2010

Or just post a blog like the one titled "****ing Tourette's" above...

Rob
50 Reasons to Hate the French

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Tank Me Right Up








I expect you woke up recently and thought "My life has changed irrevocably for the better" and yet you probably didn't know why. Well, now you do: London and Midlands Diver have become one.

That's right humans: we are now Tanked Up Magazine.

No, it's not the same: shut up, you're wrong. OK, well, bits of it are. The good bits. But the forces of evil have been replaced by THE shark man of Blighty: Richard Peirce and a clever marine biologist type chap, Dr John Carlin, who's here to explain what those little things you keep seeing swimming around underwater are (clue: they're fish).

I'm still here though. Sorry about that. Put your complaints on a postcard, scan it and attach it to an email to myself or editorial@ tankedup etc. Or fill in the little comment form below. Or just sign up to the RSS feed, so you can wade through a tide of tedium on a regular basis.

So, we finally got to dive the HMAS Canberra last weekend, which is the "jewel in the crown" of Victorian diving. I think they mean the state rather than the queen, who, I believe, is dead (Victoria, I mean, not the new one. That's how rumours get started. Anyway, you heard it here first).

It was a good dive. Well, it's a bit clean (there were only two fish on it so far and they were boring: you'd think the people who sank it would've sorted that out by now), although everyone tried to make up for it by vomiting copiously during the surface interval. Not Marina though. She wasn't sick, no. Five times off the back of the boat.

Speaking of the surface interval, I had a brief but amusing conversation with a young dive boat lackey who was trying to get us into the water quicker on the grounds that "after 45 minutes, your body is clear of nitrogen". Considering our first dive was to 25m for 47 minutes, I felt inclined to disagree with his reasoning, based as it was on the desire to get back to shore before the end of happy hour. Still, we had to get in fairly quickly to stop someone (not Marina) from regurgitating her oesophagus.

The second dive was better because we had a look inside. And the bridge is displayed videometrically on the left there for all to see. Back on shore I discovered you can set the white balance underwater. Perhaps that might come in useful in the future, I really don't know.

Anyway, Tanked Up. Your diving dreams made paper. Get it while it's hot, it's delicious.

Rob
Blue O Two
Comments on this post:
14/02/2010

hola, quiero presentar mi modesto blog de submarinismo en Ibiza, en el pretendo crear un mapa de los mejores puntos de inmersión apoyado con fotos y video aparte de información varia. Espero que os guste.

subgateibiza.com

toni
Adventure Divers La Manga
14/02/2010

See! I told you we were going international.

It's a very nice looking site, all about diving in Ibiza, in case anyone's thinking of taking a night off the Es.

That would have been funny 20 years ago. No honest, it would.

Anyway, it's a good site and it translates into nine (yes, 9) different languages, one of which is American, so have a look.

Rob
50 Reasons to Hate the French

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
The Scorpionlike Nature of the Baby Jee
Rob Doesn't Get Stung (For a Change)







I've been busily working away on the shiny new site for the brand new mag: Tanked Up or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Fact that LDM goes national, so there's been little blogation happening here recently, which I sincerely think you should just get over and move on with your lives.

January was rubbish anyway. The highlight, as I'm sure you'll all agree, was this dessicated scorpion, which didn't even kill anyone.

February, though, is already a vast improvement and has already seen our first dive on the HMAS Canberra, which really is the stuff of legend. Albeit, a very recent legend, since it was only scuttled in October.

My brother uses the word "scuttled" as a euphemism for "had sex with", but I mean "sunk". Well, that dive will be the subject of the Tanked Up Launch Blog. I know you're excited. I can smell the wee. Oh, that's me.

Fear not though, the new site, like the new mag, is essentially the same but betterer. And national. Actually, gonads to it, it's global, I've just decided. Intergalactic, actually, should any citizens of Alpha Centauri feel inclined to pop over and grab a copy.

So, until then, I'd just like to leave you with this little tale:

A few days ago, we were summoned to our doorstep by some junior Christians who were conducting a survey in the very earnest way that you would expect. Luckily, Marina volunteered to respond to their quizling natures, whilst I hid in the spare room and tried not to listen. I could't help overhearing though (I had a glass to the door: unnecessary, really, since it was open, but I think it helped to unsettle the kids since they could see me). Here then, was the highlight:

Junior JC Fan: Question 3. Do you think that Jesus was the son of God, a great leader, a prophet, or something else?

Marina: I think he was the son of God.

Junior JC Fan: Question 4. Do you believe in God?

Marina: No.

Rob
Blue O Two
Comments on this post:
09/02/2010

Nice blog - about time too. I've already wet myself in anticipation of Tanked Up, but it's just tea. I'm drinking it out of a 'Hot Wheels' mug I was given (out of pity) by a friend for Christmas - I think it's a kiddies mug & not for adults - what sort adult would be incredibly excited about getting a collectable 'Hot Wheels' mug full of sentiment & nostalgia?

Anyway - I know I've got a big gob & it's a small lip, but I do get quite a lot of spillage as a result.

I take it they scuttled the wreck the right way up of course......You never know with them lot Down Under...

Howard Sawyer
H2O Dive
09/02/2010

They did sink it the right way up, although before we went, someone told us there was a slight list towards the starboard side but it was unnoticeable.

And indeed it was. Unless you had your eyes open; then it was really obvious.

Rob
H2O Dive
10/02/2010

About time too. Thought you were sitting around in the sun and had forgotten about us poor sould freezing our bollocks off in dear old blighty. God knows what is happening in the rest of the galaxies. But then as Marina doesn't believe in Him. Who the hell knows what its like out there. No time to get too philosophical I am off to get a drink.

Rob's Mum
H2O Dive
10/02/2010

I think you might have had enough already, mum.

Rob
Blue O Two

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Mittens
Bored shrimp







I hope the little baby Jesus brought you everything you wanted for Santamas this year.

I was tolerated by Marina's family this time around, which made a nice change from being snowed-in to my Grandmother's house in the Peak District with four people who are determined to be as miserable as possible. I missed being bought socks though. One year my gran bought me a delightful pair of multicoloured mittens. I was sixteen. Everyone agreed that they were awesome and the barrage of punches I received from my friends was due to envy.

They still have the Queen's speech over here and it's identical to the one broadcast on my gran's TV at the volume of a 747 landing, although my mum refuses to believe me. I think my mum is working on the theory that the Queen is speaking directly to her. Quite why anyone would want an old lady to wander up to them and say "Troops" is beyond me, let alone put it on TV, but that's modern society for you. I blame the internet: they should put some porn on it.

Anyway, I was bad; I ate a prawn. I had to do it. I'd just met Marina's grandparents, and upon discovering I'm vegetarian, they were clearly wondering if they should have bought me multicoloured mittens for Christmas. I had already asked Cooking the Catch's Andrew Maxwell if there was any such thing as an environmentally-sound way to catch prawns and although he was very polite and replying via email from the other side of the world, I could still hear him laughing at me. I've illustrated this with a picture of a prawn (I've been doing some boring dives recently) that's about life size, so you can see there's not really a market for them diver-caught. So, yes, having encouraged dredging I feel like I went into a china shop with a baseball bat and smashed my way through all the shelves until I found a cup I wanted to buy. Actually that sounds awesome and I'm going to try it.

For me, the highlight of Christmas Day was when Marina's uncle announced he'd had enough of being cooped up in a small cupboard-like space all his life and decided to stretch his legs. I think he was expecting a bigger reaction, but when you're 44 years-old, have never had a girlfriend and you like shopping, suspicions have already been raised.

He probably bought his own multicoloured mittens when he was sixteen.

Rob
Halcyon Eclipse Infinity

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
Opera?









(iPhonoclast version)

I've been in New South Wales (so called because it looks like South Wales but newer and completely different) for the past ten days and they don't have any computers in Eastern Australia so I couldn't do a blog. I would apologise, but you're easily distracted, so look at the video of the cuttlefish instead.

We went through Sydney, where you'll be surprised to learn there's an Opera House. There's also a bridge, but I've seen bridges before, so whilst other members of the party were looking at that, I checked the latest news on my phone.

"Where's Hawk's Nest?" I asked Mixmaster Darrington of LDC fame, who's back in Straya for Santamas. "Where we're going", he replied, "why?". I showed him the report of a great white shark attacking a boat there that morning. Then I showed it to Marina. Fortunately, the report was illustrated with a picture of a great white jumping out of the water, so I could point out to her that the rubber one in Jaws, which I'd made her watch a few nights previously, was quite unrealistic.

Marina got a bit angry: "Why would you show me that?", was all she would say. Clearly she was frustrated that now there's been a sighting, the probability of us encountering a great white whilst in the water was drastically reduced. "Don't worry", I reassured her, "it says here that they're seeing up to ten a day now that they've imposed fishing restrictions in the area". She's started talking to me again now that we're back in Melbourne.

Sadly, the biggest things we saw on the trip were dolphins and kangaroos (not at the same time), but the diving was awesome. Unfortunately, we were camping which means you're constantly exhausted thanks to the kookaburras. These little chaps, like most birds, like to get up before sunrise and they have a distinctive call that many people say sounds like a laugh. And it does sound like a laugh. It's the cackling, howling laugh of a madman. A madman or a chimpanzee. A vengeful chimpanzee, driven beyond insanity by years of disfiguring vivisection. A vengeful, maniacal, horribly mutilated chimpanzee with a machete. And it's 4am. Why would a malicious, maniacal, mutated chimpanzee be cackling with evil, hooting glee whilst lurking outside your tent at four in the morning with a machete? I did postulate a theory or two in response, but none of my solutions were conducive to a restful slumber. Fortunately, Marina wasn't woken up by the kookaburras.

She was being kept awake by nightmares about sharks.

Rob
Dive Worldwide PNG
Comments on this post:
21/12/2009

This comment was posted in response to a letter published in this article. All comments are welcome.

Dear Rob and Gordon (Ramsey)

Please don't read too deeply into the letter that Lorraine Hill from Friends of Cardigan Bay sent you,myself and many other local fishermen have been fishing scallops responsibly in Cardigan Bay for over a quarter of a century,returning to the same healthy fishing grounds year after year,scallop stocks are as healthy,if not healthier now as they have ever been - if this is not a well maintained sustainable fishery,then I don't know what is!

Cardigan Bay plays host to a rich and varied array of wildlife,we've witnessed for ourselves increasing numbers of dolphins in recent years and the local media reported large 'super-pods' of up to 1500 dolphins off the West Wales coast this summer.The local tv news only recently reported that the seal population was increasing with a threefold increase in the amount of pups born this year.How can this be I wonder if we are to believe what these so called 'environmaentalists' tell us? The Bay's marine environment has to be vibrant and healthy and the food chain in tact or how else could these populations be increasing?

Our livelihoods are under an ever increasing and real threat by the naivety and ignorance of these people.

Yours sincerely

Mark

fishing vessel Harmoni MR7

Pwllheli

Mark Roberts
e-med Arabic
21/12/2009

Dear Mark,

Thank you for posting your reaction to the letter I published in my article in the last edition of Cooking the Catch.

I think that the points that you make are very valid, and I hope that the readers of the magazine do not for a moment believe that all fishermen operating in Cardigan Bay are doing so in an unsustainable manner, however there is another point you make which does actually raise a degree of concern.

You mention that there are increasing numbers of dolphins and seals in Cardigan Bay - this is itself is something to be concerned about, as it is an indication that the balance of the food chain is actually changing. If Cardigan Bay has not historically been the home to large numbers of dolphins and seals, then the fact that they now thrive there is a sign that there has been an increase in the numbers of species on which they feed, which ultimately, (somewhere down the line) means something else has been removed from the food chain.

I think that ultimately, whether or not scallop numbers in Cardigan Bay are being managed well is not actually the issue at hand here (although it is certainly something that has been in the press a great deal recently) Personally, as a chef and a diver, my concern is more that the fishing methods used are actually detrimental to the undersea environment - this is something that I am afraid cannot come into question here - having seen the results of dredging first hand, (and as a chef, knowing the difference in taste between dived and dredged) I can only say that I am in favour of the hand dived - they taste so much better (less gritty) and leave the sea bed looking like there is something living there!!

Kind regards,

Chef!

Andrew Maxwell
50 Reasons to Hate the French

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

 
I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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